March 2022 Classes

IMPORTANT!

1. Courses will be offered via Eventbrite. Some courses may have materials or restrictions like age limits.

2. Some 2023 classes may be held on Zoom. Some will be held indoors or outdoors in Bethel, Vermont. Be sure you check the location before you register. New to Zoom? Visit our Virtual BU page for links, video tutorials, and help getting connected.

3. When 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.

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Classes, Meet-Ups & Discussions

Bethel University classes are taught by volunteer “professors” from all over Vermont — and sometimes beyond! Meet-ups and discussions are informal gatherings led by a volunteer host. Some previously offered classes:

Finding the Way Forward

Location: Zoom

Professor: Susan McDowell, Life Coach, emergeU

The past few years have taken us on a wild ride! How do we find a starting point for moving our lives forward?

This workshop is for anyone who feels called to change, take charge, or make some part of their life more manageable. Our time together will be a combination of explanation, discussion, and interactive work. By the end you’ll have the tools to set at least one achievable goal. Don’t worry if you have no idea where to begin; we’ll narrow down a starting point by exploring the Web of Life.


Vermicomposting: The What and the How

Location: Zoom

Professor: Lisa McCrory, owner, Earthwise Farm & Forest

Compost your food waste using red wiggler worms and create amazing fertilizer for your yard and gardens.

Vermicomposting, otherwise known as worm composting, is among the quickest organic ways to obtain lovely garden compost from organic waste materials. It’s also easy to do and it is scalable. Hence, it’s an ideal pursuit, regardless of the size of your garden. The process of vermicomposting does, in fact, duplicate the methods used by worms, bacteria, and fungi to degrade organic waste.

This introductory course will showcase a stackable worm bin that we use on our farm. We will talk about the red wiggler worm, how to feed and care for them, and what to do with the rich nutrients they leave behind.


Intro to Reading Tarot Cards

Location: Zoom

Professors: Amy Danley-White and Kirk White

Learn how to do simple tarot readings for fun and to amaze your friends!

By the end of this class, students will know the basics of how to do Tarot readings for themselves and others. It will include instruction, meditation, and practice working with the cards.


Safer Streets & Mobility for All: Bethel Accessibility Forum

Location: Zoom

Host: Bethel for All

Speakers: Kelly Stoddard-Poor, Associate State Director of AARP Vermont; Dayton Crites, Senior Planner at DuBois & King

What if it was easier to walk, bike, and ride around rural Vermont? What if everyone felt safer on downtown streets? How can we slow traffic without speeding tickets?

Come learn why safe, accessible small-town streets are essential to small-town livability and success, and how we can start creating them today. This interactive forum will use Bethel as a case study, but will look at challenges and solutions common in rural communities around Vermont.


Planning the Bethel Strong Community Teaching Garden 2022

Location: Zoom

Leaders: Jeanne Conde, Lisa McCrory, Lisa Sacks Warhol, Laura Perez, Bonnie Solley, Cindy Metcalf

Help plan 2022 for the Bethel Strong Community Teaching Garden, deciding what has or hasn’t worked in the past and what we want to accomplish in the future.

The Bethel Strong Community Teaching Garden (BSCTG) at the Bethel Recreation Center is a teaching garden: volunteers assist in its care, learn more about gardening, share their knowledge and experience, and help nourish our community with fresh produce. Over the past two years the BSCTG has 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.

Help us plan the 2022 Community Garden: What should we do again? Which areas need changes or improvements? What should we grow? Are there other ways we can grow and learn together — like more garden-based classes? Are you interested in being involved with the garden in some capacity? Please join us!


How Our Stories Become Expressions of Art

Location: Zoom

Professor: Dale Hackett, professional photographer

Sometimes words are not enough, so we use art to express ourselves.

This class will begin with a slideshow on the theme of how our stories become art. Behind every work of art is a story of the artist’s intent. We will look at examples of art and hear the stories of their inspiration to inspire our own minds, then we will open up the discussion so students can share examples of art they value and the stories behind their own art or art they have acquired.


Historic Bethel Scavenger Hunt

Location: Bethel Bandshell/White Church, 129 Church Street, Bethel VT

Leaders: Cub Scout Pack 202 and Scout Leaders Kim Kraus, Dominic Yetz, Dave Crosby, and Will Wheeler

Discover some interesting history about our town and have some fun!

