University of Vermont

Living/Learning Center

Design your own Living/Learning Program

The ALANA House

Program Directors:

Connor McFadden, ‘11
L/L Box xxx
College of Education and Social Services
Social Work (ALANA U.S. Ethnic Studies Minor)

Tanya Kershaw, ‘11
L/L, Box xxx
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Animal Science


The ALANA House (African-American Latino/a Asian-American Native American Ally) helps participants develop a sense of their own cultural identity and the other cultures of the world alongside their suitemates throughout the year. Participants are also equipped with the knowledge and skills to be able to disseminate cultural competency and sensitivity to their UVM peers. Participants will elevate their awareness of different cultures at an accelerated pace through bi-weekly dialogues, working with ALANA affiliated clubs and organizations on campus and off, and through collaborating with other suites to see how race and ethnicity intersect with other parts of their identities. ALANA House members will always be able to feel comfortable confiding in other suite members, for our suite also will serve the purpose of being a safe space for ALANA identified students. The programmed part of the ALANA House aims at increasing members’ intellectual “big picture” of how race and ethnicity matter at UVM and in the U.S., while the informal lessons of living together will give students an idea of what multiculturalism looks like in everyday life. The program’s activities and dynamics are all set up to stamp out ignorance by having participants better understand the profound impact of discrimination and take what they learned as tools with them for battling prejudice with confidence and wisdom.


Each member will explore their race/ethnic background through research but will also reflect on their own personal experiences in order to give a context to how their ethnicity affects their lifestyle and life experiences. (First Semester)

            ACTIONS STEPS
A) Every member will read books, articles, watch movies, search websites, and/or talk to others who come from similar backgrounds in order to gain a heightened sense of awareness about their race/ethnic background. Members will keep a running list of sources they used to learn more about their background, report new sources at bi-weekly meetings, and keep the list available to other members who are interested. (Ongoing first semester) {We want to purchase nice journals (approximately $10 each, $120 total) for everyone in the program for several reasons. The first is that this is where they will keep track of their sources and take notes on what they’ve researched. They will also serve as a way to creatively reflect upon revelations and experiences having to due with members identities and backgrounds.}

B) Every member will creatively reflect upon and record their personal experiences related to their race/ethnicity via journals, artwork, or any other way in which they feel comfortable, and then share their revelations at program meetings when appropriate. (Ongoing throughout year) {Supplies from Action Steps A and C can be used here.}

C) Everyone will choose one experience or topic they reflected on and make a creative piece of work about it that can be displayed in the common room in the form of written word, painting, drawing, sculpture, collage or any other appropriate art form. (November & December) {We want to have arts and crafts supplies at hand (about $50 worth) so that every member is able to have at least the basic tools needed in order to make their creative project of reflection.}

D) Each member will also be asked to sign up at the beginning of the year to give a presentation at one of bi-weekly meetings on their own ethnic background, however they define it. (Ongoing first semester) {Art Supplies from Action Step C can be used here.}

Total Estimate for Learning Objective #1 = ($50 + $120) = $170.00


Each member will learn about another culture they know nothing about, and also about a culture they want to know more about. (Second Semester)
            ACTION STEPS

A) Each member will pick a culture not represented in the program and research it as they researched their own culture. They will keep an ongoing list of resources from which they learn about the other culture, and keep this available for all. (Ongoing second semester) {Journals from Learning Objective 1, Action Step A can be used here.}

B) Every member will be expected to present on the unrepresented culture at a suite meeting as they did for their own culture during the first semester. (Ongoing second semester) {Art Supplies from Learning Objective 1, Action Step C can be used here.}

C) Members will look to the Burlington community to have a better look at its diverse make-up, specifically of the Bosnian, Vietnamese, Tibetan, Somalia and Sudanese ethnic groups. Members will be able to volunteer a the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, The Association of Africans Living in Vermont, Inc., or attend cultural events like the Tibetan Festival to learn more about Burlington varying minority cultures. (Ongoing throughout year)

            Total Estimate for Learning Objective #2 = $0


Each member will enrich themselves and others with knowledge of other cultural experiences and backgrounds by getting involved in on and off campus organizations and events.

            ACTION STEPS

A) Each member will be involved in helping organize and recruit for the annual ALANA Talent Show. (February) {We want to spend about $100 on decorations, $100 on food and about $200 for a DJ, totaling $400 for this event. This large amount is needed to ensure that the ALANA House’s signature event remains viable and continues to be as top quality as possible.}

B) Members will help organize and execute UVM’s first ever ALANA Pride Parade, a campus wide event that will involve other L/L programs, the  ALANA Student Center, ALANA affiliated clubs, and any ALANA identified students on campus and members of the surrounding community. (April) {We want $50 in order to try and provide stickers or pins for everyone who partakes in this event. Other than that, we’re going to try and get participating events to donate to any other parade expenses.}

C) Members will help organize and execute UVM’s first ever Mr. UVM Pageant. This will also be a campus wide event that will serve the purposes of benefiting a local agency that helps people in abusive relationships and raising awareness on campus of gender violence. (April) {We want to spend about $100 on decorations, about $200 on a DJ and $50 on a prize/supplies for the contest. This sum is large, but we want to act as ambassadors for the ALANA community, and spread the message that gender violence can be stopped by men and that the ALANA community is working at the forefront to enact this change.}

D) Members will be able to join any ALANA affiliated group on campus. They will also be able to attend ALANA discussion groups held weekly at the ALANA Student Center by staff from the Counseling Center, and can attend the weekly ALANA Breakfasts. (Ongoing throughout year)

Total Estimate for Learning Objective #3 = ($400+$350+$50) = $800


The ALANA House members will spend time throughout the year serving UVM and the greater Burlington community in many ways. On campus, members will be able to volunteer for ALANA affiliated events like the Soul Food Social, La Noche de Cultura and Friday Breakfast. Off campus, the program will serve via UVM events like the Serve-a-thon (fall) and Community Works (spring). Also, the program will do some of it own community service at an organization of its choice once a semester.


Though we have not reached an agreement yet with any potential advisors, we certainly have some ideas. Both Linda Cade and yoonhwa cho have been identified as potential advisors. Both work at the Center for Health and Well Being as Counselors, and they co-facilitate the ALANA discussion groups on race/ethnicity.  Also in mind we have Sarah Turner, a faculty member who teaches introduction to Race and Ethnicity in Literature (Eng 057).


We do not anticipate needing any special facilities to enhance the ALANA House program experience.


We would like to request three suites. Size does not matter (5,6 or 7 person), but we would like to be able to fill up a landing, and our goal is to have approximately 18 people.


The ALANA House will keep in contact with other cultural/diversity focused programs like P.R.I.D.E. and No Boundaries in order to give members different views of diversity and widen the pool of knowledge from which they can learn. Also, spending time with these other programs will let ALANA House members know that diversity is a continuous circle of all sorts of identities. The ALANA House will also reach out to programs in the Global Village that focus on specific communities and try to work with them when we’re learning about other cultures and backgrounds. As program directors, we’d like to hold game nights outside (i.e. hide and seek, capture the flag) with other programs, and also Dinner & Discussion nights where we make dinner with another program while telling each other about what our respective programs represent. We’ll also hold the Acronym Movie Marathon in the Fireplace Lounge, open to all of L/L.


We have many students from the current ALANA House interested in coming back, in edition to new ones. Their information is listed on the accompanying sheet title “Names of Students Interested in Program.” If accepted, we plan to advertise via flyers, emails and word of mouth at the ALANA Student Center, ALANA courses, ALANA affiliated clubs and ALANA events on campus.


Last modified October 29 2008 12:05 PM

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