Category Archives: Midd Off-Campus

TONIGHT: Happenstance, an Alumni/Senior Mixer

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Okay, okay– we’re not supposed to talk about graduation yet. But we’re nearing the month of May, and it’s kind of getting real. Here’s a really cool event for seniors and senior febs that sounds like a lot of fun mingling. Nes Martinez ’10 writes in to middbeat:

With just weeks away until graduation, when will there be a better time to make your own luck? Come meet some alums, chat, and make some connections. Free apps, cash bar. Business casual!

Date: Today, April 27th
Time: 6:00
Place: 51 Main
Cost: Free

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

The Last Five Years at the Town Hall Theater

11059508_10206009888268360_2397574688251865022_nWant to spice up your Thursday night with a little off-campus culture? Tonight and through the weekend, the Town Hall Theater will be showcasing senior thesis work of a Middlebury senior. Mike McCann ’15 writes in to middbeat:

The Last Five Years is a heartfelt contemporary musical that recounts the twists and turns of a failed relationship. The story is told from two perspectives: Jamie starts at the beginning of the relationship and moves to the end, and Cathy starts at the end and works backward to the first date. Jason Robert Brown’s beautiful story was even recently made into a movie starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. This show is the senior thesis performance of Mike McCann and also features student musicians Tevan Goldberg ’18 and Zak Fisher ’16.

Date: April 9th, April 11th, April 12th
Time: 8 PM, 8 PM, and 2 PM respectively
Place: Middlebury Town Hall Theater
Cost: $6 for students

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.

Action:
Please support us by joining the student and alumni network at: http://www.studentsdivest.org/ 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:

Barnard:
https://campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/search?q=barnard

Dickinson:
https://campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/dickinson-college

Middlebury:
https://campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/middlebury-college

Smith:
https://campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/smith-college

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

Help Free Feminist Activists in China

Feminists in China

Reading through the fantastic Beyond the Green student blog the other day, I came across a great post by Jingyi Wu ’17 recounting her experience in Beijing around International Women’s Day.  Some of her activist friends were detained by police in response to their organizing efforts, and she’s now working alongside a group seeking their amnesty.  After touching base with her, she was excited to get the word out on a larger platform.  You can find her original piece below, and links to how you can get help with her efforts.  Credit is due to Jingyi for her work, and Beyond the Green for allowing us to repost.  Make sure to check out the petition here and at the bottom after the jump.

This is my story. My name is Jingyi Wu.

Close to a week ago, at 2 pm, Mar. 6th 2015 Beijing time, two days before the International Women’s Day, my friend, a much-loved feminist activist, Wei Tingting was asked to go to the police station for a tea interview, and she hasn’t returned home since. In China, a saying goes “there is no free lunch.” A tea interview with the police not only means that you get free tea, you get into trouble too. Two hours later, at 4 pm, people from Ministry of State Security of the People’s Republic of China came to the home of my other friend Wang Man, and arrested her. Over the course of a day, the Chinese government arrested my three other activist friends, Li Maizi, Zheng Churan, and Wu Rongrong, in Beijing, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou, three cities that are thousands of miles apart, and transported them to a distant detention camp outside of Beijing. From one Chinese policeman, we gathered the information that the detention might be up to 30 days or more, which means that the Chinese government has to file a official charge towards them. Since then, no further information could be found.

The link between the arrests of these five women is a simple one. Through monitoring devices, the government gathered information about the actions these women from cities around China were planning for International Women’s Day, and out of an intricate need to maintain a peaceful image when National People’s Congress is in session, the government decided to stop the event. What my friends were planning was to pass out stickers on public transportation to raise awareness of sexual harassment happening in public space. On one of the stickers, it says, “Stop sexual harassment, police, go get the harassers,” but the policemen went and got the activists instead.

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TODAY: 7TH ANNUAL VERMONT CHILI FEST

B9316562005Z.1_20150311171737_000_GHEA6LUUQ.1-0Finally– the arrival of one of the year’s most anticipated events! Drum roll please…. today is the seventh annual Vermont Chili Festival!!! We cannot contain our excitement. Don’t believe us? Middlebury’s chili fest was named one of the top ten winter events by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce– sounds like a ringing endorsement from people who are really in the know.

So what does Chili Fest actually entail? For all you newbs or those who just need a little refresher course, here’s some basic info to make chili fest the wonderful day of unlimited eating that it is.

Vendors from all over Vermont will convene today at 1PM on Main Street to vie for the title of best chili in Vermont. A panel of judges will award a winner for each of six categories: veggie, beef, chicken, kitchen sink, pork, best overall. If anyone can clarify what kitchen sink means in the comment section that would be much appreciated!

What’s our role in all of this? We pay a $7 fee upon entering in exchange for a spoon, some voting chips, and day of delicious fun. Line up on either side of the tents to sample each of the batches of chili. You’ll probably recognize some of the vendors– many local restaurants compete as well as some of our own Midd students!

When you try a batch that reaaaaally speaks to you, drop a chip off for that vendor. The top vote will get a people’s choice cash award!