Join Cub Scout Pack 202 as we seek out some Bethel History! We might need to take a photo near a historic bridge or a flood marker, or we may have to ask questions of someone who knows about a piece of history personally… Join us as we learn about our town!


Stress Rescue

Location: Zoom

Professor: Margaret Dembinski, Love.Life.Activate.

Learn ancient and modern techniques for solving stress!

This course uses several techniques that are useful for everyday life: breathwork, meditation, journaling, and ancient esoteric tools to combat stress and educate you about the body’s stress response. 


Critical Race Theory: Three Keywords

Location: Zoom

Leader: Jonathan Beecher Field

Exploring the realities of Critical Race Theory through short essays about each word.

Over the last decade, the Keywords essay series from NYU Press has been an outlet for compelling and accessible scholarship from leading scholars in a variety of fields.

Last fall, Keywords Now released three essays: Shana L. Redmond and Dylan Rodriguez on “Critical,” Rebecca Wanzo on “Race,” and Tavia Nyong’o on “Theory.” Critical Race Theory has been a topic of heated, if not always enlightened, debate. We hope our discussion of its component words will lead to a better understanding of what Critical Race Theory is and, just as important, what it is not.


The Power of the American Sonnet

Location: Zoom

Professor: Steve Augustus, Director at Dak & Co, Poetry and Entertainment

Relax your ideas about the sonnet form and American poets and you will discover new vistas and new opportunities.

In this class we will talk about advanced poetic techniques, but if you are reading this sentence, this class is for you, regardless of your experience or confidence level. We will read and discuss poetry by American poets everyone should know–among them Wanda Coleman, Diane Seuss, Meg Kearney, and Terrance Hayes–and you will discover your ability to write your own American sonnets.


Global Action: Climate Change Meet-Up for Kids

Location: Zoom

Leader: Eliza Stone, 3rd Grader

Are you a kid who cares about global warming? Do you want to make a difference and meet other kids who care? 

Come meet other kids who care about climate change. We’ll talk about solutions to global warming that kids can make happen. This meet-up will let kids share their ideas about actions we can do to address global warming. We’ll try to help each other figure out how to make them happen in our communities. Kids can share drawings, thoughts, videos, books, or other ideas. 

You don’t have to be shy because everyone will be kind. We’ll talk about whether the group wants to meet more than once.


Community Mosaic

Location: Day Breaks Glass, 285 Main Street, Bethel VT

Professor: Dayna Sabatino, Day Breaks Glass

Create a mosaic square out of broken dishes and ceramic tile as part of a community “patchwork quilt.” No experience needed!

Bethel resident and teaching artist Dayna Sabatino will give a brief lecture about the tools and materials involved in architectural mosaic art and will show you how to create a mosaic quilt square. Your square will later be incorporated into a community mosaic “quilt” to be hung in Bethel. A large variety of broken dishes and ceramic tiles will be provided to craft with. No experience is necessary. Just come learn and have fun in a pressure-free environment.


Meet and Share with Bethel’s Equity and Inclusion Committee

Location: Zoom

Leaders: Christy Fry, Laura Perez, and Owen Daniel-McCarter, Members of the Equity and Inclusion Committee (EIC)

Let’s have a conversation about equity and inclusion in Bethel.

Meet the Bethel Equity and Inclusion Committee (EIC) members and learn how they are contributing to the good of the community through ongoing collaboration with the Selectboard, Bethel residents, and other Vermont resources. The EIC also wants to hear from you: what do you believe needs to be addressed to grow a more equitable and inclusive Bethel? The EIC members will introduce themselves, share the committee’s accomplishments in 2021– its first year — and its goals for 2022. They will also explain the resources they are able to offer to the community and invite people to share their thoughts on the health and well-being of Bethel as a community supporting equity and inclusion.


Taking on Climate Change

Location: Zoom

Leader: Gene Kraus

Feeling overwhelmed by Climate Change? Want to meet others who share your passion for a just transition to a carbon-neutral environment? Then this meet-up is for you. We will get together on Zoom to discuss and share resources as well as organize for action in our towns and statewide. Meet others from your local community, your state legislative districts (existing and proposed), and local officials. Together we will share ideas and effective tactics for working with elected officials during this time of climate crisis.


