Category Archives: 2011

Blog Posts Archive from 2011

Top 5 Middlebury College Traditions

Fall Orientation festivities are about to start up, and as is customary for this time of year I’ve been overcome with waves of nostalgia. True, I am only going to be a junior and thereby far from my prime reminiscing years, but there’s something about suiting up to crash the square dance that gets those fond memories a-stirring. Here, I offer just a few of my favorite Midd traditions.


The Hunt is an epic scavenger hunt that takes place during one week in January each year. I’ve never competed in the Hunt myself (mostly because I am afraid of letting my more competitive side run rampant at the expense of my personal health), but I think any event that causes five flash mobs in one week is worth mentioning on this list. You may not be able to view last year’s submissions, but here’s a link to The Hunt’s webpage. The list of tasks itself is worth perusing if you ask me:


Nothing says “I kind of, sort of, maybe had a Proctor crush on you for one month last year” quite like a wall-mounted, papier-mâché diorama of your feelings. Each semester before graduating seniors leave us, they sit down and list the names of all of the people they’ve had crushes on since the beginning of their freshman year and display them in the dining halls for the whole student body to see. Here’s a link for the history of Crush Lists and for pictures of the best Crush Lists from 2011:


My inspiration for writing this blog post: the orientation event voted “Most Likely to be Crashed by Angela Santee,” and a not-so-subtle reminder that there are far too many plaid shirts on the face of this earth. Square-dancing is awkward; most of us can probably agree on that. But there’s something magical about square-dancing with 500 equally-awkward-yet-carefree strangers. I give you photographic evidence of its magnificence:



Butch Varno hollering at the referees from a floor seat at a Middlebury basketball game is one of the best things I’ve ever seen. Don’t understand? Check this out:


In February, Middlebury holds its annual Winter Carnival. The weekend is structured around the ski races that take place during this time on the Bread Loaf campus as well as the Snow Bowl, but there are a whole host of other mini-events taking place on the Middlebury campus itself. Each of these smaller activities deserve to be recognized as traditions in their own right—Orange Crush (an 80s cover band; because who doesn’t enjoy gallivanting in technicolor spandex and off-the-shoulder sweaters?), the northern lights relay competition, or the Winter Carnival Ball. I, for one, have a particular soft spot for the snow sculpture competition having competed in the 2011 sculpt-a-thon with a handful of my closest friends. We actually won a cash prize for our sculpture of wine and cheese. Check it out:


Who stays at Middlebury in the summer?

In addition to the roughly 1,400 language school students on campus this summer, there are close to 200 summer workers who are staying at Middlebury for at least part of their summer to work a wide variety of positions around campus. Who are they? What are they doing here? Are they aware that school ended over two months ago? What do they look like? What are their favorite condiments?  Below are a small sample of students and their stories.



Jack Maher

Class of 2012

Hometown:   Oak Park, Illinois

Major:   Neuroscience

Minor:   Economics

Favorite Candy:   Sour Patch Kids

Favorite Movie:   Gladiator

Favorite Condiment:   Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce

Summer Position:   Neuroscience Research Technician

Description:   We’re researching testosterone and its effects on spatial vs. reference, aka muscle, memory in rats.

Additional comments:   If you love being outside during the summer, Midd is the place to be: Swimming, volleyball, TONS of soccer, running, frisbee, hopscotch, etc. You name the activity and someone will want to do it too.

  Continue reading

Festivity on the Green

The past week an incredible event occurred, Middlebury’s Festival on the Green, where, as you can imagine, a festival was held in the Middlebury on the Green Space between Main Street and Merchants Road. This was a whole week of free live music from various artists far and wide, and of course, the gathering of the whole town of Middlebury. Though I only attended three nights out of the seven, each night was full of vibrant artists that I had never heard of, but still thoroughly enjoyed.  The three groups I was able to see were Chamberlin, a band with two members who are from Middlebury, Babik, an impressive group with a man who did a duck call solo, and The Defibulators, an excellent band that played a variety of southern covers and originals.

