Author Archives: JJ Janikis


There is nothing like a Vermont sandwich! Good thing this town is full of great places to pick up a tasty sandwich before class or on the weekends!

Here are my favorites:

1. Otter Creek Bakery

The location could not be more convenient right at the base of the college heading onto Main St. Plus, since it also a bakery the bread is always warm and FRESH. Don’t forget to pick up a yummy cookie or pastry on your way out!

2. Grapevine Grille

Probably the best sandwiches in town… but you need a car to get there. This restaurant is located South on Route-7 right across from the Blue Spruce Motel. If you are not careful it is really easy to pass! The menu has over 20 types of delicious sandwiches with very clever names.

3. Costellos Market

Located in Marble Works, this Italian market is the best butcher in town. They have great local meat products and sushi grade quality fish! Also there sandwiches and wraps have been known to change lives. Next time your in try the veggie wrap with beets, goat cheese, and curry (an “out of this world” experience).

4. The Middlebury Natural Foods Co-Op

While shopping you can pick up a sandwich from a wide range of vegetarian and meat sandwiches all that sponsor local farmers and agriculture!

5. Noonie’s Deli

A true Middlebury classic! Also in the Marble Works district, Noonie’s Deli attracts both college students and residents at all hours of the day. The Purples Pleasure sandwich is truly a Middlebury tradition!

April ARTS

At the end of every semester I find myself booked with seeing and/or participating in a wide range both student and faculty produced theater, dance, music, and art shows. While I have always been a patron of the arts, it is always exciting to see a fellow friend in a production!

For example, the first week in April the Department of Theater put on its first show of the semester, Eurydice, at the Seeler Studio Theater. This play, written by Sarah Ruhl, is a modern adaptation of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice that focuses on Eurydice’s journey into the underworld and her struggle to keep her memories of life. In addition, there was an original play, MOVE, based on the Philadelphia MOVEMENT that was written and produced by a Middlebury senior.

April 15-17: Low Level Panic and the Senior Dance Concert impressed both a student and community audience. Both shows were the final senior thesis for 7 Middlebury students that were coordinated with the Spring Student Symposium. Low Level Panic was the combined Theater 700 Thesis for Lindsey Messmore’11.5 in directing and Ele Woods ’11 and Jess Spar ’11 in acting. Read more about the production in the Middlebury Campus.

Coming this weekend: The Department of Theatre and Dance Presents: Victory by Howard Barker and Speed the Plow by David Mamet (senior work of Willy McKay and Dustin Schwartz). Get your tickets at the Box Office today!

ARTS at Middlebury are truly a vibrant part of our college community. Whether it is a professional faculty production or student produced concert or play, Middlebury is always able to showcase the incredible talents of so many students!

Old Stone Mill

One of my favorite new places on campus is the Old Stone Mill that is located right off of Main Street on the banks of Otter Creek.

The Old Stone Mill is a space for students to create and design projects in an innovative space. There are no limitations to the kinds of work students can do at the OSM. In the past students have designed clothing, printed photos, organized dinners with strangers, and even started their own on-line and campus businesses as entrepreneurs. The OSM is truly an artistic and creative space.

At such a small school it is amazing to have this available to the student body. Not only does it foster innovation and creativity, it provides a home to many artists, musicians, and businessmen that want to work on provides outside of their “academic” work. The OSM is open at all hours for it’s tenants. At any hour you will find students playing piano in the music room, painting in the general space, or working on poetry in a quick corner. Sometimes when I need a break from the library, it is nice to escape to this space that if full of life and energy.

This semester I am working on a project with the Middlebury College Musical Players (MCMP) that will be performed at the OSM later this spring. This “experimental” show will explore the themes of affirming identity through music, spoken word, and movement. This type of project is something that I have been wanting to work on since I started at Middlebury, and I finally found the resources and the space to do it! I look forward to creating this work and seeing where it will take me at the end of the semester. I am sure there will be more blog post about my progress.

The Old Stone Mill is truly a positive student force on campus. It is the projects that happen there that make Midd students so unique!

Education in Action

This semester Education has definitely been on my mind.

One of my favorite courses this semester is Education in America with Professor Tara Affolter. Over the past few weeks we have been exploring topics in education and democracy, social justice, and re-examining the role of a teacher in affirming the identities and experiences of their students. This course is encouraging me to challenge my perception of “education” and find solutions to promote change in our current education system. Needless to say… I’m obsessed.

In addition, as a part of my dual identity at Middlebury, I also work at the Career Services Office (CSO). A resident in the Adirondack House, the CSO has now been grouped with the Alliance for Civic Engagement (ACE), and the Office of Health Professions and Fellowships to create the Center for Education in Action.

