Category Archives: Campus Life

Op-ed: Aleck Silva-Pinto ’16 on SGA Endorsements

The Middlebury Campus online editorial section.

The Middlebury Campus online editorial section.

Today, we have an opinion piece in from middbeat editor Aleck Silva-Pinto ’16 on the role of endorsements in the race for Middlebury’s SGA President. Aleck’s take on this controversial facet of the election process is definitely worth a read regardless of how you feel about the endorsement itself. Comments/questions/concerns? Or just want to submit an opinion of your own? Email us at [email protected] Additionally, look out for continuing coverage of the election on middbeat in the coming days as we release interviews conducted with each of the presidential candidates. 

Yesterday, The Campus released its annual endorsement for SGA President and Chair of the Community Council.  The paper chose Caroline Walters ‘16.5 and Durga Jayaraman ‘16 respectively as the best candidates.  The article has caused quite a bit of consternation as demonstrated by a slew of negative comments on the The Campus’ website.  Many took issue with the picks themselves, but some enlightened readers got at the heart of the issue: why is The Campus endorsing anyone?

As a first-year at Middlebury, I remember being taken aback with The Campus’ endorsement of Rachel Lidell ‘15.  That is not to say I didn’t find her qualified, I just felt it odd that the only newspaper on a campus of 2,500 students would find it necessary to endorse a candidate.  Endorsements are a key function of various newspapers all over the country and their recommendations inform the poll-booth decisions of millions of Americans.  However, unlike the nuanced political scene of the United States, the SGA is a specific organization that serves a very specific role on campus.

In 2009, the editorial staff of The Williams Record published an article encouraging students to “inform themselves” about the platform of each candidate before voting.  Their staff stressed the importance of understanding what exactly the College Council (Williams’ equivalent of SGA) does and how their actions affect students’ daily lives. The article also does a fantastic job detailing the platforms of both candidates for their readers, something The Campus has failed to do in their recent endorsement.

Middlebury is stirring over yesterday’s endorsement for the wrong reasons.  If you take issue with the candidate they chose, so be it.  Their specific choice, however, should not be reason for uproar.  I would implore the entire student body to disregard the endorsement entirely as The Campus’ editorial has demonstrated that it is not an authority on the issue.  In their desire to emulate a classic newspaper convention they give an unfair and unwarranted advantage to a candidate based a set of short interviews and, in turn, encourage a collective laziness among students who now feel they know which candidate should win.  The editorial staffs at newspapers like The New York Times or The Washington Post have years of experience in the various stages of local and national politics, and their opinions are respected across the country.  I have trouble believing The Campus’ editorial staff knows much more about SGA than the regular student.  Yes, there is regular SGA coverage, but, as evidenced by the faulty and short-sided assessment of the SGA’s accomplishments this past year in their endorsement, such coverage has not aided their actual understanding of the SGA’s inner workings.

I would like to mirror the message of The Williams Record; do your own research.  With such a small constituency, the legwork that each candidate does should trump the opinion of a few editors at our paper.  Keep this election as fair as possible and try your best to understand what makes each candidate qualified.  We are not electing actual politicians, we are looking for someone who can successfully manage the SGA.  I struggle to see how characteristics like “a fresh perspective and an undeniable enthusiasm” are qualities that are relevant to the election.  To The Campus, please realize that your role at Middlebury should not include endorsing candidates for SGA, but rather informing the students of their options.  Your endorsement has done more to make this an ill-influenced popularity contest rather than a fair race- and that can be said for every endorsement I have seen in my time here.

-Aleck Silva-Pinto

Sepomana 2015: Ratking, Yonatan Gat, and Iron Eyes Cody Announced as Openers for Lunice

sepomana 2015

Get your tickets at go/SEPOMTIX, and check after the jump for info and music from the openers. Shout out to one of our student-band favorites Iron Eyes Cody for getting on the bill, they’ll be slaying it as always no doubt.  STOKED for this show.

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2015 Amka Conference: Education in Africa

2015 Amka conference

Economic history not your thing?  More psyched on education?  Make sure to catch the 2015 Amka Conference on Education in Africa tomorrow, which kicks off at 11 am in Wilson Hall with a keynote speech from Fred Swaniker, founder of the African Leadership Academy.   Big thanks to Umoja, the Middlebury African Student Organization, for organizing the conference, and make sure to check out the event page here, and the schedule after the jump.  There will be talks all day and partying all night, so don’t miss out.

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Earth Week Festival today!!


Midterms/the end of the year/climate change got you down? Cheer up at the CSC’s Earth Week Festival this afternoon, featuring performances from your favorite on-campus groups, snacks (think locally sourced meat and veggie burgers on the grill, ice cream, and more), tree tours around campus, presentations, temporary tattoos, music and more. See you there!

Date: TODAY, 4/24
Time: 3-6pm
Place: Proctor Terrace
Cost: nada!