Of course the music was great to listen to, but the best part was lying back on the green and simply staring at the sky lost in the moment. Sounds a bit cheesy, but even in Middlebury, finding a time to slow down and think to your-self can be hard to find. However, these moments would be broken quickly when I saw the typical Vermont dance attempt: slow swaying and awkward bobbing. Then again, the dance attempts made by the individuals in my group were not exactly impressive either. Regardless, the atmosphere of moving to music, interaction among the whole town and the general sense of community was fantastic, and though it was a week long, it would have been marvelous to extend its time.


Middlebury, VT – A Rural Vermont Town

This Memorial Day, I had the chance to attend the Middlebury Memorial Day Parade. Firetrucks, boyscouts, girlscouts, local politicians, police cars, bagpipes, and aliens from the town theatre were just a few of the spectacular sites I saw marching down Main Street in the bright rising sun. Most of the town was up and searching for a good spot in the shade on this particularly warm summer’s day before the parade began at 9. The employees from the local dentist’s office were handing out free donuts and coffee to all the hungry children and parents in need of caffeine. I found a nice shaded spot with a couple of friends next to the newest addition to the town of Middlebury: the roundabout.

Middlebury is a small town with a population of about 8,000 people. Needless to say, a major construction project right in the middle of town is a pretty big deal for Middlebury. A new bridge over Otter Creek was opened connecting downtown to Route 7 through the new roundabout. There was a big celebration with fireworks and all at the opening of the bridge at the end of October.

The annual Memorial Day parade was a little bit different this year with the new roundabout and bridge. Many people crowded all around the newly paved sidewalks to watch the parade come down Main Street. It started at the south end of Main Street, circled half way around the new roundabout, passed the town green, and ended at the town theatre where a local student recited the Gettysburg Address and a public official gave a speech.

The town parade is a very local, small town Vermont kind of event. You see the same people going every year in the same spot. It is definitely one of the social highlights of the year and a great way for the student summer workers to meet some of the townspeople. Most of the businesses in town are closed for Memorial Day, so there is always a large turnout. Many people have family or friends in the parade, whether it is an elementary school student or a grandparent playing a bagpipe. I saw the Middlebury firemen, police officers, EMTs, American Legion members, the Middlebury Union High School Band, farmers on their tractors, and many of the other groups that make up the Middlebury community. The parade does a great job of illustrating the home-feel you can only get in a rural town in Vermont. Parents and grandparents are cheering for their children and grandchildren as they walk by, teens are socializing in small groups, children are running around grabbing candy, and a general sense of Middlebury pride is present everywhere you look. As if Middlebury town spirit isn’t enough, the Mary Hogan Elementary School and Middlebury Union Junior High and High School students get on a bus after they have finished their march and head to Vergennes to participate in the end of the Vergennes Memorial Day Parade.

As a student at Middlebury College, it was nice to be able to put a face to the town of Middlebury without the college in the picture. Sure, I ran into a couple of professors and some co-workers, but there wasn’t a college float or advertisement all throughout the parade. The college is very involved in the community and attracts many visitors to Middlebury, but when you put the college aside, Middlebury is still a healthy, vibrant, and welcoming place. I am proud to call Middlebury my home for the next few years.


Adventures on Hwy 116

Vermont is one of the prettiest states to drive through. On any road you take, you will surely get a gorgeous view of the Adirondack mountains off in the distance; often you’ll have a view of mountains to both your left and right. In the summer is when it is most beautiful. The trees are luscious with green leaves, and the grass grows tall. It is in the summer that you truly begin to realize why we call ourselves the “Green Mountain State”.

This is what makes a one hour commute to work everyday a little less boring, and a little more enjoyable.

Not only is the scenery worth the drive, but you’ll never be bored driving on these streets. Normally on my way to work and back, I will pass by a series of farms. Vermont as a state has more cows than people, just another thing that makes it so interesting. So as  I drive by these farms, I will usually see cows out grazing, and sometimes even horses! It’s nice to see horses and cows as you drive along on a hot summery day, but turtles?

