Tag Archives: Student Organizations

Not Your Average Saturday

Last Saturday, instead of digging into my homework in the library or (as is more likely) avoiding the day’s chill in my sweatpants and LL Bean moccasins (guilty as charged, Nathan LaBarba), I was lucky enough to attend a lecture series here on campus called TEDx. An offshoot of the TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) organization, TEDx events are individually, locally organized events in the TED tradition of promoting ‘ideas worth spreading’. The event combined a sprinkling of TED videos with live speakers discussing their experience in a wide range of fascinating topics, from the revitalization of Central Park to the study of empathy and doctors’ bedside manners. There was even a student speaker, a current senior chosen by the TEDx committee to reflect on the college experience from the perspective of both an introvert and an extrovert.

Needless to say, it was a fascinating day. When the session broke for lunch, my friends and I crowded around a table with our Noonies sandwiches and soups, discussing the overlaps between each talk. I have to admit, this is one of my favorite parts about academics here at Middlebury, too. If you take the time to reflect on each of your courses year after year, it is incredible to see the overlaps, the continuities, the meaningful discrepancies.

The best part of the day, though, was not the insightful speakers or even the food (though the apple cider doughnuts were pretty hard to beat), but it was the vast swath of the Middlebury student body present at the talks. There are a million different ways to spend a Saturday at Middlebury, most of them much less intellectually overwhelming than TEDx. But on Saturday I ran into  friends from all walks of Middlebury life (and several Senior Fellows!), each as excited as the next as they alluded to the forum’s themes, “Research, Rethink, Rebuild”.

Middlebury is many things, and if you’ve ever attended one of our information sessions on campus I’m sure we’ve made that evident. Focused as my sessions are on the internal growth that comes with the Middlebury experience, I often forget to state that ultimately, Middlebury is a great big incubator for new ideas worth spreading. Sitting in the CFA concert hall, full to bursting with locally-sourced cider doughnuts, I was reminded of the diversity of new ideas being developed, spread, and implemented here on campus. And as I chatted with my friends at the forum, many of us seniors attending TEDxMiddlebury while we still can, I couldn’t help but wonder what bright ideas students like us will spread when we leave for the wider world.

Thanks, Middlebury!

By committing to Middlebury College, we, the students, have decided that this institution was the place where we’d trade in $200k+ and 4 years of our lives in exchange of its stellar undergrad experience. Sure, we all expected to take ECON105 and maybe discover a new passion for History of Africa, or even take part in a theater production but personally speaking, I think I have grown exponentially during my time at Middlebury far beyond the academic setting.

People have referred to our campus as a ‘country club’ in its remarkable facilities and general easygoing atmosphere. I won’t deny that we attend an institution that runs like butter but I think sometimes the  tangible aspects get in the way of realizing the little things. So I will take a stroll down memory lane of all the things I am thankful for as an attribute to my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.

1. Perks of traveling abroad as a Midd student. 
a)I was never afraid to travel alone because I knew that if I ever got lost, I would have contact information of someone who can help me. I cried tears of joy when my friends came to my rescue when I was lost in Gare du Nord with severely limited French comprehension skills.
b) I literally ran into a Midd student when I went to visit Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Talk about a total coincidence!
c) I was able to receive personal recommendations from students studying in various parts of the world while planning out trips.

2.  Meaningful internships
I’ve had the opportunity to spend time in Costa Rica by partaking in an arts/literacy program in San Jose, Costa Rica during my sophomore year J-Term. Funding to participate in this program was available by the Middlebury Arts Council, who provided a generous stipend to help cover traveling and living costs.

This past summer, I secured an internship through the Career Services Office and I spent time in Louisville, Kentucky as a summer school teacher for at-risk youth. It was probably the hardest I’ve worked and boy, did it make me appreciate my teachers a whole lot more, but the outcome was well worth my efforts.

3. Good school-sponsored activities
Middlebury is the farthest thing from identifying as a metropolitan city. The school realizes this and makes a strenuous effort to ensure that students are entertained. There are numerous guest lecturers, LNDPs (late night dance parties, duh), small and large venue concerts (can we bring Kid Cudi back please?), comedians (Judah Friedlander, you are the MAN)—-and these are only activities that are sponsored by MCAB! Each campus organization is given a budget to have fun and events are open to the entire Middlebury campus. I love that I don’t have to make a huge effort to figure out what I’m doing this weekend; I can just open up my email and see what all is happening.

