Skills Exchange: a way to build community

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What was originally conceived as an idea to raise money as a result of budget cuts to statewide education and financial aid has now morphed into a club. The Skills Exchange, which is “very in the works,” though with only one official meeting under its belt, strives not only to “build community” among Novocollegeans but to serve as a means for students to learn new things that may not be attainable in a classroom setting. Inspired by a speaker who came to her “Be the Change” class, third-year and founder Heather Dimmit wanted to hold an auction to raise money for the school, but after realizing that fundraising did not appeal to the members of the Skills Exchange, decided to change gears.

“The general idea is that everyone has skills that other people in the community may want to learn, such as cutting hair,” Dimmit said in an interest e-mail sent to the Student Forum. “I think it could be cool to have separate lists of skills people would like to share and who would be interested in learning/ needing them.”

Additional skills that Dimmit would like to see shared amongst the club members are “sushi crocheting, trade skills and programming.”

“Right now it’s a club and not much more,” Dimmit added. “The club is informal.  We might come together and learn to cook something like ramen or incorporate Baconfest into the club.”

The club is “supposed to be held every other Saturday,” but as of late, there is no date for when the Skills Exchange is set to meet again. In the future, however, the group will specifically plan out what it would like to cover in the course of the year. So far, members have established a Facebook page titled “The Skills Club” because “everyone wanted it to be a club,” but the title may later be changed to the Skills Exchange. Dimmit said they will use the page as a medium to decide what direction the club will take.

“Lately we’ve had so much animosity at New College and I feel like it’s really alienated and damaged the community,” Dimmit said later on in the interest e-mail.  “I am one of the many saddened by the disconnect and propose the Skills Exchange as one way that we can bring the student body back together to share what we’re good at and to hopefully reconnect.

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