2021 Classes

IMPORTANT! Bethel University will look a bit different this year. Please read this important info before registering.

1. Click the “Register” buttons below to read the full course descriptions. Some courses may have materials or restrictions like age limits.

2. All 2021 classes will be held on Zoom. New to Zoom? Visit our Virtual BU page for links, video tutorials and help getting connected. We’ll also offer some instructional classes, so watch your email or this page.

3. If you register, you are committing to attend. These are live classes with volunteer professors and limited spaces. If you don’t attend, you’ll leave them teaching to an empty room, or you may take a space from someone else. If you realize you can’t attend after registering, please cancel your registration through Eventbrite or by emailing betheluniversityvt@gmail.com.

Jump to a Section

Click on a heading below to skip to the full descriptions and registration links. Or scroll down through to explore!


Zoom & Teacher Trainings

We’re offering two early classes this year, geared toward our Bethel University professors. Everyone is welcome to attend! If you’d like to learn about teaching or facilitating virtually or brush up on your Zoom skills, feel free to register.

Weds. February 24, 2021, 6 – 7:30 PM

Instructors: Lylee Rauch-Kacenski & Rebecca Sanborn Stone

Teaching a virtual Bethel University class this year? Interested in teaching or developing an online course for your business or passion? We’ll help you think through how to structure and lead a great educational experience — virtually. We’ll cover how to structure and facilitate a great class or discussion for virtual learning. This is geared toward training Bethel University teachers, but open to anyone.

Zoom Skills for Teachers & Facilitators

Thurs. February 25, 2021, 6-7 PM (Basic) and 7-8 PM (Advanced)

Instructors: Lylee Rauch-Kacenski & Rebecca Sanborn Stone

Teaching a virtual Bethel University class this year? Interested in teaching or facilitating online events? Need to brush up on your Zoom skills or learn more about how the platform works? Join us to dive into how the platform works, and some tips and tricks for leading great sessions. Register once, and join us for Basic Zoom, Advanced, or both. This is geared toward training Bethel University teachers, but open to anyone.


Meet-Ups & Discussions

Meet-ups and discussions are a great chance to meet neighbors and new friends informally, share interests, have fun, or dive into a rich conversation.

Bethel UN-Town Meeting

Tues. March 2, 5-6:30 PM

Hosted by: Bethel Revitalization Initiative

Town Meeting Day is one of Vermont’s oldest traditions. We can’t meet for an in-person Town Meeting this year and will instead be voting by Australian ballot (at the polls). But that won’t stop Bethel! We’re still getting together as a community on Town Meeting Day to socialize, learn what’s happening in town, meet neighbors, and even eat pie. 

Join your neighbors for a fun Zoom gathering. All welcome! Hosted by the Bethel Revitalization Initiative. You can expect:

  • Speed neighboring (meet new neighbors and chat with friends in a set of short, random breakout conversations)
  • Town & legislative updates (updates from legislators and Bethel groups on what’s happening)
  • Free pie! (pick up a treat at the polls when you vote)


Pandemic Poetry & Song

Thurs. March 11, 7-8 PM

Host: Kim Prestridge

Let’s get together and share some words! Bring your favorite poem/song/prose, written by you or someone else, to read/sing/speak/share. Words are powerful! 

When choosing something to share, consider writings that helped you this past year. Please keep it appropriate for families. Shy attendees are welcome to ask others to read for them.


The Royalton Raid Revisited

Sun. March 14, 2:30-3:30 PM

Host: Jonathan Field, Associate Professor at Clemson University

Just down Route 14, in Royalton, Vermont, a historical marker titled THE ROYALTON RAID stands on the side of the road, near the intersection with Bridge St. It reads:

THE ROYALTON RAID

October 16, 1780 To terrorize the valley from Tunbridge to Royalton, nearly 300 Indians led by a British officer fell on these defenseless frontier settlements, killing 4, taking 26 prisoners & reducing Royalton to ashes. The captives hauled back to Canada were sold for $8.00 a head. This was the most calamitous of Vermont’s many Indian raids.

VERMONT HISTORIC SITES COMMISSION 1958

At a time when many historical monuments around the United States are coming under new scrutiny, it’s worth thinking about what story this marker is telling us, and if it is still the story we want it to tell. I have been doing extensive research on the Royalton Raid, this monument, and the Handy monument in South Royalton as part of a larger research interest in the legacies of settler colonialism in New England. I would like to facilitate a conversation with community members about this sign, what it means to them, and if it is time to consider revising it. 

I will provide an overview of the history of the raid and some examples of commemorations of memorials to settler-Native conflict that have been revised at locations like Historic Deerfield. Given the importance of oral histories of settlers and Indigenous people’s accounts of this raid, I hope to learn as much as I share in this session.