Talk TODAY: Bending the Moral Arc with Robin Pandoley


In light of the upcoming election cycle, our campus has turned its attention to the ways in which we can create meaningful change in our community. While the SGA is an important conduit, it’s important for us to remember that we are all capable of creating change outside of the institutional structures in place. Today, Robin Pendoley will be speaking about creating meaningful social impact. More on the lecture below!!

Creating social impact is easy. It happens all around us every day. Impact that — as Dr. King would say — bends the moral arc of the universe toward justice, is really hard to make. It’s not just aprofessional mountain to climb, but a personal one, too. Come hear how one educator is working to create a new generation of agents of change who are uniquely qualified to bend our universe toward justice. It’s a story of social innovation, personal struggle, and changing the world.

Robin Pendoley isn’t trying to solve the world’s biggest problems. He’s trying to prepare others to do it. As Founder & CEO of Thinking Beyond Borders — an educational non-profit offering gap year programs — Robin has led the development of innovative programs that are redefining social impact leadership. Sometimes labelled a social entrepreneur, he’s highly skeptical of that field and the start-up culture it has created in the social sector. Robin holds a BA in International Development from UCLA and an EdM from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Date: Today, April 24th
Time: 12:30 PM
Place: Axinn 229
Cost: Free and w/ PIZZA



What’s up beasts; if you like to party, you’re in luck! There is gonna be a fucking sick concert tomorrow in the most legendary venue on this campus: the Bunker (aka the Freeman INTERNATIONAL Center, ever heard of it???) Hopefully the lineup will unite all the bleep blood heads and indie hipsters who are perpetually warring on this campus. DJ Eric “DJ Eric Hass” Hass will be opening for no less than Brooklyn’s own Body Language, who play a lot of dance-poppy r&b and nu-disco. Hell yea

If you’re down, head over to the Bunker at 10pm tomorrow, Friday, 4/24.

Here are a couple of their sickest tracks….

So yeah they play like real dance music but using live instruments. Pretty sick, I know.

Hope to see you there!

TONIGHT: Poor Form Poetry Show

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 9.53.20 AM

This week is rough work-wise, and the weather isn’t helping. BUT, we’ve got a great event to break up your mid-week studying woes–who doesn’t love a lil slam poetry on a Thursday night?! Grab some coffee in Crossroads and then head over to Axinn to check out Midd’s very own Slam Poetry Team, Poor Form Poetry, featuring performances from these fiiiiine MiddKids:

Carolyn Orosz ’15
Emily Luan ’15
Meagan Neal ’15
Claire Hodgdon ’15
Andrew Snow ’15
Michael Schermerhorn ’18
Lizzie Apple ’18
Joel Wilner ’18
Stefan Pla ’18
Naomi Eisenberg ’18

This is their last performance of the year and therefore your last chance to hear what these seniors have to say!! Come and be wooed by their sweet rhymes.

Date: Tonight, April 23
Time: 9pm
Place: Abernethy Room
Cost: Fo’ free!!!


earth_week_centered_copy_3As some of you may know (maybe from that nifty Google doodle?), today is the 45th Anniversary of Earth Day! In partnership with SNG and several other student groups, the Campus Sustainability Coordinators have put together a week of events aimed at raising awareness and celebrating all things nature. Check out the schedule below:

6 pm — Head over to Johnson to check out a new Gallery Exhibit, “eARTh Day: A Progression of Black Resistance and Its Relation to Environmental Justice.”

7 pm — Don’t miss the Mountain Club’s Screening of “An American Ascent,” at Dana Auditorium! It’s bound to be awesome — see this post for more details.

9 pm – Want to get out and about? It’s Mchaka Mchaka running night at Mead Chapel, and all are welcome!

12:30 pm – Bring your lunch and head down to the Hillcrest Orchard room for another great ES Colloquium talk. This week’s talk, by David Bond, Faculty Member at Bennington College and Senior Associate at The Center for the Advancement of Public Action, is titled “Ethical Oil: The Moral Economy of Nature and Culture in the Tar Sands of Alberta.”

FRIDAY, 4/24:
3-6pm – Celebrate the earth (and the start of the weekend) at the CSC-sponsored Earth Week Festival! The festival will feature free food, a tree tour led by Tim Parsons, temporary tattoos, and more, with performances by Midd Masti, 4:30 Jazz Combo, On Tap, RIDDIM, ASL, Paradiddles, Mchaka Mchaka, Mischords, and Capoeira. Students, staff, and faculty are all welcome! (Please note: our rain location will be in Crossroads Café). 

4-8pm – Head down to the Organic Garden for MCOF’s Spring Planting Festival! Pizza, s’mores, and good vibes are all promised.

SUNDAY, 4/26:
6pm – Continuing the theme of fun and (free) food, drop by Xenia House and join their Earth Week Picnic!

