The Vermont Institute for Community and International Involvement (VICII) is a non-profit, educational organization based in Burlington, Vermont. Our vision is to build a vibrant and just community with engaged citizens through dialog, education, debate, discussion and friendship. In order to achieve this vision VICII acts as an umbrella organization with five pillars of action.
Building a vibrant and just community
THE FIVE PILLARS
Through the 5 Pillars - Education, Debate/Discussion, Service, Advocacy and Friendship - VICII's goal is to educate people for meaningful work at livable wages and to enable women and men to create a truly democratic society.
Paralegal Certificate Program: For many Vermonters access to the legal system is prohibitively expensive. VICII offers a paralegal certificate program that provides a progressive education for students in the basics of law, administrative support and communication so that graduates of the certificate program will be well prepared to enter the paralegal/legal assistant field as productive and thoughtful members of the legal profession.
Law Clerkship Program: In Vermont, students may clerk with practicing attorneys for four years and then sit for the Vermont Bar Exam. VICII’s program provides mentor attorneys at a significantly reduced cost to students. These mentors guide student clerks through the practice and provide a progressive education that includes study of the core bar courses: Torts, Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Family Law and Corporations. In addition, students will get assistance with legal research, writing and legal practice. As a result, successful students will be able to become Vermont attorneys without needing to take on significant debt. These debt free students will then have the financial ability to work in public interest law, serving under-served populations.
New American Rights and Seminars: VICII seminars provide new Americans with a forum to learn about their legal rights and responsibilities. From immigration assistance to family law, these VICII seminars provide information and help in navigating their new society.
VICII sponsors a pro se legal clinic in which legal students participate in hands-on, practical experience, guiding litigants to represent themselves in legal matters. Each Saturday morning from 10-12 an attorney is available to help men and women to coach them and give legal advice. Qualified students at VICII with permission of the attorney will be accepted to participate.
Pro Bono and Low Bono Legal Clinic: Burlington is Vermont’s largest city. Yet, there are thousands of residents who lack access to basic legal assistance. By engaging our student law clerks and paralegal certificate students under the direct supervision of mentoring attorneys, VICII provides legal assistance on a wide array of legal issues that many community members cannot afford legal assistance for, and that organizations such as Legal Aid and Law Line do not or cannot serve.
Vermont Community Law Center: VICII’s Vermont Community Law Center regularly engages in public interest impact litigation focused on consumer rights, civil liberties and constitutional rights in state and federal court. Our mission is to use the power of the law to create systemic change.
VICII Speaker Series: In a world of social media and 24 hour news cycles, many citizens feel as though there is little opportunity to engage and discuss issues in an in-depth manner. As a result, society is disengaged and often disconnected from the core issues that impact our lives. In the end, this lack of discussion, thought and debate damages democracy. To combat this problem, VICII provides a space for organized and thoughtful discussion and debate. VICII holds lectures and discussions led by local, state and international leaders on issues of import. From constitutional law scholars to political leaders the VICII speaker series will allow citizens to think more deeply about key issues through presentations, discussions and debate.
Think Tank: VICII Think Tank provides a forum whereby local community members can engage in small group discussion on issues of local, national or international import. These self-directed small group think tank sessions allow community members to engage directly with each other and develop policy ideas that can be used to promote a more just community.
Higher Education in the United States is in crisis: crippled by administrative costs, burdened by debt, colleges and universities have become unaffordable and difficult to access; not wishing to be paralyzed by debt, many students are deciding against enrolling in institutions of higher learning and are looking for unique post- secondary opportunities which offer relevant and attractive programs and which lead to meaningful work at livable wages and life-long interest, passion and learning.
In these troubled times for higher education, the Vermont Institute of Community and International Involvement (VICII) promises to restore the joy of learning , teaching, study and community engagement to students, faculty and community participants. Understanding that the joy of learning is captured in face-to-face information-gathering, discussion, debate and conversation with fellow learners and teachers, VICII will offer relevant certificate programs, apprenticeships, seminars, workshops, think tanks and speaker series based on a co-operative, unique model of teaching and studying together to analyze facts, to critically think and to use our creativity to make a humane, just and beautiful world.
International Friendship and Citizen Diplomacy: VICII engages in international programs and citizen diplomacy. Study abroad courses and people-to-people exchanges help build international friendship. Friendship alone is capable of building a more just, vibrant and peaceful world. It also enriches the local community by connecting people across borders.