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Category Archives: College Students





Magic Number

A guest post today from Front Porch Forum’s most recent hire, Jamie Seiffer.  Take it away, Jamie…

For those of you familiar with De La Soul, y’all know that three is the magic number. For those of you unfamiliar, check this out. Three is the magic number for us because that’s how many pairs of tickets our friends at Higher Ground have graciously donated to Front Porch Forum. As a result, all of our neighbors (that’s you!) have the chance to enter a raffle for a FREE PAIR OF TICKETS.

Grammy award-winning hip-hop group De La Soul is performing at Higher Ground August 21.  If you’d like a shot at a pair of tickets all you need to do is comment on this post.* You can post about whatever you want – how you use FPF, why you like De La Soul, an awesome show you’ve seen at Higher Ground, whatever – any comment gets you an entry into the raffle (limit one per person).

Here at FPF we use this blog to keep our neighbors (and everyone else in the blogosphere) up to date about Front Porch Forum happenings. These include unique success stories, updates about our progress/expansion, and fun raffles like this De La promo. La la la la lah, this is a D.A.I.S.Y. age.

*TO ENTER:  Comment on this blog post below by 7 PM EST on Aug. 20.  Comments on Facebook will not get your name in the hat… you must comment at http://frontporchforum.com/blog Winners will be selected at random on Thursday night and will be notified via the email address attached to your comment.


Jeff Jarvis takes on “hyper local”

Jeff Jarvis blogged about his latest ideas in “hyper local”… some interesting points, including the comments.  Here’s Bob Wyman

The obvious question is: “Why isn’t Front Porch Forum integrated into the BurlingtonFreePress.com site or the sites of the New York Times, WSJ or other newspapers that serve those in your community?”…


Feel Good Post of the Day

From Sarah on the FPF ONE East Neighborhood Forum this evening…

To our wonderful neighbors: thank you so much for all of your help in finding our lost cat, Calvin.  It was one of you readers who eventually found him for us (only a block away from our house!), and I am so appreciative to have him back safe and sound after he spent 5 nights on his own.  We received several emails/phone calls from people who had thought they’d seen him, and I have been absolutely blown away by this kindness and thoughtfulness.  When I was trying to decide where to go to graduate school, I knew that Burlington would be a special place, but I had no idea how amazing the people would be.  Thank you, Front Porch Forum. Thank you, sweet neighbors.  All the very best, Sarah, Drew, and Calvin


College Students Rush FPF

We tend to get high marks from local college students… a little surprising coming from the “Facebook Generation”… we love to hear it.  And the other day we had a rush of 200 UVM off-campus undergrads register in response to this note from their student government president…

Live off campus? Join Front Porch Forum

If you live off campus then you should definitely join the Front Porch Forum. Front Porch Forum is an online community or your neighbors. In my forum (the South Union Neighborhood Forum) I receive word about trends in vandalism, break-ins, road construction, yard-sales, help-wanted, help-offered, and all sorts of other things going on just a few doors down from mine. Living downtown means you have neighbors and you’re a resident of a community. Front Porch Forum offers you one easy connection to that community. Check it out!


Programmer-Journalists and Local Social Capital

Rich Gordon writes today about his journalist-programmer program at Northwestern’s journalism school.  He’s looking for a project idea…

For more than half a century, newspaper readership has been declining – and so have a variety of other indicators of civic and community engagement, such as participation in PTA’s, membership in bowling leagues and turnout on Election Day…

What I’ve been wondering about is whether new technologies can, in any way, help rebuild social capital among people who live in the same community. We know that online communities enable people with common interests to build powerful connections even if they are halfway around the world from one another. I’m intrigued by the possibility that we could apply these online community tools to strengthening local bonds.

It’s also hard to ignore that when conversations about the news occur on the Web, they often turn ugly — or, at best, fail to advance the discussion beyond ranting and raving…

Evidence that local media can play a role in fostering community conversation can be found in newspaper history. David Paul Nord’s fascinating book, “Communities of Journalism,” for instance, describes many instances in which newspapers served as community forums…

Cass Sunstein in his book Republic.com – [argues] that online communities can foster isolation and division by enabling people to connect only with those whose characteristics and attitudes are like theirs.

What I might challenge our students to do is come up with ways to improve online conversations about the news — to build social capital and raise the quality of these conversations.

Of course, this is what Front Porch Forum is all about!


How many helicopter seeds does it take…

Local college professors invite me to address their students occasionally about Front Porch Forum.  The classes range from social work to entrepreneur-ism to tech.  And I usually get a little positive feedback, but sometimes it’s hard to tell if the message is getting through.

So I was especially pleased to get this wonderful note from Jennifer today…

Hi Michael, you are amazing. All I can say is, your life changed mine, and I am ever grateful. After you spoke to my Community College of Vermont Business class, I signed up for my FPF Neighborhood Forum, it enhance my life in a way I can’t explain, but I feel at home now. Thanks for everything you do!

Also, she’s started her own business and is looking to advertise it on Front Porch Forum.

Which brings me back to this morning several states south of here… I was watching a maple tree drop  hundreds (thousands?) of its helicopter seeds on a Pennsylvania yard… and I’ve seen this same tree dump as many in the spring.  And from all these thousands of seeds… I’ve seen one or two saplings rise up and take root.  So it goes.