“I want my daughters to see women in leadership positions, working for change in our community.”
Selene Colburn was born and raised in Burlington’s East District and brings decades of experience in leadership, advocacy, and policy development. She’s a librarian at the University of Vermont, an activist for social and economic justice, and a community servant who has helped shape the visions of local civic and non-profit boards. She currently serves as the East District City Councilor.
Ward 1 & East District City Councilor
- Chair, Community Development and Neighborhood Revitalization Committee
- Chair, Fossil Fuel Divestment Task Force
- Public Safety Committee member
- Parks, Arts and Culture Committee member
- Parallel Justice Commission member
- Chair, Needle Disposal Subcommittee
- Channel 17 (public access) liaison/board member
- Collaborated with administration on a housing action plan to address affordability, homelessness, student housing, senior housing and more
- Successfully advocated for Burlington’s police department to carry naloxone, a life-saving overdose reversal drug.
- A ban on harmful pesticides in city parks, to save bees and other important pollinator species
- Brought forward solutions to eliminate discarded needles found in the community
- Secured councilor funds for Safe Recovery in Burlington’s FY 2016 budget, and advocated for state legislative appropriations to keep the program running
- Working with councilors, local business owners and non-profits to study the potential for a tiny house village to combat homelessness
- A strong voice for policies that support pedestrian and bicycle safety and infrastructure
- Active in many initiatives to support and improve neighborhood quality of life
- Consistent advocacy for adequate working conditions and wages for adjunct educators, social workers and others
- Pushing for community oversight of police
Service to Burlington and Vermont
- Former trustee of the Burlington Library Commission
- Current board member, Cradle to Grave Arts
- Past board member, Vermont Access to Community Media
- Past board member, Grace Roots Art and Community Effort (GRACE)
- Parent volunteer at Edmunds Elementary School
- Former consultant to town clerks in municipalities around Vermont
- Local artist/educator for over 25 years
Working for economic and social justice
- Co-founder and past board chair, Vermont Access to Reproductive Freedom
- Campaign volunteer for State Auditor Doug Hoffer, Senate Majority Leader Philip Baruth, City Councilor Rachel Siegel and more.
- Longtime activist participating in advocacy for women’s rights, healthcare and labor reforms, hunger relief, divestment from apartheid and fossil fuels and more.
- Working with Vermont’s Progressive Party, Colburn organized for public input in Burlington’s waterfront development, facilitated a discussion of climate change with student activists and advocated to keep corporate money out of Vermont’s election cycles.
Professional work and service
- Associate Library Professor and Assistant to Dean of Libraries at the University of Vermont, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Music and Dance.
- Active member of the Vermont Library Association, current Chair of the Government Relations Committee and former President of the College and Special Library section.
- Elected faculty senator at UVM, currently completing third term on the Senate’s Curricular Affairs committee
- Active member of UVM’s faculty union, United Academics
Colburn has lived on Latham Ct. since 2008 with her husband, Chris Burns, and their two daughters. She spent much of her childhood in a family home at the corner of College and Willard streets. Her grandfather Francis Colburn was an artist and humorist who helped found the art department at UVM. Her grandmother, Gladys Colburn, taught for decades at Burlington High School and her mother, Lorrie Colburn, worked at the Fletcher Free Library for over 20 years.