Building civic infrastructure for more informed, engaged, and equitable Vermont communities

The VLCT-UVM Local Democracy Internship Program brings together UVM students and Vermont town municipal offices to explore and support Vermont’s small towns through web pages, communications, research and other support.

Students: Register for AS-189 E 

(Course full? Join the waitlist. New sections will be added according to demand)

Community Members: Go to project14.net to see our latest projects and to apply for an intern.

“Without common ideas, there is no common action, and without common action men still exist, but a social body does not. Thus in order that there be society, and all the more, that this society prosper, it is necessary that all the minds of the citizens always be brought together and held together by some principle ideas.”

— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

 

Student Experience

Run by UVM’s Center for Research on Vermont in coordination with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, the program offers two different ways for students to contribute to civic infrastructure:

  • Interning directly with town offices and organizations

Student interns are matched with towns across Vermont (in all 14 counties) to provide communications support to local governments to expand access, transparency, and accountability in local decision-making.

The mission: Make information about public life and local governance accessible to all, more welcoming to historically excluded Vermonters and representative of our increasingly diverse state.

UVM’s Community News Service pairs student reporters with professional editors to provide high-caliber, hyperlocal content to trusted   community news outlets across Vermont at no cost to the papers.

The mission: Ensure that every community in Vermont has access to hyperlocal reporting and trustworthy information while supporting a sustainable model for local news outlets.

Internships will take place in a hybrid model; on-campus, flexible co-working spaces will be provided for students who want to work with other interns and the program leader in-person, but some work can be done remotely. Students are expected to visit the towns they are working with at least three times throughout the semester.

 

What is "Civic Infrastructure"?

Civic Infrastructure is the processes and practices that support a healthy democracy. It’s all the ways that we stay informed, communicate with our neighbors, and solve common problems together.

From trustworthy sources of local news to transparency in municipal governance and opportunities for collaboration, this is the scaffolding of public life…

… and it’s essential for thriving communities.

 

Our Team

Leadership

Meg Little Reilly

Meg Little Reilly is a writer with roots in national politics and civic activism. She previously worked for President Obama as Deputy Associate Director of Communications and Strategy at the White House OMB; and prior to that, as Spokesperson at the U.S. Treasury.  She is the author of three novels and her work has appeared in national newspapers, magazines, podcasts and public radio stations around the country.

Richard Watts

Richard Watts is the director of the Center for Research on Vermont and an internship coordinator for the College of Arts & Sciences. Richard has 30 years of experience in Vermont working in strategic communications, media services and as a reporter, policy analyst, campaign manager, researcher and writer. Richard has provided communications services for the University of Vermont, the Vermont Department of Public Service, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the Vermont Legislature and the Vermont Electric Power Company among other clients.

 

QUICK HELP:

Contact the College of Arts & Sciences Experiential Learning Coordinator, Sophia Trigg

Credit information

Students in the VLCT-UVM Local Democracy Internship Program will enroll in one of the courses associated with the Community of Practice programs (AS-189) depending on their primary type of work: 

  • Reporting (AS-189 A)
  • Strategic Communications (AS-189 B)
  • Energy & Transportation Planning (AS-189 C)
  • Local Governance / Legislative (AS-189 D)
  • Vermont Research (AS-189 E) 

The Local Democracy program is run by Meg Little Reilly. See Meg's resume.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with Richard Watts.

Student projects

Check out what student interns have been up to on the Project 14 website

Project 14