Despite being a month into the new year, we at Middbeat are still wading in the run off of 2016.
Yes, we know, “does Middbeat even exist anymore?” Without a doubt our New Year’s resolution is to be better. If you’re a new reader, Middbeat may seem like a tangent for an on-campus publication and that’s not where we ever wanted to be in the beginning.
Middbeat, entirely student-run and officially unaffiliated with the college, was originally founded to promote community building through student gatherings. Our motto was/is: everything and anything going on at Middlebury College; event posts, now few and far between, were essentially Middbeat’s answer to the question: where is everybody and why am I in my room alone?
Throughout Middbeat’s existence, however, the notion of “community building” has transformed beyond the physical performance of gathering together (still important, though, and we encourage you to keep event submissions coming.) Now, we hope that our platform will serve as a space for awareness and vigilance– to learn *from each other* about our collective responsibilities to this community.
Our platform permits and affords us a lot of benefits. One is a lack of institutional coercion or scare tactics or insults. We lack the whispered tips from the communications department, sure, but we also are free from the candidly smug and dismissive attitudes toward student run publications. There are pseudonyms, collaborations, thoughtful reflections, and silly retelling. At times, Middbeat is a central place for un-critiqued emotional exploration for loss, heartache, fear, inaction, action, love, and friendship. An integral question of narrative journalism at Middlebury, “how did you get here?” rings true at Middbeat. Yet, we often want to hear about what’s keeping you here or what’s pushing you away.
In theory the possibilities were endless. In theory we should have begun our year calling out a lot of subtle behaviors, policies, op-eds, reflections and irl ___. Yik Yak died down and the flood gates opened while we were all inattentive. During last semester we drowned in booth room gossip, rumors, opinions, as well as a handful of rhetorical resilience. This new concept rhetorical resilience, burned with a persistent flame. It did not recognize structures of power or the abuse of power. Instead it embraced a superficial and very institutional idealism. It feigned that group think on campus was ready to nourish, reflect, and be open to new ideas. Meanwhile, in the crevices of campus, students would practice their physical and verbal powers over others in peak, drunk social hours of the weekend. Most grew to tolerate it or were too busy with life to actually report or write about it, ourselves included.
We were meant to help out and speak out: denouncing the end of public safety escorts, exploring a possible embezzlement in dining services, exposing the correlation between wealth privilege and sexual assault, wondering are we actually carbon neutral (cause like honestly I doubt it)? will we become a sanctuary campus? why is there an emphasis on a dog park? does Middlebury (the institution) think that black lives matter? what’s to become of student activism? why is there a poor structure to student internship funding at cci? is the drug culture flourishing or deflating? are we wrong for turning creative spaces into money making schemes? was there actually a private investigator looking into secret societies?
We’re sorry we hardly answered or even touched upon these topics beyond Twitter. There needs to be an unfiltered place–hardly impacted by vanity and self promotion. The unwavering critical voice of Middlebury was found in a loophole and was abandoned. There will still be crush of the weeks (a more diverse selection), Thursday Thoughts, Event Promotions, Cheesy/Cliche Abroad Reflections, but we’re coming into 2017 with the intention of being more attentive and thus more critical.
If you’d like to write, we’d love to get a pitch beforehand or have you at a meeting.