Around this time of year, I’ve noticed, sporadic groups of turtles start to come out. How do they get here? I have no idea! We aren’t nearby any ocean, that’s for sure. But regardless, it is not too uncommon to see a turtle, especially if you’re hanging out around the Waterfront, or somewhere with moisture. Where I saw this turtle however, was entirely unexpected.

As I was driving home from work yesterday, passing through my usual route of mountains, farms, and small towns, I saw a small bump in the road up ahead. At first I didn’t think it was anything, perhaps just something that had flown onto the road. Driving up towards it though, the closer I got, the more I began to realize that it was moving. Rather slowly, which was odd. What on earth? The wheels of my car kept turning, as I kept staring at this creature. Within moments I realized it also had a neck, and a shell, and …wait what? All these observations happened in about one second of time – the speed limit on this rather empty road was 50 mph. And before I could even slow down, I heard a quiet, but discreet “cracking” noise as my car tires bounced slightly up in the air.

It was then that I realized what I had done. A turtle. I had just run over a turtle. A turtle that, apparently like the cows and horses, liked to graze on farmland. Though I felt terrible for possibly having killed this poor thing, I was far more confused and completely frazzled. The rest of my way home,  I could not stop thinking about how I would phrase this story to my family, and just how they would react. Would they too be surprised? I couldn’t imagine how one would react as though this were a completely normal event, to see turtles on the road.

And as if that wasn’t enough, there was another fun adventure waiting for me as I drove into work this morning. Taking the same route again, I passed over a few hills, and through curvatures in the road. Trees on both my left and right. I then passed through Bristol, a cute little town on the way to Middlebury. Next came the “Vermont Bug Store”, which I have never stepped foot inside, but am, with good reason, very curious about. Once past the store, I drove through a series of farms.

At first all seemed normal, though I was driving behind an incredibly slow, and rather muddy, green pick-up truck.  So needless to say, I was getting a little bored on this drive, but that surely did not last long. All of a sudden the truck halted to a screeching stop, and I hit my breaks, a little alarmed. And before I even stretched my neck to see what was going on up ahead, the corner of my eye caught glimpse of a large brown object. When  I focused in, I saw that there was a cow running fast and in random directions. She seemed to be trying to escape a tractor that had persistently been following her. I assumed the woman driving the tractor owned the cow, and was just trying to get her back on the farm. I could not stop laughing at the scene. Here we were, about 10 cars, just stopped in the middle of the road, watching this frantic cow as it ran to and from both sides of the street.

And so we waited patiently for her to calm down…eventually this little cow did get back onto the farm. She still had a piece of hay in her mouth she’d been carrying around with her since her run started. Once all was quiet again, my old friend the pick up truck began his engine, and we continued on our drive down to the college.

As I sit here, summarizing my  past two commutes, I am reminded once again of why I chose Vermont, and Middlebury in particular. Though we are in a remote location, it never ceases to amaze me how many wonderful, funny, and amusing things can happen to a person here in just one week.

A Typical Summer Tour

In case you can’t make it to campus, or you forget things about the tour you did go on, here is a brief summary of a typical tour during the summer. We hope you enjoy this mini-tour, and hopefully you’ll have time to make it here for a live tour with one of our smiling tour guides! Here’s a link to our campus map in case you want to situate yourself on campus as you read about buildings.


We start here in the Admissions office, of course. We introduce ourselves and find out a little about you, but then we start our backwards walking and begin the tour.

Our first stop is the Mahaney Center for the Arts (CFA). This is our arts building for dance, music, and theater. Visual arts are in a different section of campus. Inside this building, we have many facilities that are open to all students regardless of their major. Some of the facilities include the Seeler Studio Theater, one of our three theaters on campus for faculty-directed shows, the Dance Studio with sprung floors for dance classes and performances, the Museum of Art, and the Concert Hall, a magnificently acoustic room, for visiting and student performances. We have several theater productions throughout the year, a few faculty-directed and several student-directed shows. We also have the Middlebury College Musical Players (MCMP) which is a student-run group that performs musicals, and one faculty-directed musical during J-term. Our musical groups include the Chamber Music Ensemble, the College Orchestra, the Jazz Ensemble, the College Choir, and Glee Club. There are many opportunities for dance as well, from classes for credit to the Dance Company of Middlebury to MiddDance, OnTap, and Riddim, our student-run groups.

