Students, alumni react to possible name change for Vermont State Colleges

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 6:03 PM EDT
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CASTLETON, Vt. (WCAX) - The Vermont State University is the new recommended name for the consolidated entity of the Vermont State Colleges System.

A proposal on the table would use that name in place of Castleton University, Northern Vermont University-Johnson and Lyndon, and Vermont Technical College.

Tuesday, Castleton University students received an email with the new recommended name, now they are speaking out and most of them are against the change.

“Oh, I love Castleton!” said Charlie Cisneros, a sophomore at Castleton University.

Cisneros is a proud Spartan and worries if the schools all go under one name, Castleton will lose its brand and the culture the school has created over the years.

“Changing the name would decrease people’s support of it, alumni wouldn’t give as much, I think they wouldn’t feel connected,” Cisneros said.

One Castleton alum is Jason Jakimer. He graduated in 2009 when it was Castleton State College.

“It will be weird,” Jakimer said. “I’m not an alumni of this college, what do I owe this college at all?”

Jakimer fears the consolidation is much more of a money move and not considering what is best for the students.

“That was one of the things they preached-- we are a small school with a big heart,” he said.

Jeff Weld, a Castleton College alum from 2004, says the Vermont State Colleges System should focus on its strengths. Since Castleton University has high enrollment, use the Castleton name at each campus instead.

“The Castleton University School of Atmospheric Sciences at Lyndon now could have a brand reach it currently lacks,” Weld said.

“I’m on the edge. I can see both sides,” said Henok Palin, a senior at Castleton.

Palin has been following the process. He doesn’t like the idea of changing the name but he does want what is best for the entire Vermont State Colleges System.

“I’m all for it in terms of trying to make it fit for everybody, I just think the process of getting there needs to be a little bit slower and more thought out,” Palin said.

Alexandra Huff is a fourth-year student at NVU Lyndon. She says it will be sad to let the school brands go, but she is excited about the opportunity a merger could bring.

“A lot of us just kind of sit here and think, why wasn’t this the merger to begin with?” Huff said.

Huff says there is hesitancy among students hoping the location of their classes will not change, but she says students are overall positive about the plan.

“It’s worked for everyone else across the U.S., why wouldn’t it work for us?” Huff said.

The VSCS is looking for public input before they make a final decision. You can weigh in online, and they will hold a listening session virtually on Sept. 29 at 6:30 p.m. Click here for details.

Related Stories:

Vermont State Colleges considers name change

Vermont State Colleges System looks for input naming consolidated schools

Vermont State Colleges officials banking on $88M state bailout

Analysis: Will Vermont State Colleges merger plan work?

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