View of University Heights North in fall

A Letter From The Student Equity Action Committee (SEAC).

Fellow Honors College Peers, 

The Honors College (HCOL) can be described as a community with an abundant source of academic curiosity and intellectual diversity. Despite this, our community continues to be a reflection of the demographic homogeneity of UVM as a whole.  It is important that we acknowledge this fact because marginalized communities are already at risk in diverse contexts — even more so within the realm of higher education. This is why we must work hard to support and uplift underrepresented voices. We strive to do this through institutional advocacy, programming, self-education, and open, meaningful conversations. 

That being said, the UVM community is not a safe haven where issues cease to exist. The fight for equity isn’t over merely because many of us acknowledge its existence; it is an ongoing effort which necessitates continued hard work, listening to student voices, and coalition-building. It is key to identify issues which affect students of marginalized identities, and to then construct actionable plans with targeted policies specifically designed to help support these students. It is often the societal assumption that it’s the duty of individuals of marginalized backgrounds to educate their peers on their identity, but this often emotionally draining, and time-consuming task should not be their sole responsibility. Therefore, extra effort must be placed on educating students on diversity and inclusion within structured courses. 

Overall, it is within the power of the students to be the change for a better and more equitable future and it is the role of faculty and staff to be mentors who aid students as they develop and transition into that role. We want to empower and support students to get involved. It is the community's responsibility to have respectful, open, and supportive communication in addressing injustice. The Student Equity Action Committee (SEAC), strives to maintain and encourage this dialogue on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in order to help develop a more culturally competent environment, and to inform students on how we can dismantle systemic injustices. It is through these efforts that HCOL can achieve its goal of creating globally responsible citizens. 

The Student Equity Action Committee  (SEAC) strives to build and maintain an equitable Honors College community of globally responsible and multiculturally competent individuals. We will embrace the knowledge, skills, and voices of those with diverse experiences to foster an atmosphere of inclusion and excellence in alignment with university-wide efforts.

The committee meets regularly, and works closely with the Honors College staff-led Committee on Equity and Inclusion to build an increasingly inclusive Honors College at UVM.

Members of the Student Equity Action Committee

Ginny DeFrances, Student Equity Action Committee Co-Chair

Hello everyone! My name is Ginny DeFrances and I am from Newington, Connecticut which is right outside of Hartford. I am a senior Political Science major with a minor in Environmental Studies. As part of SEAC the projects I usually work on are our LGBTQ+ affinity spaces. Also as part of SEAC I spent the summer analyzing the results of the 2022 Honors College Focus Groups. Outside of SEAC I am the undergraduate student representative on the Catamount Core Curriculum Committee and am currently writing my thesis on outrage language on Fox News. In my free time I love to enjoy some sunshine, read, paint, and listen to music. Please feel free to reach out at vdefranc@uvm.edu

Sierra Sabec, Student Equity Action Committee Co-Chair

Hello everyone! My name is Sierra Sabec. I am a Junior, majoring in Psychology and Anthropology with a concentration in Global Health and I am from the San Francisco Bay Area, in California. Here at UVM, I am a member of multiple clubs such as Runway of Dreams, Active Minds, anthropology club, and Dance Force. I am also currently doing research in the Stickle Lab on co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders and the Hughes-Lansing lab on behavior incentives for teens who have type-1 diabetes. Within SEAC, I have worked on projects around mental health initiatives, student focus groups, and student rights advocacy. In my free time, I enjoy reading, live music, and ice skating. Please feel free to reach out to me at ssabec@uvm.edu!

Emma Allen, Student Equity Action Committee Member

Hi! I’m Emma, a fourth-year Political Science major double-minoring in Spanish and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. I was born and raised in Brattleboro, the third largest town in Vermont. I am passionate about social justice issues, which is one of the reasons I got involved with SEAC. Within the committee, I run the social media and outreach platforms. I also help organize and run the BIPOC affinity spaces. Outside of my work here at UVM, I love spending time outdoors, exploring new places, and eating great food. Please feel free to reach out to me at eallen11@uvm.edu

Elliot Baird, Student Equity Action Committee Member

Hello!  I’m Elliot Baird, a first year from Fairfax, Virginia.  I’m majoring in Linguistics, and the plan is to add an English double major and Philosophy minor. My goals for SEAC are centered around religious equity and LGBTQ issues, especially support for transgender students.  On campus, I compete with the UVM Ballroom and Swing Society, play ultimate frisbee, review for The Gist literary magazine, and attend Linguistics Club.  Beyond that, I love a good walk, a good concert, and a good book, one particularly of note being The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.  Reach me at ezbaird@uvm.edu :).

