Since the first day I arrived at Middlebury College, Barrett Smith has made me feel like a member of our Middlebury community. Arriving at Middlebury two years ago I was nervous about finding friends and fitting in, as most freshmen are. In need of a companion, I was immediately reassured by the kind, interested, and thoughtful presence that Barrett exudes. Throughout the year, Barrett remained a strong foundation for me, always available for advice, companionship, and the occasional much needed bearhug. This invaluable relationship on a freshmen hallway often filled with friendships based on necessity and convenience is something that I truly treasure. This sentiment, however, is not limited to me; Barrett soon became the proclaimed “mayor of stew 4” as we all recognized the hall community was centered on our mutual friend and leader.
When I think of what I look for in an FYC, I can’t help but think of Barrett Smith. Easy-going, relatable, intelligent, and goofy yet mature, Barrett has the well-rounded personality that I was lucky to find in my own FYC, Nial Rele, someone whom I still stay in contact with and admire. The skills that Barrett and Nial share make them a perfect leadership team for fostering the type of community that led most of us to Middlebury College.
Upon hearing Nial and Barrett’s plan to FYC Stew 4 together this year I immediately became envious of the Stew 4 Freshman for the strong relationships that only someone like Barrett can foster. It is for this reason that I interrupt my work during the busiest time of year for a Middlebury student in order to defend the residents of Brainerd Commons. Removing Barrett from Stew 4 is not just punishing him; it is a severe punishment for every one of the freshmen in Stewart Hall. His ability to unite and inspire those around him is truly uncommon, and by choosing to release him from his position the college is severely harming the freshmen community that is already building with Barrett’s guidance.
I wish Barrett Smith was my FYC, and more than anything I wish the administration did not underestimate the severity of its determined punishment. As a friend and an admirer I can say that removing Barrett from Stewart Hall 4 is a penalty that will affect not just him, but the Middlebury community as a whole which depends on the cohesion of its freshmen to maintain the unity that this college, Stew 4, and Barrett Smith pride themselves in.
Nick Libbey ‘13