Communities Hannah Cummins
Making change happen on a small scale
On choosing Marlboro
I was really interested in the student government at Marlboro. I went to a high school in Boston where they had a similar program, and when I realized that there was a college that also had a town meeting forum I was excited to get involved in student government here. Work Day was another thing that really drew me to the college—knowing that students could be physically involved with their environment. I truly believe that is part of getting a well-rounded education.
On social life at Marlboro
I came in in the spring semester, which could have been a really hard adjustment, I think, at a larger school. But I felt automatically really welcomed. I found lots of different friends in lots of different places. And that’s what’s so great about Marlboro—it’s a wonderful mix of people, and in general everyone is really friendly and welcoming. Getting involved in student government and different committees on campus allows for more opportunities to not only relate to other students but also faculty and staff, which is so valuable.
On academics at Marlboro
That was another thing that really attracted me to Marlboro, the academics. I really wanted to be challenged, and I feel constantly challenged here. It’s a very intense academic environment, which I value, and I think that our location, our student body size and our relationships with our professors is conducive to a wonderful learning experience that immerses you in what you’re interested in.
On herbalism and prison abolition
I’ve been taking a lot of classes on political theory and feminism as well as race, class, gender, sexuality and nation studies, but also the sciences—I’m interested in herbalism and community healing. I’ve also been looking at a lot of prison systems, the prison industrial complex, and thinking about alternatives, and I plan to mix my interests in herbalism and healing with prison abolition work. I’ve also been doing a lot of photography. And I feel like it’s completely interconnected. It may not sound like that, but it is—for me.
On service learning
Last semester I took a course that included 10-day service learning trips to Diné Nation in Arizona and Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. We were learning about the Diné and Lakota people, and then we actually travelled to the reservations, and that was incredible. I felt very fortunate to take part in that. After going to Pine Ridge Reservation, which is where John Willis, our photography professor, has been working for about 20 years, I’ve become inspired to get more involved there. People can build service learning into their own academic career here, if they have the drive to do that. Next year I’ll be getting my training as a birth doula, so I’ll be working at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital as an on-call volunteer doula. It’s very self-directed—if you want to incorporate service into your studies you can.
On advice for new students
Come with an open heart. And don’t be afraid to get involved, because there are so many opportunities. It’s so student-initiated that if you feel like you can do it then you can make it happen. And I think that’s a beautiful thing about Marlboro. Change can happen here. It starts on a small scale, and learning how to bring change to a smaller place like Marlboro inspires you to go out into the larger community, knowing that you can inspire change there as well. I think that there’s so much apathy in this world, and Marlboro is a place that can teach you to work against that and challenge it.