Take a BU Course with Vermont’s Next Governor!

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Three of Vermont’s four 2016 gubernatorial candidates are teaching Bethel University classes this month. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to meet and learn from them in a small course setting!

Sign up today – space is limited.

  • Leadership and Management with Bruce Lisman, Thurs 3/24, 8:30 AM
    Leadership and Management: Learn more about how to lead, the importance of leading, and what it means to lead others. This course is open to all 18 years of age and older; whether you are leading and managing others now or aspire to lead and manage others in the future. This course will provide insights, real life examples and advice from a highly respected manager who built a division of a large enterprise from $50 Million to $2.5 Billion in revenues overseeing 2,350 employees and 1,000 support staff.  Learn whether or not you have the “stuff” to manage and lead others.Bruce is a native Vermonter, born in Burlington’s Old North End, educated in Burlington public schools. He successfully managed over 2,350 employees and 1,000 support staff in the financial services industry, oversaw a team who implemented sophisticated information technology systems, and provided business services in a more efficient manner. Bruce is a candidate for Governor of the State of Vermont and the only candidate who has led a business division the size of Vermont’s state budget, and he ran it successfully. http://www.lismanforvermont.com
  • Building Resilient Communities with Sue Minter, Tues 3/29, 6:00 PM
    When the rivers of Irene tore through our state in 2011, we learned about our vulnerabilities, and also our strengths. Communities in Vermont and across the country are learning how to better prepare for the “new normal” of our changing climate. This course will focus on the many lessons learned from Vermont’s recovery from the worst natural disaster in nearly a century — how communities came together to build back stronger — and also how other states are using our recovery as a model for their resilience. Sue will share strategies for community resilience — from Vermont to California — and encourage participants to share their own stories and ideas for how to make our communities and our state stronger and more prepared for the future.Sue helped lead Vermont’s recovery in the wake of catastrophic flooding from Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. At the Agency of Transportation, she helped oversee the rebuilding of over 500 miles of damaged roads and bridges within four months. As Vermont’s Irene Recovery Officer from January 2012 to February 2013, Sue worked with residents, state agencies and local businesses to help get our state back on its feet.She served as Vermont’s representative to the White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. Sue was elected four times as a State Representative, and has worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors. http://www.sueminter.com
  • The Vermont Economy: Past, Present and Future with Matt Dunne, Thurs 3/31, 7:00 PM
    Vermont has a long history of innovation, but over the last several years we’ve been facing a real challenge as the number of young people living in Vermont have continued to fall, startups have declined and poverty is rising. We have all of the difficult pieces – quality of life, great schools, beautiful downtowns and close proximity to major cities- but there needs to be an intentional strategy to move the economy forward. This one hour course will cover some of the history of innovation in Vermont, lessons learned in other parts of the country during my work at Google and AmeriCorps*VISTA, and explore the types of investments that could allow Vermont to rebuild a vibrant economy.After graduating from college in 1992, Matt was elected by his community to the Vermont House. Matt served in the legislature for seven years while also helping grow a Vermont-based software company to over 100 employees and went on to serve in the Clinton Administration as the Director of AmeriCorps*VISTA. He served two terms in the Vermont Senate, where he focused on economic development strategies. For the last eight years, Matt has headed up Community Affairs for Google, managing his team out of the old Tip Top Bread factory in White River Jct. Matt lives with his wife, Sarah Stewart Taylor, and their three children in the same farmhouse in Hartland where he grew up. http://www.mattdunne.com

Registration is Open for BU 2016!

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It’s your lucky day – you have 65 great chances to take a course at Bethel University 2016. That’s 65 great chances to meet new friends, expand your horizons, and learn something cool!

Registration is free and open to ANYONE, regardless of where you live or what your interests. You’ll find something for everyone in our list of course offerings. Space is limited and some courses are filling up fast, so sign up today and spread the word!

See the full list of courses and click through to register.

Bethel U 12x18 poster 2016

Help BU win $5,000! We’re finalists for the KingFischer award…

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Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 9.14.53 PMBethel University was just selected as one of six finalists for the New England Grassroots Environment Fund’s Cheryl King Fischer Innovation Award. We’re honored!

And now we need your help. The award recipient is selected through a combination of quality and quantity of public comments. The winner will receive an additional $5,000 grant to support community projects.

Please take 5 minutes to visit the website and leave a comment about why Bethel University matters to you or to our community and why you think we deserve to win. Scroll to the bottom of the page, create an account, and post away! Share a personal story or anecdote, talk about what BU has done for Bethel, and help make sure we can keep going in the future.

We’re grateful to the Grassroots Fund for their generous support of Bethel University last year, and for honoring our community efforts this way.

More info about the award:

The Cheryl King Fischer Innovation Award or the ‘KingFischer’ for short, is a bonus grant given at the end of each year to an innovative, crosscutting, and inspiring project that embodies the Grassroots Fund’s founding director’s essential spirit and commitment to:

  • Balancing environmental sustainability with social justice issues

  • Testing new and innovative ideas and problem-solving approaches
  • Examining problems or opportunities from many angles, using systems thinking and organizing strategies that break down issue and organization “silos”
  • Fostering collaboration, networking and collective action to gain broad and lasting impact
  • Demonstrating social entrepreneurial thinking, risk-taking and willingness to try solutions that could be wildly successful or fall on their face, but in all cases move change forward and teach new things

5 Reasons to Sponsor Bethel University

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reasonsTeaching a course isn’t the only way to support BU. Becoming a  sponsor has major benefits for your business and the community.

