Category Archives: Environment

TODAY: Midd School of the Environment Info Session

So you constantly hear about the various schools Middlebury owns beyond our lovely Vermont campus undergraduate institution: the 60+ schools abroad, the Midd-Monterey School for International Studies, Bread Loaf, etc. But have you heard of the Middlebury School of the Environment? If not, read up.

As you may or may not know, Middlebury was the FIRST school in the country to have an Environmental Studies major (whaaat?! Right? It’s pretty fuckin cool). While investment decisions are frequently questioned (with reason), the vast majority of our campus is quite environmentally conscious, and generally our students show a serious interest in the environment. But what’s even cooler is that Middlebury also has it’s own School of the Environment over the summer, open to both Midd students and college students at large.

There will be an informational session about the Midd School for the Environment TODAY, where you can learn more about this 6-week intensive summer program focusing on environmental leadership training, lab, and field work. At the School for Environment, students can earn 3 Middlebury units of credit in the introductory or advanced track. Professor Steve Trombulak, Director of the School of the Environment, and alumni from the 2014 session will lead the session and answer questions.

Date: Tuesday, February 24
Time: 4:30-5:30pm
Place: The Orchard (Room 103) in Hillcrest (the Environmentally friendly white house next to Proctor)
All are welcome!

Apathy and Action: Exploring Youth-Driven Movements


Today marks the start of the second annual student global affairs conference. The topic this year? Youth-driven movements. The conference runs from today through tomorrow, and there are a ton of really fascinating lectures, some of which will be given by Middlebury powerhouse professors (Wyatt, Owens, McKibben). Check out the event description as well as the schedule of events below!

From the RAJ website:

2014 marked a watershed year for youth activism. Many of the social movements that made headlines – from Occupy Central in Hong Kong to the People’s Climate March in New York – were driven by the passion and energy of young people. The level of resolve and engagement displayed by the youth in such movements not only captivated the world, but also created pressure for change.

Youth-driven social movements in East Asia, South Asia, Latin America, and North America, as well as global movements such as the climate movement are greatly varied in their methods and level of success. This conference, however, aims to explore the shared characteristics of these movements–with particular focus on how factors, such as apathy, radicalism, moderation and class, could enhance or weaken the strength of youth-led action. This conference will put the latest youth-led movements in perspective and look to the future, aiming to determine the key factors that will be responsible for either bringing or deterring social change. In particular, it aims to explore the role that youth can and have played in activism, and what the potential role of students around the world will be going forward.

Read more about the mission of the conference at go/youth.

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Student Group Profile: Mountain Club

With the start of a new semester, you may be wondering what new activities you should get involved with? Well stop your tossing and turning because lucky for you MiddBeat is scoping out some of Middlebury’s finest to guide you to a successful semester. This week we sat down with Joe Lovelace ’17 and Anahí Naranjo ’17, the Co-President and the Outreach Coordinator of the Mountain Clu, to find out what the MMC has been up to.

middbeat: so what is the Mountain Club?
The Mountain Club is the outdoors club at Middlebury so we lead trips of all sorts: canoeing, day hikes, backpacking, bird watching, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, basically anything and everything outside. We also have weekly meetings and plan social events like Firesides where we get together in Brooker (the outdoor interest house), hangout, and eat a home cooked meal. 

What do you have going on right now?
JL: Over Winter Carnival weekend we had a really successful event called Northern Lights which is an exciting exhibition of the mountainess spirit trapped inside everyone during J-Term unleashed in the form of human dog sled races, snow shoe relays, and ice dancing. We also had tons of excellent food and hot chocolate. There was a really big turnout and it seemed like everyone had an awesome time. A lot of our guides spent J-Term preparing for FOO which unfortunately was canceled due to the weather but we have been taking out multiple winter trips and increasing our volume of certified winter guides. We’ve also been doing a lot of trail maintenance to beef up the cabins and trails aspect of MMC in order to prepare for the new lodge that is coming near Breadloaf (Burgin Lodge). We’ve also been working on the Catamont Trail system to build better relationships with the people who perform most of the trail maintenance in our area. But the big trips coming up are for spring break where we will be sending people as far north as Canada and as far west as Moab in Utah.

