Monthly Archives: April 2011



So for all of you prospective students who are not familiar with the expression FOMO, you will understand its meaning soon enough if you decide to attend Middlebury College.  FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out and is a problem that every Middlebury student suffers from.  At the student panel during preview day for admitted students, someone asked panelist Abe Katz what the worst part about Middlebury is, and without blinking an eye he answered “FOMO”.  I could not agree with this answer more.  There are just so many things going on here and you will want to participate in them all.  Sadly there are only 24 hours in a day and things like classes and homework exist meaning that you can’t possible participate in all activities, leading to widespread breakouts of FOMO across campus.  For example…

Last Thursday night I suffered from a particularly bad case of FOMO.  I wanted to go a lecture at 7:00 sponsored by the Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies department, but I also had a meeting for the community service club I am president of, two friends birthday parties at the bar in town, and I wanted to go to the Verbal Onslaught performance at 51 Main, a college owned restaurant/bar in town.  On top of that, I had a 40-50 page final senior essay for my English senior work due on Monday.  Yikes.  As you can probably guess, I didn’t make it to everything.  I pushed working on my essay to Friday (procrastination is never a good decision), went to most of  the lecture, left to attend the community service meeting, missed Verbal Onslaught (huge mistake, Verbal Onslaught is great) and chose the friend I liked best and went to his birthday party. 

This is a typical predicament for a Middlebury student to find him/herself in.  So many things going on, so little time.  As I sit here writing this blog write now, I am thinking of all the different things I want to do before Saturday: Work on my essay (my final draft is due in a week), help a friend put some finishing touches on organizing a Relay For Life team (happening this weekend) take a road trip with friends to Canada, organize a community service event for my club, go to the Weybridge house feast, and do laundry/clean my room (my mom would be so proud).  I have about 36 hours to do all this…

Basically what I am trying to say in this rambling post is that there are so many amazing things happening at Middlebury that there will never be a dull moment.  Arts performances, athletic events, lectures, hanging out with friends, (not to mention work), will be sure to keep you busy and engaged.

Explore Middlebury Video Snapshots!

If you would like to get a good snapshot of Middlebury College and what we are all about, be sure to check out these videos!

And, our very own senior fellow Ben Wessel is featured in one the videos speaking about his passion for the environment!

You can also view the videos separately under the following categories:



Student Life


Academic Life

Enjoy the videos!


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!

yum yum in my tum tum

One of the great delights of being a student at Middlebury is great food and leisurely food.  The food at Midd is great on a regular basis with student favorites including chicken parmigana, burger day, and our snazzy panini bar.  On the desert end magic cookie bars and creemies (soft-serve ice cream) or a scoop of Moose Tracks is always on the menu.  Lately the salad bar is featuring new protein options like spicy chicken salad and mongolian beef in addition to all the pasta options that have always been there.  Beyond what chefs whip up for us Middlebury students get creative in the dining halls.  One of my friends is determined to have chocoalte at every meal so she melts down chocolate chips and drizzles them on everything from orange slices to toast.  Another friend tops her waffles with applesauce and I recently ran into a neighbor making his special morning blend of seltzer water, lemon juice and fress-squeezed OJ.  The possibilities really are endless, especially with our open dining policy, which allows students to walk into the dining halls any number of times they want to throughout the day.  Our meals are prepaid as part of our comprehensive fee which means that we never have to worry about swiping into the dining hall or making sure that we get our money’s worth at each meal.  What that ends up meaning for students is that rather than having three neat meals each day many students will have breakfast before their first class, a snack between classes, lunch, first dinner, second dinner, and grab a piece of fruit to take back to their room for later.  And you can have every meal with a different group of friends. 

In addition to the dining halls, McCollough Social space boasts two fabulous on-campus eateries.  The Grille which features a varied menu offering food from Turkey Clubs to a Heart Attack , which is a stack of french fries slobbered with freshly-melted cheese, bacon bits, and chicken finger bites.  Yep, it’s sinful.  Downstairs teh new student-run Crossroads Cafe is quickly becoming a hot spot on campus with healthier offerings, waffles, smoothies, a create-your-own-bowl menu, cookies from a bakery called Cookie Love, and Stone Leaf Teachouse.  The library also has a cafe that’s great for late nights. 