Zoë Barton, Student Equity Action Committee Member

Hi everyone! I’m Zoë! I am from a very small town in a place called the Upper Valley in Vermont. I am a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences currently enjoying studying Biochemistry and I am currently writing my thesis on science communication on social media. In SEAC, I am looking to work on BIPOC affinity spaces and hopefully restarting service-learning trips. In my free time, I enjoy soccer, playing piano, and listening to music. Feel free to email me at zoe.barton@uvm.edu!

Auden Gall, Student Equity Action Committee Member

Hello everyone! My name is Auden Gall, I use he/him pronouns, and I’m from Lexington, Massachusetts. I’m a sophomore majoring in Chinese and Economics. Within SEAC, I’m particularly eager to create inclusive initiatives for students of mixed heritage. In my free time, I love to write, play the piano, and venture into the great outdoors. I’m also a part of several clubs at UVM including the club soccer team and Asian Student Union. Feel free to reach out to me at agall@uvm.edu!  

Kat Subramanian, Student Equity Action Committee Member

Hi, my name is Kat, and I am a Junior here at UVM! I am from 40 minutes outside Chicago, and I am a Communication Sciences and Disorders and Linguistic double major with French and Special Education minors! I am a member of UVM’s Asian Student Union, a mentor for Think College, and co-president of both Linguistic Club and Mixed Experience! I also play ultimate frisbee! I am currently focusing on building affinity spaces for BIPOC students and fundraising efforts alongside my peers on the committee. I love to read, cook, watch anime, draw, the smell of the ground after the rain, tea, and cats! :) Feel free to reach out to me! My email is klsubram@uvm.edu

Paige Wondrasek, Student Equity Action Committee Member

Hi everyone! My name is Paige Wondrasek (she/her) and I am from a suburb of Chicago. I am studying Environmental Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences with minors in Law & Society and German. Outside of academics, I enjoy live music, spending time outdoors, and vegan cooking. Student equity and advocacy are very close to my heart, which is why I got involved with SEAC. I’m devoted to our mission of making the Honors College a safe and inclusive environment and am always willing to hear concerns about the community and help in any way I can. Connect with me at pwondras@uvm.edu!

Zane Zupan, Student Equity Action Committee Member

Hello, icon. My name is Zane Zupan, and I’m from Manchester, Vermont, (which is about three hours south of Burlington). I’m a Sophomore Political Science, Sociology, and Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies triple major. I’m double-minoring in Social Justice & Diversity, and Behavioral Change & Health Studies. Within SEAC, I focus on queer coalition building, mental health advocacy, and trans & non-binary advocacy. Additionally, I have personal experience with SAS (Student Accessibility Services) and the Title IX office. I am happy to offer support and insight into how they interact with the Honors College from a student’s perspective. A large portion of my free time revolves around advocacy, including my political/queer issues TikTok, which was recently featured in Gaygenda Magazine after accumulating 40M views, and 7.8M likes. I love plants, yoga, and good hummus! Email me at zane.zupan@uvm.edu, or zanezupan@gmail.com if you have questions or need an advocate.

SEAC programming in HCOL

Queer Sex Positive Trivia Night: November 30th, 7pm in the Multipurpose room

Queer Affinity Space! Join the Student Equity Action Committee in the Multipurpose room for sex positive trivia! Winners will receive prizes! Know it all? Want to learn more? Whatever your current level of knowledge is stop on by! Snacks and music will be provided. 

Past events

Queer the Kitchen: October 12th, 6pm

Queer Affinity Space! Join the Student Equity Action Committee in the UHN kitchen on Wednesday, October 12th at 6pm for cookies, guacamole, and snacks of all kind! Help us queer the kitchen!

BIPOC Affinity Space Wednesday, November 16th from 6:30 pm to 8

in the UHN Kitchen

There will be an affinity space for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students in the Honors College in the U-Heights North Kitchen. We’re proud of and grateful for the leadership of members of the HCOL Student Equity Action Committee (SEAC) who will be facilitating this event. BIPOC students: Join your peers of color for light food and community.

 
 

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