Bethel University is free community pop-up university created by the Bethel Revitalization Initiative (BRI) in Bethel, VT. During the month of March each year, anyone can teach a course on any topic under the sun. And anyone can take courses for free.
Bethel University (BU) launched in 2014. In our first five years, we grew from an experimental project to a region-wide attraction, drawing more than 1,000 participants each year from towns across Vermont… and beyond!
Classes are held in public spaces, businesses and homes throughout Bethel. Our “professors” have ranged in age from 4 to 84, and our class topics include everything from bread baking to astrology, construction to grant writing.
Bethel University is created by the community, for the community. It is run completely by volunteer organizers and supported by donations and small grants. Every dollar donated to Bethel University goes directly to program costs including publicity, insurance, and class materials.
History and Goals
In 2013, the Bethel Revitalization Initiative asked people what they imagined for Bethel, and someone wrote “BU.” No one knew what that was, but our team decided that it meant “Bethel University” — and that we would create it.
Less than six months later, Bethel University opened for its first semester with big goals:
- Bringing the community together and allowing people to meet new friends and neighbors
- Celebrating the many talents of community members
- Helping small businesses reach new customers and showcase their offerings
- Offering free community education and learning
- Encouraging more people to visit Bethel and discover all that we have to offer
We invite you to:
- Follow this site to receive news about BU in your email inbox (look for the black box in the lower left corner)
- Watch this video documenting the project
- Follow the Bethel Revitalization Initiative on Facebook
- Sponsor BU with a donation of cash or materials
- Volunteer and help keep BU great!
About the Bethel Revitalization Initiative
The Bethel Revitalization Initiative is a grassroots community initiative that works to build a stronger, more vibrant, and inclusive town. Our small community is nestled in the White River Valley of central Vermont, and it offers a unique history, natural beauty, and entrepreneurial spirit. We’re working to protect what makes Bethel special, and make it even better.
The Bethel Revitalization Initiative’s aim is to encourage interaction, cooperation, and communication between the town’s various organizations, businesses, clubs, individuals, and the town government towards the following goals:
- Identify the town’s business, social, aesthetic and cultural assets
- Promote the growth and development of Bethel’s business community, its social organizations and activities, its cultural climate, and aesthetic assets in a mutually inclusive and beneficial manner.