Another Social Practice Project That Isn’t One – Art, Life, and Community in VT (Part II)
[Bethel is the town immediately north of mine. Its population is approx. 2000]
The town of Bethel is about to start its second year of Bethel University, a pop-up community school that offers a wide variety of free classes open to anyone, Bethel resident or beyond.
Stone says the creation of Bethel University was “a long and winding path,” but that after Tropical Storm Irene, the community wanted to live in a different kind of place, one where neighbors were familiar and supportive.
Stone’s involvement in Bethel University stems from Tropical Storm Irene as well. “When Irene hit, it took us several days to realize how bad the damage was in town. And that was a real wake-up call for me, to say, I really [should] know that someone’s house was swept down river a half mile from my house. So I had a really strong personal motivation to start getting to know my neighbors,” says Stone.
In its second year, Stone says Bethel University is already making the community stronger. “It’s not something that can be changed in a year, or by one event, but there have been so many small little projects, so many instances of collaboration, trust and community-building popping up that [Bethel is] really an exciting place to be right now.”Advertisements
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