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Dear Readers,

I have the honor of serving as co-chair of Community Council with Raymond Queliz. I have asked him to write this week’s post about student leadership on campus and ways in which students can shape the future of the College. As co-chair of Community Council, president of KDR, a member of Student Government, and a Posse Scholar, Ray brings a significant point of view to this topic. I look forward to hearing your comments.

—Shirley M. Collado

There are so many different ways to lead at Middlebury. There are social house presidents, treasurers, and social chairs, for example. There are the Pan Caribbean Student Organization presidents, Tavern members, Sexual Assault Oversight Committee members and Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity Advisory Board members, the Middlebury College orchestra and Juntos members, Sunday Night Group members, GlobeMed members, writers for The Campus, Residential Sustainability coordinators, residential advisers, Middlebury Open Queer Alliance members, Middlebury College Activities Board members, and College Republican members. And the list goes on, including sports-team captains, a cappella group directors, Dolci chefs, and ISO members. This is just a sampling of the variety that student representatives bring to Community Council.

While Community Council is composed of students, faculty, staff, and administrators, I believe I speak for the student voice when I say that Middlebury has changed drastically throughout the last couple of years. As I step into my position as Community Council co-chair, I often ask myself, why are all of us here at Middlebury—what brings us here?

Throughout my first 10 weeks as co-chair, my question has been answered in several ways. Overwhelmingly, students agree that diversity initiatives need to be instated, social life needs to be improved without fear of getting penalized, respect must always be maintained, and more accountability needs to be placed on the student.

My concern lies with the fact that academics have risen to a higher level of importance than maintaining a positive social life. I feel that other issues—racial diversity, gender equity, all-gender housing, environmental friendliness, social houses, awareness of Honor Codes, and parties—are of equal importance. In Community Council, we evaluate the issues we face in the community every day, and we try to improve the quality of student life on campus.

Community Council members are leaders who carry the burden of representing their respective voices. I urge all students to speak up about an issue that they are passionate about. Why silence yourself when we are available to listen as a representative body of the community as a whole? In order to better understand where we are going in terms of student life, it is essential to pose the questions: What should student life look like? What can be done to ensure that non-academic endeavors are equally as important as the classroom?

—Raymond Queliz ’11

One Response to “Don’t Silence Yourself”

  1. Jake Moritz says:

    I think Raymond’s post gives a great perspective on the mistaken prioritization many Middlebury students place on work and academics above (almost) all else. I was certainly guilty of devoting my time to my work and ignoring arguably more important possibilities, adventures, and shared moments with friends. It was not until I decided to take three classes, one less than the ‘normal’ course load that what was important to me and my experience at Middlebury was put into perspective. I suddenly had enough time to actually do all of the readings assigned, and to enjoy them. I had time to devote to projects and I could turn in assignments I was proud of rather than hack jobs finished just before the deadline. I could finally balance out long dinners, late nights with friends, trips off campus, and a host of other extra-curricular activities with the work expected from me. Raymond provided a great list of the many leaders here on campus, but I argue that all students at Midd can be leaders towards a better college experience. We are stressed, overachievers, and perfectionists. The pressure at Middlebury is as much self-created and self-perpetuated as it is a result of strenuous academics. So I would ask students to push one another to take a break, to get out of the library, to go for a walk, and ultimately, to ask one another what is really important. Take the initiative, lead on.

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