Now that the year is winding down and the weather is getting nicer opportunities to celebrate abound.  Smaller barbeques are popping up all over campus with Midd Mayhem, an annual all-campus cookout on the last day of classes is right around the corner.  It will be complete with a band and inflatable obstacle courses and other such games.  We’ve been finding more reasons to head into our favorite restaurants in town, including the Natural Foods Co-op and Two Brothers Tavern.  Further out there are some great plcaces that allow you to sit on the dock while you get food and Vermont breweries are amazing.  Otter Creek Brewery will even give you a free pint glass for being a 21+ MiddKid. 

Vermont is full of tiny gems.  Thank goodness VT Restaurant Week starts next week!

MiddDigs: Where to live?

First-years, sophomore and juniors are in the thick of room draw for next year. Given the random assignment of numbers, everyone hopes they’ll get the magic number one (or at least one of the top 20 or 30 shots at their dream housing), since some housing arrangements are definitely better than others, but it’s hard to get truly bad housing.

With 98% of the student body living on campus, the Res Life staff and Housing administrators have a big responsibility managing first-year housing (how do you assign people to live together who’ve never met?), special interest houses (9 languages, environment, substance-free, queer studies, to name a few), group interest blocks, social houses, and then just regular draw for singles through quads.

I was never blessed with a super great number to have my top choices, but I’ve ultimately been happy with where I’ve been on campus each semester. Here are some of my favorites (dream houses and past digs included):

  • Battell! Small rooms that squeeze two people into each = hanging out in the hall and lounges. As the biggest first-year dorm, I was happy to be assigned there my first semester and to have worn my B2S badge ever since (the lingo goes Battell – floor # – North/Center/South, i.e. B1C, B2N, etc. Note: B3C is usually referred to as “the Nunnery,” given it’s being an all-women floor). Photo above, left.
  • Gifford. Suites and pretty good singles, but underrated for its great lounges (each have balconies with spiral staircases), study rooms, convenient lecture hall, a small movie theater, and the Gamut Room (student run restaurant, performance venue, and meeting space; picture right).
  • Russian House. “Russkii dom” is one of the cute little houses that dot the Middlebury campus: full kitchen, living room, dining room, 2 bath, and rooms for 5. To get this one, you’ll have to be able to keep the language pledge (i.e. only speak Russian inside), but there are plenty other houses (interest houses and not) you can get.
  • And last but not least…

Kidding. That’s the organic garden shed.

The Middlebury Moth Up

Have you heard of the Moth? The Moth is a New York City based non-profit organization dedicated to storytelling. In multiple American cities, there are bars, restaurants, and other venues that regularly host Moth storytelling events. Often, the events revolve around a theme, and selected individuals (usually volunteers who sign up in advance) get on stage and tell a live, true story without notes that somehow pertains to the given theme.

The power of storytelling is something that has inspired me for a long time. Last year, two students here started Middlebury’s very own Moth storytelling event, called the Middlebury Moth Up. Since its founding, the event has become immensely popular and now attracts very large crowds that often spill out of the room.

This past Thursday, we had a Moth event which coincided with Campus Preview Days for the recently admitted class of 2015. The theme was “Experimentation.” It was wonderful to see the effect that the stories had on so many people in a room at once — students, prospective students, parents, and some faculty. The storytellers were students and one professor named Helen Young, who teaches biology. She told a fantastic story about eating a poisonous snake.

One reason that I find these events to be so powerful is that the storytellers, whether or not they intend to do this, end up being brutally honest about details of their story that they might not have otherwise mentioned in a smaller group setting. For that reason, every single person in the room can identify with the stories being told in some way, whether they’ve had a similar experience or a similar feeling.

To hear past stories from the Middlebury Moth, check out this link:

Spring Symposium, 2011

One of the most exciting annual events at Middlebury is the spring symposium. Each year Middlebury students from all four classes present and perform at the symposium. This year there are 306 oral and visual presentations and performances that will take place in Bicentennial Hall on Friday, April 15! It is a time of celebration; parents, family members, and friends come to Middlebury from all over the country to join students for this amazing day! Students share their thesis work, independent project findings, and a variety of other projects that they have been working on.

A little bit of self promotion: I will be presenting on my non-profit organization, HELA, and my thesis “Expert Discourse around Women’s Bodies and Their Subjugation: Imagining and Being the Afghan Woman.”

This year’s keynote speaker is a Middlebury alumnus, Brad Corrigan ’96: “Brad Corrigan ’96, member of the bands Dispatch and Braddigan, is the founder of Love, Light and Melody a non-profit in Nicaragua. A music major while at Middlebury he also studied Environmental Ethics and Philosophy.”

For a complete list of presenters and a detailed schedule for the symposium, please click here.

