My Junior year I lived in the PALANA house which is the multicultural academic house. Basically you apply to live in the house if you are academically interested in issues of diversity. As a member of the house you are required to organize or produce a personal project related to Middlebury’s diversity.
The year I lived there, my house mates came up with a variety of great ideas. One brought in the Dartmouth Gospel Choir to show the beauty of gospel and also allow Midd students to see how some celebrate their religion/beliefs. Another house made a cook book. Each house mate gave her 2 family recipes that exemplified their background or home life. There was Portuguese food, Mexican food, Indian food, southern food and much more! My roommate made a video which featured each house mate and their experiences with diversity. It was a very personal look at who lived in the house and also a showcase of the diversity within the house. Each of us have such different lived experiences, like everyone at Midd. We also held monthly dinners which had a discussion topic that we would all talk about and unpack while we broke bread with anyone who came to the event. For example, around the Latin American celebration of “Day of the Dead” we held a dinner to talk about death in different cultures; we looked at how death was celebrated or not, rituals, traditions, beliefs etc.
This year, a successful PALANA event has been “PALANA Uncensored” where they pick a topic, like beauty, and unpack the meaning of it as it relates to the U.S., various regions, and even Middlebury. Every event, programming, project that comes out of PALANA highlights the diversity of Middlebury. We aim to display Midds diversity to the rest of the campus and the community in order to celebrate diversity.
I am currently involved in picking the next PALANA residents and I am so very excited to see what they come up with next year. In my senior fellows profile under “Fondest Memory of Middlebury” describes some of my time in PALANA. To this day it is my best living experience at Midd. The 7 other people I lived with quickly became my family and today we will always carry that bond.
I strongly suggest looking into living in PALANA; plus the house is gorgeous. Just another perk. 😉
for more info on PALANA click here —-> http://www.middlebury.edu/offices/academic/ccsre/palana