Occurring each January, Next Step provides participants (undergraduate, graduate, staff and faculty) with an experience to dive deeper into the knowledge and skills around their own social identities. Participants learn how to become better change agents and activists against racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, religious discrimination, classism and other socially constructed oppressions.

Next Step Goals

The retreat is meant to achieve three objectives:

  • To provide the opportunity for Students to tell their own stories and hear the stories of others.
  • To provide a beginning understanding of the intersection of privilege and oppression.
  • To encourage coalition building between students across difference.

Furthermore, students should leave with:

  • An understanding of what culture is.
  • An awareness of who they are as cultural beings.
  • New connections with others on campus, committed to this “next step.”
  • Personal goals for beyond the retreat.

WHEN IS NEXT STEP?

The Next Step retreat occurs annually over the course of a weekend at the start of the Spring Semester in January. The 2019 retreat will be held Friday, January 18 - Sunday, January 20.  

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Next Step participants and facilitators are chosen by the Leadership Team after reviewing the year's applications.  Facilitator applications are due October 17th by 11:59pm and Participant Applications are due Nov. 9th by 11:59pm.  Applications for both participants and facilitators are completed online using UVM Clubs.

Learn more about applying for Next Step →

HISTORY OF NEXT STEP

In 1993, a group of staff and students at Colorado State University came together in response to the need for a forum for students to discuss issues of social justice. In 1994, the first CSU Multicultural Leadership Retreat was held. It has been held every year since. In 2002, two former participants and facilitators of the CSU MLR both came to UVM, one as a staff member, the other as a grad student, and saw a need for a similar program here. Many on campus were asking for just such a forum and the university mission and common ground clearly stated that inclusive community and understanding of cultural diversity were priorities.

These two individuals brought together a group of staff, faculty, and students from various locations on campus who revised the CSU program and made it applicable to UVM. Even in its first year, participants had to be turned away as the interest in such a program was so high - in its first year in 2003, UVM’s Next Step hosted 53 students.

For the first five years of the Next Step program, a planning committee of retreat alumni, past facilitators, and UVM professional staff spent a year planning the logistics, the curriculum, and fundraising the significant costs of the retreat.

In 2007, the Department of Student Life took on Next Step as a program, providing funding and staff logistical support. In 2009, the Next Step retreat secured its place as part of the Leadership & Civic Engagement programs in Student Life. Next Step has now established itself as a foundational experience for members of the UVM community. With the support of two logistical staff members, a team of 8-10 members of campus on the Next Step advisory committee, and the involvement of past alumni, Next Step is dedicated to involving as many UVM folks as possible in this special experience for years to come.