Campfire Cooking

Location: Bethel Recreation Center, 115 Pleasant Street, Bethel VT

Leaders: Cub Scout Pack 202 and Scout Leaders Kim Kraus, Dominic Yetz, Dave Crosby, and Will Wheeler

Campfire cooking doesn’t have to be limited to hotdogs and foil packs. Learn to make mudburgers, chocolate orange cake, and eggs and bacon in a bag!

We’ll gather around the campfire and make a few things without using pots or pans then enjoy the fruits of our labor. It will be messy, but it will be good!! Join us to find out what a mudburger is and how to make one, and how to make orange-chocolate cake and cook eggs and bacon in a paper bag. While things are cooking, we’ll play some games.


Debunking the Gender Binary

Sat. March 26, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Location: Zoom

Professors: Cass Bath (she/her) and Bryce Merrill (they/them)

As we better understand the fluid nature of gender, it can be hard to keep up with evolving language and vocabulary. Join us for an overview.

Learn about gender fluidity with Cass and her kid, Bryce. We’ll use the Gender Unicorn (created by Trans Student Educational Resources) to learn the evolving vocabulary of gender and will look at examples from biology, society, world cultures, and history, among others, to see how the gender-binary system most of us subscribe to is inaccurate. Students will use this information to understand the complex nature of gender and to better understand the diverse people in their lives. This class will be a combination of lectures and discussion-based activities; it is for anyone interested in and willing to understand more about gender diversity.


Knots for Living

Location: Bethel Recreation Center, 115 Pleasant Street, Bethel VT

Professor: Ross Linthicum, Sage Home

A beginner’s course in mastering the most useful knots for everyday life.

In this course, you’ll learn three basic knots that will make your life easier and impress friends on your next camping trip!

This class is open to students of all ages and will focus on tying the clove hitch, the sheet bend, and the bowline. This is a hands-on class where we will spend the majority of our time learning knots through repetition and discussing their best applications. 

If time allows, we will do a short summary of other very useful knots, such as the butterfly, half hitch, figure 8, and Munter hitch. 


Vermont Reads 2021: We Contain Multitudes

Location: Zoom

Leaders: Lisa Campbell and Cathy Day, Bethel Public Library

This discussion will begin with the book We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra. The Vermont Reads choice for 2021 is a novel in letters. It tells the paired stories of two very different teenage boys who are initially reluctant to participate in a pen-pal assignment from their high school English teacher, but ultimately grow well beyond the boundaries of the school project to reveal earth-shattering revelations about themselves and their families. —Vermont Humanities Council

Led by a knowledgable speaker from the Vermont Humanities Council, the group will explore the issues noted above and how they impact our own communities.

Participants may pick up their own copy of the book at the Bethel Public Library, courtesy of the VHC.

Logo Design Basics

Location: Zoom

Professor: Andrew Plotsky, Creative Director, Farmrun

Learn the process of designing a logo for a business or organization.

Using case studies from Farmrun’s past work and imaginary fabrications, we’ll walk through time-tested steps to create a logo, from concept to completion. As this class covers the process, the most specialized equipment you’ll need to implement the skills you’ll gain will be a pen and paper.


Drawing Circle Art with Markers

Location: Zoom

Professor: Cynthia Christensen, artist, Cynthia Christensen Art

Join us in starting a new piece of art, using markers, inspired by circles!

All ages are welcome, from beginners to experienced creators! We will use markers to begin creating a piece of art; circles will be our inspiration. We will affirm that there are no mistakes in art, but if we perceive mistakes in our work during class, we will look for the new opportunities they might represent. This will be an encouraging, relaxing space to explore and create together. The professor will share examples of her marker drawings from her website, cynthiachristensenart.com


Winter Hike/Snowshoe

Location: Bethel Elementary School woods, 273 Pleasant Street

Cub Scout Pack 202 invites you for a winter hike/snowshoe! What are the Cub Scout 6 Essentials or the Scout 10 Essentials for a hike? Come find out!


Staying the Course

Location: Zoom

Leader: Susan McDowell, Life Coach, emergeU

How does a goal become reality? Step by step.

This group will meet to keep on track the goal you set in “Finding the Way Forward.” After this first meeting, Susan will organize times to meet weekly to check in and define next steps. No judgment, just support and accountability.


