Category Archives: Students

An Update on the All-Gender Restroom Project

As Tim mentioned in two of his posts last week, the campus’ physical plant went under the proverbial knife this summer, both inside and out. One project that has chugged along steadily this summer is the all-gender restroom project, which Tim and Dean of the College Shirley Collado announced earlier this spring.

The first phase of the project, in which single-stall restrooms with gender designations are converted to all-gender, is nearly complete. Facilities Services Project Manager Mark Gleason has surveyed the single-stall restrooms for accessibility, and Space Manager Mary Stanley is about to place the order for signs. (It should be noted that Mark and Mary have been excellent resources throughout this project, offering advice and getting us the information we need.) In the coming weeks, the following restrooms will be converted through a sign change:

Adirondack House, 2nd Floor

Armstrong Library, 1st Floor

Axinn, Basement, ADA Accessible

Hillcrest, 1st Floor

Old Chapel, 3rd & 4th Floors

Service Building, 1st Floor

Warner, Basement & 3rd Floor

The second phase of the project is moving forward, too. This summer, Jennifer Herrera and I met with the academic department chairs, office heads, and facilities liaisons in Axinn, BiHall, and McCullough to discuss the conversion of one pair of multi-stall restrooms in each building. These meetings were very productive. Attendees asked questions, shared their concerns and their support, and offered many ideas for potential outcomes. Other faculty and staff members who work in these buildings will have the opportunity to do the same during a series of open meetings coming up next week.

Questions? Please feel free to leave a comment, or email Jennifer or me.

More on Turf Battle

We were happy to see the front-page story in today’s Campus on the plan to improve the landscape around Atwater.  The Campus had asked for an exclusive on the story, and we gave it to them.

However, we were disappointed that the article did not say more–or even mention–the students who generated the designs for the plan: Jesse Catalano ’11, Bente Madson ’11, and Jake Moritz ’11; Jaeun Lee ’11 and Molly Rosenblatt ’12; and Leah Webster ’11, Christine Hsieh ’11, and Jack P. Maher ’12.

They deserve credit for their work on this project. As we told The Campus, we plan to install a sign that acknowledges their contribution to the College community’s enjoyment of our outdoor environment.

For more information about the site plans and how the students’ visions were incorporated, visit the Turf Battle blog.

All-Gender Restroom Project

In recent months, Sarah Franco, Special Projects Coordinator, and Jennifer Herrera, Special Assistant to the Dean of the College, have been engaged with a group of students to develop a plan for creating all-gender (also known as gender-neutral) restrooms in non-residential buildings on campus. This initiative grew out of a recommendation put forth last spring by an ad hoc study group that published a review of potential student life issues facing transgender students. In their final report, JJ Boggs, Associate Director of Campus Activities, and Mary Hurlie, Associate Director for Career Services, recommended that the College “initiate a collaboration with other appropriate college offices, with a goal to convert as many gender-designated bathrooms into gender-neutral bathrooms as possible.”

In pursuing this recommendation, the College hopes to provide support for the safety and health of Middlebury’s transgender students, faculty, and staff. We also believe that acting on this recommendation will benefit other members of our community. For example, the presence of all-gender restrooms would provide more flexibility for disabled individuals who have opposite-gender caretakers. It would also help parents of young children since they would not have to decide which restroom to use. In sum, all-gender restrooms would create more restroom options for all people to use.

It is important to note that the majority of restrooms on this campus would still have a male or female gender designation. There are many within our community who are unable to use mixed-gender restrooms for a variety of religious and personal reasons. These perspectives are equally valued by the College.

Now that the group has engaged President’s Staff, the Space Committee, Community Council, Faculty Council, and Staff Council in conversations about the proposed changes, the College will begin implementation in two phases. In the first phase, we will change the signs on all non-residential single-stall restrooms to one that includes the male and female symbols as well as the universal symbol of accessibility where applicable.  Single-stall restrooms may then be used by anyone. We expect that this phase of the project will be complete by the beginning of the 2011-2012 academic year. Because not all buildings have single-stall restrooms, the College will work collaboratively with the occupants of such buildings to identify a multi-stall restroom that could be converted to an all-gender facility. This process will likely begin in the fall. We recognize this is a sensitive issue, and so if it is not possible to reach a consensus, then there may be some non-residential buildings that do not have any all-gender restrooms.

If you have any questions or concerns about this project, please do not hesitate to send a note to Alternatively, you may leave questions and feedback in the comments section (anonymously, if you wish).

Wanted: Turf Battle Feedback

On Tuesday afternoon, three groups of students presented their proposals for the Atwater landscape. The students, staff, and faculty in the audience asked a lot of great questions and provided solid feedback for how certain aspects of each proposal could be improved. One suggestion that came up frequently was to incorporate various elements of each design into one plan.

Over at the Turf Battle blog, Tim Parsons has provided a summary of each proposal. There you can download their plans and presentation slides. We strongly encourage you to leave your questions and feedback in the comments section, or email Remember: the landscape is for the community and we want to know what you think! When the Master Plan Implementation Committee meets in the coming weeks, your ideas will be taken into consideration.

The Juice Bar Lives! (Or Will Soon)

Good things come to those who wait . . . . That’s the underlying message of our Juice Bar competition, and I am sure the people looking to buy food and drink in the space once known as the Juice Bar hope this mantra applies to them as well.

So here is the update: as I reported on December 10, our selection committee reviewed nine strong applications, and then interviewed three of the finalists.   We have now settled on our winners, and are very excited about the vision and menus they will bring to the erstwhile Juice Bar (whether it gets a new name remains to be seen).   What’s interesting about their proposal is that it prominently features food options that the Grille does not currently offer (some might call these options healthy alternatives).  In fact, almost all of the proposals stressed the need for healthy/nutritious/local food options on campus.  Which isn’t to say that the Grille doesn’t offer healthy alternatives–only that we could easily expand the possibilities in this area.