After the CFA, on our way to the next building, we pass the athletic center. Again, all the facilities are open to anyone, even if you are not an athlete. We have an Olympic-sized swimming pool, basketball courts, a hockey rink, tennis courts, squash courts, an indoor track, and a rock climbing wall, among other things. There are about 600 Varsity athletes at Midd, and we are a Division 3 school. Aside from Varsity sports, we have some Junior Varsity, club, and intramural sports. Intramurals are a lot of fun with lighthearted competition between friends to win the coveted Intramural Championship t-shirts.

We also pass by the Biomass plant before entering the next building. Middlebury has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2016, and the Biomass plant helps out the initiative by using wood chips instead of oil to fuel a lot of our campus. In fact, it reduces our carbon footprint by 50%. In addition to the Biomass plant, we have recently added a solar farm behind our science center to help us on our path to carbon neutrality.

Our second stop on the tour is the McCullough Student Center. This is where the CCAL (Center for Campus Activities and Leadership) and MCAB (Middlebury College Activities Board) offices are held. CCAL oversees the 140+ student organizations and the many student activities that happen throughout the year. MCAB is made up of a group of student committees who facilitate activities on campus. Some examples are speakers that they bring to Middlebury, including the Dalai Lama, Homecoming weekend, Free Friday Films, and our big end of term concerts (including Kid Cudi, Wale, and Guster). Inside McCullough is the Social Space, where a lot of these activities happen. Some more specific events we’ve had in the Social Space are hypnotists, comedians, ‘80s dance parties, and swing dances. Across from the Social Space is the Grille and Crossroads Café downstairs. These are social areas with delicious food (not included in the meal plan) and are great places to hang out.

Proctor Dining Hall comes next. One of our three dining halls, Proctor serves up many delicious choices. Always salad, sandwiches, soup, hot entrées, and fruit, there’s a multitude of items to decide between. If none of those entice you, there are also Panini makers for the more creative souls. In Ross, another dining hall, the Panini makers are replaced with different pizzas. Atwater has pizza as well, and all of our dining halls are staffed by different chefs who choose what to create for us every week. We do not have a meal plan at Middlebury, which is fantastic. Meals are included in the comprehensive fee, and so you never have to worry about how many meals you have eaten in a certain week. You can eat whenever, wherever, and however much you would like. It’s brilliant.

After the dining hall, we pass the Janet Halstead Franklin ’72 and Churchill G. Franklin ’71 Environmental Center at Hillcrest, or Hillcrest for short. This is our environmental studies building, and it was created with environmentally friendly architecture with solar panels, low-flow faucets, and energy efficient windows and lights, among other things. It was the first building in Vermont to receive LEED Platinum, which is the highest designation awarded for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Environmental Studies is one of our more popular as well as well-renowned majors, and is interdisciplinary in nature. If you choose to major in ES, you also must choose a focus, which could be one of many different areas, including, but not limited to, Economics, Food Studies, and Architecture.

Next stop: McCardell BiCentennial Hall. Built in 2000, it includes all of our sciences from Chemistry, Biology, and Physics, to Geology, Geography, Astronomy, and Psychology. BiHall has a science library, a greenhouse, an observatory, and several classrooms and labs. There are many research opportunities for us undergrads in BiHall, and there are students living on campus every summer doing research. Research can be done for pay or for credit during the school year, too.