What should prospective members of the Middlebury community know about Mountain Club?
JL: Well incase people didn’t know, we have gear hours from 4:30-7 on Tuesday and Thursday in the FIC where you can check out everything from sleeping bags, tents, and headlamps to snow shoes and cross-country skis. There are TONS of free camping and other sorts of trips going out this spring that are open to anyone interested-no experience necessary. We really want to get people camping and hiking who have never done it before because we literally have tens of thousands of dollars worth of gear and live in such an accessible and beautiful place that everyone should enjoy. We also have naked calendars for sale now for only $10 a piece, they are a great way to see your favorite mountain folk baring it all (pun intended)- plus it includes all the faces of the moon! Check out Mr. February ;) You can also feel free to send your tastefully nude photos to the Mountain Club email to be featured next year.

What kind of outreach are you doing this year?
AN: We’ve been trying to go beyond the club’s previous outreach efforts because before we were focusing on outreach outside of the college like at local schools and getting kids to enjoy the outdoors, but now we are reaching more inward. There is honestly a lack of diversity within our club and campus, historically MMC has not had strong representation of people of color and we’re currently working to address this issue. We’re trying to reach more students within the school who haven’t had a lot or any exposure to the outdoors so we have been collaborating with other orgs on campus.

What collaborations are happening?
AN: We are currently planning a retreat/discussion fireside with UMOJA (the African Student Organization) and we are trying to create beginner only trips where we will have a sign-up exclusively for people who have never gone on a trip before because maybe they have been intimidated by the experience of other participants. We are also going to plan something with SNG (Sunday Night Group) but that is still in the works. If any clubs, groups, or individuals are interested in having the MMC facilitate an outdoor retreat or would like to collaborate with the club, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]

If, after reading this, you feel inspired to conquer the great outdoors or hang out with a group of really fun bearded folk, the MMC meets on Wednesday at 6pm in Coltrane. If you would like to be on the emailing list to learn about all of the fun trips going out, email [email protected].

Lecture Today: Trees in the Urban Forest, Emerald Ash Borer and Middlebury

EABadultsideviewWhen you think of cool and out-of-the-box J-term classes, Trees in the Urban Forest is probably up there on the list of ones you are most curious about. If you’re like me, you’ve been wondering about that group of kids walking around campus looking at trees and want to know what the heck they’ve been learning about. Well here’s our chance!! Professor Tim Parsons writes in:

As you may well be aware, the Emerald Ash Borer is a small exotic insect invading the country, and is poised to enter Vermont in the next couple of years. It has the potential to eliminate all the native Ash trees from the state. Just on the campus grounds itself we have over 200 large Ash trees that will need to be removed at great expense, and replanted. For a quick explaination, see .

Two years ago my winter term class “Trees and the Urban Forest” took a draft of an emergency preparedness plan for the eventual arrival of the insect from the State Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation and completed it for the Town of Middlebury. This winter term we are now drafting the plan for Middlebury College. This includes surveying all the Ash on campus, coming up with options for treatment or removal, giving replanting options, and running a
computer model to calculate the lost benefits from these trees,including stormwater and pollution abatement, carbon sequestration, and energy savings.

We’d be honored if you could join us to present the plan to the College community.

Date: Today, January 28th
Time: Noon
Place: The Orchard, Room 103 in the Franklin Environmental Center
Cost: Free!

Beyond Carbon Neutrality: Middlebury Microgrid Conceptual Design

CSC-Microgrid Presentation

In and out of the classroom, students do some pretty cool stuff during J-term, and campus is buzzing with creativity and independent projects. Remember weeks ago when we were just starting registration? Remember that there was a student led class? Most likely, you either tried desperately to enroll or otherwise glazed over the course description thinking “someone here actually has their shit together enough to teach a class?!” Either way, the Campus Microgrid Feasibility Study class has put together a pretty awesome event today to teach us about what they’ve been up to. Teddy Kuo ’15 writes in to middbeat:

This January, 13 students participated in a J-Term class led by Isaac Baker ‘14.5 that studied the feasibility of a campus microgrid. The class examined our current energy system, disaster response plans and produced a vision for a more resilient and climate disaster-ready campus. Working with partners from the Department of Energy, Princeton University, Green Mountain Power, Middlebury Facilities and the Office of Sustainability Integration, students refined this vision into a conceptual design for a campus microgrid. The project hopes to contribute to Middlebury’s leadership in sustainability and provide steps for student engagement into the Spring and beyond. Sustainable snacks will be provided by Campus Sustainability Coordinators.