So what does this new vision of the Juice Bar look like, and who won the competition?!   You will have to wait until tomorrow (that is, Thursday the 20th) for the answer because I promised the CAMPUS that they could break the news.

Update: you can read the CAMPUS article here, which nicely covers all the salient points.

Also, on behalf of our selection commitee, I want to thank all the students who sent us such creative Juice Bar proposals.  Kudos to the students who will be launching their venture this spring:  David Dolifka, Kate Strangfeld, Ben Blackshear, Jessi Stevens, and Sarah King.

Juice Bar Competition Update

A selection committee convened last week to review the nine proposals we received for a student-managed food and drink service in the Juice Bar. As we have mentioned before, proposals were evaluated on the following criteria: feasibility, economic viability, vision, and simplicity. We also took into consideration the numerous comments readers left on the last update post, so thank you to all who contributed.

After much deliberation, we have narrowed the field to three proposals. We have notified the students and we will be conducting interviews in the first week of January. We hope to make a final decision shortly thereafter. If we are unable to reach a decision after the interviews, we will reconsider the other applications.

In the meanwhile, please feel free to continue chiming in on what you’d like to see at the Juice Bar.

Juice Bar Competition: What Do You Want?

The deadline for submitting proposals to establish a student-managed food/drink service in the Juice Bar area of the Grille has come and gone. The competition has yielded nine outstanding proposals demonstrating the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of our students. A committee of faculty, staff, and students will convene shortly to review each proposal and select a final candidate by Monday, December 13. Proposals will be judged on the basis of their feasibility, economic viability, vision, and simplicity.

Having read through all of the proposals, I have noticed that several common (and uncommon) themes have arisen. In the beverage arena, smoothies, hot drinks (espresso, brewed coffee, and tea), beer, and wine are clear favorites among the submissions. Several proposals include a desire to also serve niche drinks, such as kombucha, bubble tea, and butterbeer (a la that bespectacled boy-wizard). As for food, there seems to be a tension between healthy fare and comfort food. Submissions include everything from Asian-inspired light meals to afternoon snacks to just desserts.

In terms of the appearance and ambience of the restaurant, students widely acknowledged the need to counterbalance the “Work Hard, Play Hard” mentality of our campus. Whether advocating for the feel of mom’s kitchen counter or a 1930’s-style jazz café, students want to develop a venue where patrons can hang-out, relax, and unwind.

There was also no shortage of ideas for what sort of entertainment should be available. Poetry readings, improv shows, classic movie screenings, theme nights, coffee tastings, board games, and especially live music top the list.

Given the array of proposals before us, it would be helpful to have a sense of what the greater community would like to see in the former Juice Bar. Even if you did not craft a proposal, you likely have an opinion about the beverages, food, entertainment, and overall atmosphere that should be offered. If the new venue is to be successful, what should be included and what should be left out?

Turf Battle: The Atwater Landscape Design Competition

Dear Students:

I write to invite your participation in a student design contest to revamp the north end of campus, specifically, the open landscape between Hall A and Hall B. The remainder of this memo describes the scope of the project and explains how students can get involved, so please keep reading.

In September of 2004, the College finished work on Hall A, Hall B, and the Atwater Dining Hall, and these buildings became part of the Middlebury landscape. In the design of Atwater Commons, the architects gave special attention to where these buildings should be sited and how they would relate to the surrounding area. For instance, the landscape architects engaged on the project imagined the open space between Hall A and Hall B functioning like a town green or “outdoor room.” For a variety of reasons, the potential of this open space has not been realized. The space sits vacant and underutilized—a far cry from Battell Beach, which is a magnet for student activity.

We would like to change this by encouraging students to submit plans for how this open space and the pathways surrounding it should be developed. By “developed,” we do not mean to suggest that the College should build in this open space. Rather, we have in mind plans for improving the landscaping, planting additional vegetation, and creating recreational opportunities. We do not have a set vision for how this space should look and feel—just a conviction that it can and should be enhanced.

We therefore invite interested students to develop mini Master Plans to guide the development of the Atwater open space. Plans should be submitted to the office of the Vice President for Administration (Old Chapel 207) by Monday, February 7. The plans will then be reviewed by the Master Plan Implementation Committee (MPIC), the body charged with insuring that any future development of the campus is consistent with the College’s design standards. A budget is in place, and Tim Parsons, the College horticulturist, will manage the project once it is approved and will also provide guidance during the competition phase. Assuming that the competition attracts a sufficient amount of student interest, the MPIC will choose no more than three finalists to present their plans at a campus forum, to be held in early February. The MPIC will then select a winning proposal, which the College will implement over the course of the spring and summer.

Design work like this does not take place in a vacuum, but rather must respond to environmental conditions, institutional standards, and budget constraints. Consequently, we will be establishing competition guidelines and assembling background materials to guide student participants in their work. These materials are available here.  We will also hold a series of information sessions, including tours of the site, so that students have the background they need to develop effective plans (note that the first tour will take place this Friday, November 5, at 4:00 pm, and begin in front of Atwater Dining Hall. Please see the website for details about other tours). We understand that students with focused interests in architecture, landscape design, and environmental studies may be drawn to this project. However, we also want to provide enough support so that students without any background or exposure to design work may participate in this competition.

We are eager to work with any and all students interested in this project, and look forward to enhancing this important space on our campus.


Master Plan Implementation Committee:

Glenn Andres
Jennifer Bleich
Pieter Broucke
Jack Byrne
Andi Lloyd
Bente Madson
John McLeod
Tim Parsons
Tim Spears, Chair