Category Archives: Environment

TONIGHT: Observatory Open House Night!!!!


from Middlebury College

I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS!!!! Dreams do come true. Tonight the Physics Department is hosting an Open House night at the college observatory. For those who don’t know, this is on the top of Bihall… and notoriously always locked (ugh). But not tonight!! COME VIEW THE HEAVENS!! More info here:

The observatory, located atop McCardell Bicentennial Hall, will be open to the public for viewing the heavens on Friday evenings, May 1 and May 8, from 9:00 PM until 10:30 PM, provided the skies are mostly clear.

Jupiter and Venus will be in the evening sky on both of these dates, while the moon will be visible only on the first of these two evenings. Also visible through our telescopes will be a number of interesting stars, star clusters, and nebulae. There is no set program for the Open House nights; the public is invited at any time between 9:00 PM and 10:30 PM.

The observatory dome houses a 24-inch computer-controlled telescope. Additional, smaller telescopes will also be available on the roof deck for observing the night sky.

All observatory public nights are free and open to the public, but will take place only if the sky is at least mostly clear. If the weather appears uncertain, visitors may call the observatory at 443-2266 after 7:00 PM on the evening of the Open House for a status report. More information can also be found at… .

Date: Today, May 1st
Time: 9 – 10:30
Place: Observatory (on top of bihall)
Cost: Free

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!


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.


TODAY– If This Farm Could Talk: Culinary Tourism in Vermont!!

Oh my gosh SO excited about this. We all know how amazing Vermont is, and today we can hear from someone who has found a way to share it with others! Today, Midd alum Chris Howell ‘4.5 will return to campus to discuss his business, Vermont Farm Tours. His company is a small culinary tour outfit offering guided driving and cycling tours, cheese making workshops, and on-farm events. From the event description:

Vermont Farm Tours aims to involve both locals and tourists in Vermont’s agricultural story, and more broadly—to explore place through food. In 2010 Chris received the Wild Gift Fellowship to launch his business: a 16-month program supporting better world entrepreneurs. Chris is currently the vice president of Slow Food Vermont and co-chairs Farm to Plate’s Consumer Education and Marketing Working Group and Agritourism Task Force.

Date: Today, April 17th
Time: 12:30
Place: Axinn 229
Cost: Free w/ PIZZA

Social Entrepreneurship and Land Conservation in the U.S.

DgAXwMDWul72NxlGp0bZ5ikoToday Rand Wentworth, President of the Land Trust Alliance, will discuss the changing future of land conservation in the U.S. and the integral role young entrepreneurs will play in that process. Throughout Wentworth’s illustrious career, he has often had to convince Congress that our public lands out to be protected, making him one of the country’s foremost advocates for conservation.
The talk will happen during lunchtime today, so if you want a spot you must rsvp here.
Date: Today, April 14th
Place: The Orchard (Hillcrest 103)
Time: 12:30- 1:30 pm
Price: It’s free if you RSVP

TODAY: Environmental Policy in Vermont and Beyond

solar-panelsToday, we all have an awesome opportunity to join Mez Baker-Medard’s Conservation and Environmental Policy class for a panel discussion of some pretty awesome guest speakers. The class will be hearing from Senator Ginny Lyons (of the Vermont state senate), Johanna Miller (Vermont Natural Resources Council), Lauren Hierl (Vermont League of Conservation Voters) and Pat Parentau (Vermont Law School). This seems like an awesome lineup to hear a diverse group of opinions surrounding environmental policy in Vermont.

Date: Today, April 6th
Time: 11:15-12:05
Place: Hillcrest 103
Cost: Free

Changing Times: Multi-School Coalition and Alumni Mobilization Advance Divestment Movement

17204_1548782685402995_3617527780239181061_nStudents around the world are rising and we will no longer accept silence. Today, the Investure Schools Coalition for Fossil Fuel Divestment sent a letter to each of our colleges’ presidents requesting a meeting between administrators and representatives from our divestment campaigns. We are sending this letter in conjunction with the National Alumni Escalation for Fossil Fuel Divestment and are requesting that our presidents respond by the culmination of Harvard Heat Week for Fossil Fuel Divestment on April 17th.

Logistics of a Commingled Fund:

The Investure Schools Coalition consists of the divestment campaigns from Barnard College in New York, Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, Middlebury College in Vermont, and Smith College in Massachusetts. All of our colleges endowments are managed by an investment firm called Investure, LLC, and students at all of our colleges are working to divest our endowments from fossil fuels. We are in a unique position because our endowments are mixed in a co-mingled fund along with a total of 13 other institutions, which means that our money is treated as single pool and individual schools have very limited control over how the money is invested.

