students working on project

Learn to take a lead on issues that matter. Connect with Burlington community partners to find your passions and enhance your strengths and talents. Be a change maker in a community that cares!


Explore and align your values with action, create meaningful friendships, and expand your understanding of what leadership and social change is all about. If you want to learn to lead on issues that matter to you, connect with local community partners to explore your passions and enhance your abilities, and take a chance on making a difference, this is the place to create your home away from home at UVM.


Leadership and Social Change is for students who would like to learn about themselves as leaders and engage with others committed to social change. These two values are complemented by a strong focus on community partners here in Burlington, and will attract a broad range of students—from those with little-to-no previous leadership experience to others already deeply engaged in community service and service learning projects.

Build strong friendships with other change makers passionate about leading. Working with on- and off-campus partners, you'll explore your interests and find an impact area that pulls you in—whether it's making meals with the Campus Kitchen Project, organizing a Relay for Life team, engaging with residents at a local senior center, discussing climate change, crocheting for change, or creating something new.

You don’t have to hold a title or a position to be seen and to serve as a leader. We believe leadership is not a position, but a choice. We believe leaders can lead from anywhere, not just from the top. We believe that creating positive changes, big and small, starts with individuals who care.

This community has a place for all talents and skill levels. We offer a number of community gatherings, presentations, workshops, guided activities, and self-designed experiences—all of which will build a diverse and engaged community, encourage self-discovery and teamwork, and promote development of leadership skills.

Students will:

  • Work to foster a space for continual self-awareness
  • Align values with action
  • Build awareness of others' experiences and needs
  • Create teamwork skills
  • Encourage leadership in an inclusive community


New first-time, first-year students will enroll in a one-credit seminar, EDHI 096—Leadership and Social Change, during the fall semester. This course includes hands-on experiential learning to complement your in-class learning and your engagement with wider extra-curricular activities on and off campus.



This Enhanced Experience or “deeper dive” into different facets of leadership and social change will take place on a designated floor in Millis Hall to encourage community development among residents. Live with your friends and fellow change makers to create your community here at UVM. Returning students who apply and are accepted into Change Makers will be invited to serve as leadership duos to incoming first-year students. There will be opportunities for the duos to have dinner together, attend special events, and be seen as community student leaders.

  • Building upon the experiential learning opportunities gained in their first year, Change Makers will take a required one-credit seminar during the fall semester. As a community, they will select 4-5 impact areas to serve as the focus for the class. Each subsection will have in-class and out-of-class experiences shaped by its theme (Youth & Education, Mental Health, Queer Liberation, Consent & Sexual Violence Prevention, and Experiential Outdoor Leadership).
  • This one-credit seminar is also required of all Community Scholars.
  • Change Makers Project: Working with community partners in the spring semester, members will bring a project to life for the Change Makers Conference, and will connect consistently with a team of classmates and staff. Consider the potential for internship possibilities and resumé-building skills as an outcome of this learning experience!
  • Change Makers Conference: Change Makers members will help plan the Change Makers Conference held in the spring semester. The conference is open to all members of the Learning Community.


Returners not living in the Change Makers Collective:

All returning are welcome to participate in all community events and continue to add to their leadership skills and strengths.


  • Burlington School District
  • Boys and Girls Club
  • YMCA
  • King Street Youth Center
  • COTS
  • Champlain Housing Trust
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • CEDO
  • Club Affect
  • Champlain Housing Trust
  • ANEW Place
  • Mosaic Center for Students of Color
  • Spectrum Youth and Family Services
  • Women’s Center
  • STEPS to End Domestic Violence
  • H.O.P.E. Works
  • Lund Family Center
  • PRIDE Center Vermont
  • Justice for QTs
  • Outright Vermont
  • Prism Center
  • Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
  • ECHO Center
  • All Breeds Rescue
  • Humane Society of Chittenden County
  • and many others!


  • Kickoff Community Day of Engagement
  • Hearts & Hammers (Day of service)
  • Change Maker Conference
  • Cookies & Current Events
  • Ropes Course
  • Strengths Quest
  • Leadership Speaker Series
  • Pop-up Political Events (marches, activist activities)


Location for 2019-2020: Millis Hall

Please check your housing contract for more specific location information.


Tahn Lemish
Area Coordinator


Krystal Sanchez-Williams
Program Director


Maggie Phelan
AmeriCorps VISTA

Jason Garvey
Faculty Associate



First-Year Read