9pm – Start strategizing! Head over to the Hillcrest Orchard room for SNG’s weekly meeting, and see how you can get involved in sustainability and climate justice issues on campus.


Student Group Profile: Middlebury Plus (aka Gap Year Students at Middlebury)


While some of us might be studying abroad or staying here next semester, others might be planning to take a semester or year off — to travel, spend time at home, or do something else entirely. If you’re have taken/are thinking about taking time off, or if you’ve taken a gap year or are a prospective student thinking about taking a gap year, check out our interview with the wonderful Sami Lamont ’17 about Middlebury Plus (also known as Gap Year Students at Middlebury):

middbeat: For those of us who don’t know, what is MiddPlus?
So we were created last year in an effort to create a community for people who’ve taken time off, and we’ve recently been expanding the role of our community to include not just gap year students, but people who take time off while at Middlebury. Our other goal is to increase accessibility to gap years or for taking time off while at Middlebury, because it’s something that a lot of people are only able to do because they have the resources to do so….we want to make it easier to do for everyone, because it is such a beneficial experience. We’ve been working with Middlebury Admissions throughout the year on linking our websites and getting gap year student profiles onto their website. They’ve actually just reformatted the admissions packets with new information on gap years, and that’s really exciting.

What are some things you’ve been working on to improve access to gap years?
So one thing has definitely been increasing awareness about gap years. Another big thing for us now is making pamphlets that show that “what you can do with a gap year” is not just limited to traveling, but that you can stay at home and work and still get a good gap year experience. We want to make our website a place where people can have conversations about their gap years, and we want to increase awareness about the varieties of opportunities that are available for gap year students. Further down the line, we’d really like to create some kind of scholarship that people can use to take time off. But that’s a big goal so it probably won’t happen while we’re at Middlebury…

When did you decide to take a Gap Year? Why was it something you wanted to do?
I started thinking about it probably at the beginning of my senior year in high school, and by the time I started applying to colleges I was knew that it was something I wanted to do. For me, a lot of it was just the fact that I wasn’t really excited to go to college. Mainly because… you know, high school, it’s a lot of academics, and I was like, “Why am I even doing all this, when I don’t even know what I want to do with my life?” That was a big part of it. Also, I think I wanted to get a better sense of the so-called “real world”, and see people who weren’t part of this middle-class, suburban America. So that’s why I went to South America, and volunteered with street kids in Peru. I think it definitely pointed me towards my major [SOAN], and the experience I had showed me that there are a lot of systematic problems with the world. Having the time to take off from that same sort of GPA-focused high school mentality was also really helpful for me and my mental well-being at Middlebury.

Is it easy to take a gap year at Midd?
Yeah, I think that for gap years, it’s pretty easy to do, you just say “I don’t want to go to school right away!” and the administration is fine with it. That being said, there are schools that are doing more…Tufts has this “plus one” program where they have a specific gap year program, Princeton has this “bridge year” program where they send kids to their programs in other countries. Middlebury doesn’t make it difficult, but they also don’t make it the norm.

You mentioned that you’re trying to make a space where current gap year students can talk to prospective gap year students – how does that work?
So, the idea of our website is that there are different profiles, students talk about what they did on their gap years, in three of four sentences, with a link to their contact information. And what we want to convey to people is that these people really want to talk to you about taking a gap year, we really want to help you plan and organize!

What kind of events do you guys have with the community here on campus?
We’ve gone for a retreat model. So basically we invite gap year students to go off-campus for a night, and we get to know each other, cook dinner, and share about our gap years, and how they’ve influenced our lives here at Midd. We also brainstorm about how to make gap years more accessible and further the goals of our club. It’s actually been really helpful, I think we’re going to try to do them every semester. I’ve heard that people feel like they don’t have opportunities to talk about their gap years without sounding really annoying or entitled, like the whole “Gap Yah” stereotype…plus, sometimes adjusting to the academics and to not having total freedom, as well as the age difference, is hard for a lot of gap year students.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to other gap year students,  or people who are thinking of taking time off?
If you’re interested, get in touch! Through our website, email, Facebook page, anything! If you’re a gap year student, know that there’s a community available if you would like to get in touch, and if you are interested in taking time off, know that gap years can happen for anyone– there is a really wide variety of experiences and not all of them involve travel or need to be really expensive.

Spring 5K Race

5K 2015 Poster (1) (1)Hey Middlebury! Looking for something to do this Saturday, April 25th? Come out to the GlobeMed annual 5K race (run, walk, skip, whatever). There will be live music by Iron Eyes Cody and a BBQ on Proctor Terrace afterwards. Cost for the race is $10, for the BBQ is a suggested donation of $5.

We’ll be tabling at the library every night if you want to stop by to sign up and pay in cash, or pay through this link:  or you’ll be able to sign up on Saturday before the race!

When: Saturday, April 25
Where: Proctor Terrace
Time: race starts at 11am