So now you have the basics. Let’s talk strategy.

1. DRESS IN LAYERS. We’re all in the phase of spring right now when any weather above thirty degrees feels effing tropical. But guys it’s still really cold, and standing outside for a few hours takes its toll. Warm socks are a must. We’re all wishing the winter away with spring outfits (I’m looking at you, people breaking out the chacos), but in truth it’s still quite chilly.

2. Get used to the chili puns now. See above.

3. In the same vein, it’s probably going to rain today. Plan accordingly and still go. We’re psuedo Vermonters now, and the chili fest website describes us as hardy. So.

4. The corn bread goes fast. Just a warning.

5. Give your chips out carefully. You can walk through at the end to cast your votes, but don’t be shy to drop a chip when you taste the best thing you’ve ever eaten.

6. If you don’t like chili (like me), it doesn’t really matter. Just go. There’s live music and other things to do too!

7. Think about pacing yourself, but don’t think too much. You’ll know when you’ve had enough, but it probably won’t come till the end. If you don’t like a sample, don’t finish it. This is your best way to ensure that you won’t get too full before you’ve tried everything. If getting full is something you anticipate, avoid the chips.

8. Try not to lose steam. Call it when the sight of chili is too much, or when you get too cold. But other than that, soak it all in and take advantage of seeing the whole state converge on Middlebury’s main street all in the name of a hot meat meal. (weird)

9. Veer off the beaten path.  While the restaurants you recognize will obviously be bringing it, some unexpected contenders may surprise you.

10. Teamwork.  Fire up that GroupMe and keep your crew informed about what is not to be missed, and where to steer clear. Thats what being a friend is all about.

Go forth and gorge!

 

TONIGHT: Eclectic Mix Dance Party at the Marquis Theater

Mzwa-Eclectic-Mix

 

Curious about the new Marquis Theater? Want to shake up your Thursday night routine? Check out this awesome dance party tonight! For those of us who complain a lot about our shortage of options on campus for social events, this seems like an interesting alternative! Mzwakithi M Shongwe ’16 writes in to middbeat:

Join us for a night of fun and good music this coming Thursday at the newly refurbished Marquis Café & Theater. The mix will encompass old school vs. new school hip-hop, r&b and a healthy dose of the latest pop hits thrown in with some EDM for good measure.

Date: Today, February 26th
Time: 10:00 PM
Place: Middlebury Marquis Theater
Cost: FREE!

Community Conversations: Social Life

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Last week, Community Council Co-Chair Ben Bogin ’15 and SGA Director of Institutional Diversity Jeremy Stratton-Smith ’17 announced an awesome initiative called “Community Conversations” in an email sent to the student body. Bogin and Stratton-Smith will be hosting biweekly open forums for students and administrators to discuss various issues at Middlebury. Upcoming talks include: 3/5: Middlebury’s Judicial System/Title IX/Sexual Assault 3/19: Support Services for Students 4/2: Inclusivity in the Classroom 4/16: Diversity and Inclusivity 4/30: Health and Wellness. For more info check out go/talk. One of middbeat’s own, Kelly Hennessy ’15, went to the first community conversation, which focused on social life at Middlebury. Read her recap of the meeting here along with some reflections on the conversation. 

Thursday afternoon marked the kick-off of a series of Community Conversations, bi-weekly discussions, each focused on a different issue central to the Middlebury community. This conversation’s focal point was Social Life at Middlebury.

Much of the discussion was focused on student housing, and the ways in which this influences social life. Many juniors came to the meeting with Katy Smith Abbott, the VP for Student Affairs and Dean of the College, and JJ Boggs, the Associate Dean of Students for Student Activities and Orientation, to discuss their dissatisfaction with the recent Off-Campus Housing Lottery. Allegedly, there were only about 50 students awarded off-campus housing for next fall, compared to the 90 or so that were awarded it last year.

The juniors at the meeting expressed frustration over the administration’s failure to communicate that spots were heavily restricted this year, as they felt blindsided by their denial of off-campus housing. This sentiment was compounded by the fact that many of them were abroad last semester, and didn’t fully know about the conflicts and conversations had between off-campus seniors and their neighbors.

Undoubtedly, the administration has compelling and understandable reasons for restricting off-campus housing. Katy Smith Abbott cited the town-gown relationship and Middlebury’s financial structure as some justifications. Additionally, Middlebury is a residential college; most students live on campus for all four years. However, despite this rationale, many students are left wondering why their chances of gaining off-campus housing were lower than in past years and why the administration failed to inform students of this change.

While frustration surrounding the off-campus housing lottery is perhaps a new spin on the issue, this characterization of an increasingly restrictive administration echoes the same concerns that have been raised at previous campus-wide conversations about social life. Increasingly, students are expressing dissatisfaction with the way they feel restrictions are being placed on their lives by the administration, and in this particular case with little forewarning or communication.