Vermont Reads: The Hate U Give

Sun. March 28, 2-3:30 PM

Host: Lisa Campbell, Bethel Public Library

Due to the twin pandemics of Covid-19 and systemic racism, Vermont Reads will feature the book The Hate U Give until June 2021, the end of the current academic year. As the Vermont Humanities website explains, “Angie Thomas’ bestselling YA novel about the Black Lives Matter movement is finding an even wider audience now than when it was first published in 2017. The powerful themes of The Hate U Give have been brought into sharper focus for millions of Americans by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbury.”

Bethel has been working to recognize and address the systemic racism in our community. Bringing people together to discuss the themes of this book and what those themes might look like in our own community can be another step in that process. Discussions will include what we can do as individuals and as a community to address systemic racism.


Scavenger Hunt Show & Tell for Grownups

Mon. March 8, 7-8 PM

Host: Kim Prestridge

We’ll get together first, then we’ll separate to hunt for things in our homes. When we join back up, we’ll break out into smaller groups to share with each other the things we gathered. For example: Attendees may be asked to go get their favorite refrigerator magnet. Everyone will go get theirs, and then we’ll come back together and take turns sharing about why they’re our favorites.

This is a fun way to get some movement into our days and also share our lives with each other.


Dismantling White Supremacy

Tues. March 9, 7-8:30 PM

Hosts: Dana Cole-Levesque & Paige Heverly

This discussion will focus on coming to terms with individual biases, expanding understanding of how those biases impact behavior, and then taking steps to dismantle beliefs and behaviors that uphold white supremacy. Recognizing that changing our own behavior takes significant time and energy, this discussion may be one of many future conversations identifying viable next steps.


Lunch Meet-Up

Fri. March 12, 12-1 PM

Host: Kim Prestridge

Yes, a real lunch date — no strings attached. You’re invited! Bring your own lunch or order take out,* and we’ll eat together while we chat about weather, family, Covid challenges, Netflix, pets, home decor, outdoor recreation, etc.

*Sorry, but no food will be provided for this class. Attendees must bring their own meals.


Drinks After Deadline: A Q&A with the Herald Staff

Thurs. March 18, 6:30-7:30 PM

Hosts: Zoë Newmarco, Dylan Kelley, Tim Calabro

Come chat with the staff of the White River Valley Herald. We’ll answer your questions — How do we find stories to cover? How do we locate and verify sources and information? What have you always wondered about your local newspaper and what goes into its creation each week? We’ll also have some topics in mind to discuss, such as media literacy, fact checking in the age of the Internet, and more.


Kids’ Zoom Scavenger Hunt

Sun. March 21, 2-3 PM

Host: Kim Prestridge

We’ll gather and give prompts for things kids can find or do around the house and they will run off to get or do them. It’s a great way to engage the kiddos for a while and help them burn some energy and have fun while they do!


Racism and Classism: A Facilitated Learning Circle

Tues. March 23, 6:30-8:30 PM

Hosts: Rae Carter and Jennifer Grossi

A space to discuss how racial injustice intersects with economic injustice and impedes collective liberation. This discussion will focus on listening practices to understand different perspectives facilitated with safer space principles. The class will be led by Rae Carter and Jennifer Grossi, both are white racial justice facilitators and are trained in holding space for uncomfortable conversations. 


Bethel Strong Community Garden Meet-Up

Mon. March 29, 6:30-8 PM

Hosts: Lisa McCrory, Jeanne Conde, Bonnie Solley, Laura Perez, Lisa Warhol

“Grow Food, Feed Your Neighbors”

The Bethel Strong Community Teaching Garden (BSCTG) group was started in 2020 with its goal to help relieve food insecurity by helping Bethel residents grow their own food and providing the support, guidance, and materials they’d need. 

The community garden at the Bethel Recreation Center was designed to be a teaching garden, where volunteers would assist in its care, learn some things, share some knowledge and experience, and bring home some fresh produce. Along with feeding many of our volunteers, the BSCTG donated many pounds of delicious vegetables and herbs to the White River Valley School (Bethel Campus), the Bethel Food Shelf, and the Bethel community during Bethel Council on the Arts’ Wednesday evening concert series.

As an additional project, the BSCTG raised funds to provide 20 Garden Kits (raised-bed frame, potting soil, plants, and seeds) to 20 Bethel families!

There were many amazing people and organizations involved in making BSCTG a reality and we want to share their story in this meet-up. We will share some wonderful photos taken during the growing season and hear stories from some of our garden volunteers and garden kit recipients. 