As for general academics, we do have distribution requirements. We have 8 distribution requirements, but you only need to fulfill 7 of them. They are Deductive Reasoning, Natural Science, Social Science, Philosophy/Religion, Art, Language, Literature, and History. (Don’t worry; it’s pretty easy to get these. It’s almost as if they fall into place without much effort, although you may have to work to find one or two.) We also have cultural requirements where you have to take a class about each of three regions of the world and one comparing cultures. These requirements include EUR (Europe), NOR (North America), AAL (Africa, Asia, Latin America), and CMP (Comparative). This requirement is important so that MiddKids are not ignorant of the world when they leave Middlebury.


As we leave BiHall, ahead of us is Le Château. If you couldn’t guess by the name, this is our French department. It also houses juniors and seniors upstairs, and you do not need to be able to speak French to live there. If you do want to live in a house where people speak a language other than English, you can choose to live in a language house after your freshman year. The language houses also have different activities open to anyone who can and wants to speak that language. French, for instance, has French films and a café every week. Le Château also houses a theater in the basement for foreign language productions.


Now on to housing. Battell Hall houses 2/5 of the freshman class. 2 of the 5 Commons are associated with Battell. At Middlebury, we have a Commons system where the student body is split into 5 smaller communities. These are Atwater, Ross, Cook, Wonnacott, and Brainerd. You get placed into your Commons randomly based on what First Year Seminar you choose, and then you live with the people in your Commons for your first two years. After sophomore year, you are still affiliated with your Commons, but you do not have to live with them anymore if you so choose. You can still attend your Commons’ dinners and activities, like fondue Fridays or hikes, but you have a chance to live with some people other than those in your Commons. Commons have a great support network with Faculty Heads, the Commons’ Dean, First Year Counselors, and the Commons Residential Advisor (a recent Middlebury grad who knows the ropes since they were here for four years). It’s nice to have a Dean who knows who you are rather than one who you might never meet because they are in charge of 2449 other students. Battell Beach is the expanse in front of Battell. We use this space in all types of weather, for pick up soccer, frisbee, capture the flag, snow ball fights, and, of course, quidditch.

Next we have the Davis Family Library, our new library. There are over one million volumes here, and there are DVDs you can take out, too. The Technology HelpDesk is fantastic, and they know everything there is to know about PCs and Macs. In the back of the building is the CTLR (Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research). Here, we have people who can help you schedule your life,  peer tutors for specific subjects, and peer writing tutors. You can just walk-in or make an appointment for anything you might need help in. The library is open until 1am on weekdays during the year, and 11pm on weekends. During exam week, it’s open 24/7. Right outside the library is the Wilson Café, open 24/7 as a study space, and other times as a café.


Last stop on the tour is Axinn, or the Donald E. Axinn ’51, Litt. D. ’89 Center for Literary and Cultural Studies at Starr Library. What used to be our old library before the Davis Family Library was built turned into our American Studies, English, and Film and Media Culture Studies building. Inside are many different study spaces, as well as classrooms, screening rooms, a movie theater, and an indoor waterfall.

That’s just a small taste of what our tours are like. We hope you enjoyed it and that you have a chance to come visit us sometime!

Hello Prospective Students!

Welcome to the 2011 Summer Interns’ Blog!

We are the Summer Interns, a group of Middlebury students that stay on campus during the summer to work in the Admissions Office. You most likely found your way here from our Summer Interns page on the Middlebury website. If not, feel free to check it out! For most people, summer is a great time to relax and enjoy the nice weather, catch up on some good reading, spend time with friends or family, and maybe do some traveling. For rising juniors and seniors in high school, summer is a great time to start making college visits and deciding which college or university is the best fit. That’s where we come in! We will be updating this page throughout the summer with our experiences here at the college and in the surrounding area to give you an idea of what Middlebury life is like. We’ll be writing about what interests us and what we think you may be interested in as you start (or continue) your college search. Also, please check out our student bios on the left so that you can get a better idea of what kind of students you may find at Middlebury and what the campus is like during the school year.

If you have any questions for any of us, feel free to post a comment with your question. Who knows? Maybe your question will be inspiring enough to become the topic of the next blog entry!