In 2010, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund –previously a client of Investure–and Middlebury College worked with Investure to create the Sustainable Investments Initiative, an alternative pool of sustainable investments within Investure. Both institutions contributed money to the pool, but the structure did not allow for full divestment. After attempts to negotiate full divestment, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund left Investure on September 22, 2014 to divest their $843 million endowment through a different investment firm. Investure’s unwillingness to negotiate divestment with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund showed us that coming to the table as individual clients would not be likely to succeed.  Our circumstances made it essential for us to work together and to pursue divestment as a united coalition.

This coalition was founded out of necessity, but from it has grown a commitment to support each other through the divestment process and the opportunity to leverage our collective voice to amplify our unified message .  We believe in the power of unity, and are coordinating with our faculty and alumni to add their voices to call for divestment.

Alumni Support for this Shift:

This week alumni are returning to their respective institutions in droves to sign divestment petitions and the “Long Haul Organizing Pledge,” engineered by the new Alumni Divestment Network. In addition, alumni groups have established escrow funds in which they can provide donations that will only be made accessible to their respective institutions when divestment is completed. These actions attest to the dedication and endurance of alumni in the divestment movement. Zach Drennen, Middlebury class of 2013 writes,  “In a time when money is legally considered speech, continuing to put our money in fossil fuel companies means stating clearly that we do not take climate change seriously. Middlebury rightly values its image as an environmental leader, and it is past time for its actions to meet that image.”

Through our organizing efforts, we have seen the power of unity within the climate justice movement, and we are dedicated to standing in solidarity with divestment campaigns across the country and world. We are not alone in this. Other divestment campaigns, have formed coalitions to support each other, including the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network and the Ivy League Fossil Fuel Divestment Coalition.

Our Goals:

As students unite in the call for divestment, our colleges cannot continue business as usual any longer. It is time to take action, and we hope that our coalition will help bring students and administrators together and harness our full potential to to make material changes for a sustainable future. As we continue our efforts we will stand in solidarity with our fellow students and adhere to our guiding principles:We believe that climate change is a threat to the livelihood of current and future generations. We believe the assumption that fossil fuels are a necessary part of a stable investment portfolio is outdated and false. We believe that our colleges’ should see the sustainability of our planet as integral to our academic and future success; for our future and the future of the planet are one and the same.

We hope to begin an open dialogue with administrators to create a mutually agreed upon strategy for divestment. Colleges and institutions are divesting from fossil fuels across the world  and we are calling on our colleges to join the movement and be leaders in preserving the planet for their students.

Please support us by joining the student and alumni network at: or by writing letters to your college administration and postponing all donations to your alma mater until it has divested.

And signing each school’s Fossil Free petition:





Written by students Sophie Vaughan (Middlebury College) ’17 and Helen Cane (Barnard College) ’17

Nile River Project Seminal Event!

nile_project_cairo_concert_by_matjaz_kacicnikWe here at Middbeat have been hearing a ton of buzz about the Nile Rive Project coming to campus!   Tonight’s show is going to be incredible! Here’s a description from the Project’s website:

“The forward-thinking musicians of the Nile Project channel the unsung beauty of East African traditions. In the collective’s collaborative compositions, resonant harps and lyres from up and down the river have learned new musical modes, while buzzing timbres and ingenious polyrhythms support vocals in more than ten languages.
Designed to captivate local audiences but feel equally accessible to international listeners, the Nile Project uses music to inspire curiosity about and active engagement with the cultural, social, and environmental challenges of the world’s longest river. The Collective’s collaborative model is a blueprint for a new way to organize the Nile.”

Check out this video of them doing their thing!

Date: Tonight, April 2
Time: 8-10 pm
Place: McCullough Social Space
Cost: $6 for Students, $20 for Fac/Staff/Alumni $25 for General Public

Today! Woodin Environmental Studies Colloquium

essMina Girgis and Meklit Hadero, founders of the Nile Project, will be speaking about their missions to cultivate a community of cross-border cooperation in the Nile River Basin.  Come here how the sharing of music and culture can pave the way to a more sustainable future for East Africa!
Date: Today, April 2
Time: 12:30-1:30 pm
Place: The Orchard Room at Hillcrest

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!