Learn to Ice Skate

Location: Bethel Recreation Center, 115 Pleasant Street, Bethel VT

Professors: Tristan Brown and Julie Hinman

Learn to ice skate at Bethel’s town rink.

Learn the fundamentals of ice skating, including starting, stopping, and turning. Learn to be comfortable on skates, how to skate with speed and control, and how to skate backwards. Beginners & kids encouraged!


Vermont’s New Online Court System: Filing and Viewing Court Cases Electronically

Location: Zoom

Professor: Andy Stone, Application Services Manager, Vermont Judiciary

Learn how to view court records and file your own court documents online with the Vermont Judiciary’s new electronic case-management system.

The Vermont Judiciary has just launched a new electronic case-management system that allows court users and all members of the public to file and view court documents online from their home computers and other devices. The system is designed to improve efficiency, reduce reliance on paper, and improve access to justice for all Vermonters. This class will provide an introduction to the two main tools that are available to the public for accessing the court system: (1) Odyssey File and Serve, which offers electronic filing of court documents, and (2) The Vermont Judiciary Public Portal, which allows users to access court records and view filings, court orders, hearing calendars, and other case information.

The class is appropriate for anyone who has or may at some point have any type of involvement with the court system — divorce or other family court cases, landlord/tenant disputes or other civil suits, wills/estates or other probate issues, criminal charges, or even speeding tickets.


Feeling the Winter Blahs?

Location: Zoom

Leader: Margaret Campbell

How do we find light at the end of the tunnel?

For those who might be languishing or feeling low, bored or maybe even a bit hopeless, this could be the group for you. Join with others who have similar feelings to share ideas on what gives you hope and encouragement. Maybe you write poetry, hike or snowshoe, FaceTime with friends and relatives, or read the lengthy books you never had time to finish. Join us to share thoughts on what helps you get through the day and week in these times of greater isolation. This is not group therapy or online counseling, it’s simply a small group of people willing to share ideas about how to find light at the end of the tunnel.


Introduction to Graphology (Handwriting Analysis)

Location: Zoom

Professor: Rhonda Ketner

Learn how changing your handwriting can help you lead a more fulfilling life.

This course will introduce us to the science of handwriting analysis to give us insight into ourselves and who we are. Graphology helps an individual understand their strengths, weaknesses, innermost fears, and defense mechanisms; it can help you see yourself in a new light. Graphology can help in understanding and removing mental blocks to help you achieve greater personal and professional success and self-growth.


Autoimmune Support Group

Location: Zoom

Leader: Shelie Richardson

Join other people with autoimmune issues to share your journeys and what helps you.

A space for people with autoimmune and mysterious illnesses to come together and share their journeys in a place where they will be heard and understood. Participants can share as much or as little as they wish while learning coping strategies and what works for others.



Clean Water & River Access for All: Bethel Accessibility Forum

Location: Zoom

Host: Bethel for All

Speakers: White River Partnership; Emily Lewis, Landscape Architect/Environmental Planner at DuBois & King

How can rural towns improve water quality, increase river access, and save money?

Come learn how climate change and development are impacting rivers and stormwater in Bethel and other rural communities, and how recreation access is opening up new opportunities for people and local economies. This interactive forum will use Bethel as a case study, but look at challenges and solutions common in rural communities around Vermont.


Make Your Own Fishing Pole

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Location: Peavine Park, 777 Peavine Boulevard, Bethel VT

Leaders: Cub Scout Pack 202 and Scout Leaders Kim Kraus, Dominic Yetz, Dave Crosby, and Will Wheeler

Get back to basics and have fun making your very own fishing pole.

Lots of people love to go fishing, but have you ever made your own fishing pole? Cub Scout Pack 202 invites you to join us to learn how to make a fishing pole using basic materials. We won’t be making anything fancy, but it’s enough to get the job done and have some fun.

Get back to basics and have fun making your very own fishing pole.

Lots of people love to go fishing, but have you ever made your own fishing pole? Cub Scout Pack 202 invites you to join us to learn how to make a fishing pole using basic materials. We won’t be making anything fancy, but it’s enough to get the job done and have some fun.


Winter Tree Identification

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Location: Bethel Recreation Center, 115 Pleasant Street, Bethel VT

Professor: Julie Loosigian

No leaves? No problem!