We’re signing up sponsors for BU 2016 from now until January 15… read on for 5 great reasons to get involved or learn more about sponsorship.

  1. Cheap Publicity.
    Last year, BU was publicized by VPR, Vermont T
    V stations and leading newspapers, and even the Associated Press. Sponsor BU for a very reasonable cost, and you’ll get your business in the spotlight.
  2. Reach Regional Customers.
    Sponsor BU and we’ll promote your business on our posters, website, emails and other advertisements. You’ll get great local and regional exposure, reaching potential customers and demonstrating your commitment to the community.
  3. Get the VIP Treatment.
    If you want the VIP treatment at a real university, you’ll  be on the hook for several million big ones. A donation of just a few hundred dollars will make you a high roller at Bethe
    l University! We can’t put your name on a building, but we promise we’ll make you feel special.
  4. Be Part of Innovation – and Tradition.
    Bethel University is still only two years old, but it’s growing exponentially each year and fast becoming a beloved regional tradition. We’re also gaining accolades and media attention from around the region (we’ve just
    been named one of six finalists for the New England Grassroots Environment Fund’s Community Innovations Awards). Sponsor BU, and you’ll be on the cutting edge of philanthropy and community building.
  5. Help the Community. All of those benefits are great, but the best reason to sponsor BU is
    good. A LOT of good. BU is completely run by volunteers and all of our spaces are donated, so your dollars go a long way and have real, direct impact. Last year we offered more than 40 courses and signed up over 400 people- all on a shoestring budget.

Sold? Learn more about sponsoring and sign up!


Watch the BU 2015 Video

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With 42 classes and more than 400 registrations, it was tough to keep up with everything happening during BU 2015. Luckily, you can still catch a glimpse and see what happened in all the courses you missed. Check out our video featuring the amazing professors and students who brought so much life to Bethel this March!

Bethel, You’re Famous!

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If you’ve noticed TV cameras around Bethel this week, you’re not alone. We’re honored that Bethel University has been featured this month on Vermont Public Radio, in the Associated Press, on WCAX TV and in nearly a dozen other newspapers, radio stations and TV channels.Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 5.29.58 PM.png

Check out some of the great coverage of our little town and our big pop-up university!

WCAX TV: Watch WCAX’s live coverage of needle felting at Bethel University

VPR’s Vermont Edition: Listen to an interview with BU organizer Rebecca Stone

Associated Press / The Republic: Check out the AP’s coverage of Bethel University, picked up by newspapers across the country

Teach a Course at BU 2015

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BU Logo RustGot skills? Got time to share? Sign up to teach a course at BU 2015!

Bethel University will be in session again for the month of March. During that month, anyone can teach a course on any topic under the sun, and anyone can take courses for free.

Don’t delay! We’re only accepting course proposals from now until January 26.

Learn more about teaching and get our course proposal forms here >

Don’t want to teach a full course but still want to meet some new folks? We’re offering a new option this year: easy “meet-up groups.” Just pick a topic of interest, pick a time and a place, and meet up with people who want to play/talk/meet/learn together.

If you’d rather fill out a paper form, download one below or pick one up at the Bethel Village Sandwich Shop, Whitcomb High or Bethel Elementary School, or the Bethel Public Library.

And help us spread the word! Put up a poster and pass the word to anyone you know who might be interested. See you in class!

Download the Bethel U Poster >

Download a Bethel U Course Proposal Form >


BU 2015: Teach, Learn, Create!

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idea_challenge2Bethel University 2015 starts in less than 2 months… time to start scheming!

What courses do you want to teach this year? What do you want to take?

We’ll be opening up course proposals in about 2 weeks. We’d love to hear what you’re thinking about or what you want to learn. (Sign up for our email list or follow this blog to receive news about teaching & taking courses.

BU organizers don’t go out and find professors for requested courses, but if enough people speak up about what they’d like to learn, we hope someone will step up to teach!

What other ideas do you have to make BU even better this year? We have several in the making, but we’d love to hear more thoughts.

Our planning team also is thrilled to have new people joining us this year, and there’s still room for more. All are welcome to help with the process in whatever way works for you. Join our planning meetings to share ideas (schedule on our home page), offer to help with a specific task (everything from hanging posters to writing press releases to mentoring student “professors”… and more!). If you have questions or want to join us, shoot us an email here or just come to a planning meeting.

Start a Pop-Up University in Your Town!

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Could your town use some excitement? A new way to bring people together? And help people share their skills and talents?

A community university is just the thing!

The Bethel Revitalization Initiative has heard from a number of towns in the White River Valley Region of Vermont and beyond, many of which would like to start their own versions of BU. And we’d like to help.

That’s why we’ll be offering a free, open information session on November 18 to share what we learned and did to make BU happen. We’ll also make our documents & work plans public via templates that any town can use and adapt. And we’ll open up for a working session where groups from local towns can start brainstorming and planning together.

In the White River Valley, we’re asking other towns to coordinate schedules and each pick a different month of the year so that we can encourage collaboration and attendance without competing. Let’s help each other make this even better.

Interested? Here are three quick steps to bringing the BU magic to your town:

  1. Sign up to attend our info session on Tuesday, November 8 (it’s free! and fun! and don’t worry, you’re not committing to anything.)
  2. Tell your friends. Encourage them to sign up too and bring a group from your town so that you can all start discussing the idea together.
  3. Join our mailing list so that you’ll get all the latest updates about Bethel University & resources for towns planning their own.

Can’t make the meeting? No worries. Just sign up for the mailing list and shoot us a line to tell us your town is interested.