The pandemic may have cancelled most things, but not Bethel University. Bethel’s free community pop-up university is back with 30 free Zoom classes, meetup groups, and discussions this March. All are invited to browse and sign up for classes at bu-vt.org; classes will run from March 1–31.
Bethel University is a unique community pop-up now entering its seventh year. All classes are taught by volunteer “professors,” and are open to anyone, anywhere. The Bethel Revitalization Initiative launched Bethel University to help area community members and businesses meet, build relationships, and share skills. Since 2014, BU has offered nearly 400 classes and attracted students and professors from all over Vermont and neighboring states.
This year’s classes and events cover a wide variety of topics and activities. Students can learn how to adapt their homes for independent living, write about rural Vermont, design video games, meditate, belly dance, understand wealth and income inequality, or make colorful abstract art. Participants can meet up with neighbors and friends to connect around common interests and activities like gardening, virtual scavenger hunts, book discussions, poetry, and song sharing. New this year, Bethel University is also offering a series of facilitated discussions on important community topics. Volunteer hosts will be leading conversations on racism and white supremacy, the Royalton Raid, and what happens behind the scenes at the White River Valley Herald.
Organizers committed to adapting BU to an online format this year, knowing that social connections are more important than ever. They are also offering a set of training classes for people new to Zoom, as well as online tutorials and links to help people get set up and comfortable with Zoom.
Space in classes is limited, so organizers suggest registering early (but only registering if you will commit to attending). Visit Bethel University online to sign up for news, find class descriptions and links to online registration, and to get help with Zoom: bu-vt.org.