Learn how to identify some of our region’s most common trees, even after their leaves have fallen. We will discuss the many ways to identify trees, including through bark characteristics, leaf scars, branch arrangement, scent, bud characteristics, and habitat. We will also explore those trees that retain their leaves throughout winter — the conifers. 

This course is for anyone with an interest in close observation of trees and a desire to get to know their tree neighbors better. We will use group discussions, observations, and hands- and noses-on experiences to learn together as we walk along some trails at the Bethel Recreation Center.



Taking Control of the Wheel

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Location: Zoom

Leader: Betty White

Empowerment means choosing to be the driver of your own life–choosing to take active control of your mindset and habits, especially around food.

Ever feel like you are just a passenger in your own life, watching the scenery pass you by without any say in when to pull over and get a closer look? Many of us feel like that at one point or another. It may be about areas of our life, it may be about the food we choose to eat, it may be about emotions we feel or don’t want to feel. In this class, we will talk and brainstorm about ways to take back the wheel instead of trying to control our mindset and actions in order to get back into the driver’s seat.


Accessible Community Buildings, Spaces & Services

Location: Zoom

Host: Bethel for All

Speakers: Steven Mifsud and Steve Dering, Direct Access; Peter Johnke, Vermont Center for Independent Living

How can village businesses, buildings, programs, parks and services be more inclusive and accessible to people of all ages and abilities? How might we retrofit historic villages and downtowns without breaking the bank? 

Come explore the greatest challenges to accessibility in small town community spaces and services, as well as practical solutions for designing universally-inclusive communities. We’ll use Bethel, Vermont as a case study and look at a variety of ways that communities, organizations and businesses can improve accessibility, from quick and cheap actions to larger investments.


Evolutionary Thermodynamics

Location: Zoom

Professor: Justin Lancaster, President of Vermont Medical College

Are you curious about why, through all scales of biology and society, all energetic systems have a tendency to grow?

Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) — a theory explaining today’s long-term increase in the average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human agriculture and industry — is just a symptom. A profound, natural principal is causing AGW and it is the greatest challenge facing human society: the Energy-Technology Feedback (ETF). In any energetic system, a positive feedback exists between the energy flowing through the system and a method of dynamic coordination that makes use of that energy-through-flow. The ETF describes a key aspect of how energy has evolved to form particles, atoms, molecules, then biological entities, and then animal communities.

We will focus on recent research in emergence theory, self-organization theory, and biogenesis. Students interested in understanding what life is and where life is going will be interested in this topic. Anyone interested in seeing the physical bounds that constrain and drive human society and how to best approach adapting to climate change and an evolving technology future need to understand core aspects of Evolutionary Thermodynamics.


“You Come Too” Learning to Read Robert Frost for Meaning, Enjoyment, and Life

Location: Zoom

Leader: Philip Crossman

Together we will read Frost’s poems about important life decisions, learn about Frost’s life and the context in which he wrote the poems, and discuss their meaning and significance for us today.

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 us think about the important life decisions we’ve made and how we might make them differently in the future. Participants will read the poems together, learn a little about Frost’s life and the context in which he wrote them, and participate in a guided discussion about their meaning and their potential significance for us today.


Vibrant Villages & Rural Economies: Bethel Accessibility Forum

Location: Zoom

Host: Bethel for All

Speakers: Tripp Muldrow, Principal at Arnett Muldrow & Associates; Richard Amore, Planning and Outreach Manager at Vermont Department of Housing & Community Development

How can small towns and local businesses compete in a changing economy? What would make rural Main Streets more livable, welcoming and inclusive? How can we help our local businesses recover and thrive throughout Covid-19?

Come explore what’s going well and what’s needed to create thriving rural communities in the 21st century. This interactive forum will use Bethel as a case study, but look at challenges and creative solutions common in rural communities around Vermont. This interactive forum will use Bethel as a case study, but will look at challenges and solutions common in rural communities around Vermont.


Zoom & Teacher Trainings

We offered two training classes last year, geared toward professors and those looking to brush up on Zoom skills. Watch the recordings if you’d like to get more comfortable with Zoom!

How to Lead a Great Virtual Class or Discussion

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 it’s open to anyone.

Zoom Skills for Teachers & Facilitators

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 it’s open to anyone.