For the second part of the meet-up, we want to hear from YOU. Help us plan our 2021 Community Garden! What pieces should we do again and what are the areas where we can improve? What should we grow this year? Are there other ways we can grow and learn together? Are you interested in being involved in some capacity? Please join us and let’s grow our community of gardeners and local-eaters.


Classes

Take a class and learn new skills, explore new ideas, and meet new friends.

HomeFit

Weds. March 3, 6:30-7:15 PM

Instructor: Linda Bowden, AARP State President (Volunteer)

AARP surveys consistently find that older adults want to remain in their current homes and communities for as long as possible. Yet barely 1 percent of the nation’s housing supply contains any universal design elements — such as single-story living or a sink that can be reached from a wheelchair. That’s where AARP HomeFit comes in. Based on the free AARP HomeFit Guide, this presentation can help individuals and families make their current or future residence – or that of a loved one – their lifelong home.


Socially Responsible Investing – New Trends

Fri. March 5, 5:30-6:30 PM

Instructor: Craig Walker, Socially Responsible Financial Advisor at Greenvest

In this 1-hour presentation about socially responsible investing you’ll learn: 

1. What socially responsible investing is — and what it isn’t. 

2. How to start to match your investments to your values.

3. Some of the challenges facing socially responsible investing and how to overcome them.

There will be a Q&A and discussion after the presentation.


Video Game Development

Sat. March 6, 1-4 PM

Instructor: Mark Boettcher

This is a hands-on course where students will learn the basics of video game development by designing and creating a fully functional game that will run on Windows/Mac/Android/iOS devices using Unity Personal, the free version of a professional-level game-development platform used on many of today’s AAA game titles. 

Whether you’re an aspiring game designer, programmer, 2D/3D artist, hard-core gamer, or simply curious about how computer games are created, please feel free to join in the fun! No experience required or expected.


Wealth and Income Inequality for Dummies

Weds. March 10, 7:00-9:00 PM

Instructor: Gene Kraus

It is no secret that, for the last forty years, the income of the middle and lower classes in the US has gone down when adjusted for inflation while the income of the most wealthy has skyrocketed. The gap between those at the top of the economic ladder and the rest of us has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, laying bare the economic truths that have divided us.

Especially geared for those who find such a complex subject daunting, this course is based on several easy-to-understand concepts and on two books: Robert Reich’s Saving Capitalism and Kurt Anderson’s Evil Geniuses. Students will come away from the class better able to engage in conversations and actions to address income and wealth disparity in America.

There will also be a brief overview of some of the factors that have brought us to this point, and we will open it up to discuss possible directions for the future.


Intro to Belly Dance

Mon. March 15, 6-7 PM

Instructor: Gina Capossela, Belly Dance with Gina

Explore the magic, mystery, and sheer FUN of Belly Dance with Gina! Gina will teach six simple moves and string them together into a full choreography. In one hour you will be a belly dancer! All shapes, sizes, genders, and ages 8+ are welcome and encouraged. No previous experience or special clothing necessary.


Beginners’ Writing Workshop for Teens: Rural VT Stories

Tues. March 16, 7-8:30 PM

Instructor: Annie Downey

This class will focus on developing writing skills to craft poems, short stories, and personal essays from our own experience living in rural, small-town Vermont. As a child and teen who grew up here, the professor — an avid horseback rider, skier, reluctant babysitter, and an employee in her mom’s stores — believes there is a lot to be gleaned from these rugged landscapes and close community ties. This workshop will explore how Covid-19 has affected our community experience — or has it? In this writing workshop, students will be able to share and discuss their work via Zoom and chat with other class members. Also, this workshop will be focused on positive feedback. (Teens 13+)


Breathwork for Relaxation and Stress Relief

Weds. March 24, 6:30-7:30 PM

Instructor: Lauren Priestap, Sage Yoga

This class is for anyone interested in reducing stress, enhancing meditation, or fine-tuning focus using pranayama breathwork. Learn how to harness the energy of your own mindful breathing in order to calm your mind and body. We will have a brief introduction to basic pranayama terms and ideas, then we will practice several types of energetic breathwork together, along with a short meditation.


“You Come Too” — Learning to Read Robert Frost

Fri. March 26, 6-7:30 PM

Instructor: Phil Crossman, Instructor at CCV and Norwich University

In examining the work of celebrated poet Robert Frost we will focus on a number of poems where he highlights moments of practical human decision-making. Understanding these poems can help people think about how they have made important life decisions in the past, and how they might make them differently in the future. Students will have the opportunity to read the poems together, to learn a little about Frost’s life and the context in which the poems were written, and to participate in a guided discussion about the poems’ meaning and their potential significance for us today.