4. (lack of) meal plan
I am extremely thankful that this institution does not make me pay for every food item that I consume on a daily basis. We also do not have a swiping system and it makes this place feel more like home, as I can walk into all three dining halls and eat as much as I want. Already looking forward to the next Breakfast for Dinner!

5. School spirit
I love walking around campus and seeing everyone displaying their Midd apparel. Even more so, I enjoy seeing them off campus.
Midd hockey opened up its season last night against Colby and I must say, I have never been prouder to be sitting in the Student Section with my best friends cheering for our boys. (special shout out to PRESCOTT HOUSE)

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!


Middlebury students may be in the library on Sundays, but Fridays and Saturdays are a bit of a different story.  One of the things about Middlebury that most surprised me as an incoming first-year was the fact that most students do not leave Middlebury on the weekends, with some exceptions such as in-season athletes travelling to compete.  I thought that I would be spending a decent amount of time in Burlington (45 mins) and Montreal (2.5 hours).  I’ve only been to Burlington a few times and Montreal probably the same amount.  Other than those few short trips, I’ve spent my weekends here.

What can a town of 8,000 (Middlebury) offer that an international metropolis of 2 million (Montreal) can’t?  A good place to study, you may joke.  That’s true.  However, Middlebury realizes that it doesn’t have 2 million residents and that it has to work harder to keep students entertained.  To this end, the College and students themselves take it upon themselves to offer a wide range of weekend activities for students with a variety of interests.

Take this past weekend, for example.  Friday night, Inception was screened three times in Dana Auditorium as part of the Free Friday Film series.  The Free Friday Film Series is a series of recently released films offered free to students by MCAB (Middlebury College Activities Board), the student-run activities board.

After Inception, my suite hosted the pirate party, an annual tradition of the Sailing Club.  The Sailing Club is a three-part program: it runs a PE class, offers a recreational sailing program that allows anyone to get out on the water, and competes in regattas as a member of the NEISA (New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association).  The team is incredibly tight, even when they’re mock fighting in pirate garb (witnessed Friday night).

Saturdays are usually fairly relaxed.  This past Saturday, you could’ve gone down to Alumni Stadium, gotten involved in a tailgate and watched the football team end their season with a win over Tufts.  On any given weekend, you could grab a few friends, hike Snake Mountain and spend a while admiring the beauty of the Champlain Valley.  You could also explore town, pick up some fresh cheese at the Farmers Market, grab a sandwich at Noonie’s and eat it overlooking the falls on Otter Creek.

This past Saturday night, MCAB brought us Yeasayer.  They gave a great show with the crowd going especially wild for one of the lead singer’s jumpsuit.  MCAB is able to bring a lot of great acts here for concerts.  In recent years, we’ve seen: The Roots, Girl Talk, Regina Spektor, and many more.

Scene in Nelson on Saturday night

This past Sunday, a lot of people skipped the library (at least for a while) to watch the mens’ soccer team win the NCAA DIII regional championship.  The soccer team will advance to sectionals next weekend, hopefully moving onto nationals after that.  The team is no stranger to the NCAA DIII National Championship, having won it in 2007.

As you can see, Middlebury doesn’t give students much reason to want to leave campus.  That said, I will be going up to Burlington tomorrow to see the midnight showing of the latest Harry Potter.  Pumped.

ISO show just around the corner

The International Student Organization (ISO) show is finally almost here, this Friday!… International middkids are getting overly excited by the day, brushing up on rehearsals and ordering those colourful costumes online or from their home country, sending strings of emails to friends and host families. The theme for this year’s show is “Middleburied in the world” wacky but exhilarating– the excitement is spreading across campus like a bush fire in the harmattan.

Unfortunately, I am going to miss the show as I will be away for an interview in Boston on the same day! (Terrible I knw). I tried to reschedule but it didn’t work – it is one of the downside of being a senior– always faced with choices that have high opportunity costs… Anyway, after being up stage shaking my limbs for the past few years, this year I was hoping to be one of the MCs for the show. But now I cannot….I just hope that I get invited in the future, as an alum, to come act as the MC.

The ISO show is not only popular among students but also among faculty, staff, host families and their friends, and townies (short for people who live in the town). I just bumped into one of our dining hall staff this morning who is a big fan of the ISO show, and she is super excited about it. She was excited to tell me that she had already bought her ticket and was looking forward to seeing my moves again this year. But she was dumb founded when she eventually learned that I will not be present for the show…
Hold tight for another update

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!