All of these offices hold some of the colleges best resources for students. Counselors are always available to meet with students. For example, the CSO offers Open Drop-In hours everyday from 2-5pm for students to meet with a Career Counselor and get advice on cover letters, resumes, or overall career/ internship direction.  In addition, online resources such as MiddNet and MOJO help students search for job and internship opportunities through a huge network of Midd alums that are excited to talk with current students about their career options after Middlebury.

From helping students find jobs and internships to promoting local volunteer and service work, this office ensures that Middlebury students are engaging their academic knowledge outside the classroom. It is truly “Education in Action”.

5 Reasons to LUV Spring

It’s a NEW semester! While the Fall semester is full of fall foliage, apple picking, and trips to harvest festivals,  the Spring brings new life and adventure on campus! Here my FIVE FAVORITE Spring events:

5. Winter Carnival

One of the biggest weekend events of the year, Winter Carnival is both a celebration of skiing and the beginning of a new semester filled with outdoor winter activities, snow sculptures, an 80’s Dance,  and an elaborate Winter Ball. Oh… and did I mention… it’s a 3 day weekend! Buy your tickets now to all the great events!

4. Spring Break

Just when you have had enough of the snow it’s time for SPRING BREAK. While the snow is still melting in Vermont it’s time to escape the cold and find refuge in the SUN. You will need that extra splash of Vitamin D for final exams ahead.

3. Shorts/ SUN

As soon as it is over 50 degrees it’s time to put away the heavy winter coats and bust out those long awaited shorts! I think this is a phenomenon that only occurs in the state of Vermont. In Arizona 50 degrees is definitely still winter weather. However, when the shorts are out the sun and warmer weather are only days away! While I love the colors of fall foliage, there is nothing more beautiful than watching the flowers and leaves come back into bloom just in time for Spring!

2 . Lake Dunmore

One of my favorite days of the Spring Semester is the sunny Saturday when half the campus goes and spends the day at Lake Dunmore. This local lake only 20 minutes from campus is definitely a student favorite!

1. New Febs

Maybe I am biased, but the energy and the excitement of the 100 new Febs makes the cold winter a little warmer. You can always spot a new Feb because they are the ones that will always smile at you along the path or introduce themselves to you at the salad bar in Proctor.

From FEBS to better weather there is clearly a lot to look forward to during the Spring at Middlebury!

Senior Fellows Celebrity

This just in! A former Senior Fellow, Cassidy Boyd ’10, is featured in the new Ke$sha music video, “We R Who We R”. Check it out!

Ca$$idy is so HOTT right now!

Cassidy Boyd'10 is the dancer in the white and black leopard print suit on the left.

Alright current Senior Fellows… who will be the next Midd Celebrity??

I LoVermont

Coming from Scottsdale, Arizona the winter weather and the New England culture took some getting used to… but after I learned how to appropriately bundle up in the cold and once the snow melted into Spring, I fell in love with my new surroundings and this beautiful new state that I can call home.

Here are my Top 5 reasons why I LOVE VERMONT:

1. Fall Foliage

Fall has always been my favorite season… but in Arizona I never got to truly appreciate the change of seasons. As soon as late September/ early October rolls around I am obsessed with the magic of fall. The trees on campus and in the mountains are alive with bright yellows, reds, and oranges… it is impossible to look away!

2. Open Roads

Nestled comfortably between Route- 125 and Route-30, Middlebury is at an intersection of a world of open roads ready to be explored. Every road and every path that I have taken has lead me on a visually stunning tour of the beautiful Vermont landscape. From the rolling hills to the flat farm lands ever turn brings a new unseen beauty! While the roads may not be full of cars… I am never alone. It is not unusual to be riding along side a field of horses, cows, or sheep… or to even be driving next to a tractor cruising down the road.

3. Burlington/ Montréal/ Boston/ New York

While the 8,000 or so people in the town of Middlebury can seem small, Vermont is located at the heart of New England. It is so easy to travel anywhere on the East Coast from our location.

Burlington, Vermont’s largest “city”, is only 45 minutes north and is a great place to have dinner, shop on Church Street, or just watch the sunset over Lake Champlain.

Montréal is actually the largest major city to Middlebury and located only 2.5 hours north. If you want a little taste of Europe, Montréal is your destination. From cafés with crêpes to late night dance clubs, Montréal can be the perfect weekend or vacation destination!

Also, let us not forget that New York is only 5 hours away and Boston is 3.5 hours away (by car). Coming from Arizona all of these distances do not seem that far… when I think about how it takes 6 hours to get from Phoenix to Los Angeles … but with NOTHING in between! At least driving in Vermont is filled with open roads with small towns and stunning view of its natural landscapes!