Seva Stress Release Via Acupressure

Tues. March 30, 6-7:30 PM

Instructor: Hoyt Bingham, LMTat, Hoyt’s Healing Hands

Seva stress release is a method of applying acupressure to 15 points on the body in order to ease the human stress response and support overall well-being. Seva was first administered in NYC to those who had endured overwhelming shock and stress on 9/11.

During this class you will learn about acupressure; Soul Lightening International, a nonprofit organization that teaches the Seva method; and how to perform the protocol on yourself to help reduce your own stress or relax deeply. You will also receive a handout prior to the class to guide you through the protocol afterwards.


How the Story Behind the Picture Can Help Us Through Trauma

Thurs. March 4, 7-8:30 PM

Instructor: Dale Hackett

This course will offer a brief introduction, with examples, of how as a photographer I saw pictures used by my customers to help them through trauma. We will then open it up to discussion about how has art helped you in your life and other related topics. The main course will run from 7-8; students are invited to stay until 8:30 for open discussion.


Beginners’ Meditation

Fri. March 5, 7-7:30 PM

Instructor: Laurie Goldsmith

In this course participants are invited to experience a guided meditation with relaxing music and spoken word. Anyone interested in exploring the practice of mindful meditation is encouraged to join. No experience is required. Come to unwind, relax, and experience the power of stillness together.


Somatic Movement: Wake Up Your Body’s Internal Landscape

Sun. March 7, 4-5 PM

Instructor: Emily Dooley, True Center Yoga

No yoga experience necessary. Appropriate for all levels.

Interoception is the perception of sensations from inside our bodies, including physical sensations related to internal organ function, like heartbeat, respiration, satiety, and autonomic nervous system activity related to emotions.

At some time in our lives, we may experience pain, restriction and/or disconnection from our bodies. Somatic movement practice is an incredibly effective way to re-enter our bodies and develop more interoception. You must develop the skill of listening to your body so you can respond appropriately to its needs. 

This class is a wonderful opportunity to start the new year with a deep sense of self-awareness. Somatic movement, which is done on the floor, is effective in reducing pain and creating a deep sense of well-being. Your body will thank you!


Social Impact Storytelling: Building Community Through Stories

Sat. March 13, 2-3:30 PM

Instructor: Rebecca Sanborn Stone, Community Workshop

Love stories? Looking for ways to build community or strengthen your social impact work? Want to get started planning your own community storytelling project? Stories and storytelling have tremendous power for community and social impact. They can break down barriers and build relationships. They can drive local economies and support entrepreneurs. They can change minds and open hearts. They can attract resources and connect changemakers. The first half of this class will share tips and stories of successful storytelling projects, from live events (story circles and Moth-style events) to multimedia projects. 

If you’re interested in planning your own project, stick around for the second half. We’ll walk through the steps of planning a project, with time for students to work on an idea and get feedback. White River Valley community members interested in organizing a storytelling project here are especially welcome! Or bring a buddy from your community or organization.


Colorful Abstracts with Markers & Pens!

Sat. March 20, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Instructor: Cynthia Christensen, Cynthia Christensen Art

Have fun creating abstracts with circles! We’ll use markers to lay down colors, and gold, white, or silver pens to add highlights on top. Inspire yourself with the possibilities; freely explore movement and moods you wish to highlight in your art. Make a gift for someone you love, or decorate your own space with your work! Students will create conceptual plans during class and will finish their projects individually, afterwards.


Mindful Living for a Healthier You

Thurs. March 25, 6-7:30 PM

Instructor: Betty White, Bridge to Someday

Do you ever feel like you are not present in your own life? Do you feel like stress is taking over? Do you find that you don’t remember the drive home or eating that whole bag of chips? Do you want to be more in the moment and really live life to the fullest? If you can relate to any of these, or maybe all of them, then this class might be just what you need. With today’s busy schedules, we often feel like we don’t have control over anything; in this class you will learn how to take back control, like using mindfulness techniques to help reduce the effects of stress. You do have time to slow down and be more in the moment. It’s not as hard as you think to feel better, get healthier, and crawl out from under the pressures of life. This class will be a combination of lecture and discussion.


Herbal Allies for Stressful Times

Sat. March 27, 2-3:30 PM

Instructor: Sarah Shaw, Hillside Botanicals

As we continue to move through these uncertain times, expanding our toolkits for coping with stress and grief appears more necessary than ever. While we are capable of continuously adapting to stress in our world, it is no secret that chronic stress can take a toll on our health. In this class we will discuss how manifestations of stress can impact our sense of well-being and explore some easily accessible herbs for soothing the body and mind. Topics will include basic physiologic impacts of stress on the body, herbs for stress and anxiety support, and basic medicine-making practices. This class is for all levels and experiences, no previous knowledge of herbal medicine is required.