Maddie VandenHouten

Positive. Proactive. Making a Difference.


With the help of Ripon College’s Speakers Bureau, Maddie VandenHouten is spreading positivity. Originally just a new anti-bullying initiative for Ripon Middle School, her #SpreadKindness campaign has spread further than she expected.

We never imagined we would bring the ideas to a National Youth Conference in North Carolina. We have every intention to continue this campaign in the future. It is perceived well by students and it's working, but we are nowhere near the success we could be at. I hope to take #SpreadKindness to new areas, such as Chicago, next year.

"We're striving to bring a fresh perspective to anti-bullying."

Bullying is such an over-saturated word in their worlds.

Students hear about bullying and anti-bullying every day since they first enter the school system. Because they hear it so often, they do not think it applies to them. As a Speakers Bureau program, we tried to implement these very important lessons into school systems in a way that students have not already heard before.

The campaign focuses on being proactive instead of reactive to bullying, and it encourages being positive instead of just preventing negativity.


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The Speakers Bureau is a branch of Ripon’s renowned Communication department, and students are eligible to join after completing the Public Speaking and Advanced Public Speaking courses. For Maddie, her membership has been invaluable to her success.


"Speakers Bureau has immensely enriched my college experience, and I would not trade these experiences for the world.”

I cannot thank my communication professors enough.

Professors are always willing to meet with me about a speech, a project, a job application, or just a ‘life’ chat. To feel valued by fellow students and faculty here is something I do not take for granted.




Maddie is a communication major with minors in education and Spanish. She is also captain of the women's tennis team, a Blue Mountain Project volunteer, editor-in-chief of College Days newspaper, works as a communication departmental assistant, and is a student visit coordinator in the admissions office.

Like Maddie, many students at Ripon College take advantage of various opportunities to explore and learn about other cultures. To learn more about off-campus studies click here