Date: Today, January 28th
Time: 4:00 PM
Place: Hillcrest 103
Cost: Nada

USAID Food Security Investments in High Population Growth Countries

USAID LOGOThis Thursday there will be a lecture titled “USAID Food Security Investments in High Population Growth Countries” by Reid Hamel ’03, who directs research in food security and economic strengthening programs for Save the Children’s Department of Hunger and Livelihoods in Washington, DC. Reid Hamel is a PhD candidate in demography at the University of California, Berkeley, and is teaching the Winter Term course SOAN 1028 Global Population and Food Security.

When: Thursday, January 22 4:30-6:00
Where: RAJ conference room

~heating your rooms~


With campus feeling more and more like an Arctic tundra, many of us have probably been spending a lot time in our (warm, cozy) rooms. With that in mind, the Campus Sustainability Coordinators have put together an awesome poster detailing where Middlebury’s heat comes from and how you can heat your room more efficiently and prevent heat loss. Want more info? Make sure to visit go/heat.


MAlt Las Marias: Taste of India


Do you LOVE Indian food? Are you looking for an excuse to eat more? Come to Eat Taste of India this Friday (16th January 2015) from 4:30 – 9:30 pm. The Las Marias trip will be learning about Permaculture, sustainable farming and living so come out and show your love of the environment and tasty food! 10% of the sales will go to MAlt Las Maris Puerto Rico!

If you are unable to make it and would still like to contribute to the trip or learn more about the Las Marias group, check out

When: Friday, January 16th 4:30-9:30pm
Where: Taste of India, 1 Baker Lane (Middlebury, VT)

TODAY: Woodin Environmental Studies Colloquium Series


The Woodin Environmental Studies Colloquium is back this week with a fascinating lecture titled, “Panacea or Poor Perspective? The Role of Urban Agriculture in Growing a Greener City,” given by Hamil Pearsall ‘03, Assistant Professor and Graduate Chair, Geography and Urban Studies Department, Temple University. If you’re interested in agriculture, urban development, social entrepreneurship or gardening at large, definitely don’t miss this talk. Here’s the deets:

This presentation questions the role of urban agriculture in making post-industrial cities more sustainable through a case study of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Urban agriculture lives large in the urban imaginary and plays an increasingly prominent role in discourses about the sustainable city. Often characterized by advocates as a panacea, gardening and farming seem to promise solutions to many different urban issues, such as blighted vacant lots, food insecurity, stormwater runoff, and unemployment. A single garden or urban farm can address these multiple concerns by promoting social entrepreneurship, urban beautification, urban greening, youth engagement, and local economic development opportunities. Although these objectives are related under the broader mission of “sustainability,” tensions among stakeholders over competing objectives have started to emerge, and questions of land tenure, the use of economic resources, and the long-term viability of urban agriculture shape the political discourse about the future of growing in the city and its role in promoting urban sustainability

Date: Today, November 20
Time: 12:30 -1:20 pm
Place: Orchard Hillcrest 103

Bill McKibben: The Tower of Babel and the Ivory Tower: Reflections on Reaching for the Heavens


It goes without saying that campus celeb Bill McKibben is pretty much a genius. Almost every talk this environmentalist, best-selling author, and Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College gives is incredibly fascinating, and absolutely worth attending; it’s really quite a privilege to have McKibben on campus. So, today, if you’re interested in college achievement culture, religious studies, biblical literature, multiculturalism, or just a good time, be sure to stop by McKibben’s talk, “The Tower of Babel and the Ivory Tower: Reflections on Reaching for the Heavens.” Here’s a quick brief on what will go down”

In this lecture, Bill McKibben will look at the story of the tower of Babel from Genesis 11, and the issues the text raises for the modern college: are there limits to what we should discover, and what are some of the early ideas about we now call multiculturalism? The Babel story–at the very end of the so-called ‘primordial Bible’–is full of intriguing hints about how all humans might approach these key questions.

Bill McKibben is an author, whose books include The End of Nature, about climate change, and The Comforting Whirlwind: God, Job, and the Scale of Creation, which is about the book of Job. He’s a regular columnist for the religious magazine Sojourners, and his work has also appeared frequently in The Christian Century, as well as Christianity Today and Books and Culture. Later in November he’ll give a plenary address at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting in San Diego, and in January he will teach a winter-term course on “Stories from the Bible.”

This lecture is sponsored by the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, with generous support by Cook Commons.

Date: Today, November 17
Time: 7:30 – 9 pm
Place: Dana Auditorium (in Sunderland)
Cost: fo free