Colleen Twomey is joining the JSC community at the Women’s Center in Dewey. She is the coordinator of legal advocacy at the Clarina Howard Nichols Center, working with the criminal justice system and helping survivors of sexual and domestic violence. She’s also engaged with child advocacy. At Johnson, she plans to serve as a liaison to connect students with resources, interact with classes such as
Restorative Justice and Health and Wellness, and create a community here that is safe, supportive and outspoken. Her main goal is the prevention of sexual and domestic violence.
She can be found on Thursdays at the Women’s Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or in the TRiO office where she eats lunch. She wants to create a hub of social change, particularly concerning rape culture, which is a problem on college campuses.
“The Women’s Center is a place to create change and converse about violence and domestic relationships,” she said, “and it’s open to all.”
Her outreach is still fresh and malleable; she wants to hear from students about their expectations and what form they would like her activity on campus to take.
That said, she does have her own ideas. She hopes to help organize campus events, like Take Back the Night, as part of her outreach, but simply holding the event is not enough. “I want students to be involved in awareness events,” Twomey said in a phone interview. “If we can create a community at Johnson, students can go into the broader world and use that same care and respect and power that they learn here in a positive way.”
“I’ve always been interested in helping people who don’t have a voice, people who are marginalized,” she said when asked about her motivation. “What does it take for us to stand up and use our privilege to help others use their full voice?”
While passionate about her job, she works with heavy subjects. She deals with the stress in a few ways. “Self-care is really important,” she said. “I self-care by spending a lot of time outdoors. I love cross-country skiing and hiking. I have a garden, and I teach Zumba. I think movement and dancing helps me let go of my stress.”
She owns chickens and two cats, and bought a new home with her partner in April. She’s currently getting her master’s at UVM in Leadership for Sustainability.
“It feels like coming home,” she said, as a JSC alumna. “I feel so much gratitude for the warm welcome and the invitation to build a safe community at Johnson. I’m really grateful for that.”