Anne Glanville-Adams: Vermont badly needs SVC
The closure of Southern Vermont College has rocked us to our core. On Monday, March 4, word began to spread on social media that there was going to be a big meeting happening with students and staff and that they would be told that the school was closing. Soon after this chatter began, it was posted on social media that the school would close. That is how many alumni found out. And we were shocked. We had no idea that the school was in such dire straits. If the school needed help, they should have reached out to us sooner, we should not have found out through social media. We received an email at approximately 10:30 a.m. Not the way that you want to find out that your beloved institution is closing. We should have been asked for help. The alumni network is vast and far-reaching. We could have done something sooner. Instead, we rally now to save SVC. We will do whatever we can to ensure that the current students have a safe, stable place to attend school, just as we did.
My time at SVC was wonderful. It wasn't all sunshine and roses, as no college experience ever is. It had it's share of turmoil and drama. But far more than that, it had absolute magic. There is something about that place that draws you in from the minute you set foot on the campus. I visited with my parents at some point my junior year, and then returned for a visit during the summer between junior and senior year. I knew it was where I needed to be. I applied to SVC and one other school, fully intending to make SVC my home for the next four years.
And what a time it was! I was an RA, a member of the SGA, a member of the Criminal Justice Association, a member of the MadHatters, a member of the J-Board. I ran cross-country and played basketball. There was no opportunity I didn't partake in at SVC. I tried it all. I worked in work study for the security department at the gate shack, I covered the switchboard, I worked catering for Joey and the cafe. The options were limitless. SVC allowed me to explore and find myself.
SVC took care of me during one of the hardest times of my life. At the end of my sophomore year, my dear cousin died. My parents didn't want to tell me over the phone, so they made the two-hour drive to SVC. They had called ahead and spoken to Prisicilla Klauder, who then worked to track me down. She also tracked down Janet Groom, who was the professor I was closest to at the time. Janet was at my side (along with the dean) while my parents broke the news. When we left the office, Priscilla just wrapped me in the biggest hug and held on. When I got back to my dorm, my girls from A-2 were waiting for me outside. They had been told what happened. They just enveloped me in a huge group hug and then helped me pack. It was almost the end of the semester, so I was just going to go home. My friends took all my papers and handed them in for me. Professors called my room to check on me. I had never experienced anything like it. My parents were blown away at the support they saw me getting. While at home for the services, I received numerous phone calls checking on me, from the dean, the RD, the head of security, my friends, and even the president of the college.
My junior year at SVC I met my future husband. I didn't know it at the time. I was hanging out with some of my friends on D-3rd, and I met this guy I hadn't seen before. We hit it off right away, and he quickly became one of my best friends. Later that year, he confessed that he liked me as more than a friend and the rest is history. Seventeen years later, we are still married and have a beautiful daughter. SVC alums who were there during the spring/summer of 2002 will remember her hanging out with me in the security office, and they were her babysitters. You see, to help me out, the college hired me as a security officer and mailroom clerk after she was born. They made sure I was a full-time employee and had access to the benefits I would need. Sadly, I wasn't able to stay long as we made the decision to return to Massachusetts when our daughter was a few months old. My brother was at this time attending SVC, and I left him in good hands. When he suffered the loss of his best friend, his friends at SVC carried him like they had carried me. He was wrapped in love and support from the moment the news broke until the time my family and I made the drive to pick him up. SVC is family.
We talk often in our house of our time at SVC, and the names of our friends are familiar to our daughter. She has met quite a few of them, and sees them as family. She has heard stories of our amazing professors and coaches. She has heard the stories of how we took care of each other. This past August we took her to visit the campus. She was struck by its beauty and peacefulness. She didn't think it was right for her, and that's okay. It's still where her story began, and I will be forever grateful to SVC for that.
SVC is an institution that Vermont desperately needs. Closing this school will have economic effects on the town of Bennington. The state will lose another resource for education. It is a travesty, and it needs to be stopped.
Anne Glanville-Adams lives in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, and is a member of the Southern Vermont College class of 2001.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.