4. Summer!

If you are student at Middlebury I would highly recommend spending a summer on campus… either working for an office on campus, doing research with a professor, or participating in a Summer Language Schools Program. Two years ago I spent the summer at Midd working for the Careers Service Office. During that time I really got to explore Vermont and know the town of Middlebury. I tried to blend in like a true Vermonter and searched for local “watering holes” and ate lots of Creamees (which a strictly Vermont term for soft serve ice-cream or frozen yogurt). My favorite place to relax and swim after work was at “Dog Team Road”, a small river beach just 5 minutes north of campus. I also made use of the wonderful summer agriculture! Every Saturday morning I went to the Middlebury Farmer’s Market at Marble Works. From delicious local goat cheeses to hand picked organic strawberries and blueberries I was constantly immersed in a culture of local foods!

5. Small Towns

While I still believe that Middlebury is the quintessial New England town driving through Vermont is like exploring a foreign country. Each small town has its own feeling and established way of life. From Vergennes to Bristol each town hosts its own Main Street with local restaurants and shops that are unique to that community. My favorite roadside town is Woodstock, VT which on Route- 4 south of Middlebury. The first time I passed through Woodstock they happened to be hosting their annual summer music festival. So naturally I stopped to get out and participate in the events! Not only does Woodstock have a beautiful Main Street with classic New England buildings and delicious cafés, but for this event they had closed the streets and hundreds of the members of the community were all dancing in the streets to the beats of the live music in the background! It is small towns like this that truly make me appreicate the sense of community and life-style that is unique to Vermont.

Je suis un “Feb”.

While regular Seniors are all picking courses for their FINAL semester, I am comforted by the fact that as a Senior-Feb I still have one year left at Middlebury.

Being a Feb has truly shaped my Middlebury experience. Having a semester- off before starting college gave me the time to relax and explore opportunities that would have otherwise not have been available to me. After a challenging Senior year of high school I was very much in need of a break! However, when I first found out that I was admitted to Middlebury in February I was unsure and scared of not starting college at a “normal” time in September like the rest of my friends. When I finally sat down and realized that I had 8 months to do whatever I wanted… the list of possibilities was ENDLESS.

I always had an interest in French, but had never used it outside the classroom. Therefore, for my “Feb-mester” I wanted to find a way that I could travel (affordably) and use my French. In my search, I found the  organization, WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), which is a network of farms and organizations all over the world that looks for volunteers to work in exchange for food and housing. I ended up making a contact with a farm, “La Ferme d’Art”, in the south of France and took my chances and decided to spend 6 weeks there as a volunteer. “La Ferme d’Art” or “The Art Farm” in an independent sustainable works project started by Pan, the owner, who reconstructed an abandoned farm house to create a sustainable farm and community center. Before I arrived he had just finished installing solar panels and finished a water system in which all the water supplied at the house was purified rain water. My daily duties varied. Some days I was responsible for feeding chickens other days I was creating new hiking trails  in the surrounding land. Not only was I improving my oral French, but I learned so much about new sustainable agricultural and overall  lifestyle practices.

Once I arrived to Middlebury for “Feb”-Orientation I was immediately reassured in my decision to come to Middlebury when I met 100 other first-year “Feb” students that had also participated in amazing and eye-opening opportunities. It was this energy and support from orientation that truly provided a secure start to my college career at Middlebury.

Now while all of my Senior- “Reg” friends are frantically registering for their final four classes and looking ahead to secure jobs and/or fellowships after Graduation in May, I could not be more happy that I still have one more year to work these things out!

From “Feb-mesters” farming abroad to skiing down a mountain to receive your diploma, being a “Feb” at Middlebury is truly a unique college experience. (But maybe I’m just biased…)

MCMP Presents: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

 It’s Opening Night! After over six weeks of rehearsals, my show, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”, opened last night at the Middlebury Town Hall Theater. “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” tells the story of 6 quirky middle- school students as they compete to be the top speller! In addition, audience “spellers” are asked to participate in the bee, therefore every show is a new surprise! As a director it is always an amazing feeling to sit back and watch a show for the first time with an audience. Hearing their applause and the positive reactions is such a gratifying experience.

Since my first semester at Middlebury I have been involved with MCMP (Middlebury College Musical Players). MCMP is student organization that produces a full lenght musical every semester. Everything is done by students: directing, music, choreography, costumes… etc. Now with renevated space at the Town Hall Theater, MCMP is able to perform in a professional 200 seat auditorium for both students and members of the Middlebury town community.

Theater has always been my greatest passion. While I decided not to study theater at the college, I still wanted to be involved with the theater community. After acting in MCMP’s production of “Reefer Madness” , I decided to direct “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” in my second semester.  I had never directed a full lenght musical before, but I was up to the challenge. It was from this experience that I realized that I while I enjoyed the attention on stage as an actor, I could be more creative backstage as a director.

MCMP has not only given me the opportunity to continue to pursue my interests in musical theater , but has also challenged me to participate in the greater Middlebury town community.

PS. You can still get tickets at the Box Office! The show runs tonight (Friday) at 8:00pm  and tomorrow (Saturday) at 2pm and 8pm! You won’t want to miss it!