Here are some images from previous symposiums:

Awesome libraries

I always have a special love on libraries. The three libraries at Middlebury, Davis Family Library, Amstrong Science Library and Starr Library in Axinn center are my favorite buildings on campus. Middlebury’s libraries provide enormous resources that support the teaching, learning and research on campus. I started working at the circulation desk at Davis Library in my freshman year. Having worked for almost four years, I’d love to share with prospective students.

One of the most impressive buildings on campus is the giant “space-ship-like” building called Davis Family Library. Before it got its official name, it was called “main library” because, well, it is the *main* library. It hosts most of the collection and runs as the center for interlibrary loans, academic resources, and studying advices. The amount of the collection, one million, may not seem to be a large number, but all the books are shared by only 2500 undergraduate students. You can grab the book you want and borrow it for four weeks. If you need additional time, feel free to renew it.

Whenever you need something outside of our collection, you can always use interlibrary loan. We have two types of interlibrary loans: Nexpress and ILL. Nexpress is a consortium of libraries in New England: Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College, Middlebury College, Northeastern University, Wellesley College, and Williams College. Our libraries have created a combined catalog of our collections. Authorized users may borrow other member libraries’ materials by requesting them online in the NExpress Catalog and have them delivered to Middlebury for pickup. It is totally free and the ordered from NExpress usually arrive in 3 workdays. The other type of interlibrary loan is the *InterLibrary Loan (ILL)*. If the item is not avaliable in all the libraries in the nine New England colleges, you can also fill out an online form and request from any other libraries in the world.

For journal articles, Middlebury subscribe the majority of articles of many online archives such as JStor and Web of Science. If some articles request a fee, you could always fill out an online form and request the articles through the ILL office. The library will pay the fee and electronically deliver the artiles to your Middlebury account in a few days.

The Davis Library also provides equipments for loan: laptops (PC and Mac), headphones, chargers, digital cameras, camcorders, external hard drives, voice recorders, tripods, mouses, GPSs, webcams, dongles for Mac, projecters, screens, … just anything you can think of. Printings are free within quotas. From my own experience I’ve never used up my quotas. You can also print large posters in Amstrong library.

Amstrong (science) library is located in the beautiful seven-story building called Bicentennial Hall (BiHall). The size of Amstrong Library is relatively small, but it has a more focused collection: all the collections are related to science. BiHall is also the “home” for most of the science departments and labs. As a science student at Middlebury, It’s really conveient to immerse myself into the science world in BiHall.

The third library, Starr Library at Axinn Center, is the “oldest” and “newest” library on campus. It is currently the oldest library on campus, but it was renovated in 2007. It hosts the old books and some of the student thesis. This library, in my opinion, is the one of the most classy and comfortable places to study. If you ever visit Middlebury, Axinn Center a must-go.

There are also various other resources available. The Technology Helpdesk is at Davis Library to help with any computer-related problems. All the libraries are equipped by large-screen computers and you can find almost any academic softwares on these computers. The Center for Teaching, Learning and Research is in Davis Library and students can get help on writing or ask for tutors for private academic assistance for free. Librarians are on duty everyday and they are the nicest people to talk to when you have questions on finding data, article or governmental information.

In short, I can’t thank more on the libraries for support my study and research in the past four years. They are really amazing. If you have any questions about library resources, feel free to visit or contact 802-443-2000.

Middlebury Student Bloggers

Midd students are opinionated and enjoy sharing their opinions with others.  This fosters lively class discussions as well as countless high-quality student-run blogs.  I’d like to use this post to promote just a few of them.

MiddBlog is Middlebury’s blog for students by students.  Their latest features a letter from Tik Root, the Middlebury student who just returned to the US after being held for two weeks in a Syrian jail after being detained at a demonstration in Damascus.  MiddBlog is great to get a perspective on what is being discussed on campus and provides links to the blogs of other students and administrators.

21CB describes itself as “a fresh, thoughtful voice on the current affairs, popular culture, and web trends of Asia and the Asian diaspora.”  This blog was founded by a Middlebury senior from HK and features contributions from several other Midd students, all of whom have a background in Asia.  (Full disclosure: several of my friends are contributors).

And now for some shameless self-promotion: This blog originated as a project for a seminar I took in the fall, International Order in the 20th Century with Prof. James Morrison.  The blog hosts a podcast series in which three classmates and I discuss some of the key issues from class.  What is the nature of order (and disorder) in the international system?  What is the role of state sovereignty in the context of international integration?  What will the rise of China mean for the structure of the international system?  We discuss these questions and more over the course of five podcasts.