The Next Step Retreat is made up of roughly 60 participants (both undergraduate and graduate students) and a team of 14 facilitators who work in teams of two to lead small groups of 5-6 participants through the retreat experience. Selected each November, participants are expected to participate in all retreat prep meetings in early December.

    Important Dates

    • It is mandatory that ALL 2020 participants attend the pre-gathering on the week of November 18th, 2019 or December 2nd, 2019
    • It is mandatory that ALL 2020 participants attend the retreat from beginning to end. (January 17-19, 2020)

    Roles and Expectations

    It is expected that participants will:

    • Remain mentally and emotionally engaged throughout the retreat.
    • Have a willingness to be open to discussion and learning from everyone involved.
    • Agree to keep confidentiality.

    How to Apply

    Participant applications are due by Monday, November 4, 2019 at 11:59pm. A valide UVM NetID and password are required to log-in to the Lynx system and fill out the application. There is a $20 fee to participate (due at the all retreat pre-meeting). Financial Support is available – please note your need in your application.

    After you submit your application, a small team composed of Next Step alumni, partners, and the advisory committee, will review applications and make selections for this year's retreat.

    Apply to be a Next Step Participant →



    Next Step facilitators are the team, the glue, that holds the retreat together and makes it work. The Next Step retreat is a model based largely on small group work, with each group led by a pair of facilitators. As a facilitator, you will have the opportunity to make an impact on the lives of undergraduate and graduate students while supporting and challenging them in a SAFE environment.

    If you feel facilitating Next Step is not the right fit for you, and you are an undergraduate or graduate student, we encourage you consider applying to be a participant instead.

    Important Dates

    • Retreat Dates -  Friday, January 17th – Sunday, January 19th in Fairlee, Vermont at the Hulbert Outdoor Center (about 90 minutes from campus). Please note that this is the first weekend back from winter break. Transportation, lodging, meals, and retreat materials will be provided.
    • Required "Training for Trainers" (TOT) Institute - Saturday November 16th in the Dudley H. Davis Center.
    • All Next Step Pre-Retreat Session (all participants and facilitators) - TBA – either the week of November 18th or December 2nd

    Requirements and/or Strong Recommendations

    All members of the UVM community are invited to apply to facilitate at Next Step: undergraduate, graduate, staff (exempt only), administrators and faculty. However, there are some requirements based on skill and experience that are important to consider:

    • Next Step is a significant time commitment and we ask that you consider this as you apply. The Next Step Advisory Committee (made up of graduate students, staff and faculty from across campus) and the Next Step Leadership team are very confident that each facilitator leaves the Next Step experience with a whole range of new skills regarding training on social justice issues, managing student groups and conversations on a range of topics, and concrete training skills. With this in mind, we expect all facilitators to spend time before and after the retreat in training and assessment for the retreat.
    • It is also important to know that facilitating the Next Step retreat is NOT an entry-level opportunity. We intentionally need members of the UVM community to apply who have prior social justice experience. In the past, this has included folks who are: Next Step alumni, have attended or led diversity, multicultural, or social justice trainings, have experience facilitating groups on difficult topics, and/or significant study related to social justice issues.
    • Next Step is about representing, exploring, unpacking, noticing, and celebrating the diverse community that makes up UVM. We examine our diversity as a campus largely based on socially constructed identities: race, sexuality, gender, class, national origin, ability, age, and many more. We therefore highly encourage you to tell us about yourself. Tell us about your many identities, what they mean to you, and/or how you feel your identities will add to the Next Step retreat experience

    Skills & Facilitator Guidelines

    We are diligent in making sure facilitators already have a certain set of skills regarding facilitation, group management, and an understanding of social justice work. The rest of the criteria for facilitators varies each year, but we generally look for:

    • A range of facilitator identities including race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, class, ability, class, age, and citizenship.
    • A balanced facilitation team: a mixture of breadth and depth of social justice experiences and knowledge
    • A mixture of leaders and adapters, challengers and supporters
    • Strong listening skills
    • Facilitation experience
    • Commitment to work on logistics tasks as well as facilitation
    • Allies to groups outside their own identity
    • People who are self-aware, can keep track of own behavior and hot buttons
    • Willingness to stay engaged during difficult conversations
    • Quality and effort put into the application

    Note for UVM Faculty / Staff

    Because non-exempt UVM employees are paid hourly, compensation requirements may make participation difficult without pre-approval by their supervisor.  Since this is a volunteer opportunity, most non-exempt staff can elect to be compensated using compensatory (comp) time for non-office hours.  Following the University procedure, all overtime or comprehensive time hours must be recorded in PeopleSoft.

    Any agreement between you and your supervisor to participate in the Next Step program should be documented in writing, with a signed copy submitted to the Next Step program (via Leadership & Civic Engagement Programs in the Department of Student Life) after selection.

    How to Apply

    Facilitator applications are due by Monday, October 14, 2019 at 11:59pm. A valid UVM NetID and password are required to log-in to the Lynx system and fill out the application. After you submit your application, a small team composed of Next Step alumni, partners, and the advisory committee, will review applications and make selections for this year's retreat.

    Apply to be a Next Step Facilitator 



    Join the Selection Committee

    If you have been involved in the Next Step in the past as a participant or facilitator and would like to help craft this year's Next Step experience - you can join the committee to help us select participants and/or facilitators. This involves reading applications ahead of time and participating in a committee meeting (typically 1.5 to 3 hours) to deliberate selections. Interested?  Contact us

    Join the Leadership Team

    This committee is responsible for guiding the overall retreat, editing and facilitating curriculum, and helping make the Next Step Retreat an enriching, engaging, challenging and empowering experience for students. Tasks include reviewing evaluation data and applications for facilitators, writing/editing curriculum and participant materials, participating in the Next Step trainings, facilitating portions of the retreat itself, and assisting with the assessment of the program.

    At the retreat, members of the Leadership Team also serve as alternate facilitators and step in if a small group facilitator is unable to continue in their role, as well as assist in crisis response as needed and appropriate. Prior involvement with Next Step is highly encouraged, but not required. If you interested in additional information, please contact

    Got Questions about Applying?

    If after reviewing the information presented on this page you have any questions about applying to be a part of Next Step, please don't hesitate to contact Fonda Heenehan, Graduate Assistant for Leadership & Civic Engagement for additional information.