As is required of any social life meeting, ADP (what is now Chromatic) was also a centerpiece of discussion, held up as a paragon of what students look for in their social lives. Many at the meeting saw the old social house as a place where cliques broke down, and students could interact with those of all walks of Middlebury life.

Juniors and seniors, the last classes of ADP, may be wearing some rose-colored beer goggles in this situation; I don’t know if this was a place where all of the community felt comfortable, and I think there were some real problems with the social house. Admittedly, though, ADP certainly did play an important role in the social life of many members of our community.

By my understanding, a lot of Midd kids feel their social lives have been increasingly limited by a string of surprising administrative moves. Students often cite the role of public safety or the likelihood of social houses being placed on probation as evidence of such increasing restriction.

However, I think this narrative is incomplete; as students we often fail to consider how our actions may have led to some of these administrative decisions and ignore how we may work with the community as a whole to assuage some of our dissatisfaction.

We need to start making efforts to be active participants in creating the social lives we want. ADP is gone; many will mourn its loss for years to come. However, I think it’s time to start thinking critically about what exactly ADP and the ‘social life of old’ had to offer.

It’s important to recognize that it isn’t a one-size fits all approach, a point brought up during the meeting. Different people want different things out of their social lives. While much of the discussion about social life is centered on parties on and off campus, getting hammered on the weekend isn’t the social life everyone has or wants.

It’s an expansive term, and we as a community should work to create spaces that can fit as many of its meanings as possible. These meetings are a good first step; now we need to be the catalysts for change.

Go see Alpenglow at Higher Ground in Burlington tonight!

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Listen up y’all! Middlebury’s own Alpenglow is hitting the road for a February 2015 tour and they’re stopping in Burlington tonight to play Higher Ground! They’ve promised new songs and we are very very excited. Check out this description of the band and their fellow performers from the Alpenglow facebook page.

Alpenglow
Alpenglow uses guitars, synths, drums, violin, and lots of bass to make grooving tunes that will make you shake. Rooted in folk but sonically closer to psychedelic rock, R1-05815-0000Alpenglow combines shimmering keys with healthy doses of ringing guitar punch. Lead singer Graeme Daubert’s vocals, which have drawn comparisons to Arthur Russell, meander from tenor shouts to delicate falsetto over the sonic landscape created by guitarist Peter Coccoma, drummer Kenneth Root, and multi-instrumentalist Elori Kramer. The result is a sound that hits hard, combining psych-guitars, melodic bass lines, chugging drums, synthy strings, stringy syths, and some mighty fine singing.

And the Kids
And the Kids is made up of Hannah Mohan (lead vocals, electric ukulele and guitar), Rebecca Lasaponaro (vocals, drums, bells) and Megan Miller (vocals, synth, glockenspiel, woodblock). Playing what they call accessible unconscious existential indie glitter popsicle crisis music, they have been packing the sidewalks and clubs from Northampton to Boston to New York City with their fierce infectious harmonies, tight1404889_621855791189954_1703809170_o and unique grooves and songwriting that has the ability to reach down and tug at the truths of their generation and beyond. Hannah and Rebecca met in their grade 7 music class and have been collaborating ever since. Megan Miller met Hannah and Rebecca at the Institute for the Musical Arts (IMA) in Goshen, MA at a women’s recording and sound engineering program and together the trio is on a mission to inspire the hearts of all living beings of light and laughter one stage at a time.

The Sun Parade
Chris Marlon Jennings and Jefferson Lewis are two roving Northern gents who blaze their6049290_orig guitars and sing lusty pop songs oftheir own brand. At times incanting psychedelia, Nirvana, and disco, they find their roots in bluegrass and the magic of The Beatles. Jared Gardner and Noam Schatz are the heavy rhythm backbone that makes “folk/rock” really rock. Based in Northampton MA since 2011, The Sun Parade has been steadily creating a buzz and has many loyal fans across the country. They are about to release a new “power-pack” EP September 2014, and are hitting the road with LAKE STREET DIVE later in the month. In 2012 The Sun Parade released a full length LP “Yossis” which has received a considerable amount of amazing reviews and radio play with the single “Need You By My Side.”

Date: Today February 20th
Time: Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm
Place: Showcase Lounge– South Burlington, VT
Cost: $10 advance | $12 day of show–  tickets here

Language in Motion Info Sessions

LanguageInMotion_Photo

Interested in using your language skills to make a meaningful difference in our community? For any upper level language student, this sounds like a really awesome initiative that allows Middlebury students to engage with members of Addison county. Julia Angeles ’15 writes in:

Interested in helping middle and high school students expand their knowledge of world language and culture? Language in Motion might be for you! LiM is a Community Engagement program that connects international students, study abroad returnees, and upper level language students with classrooms in Addison County.

Our first info session (at the Community Engagement office) is this Wednesday, 2/18, from 7:30-8:30pm, and we have another one next Monday, 2/23, from 4:30-5:30 PM. There will be snacks! If you are interested but can’t make it (or have questions), feel free to shoot an email to Kristen Mullins ([email protected]). Otherwise, you can apply by Wednesday, 2/25, to become a presenter.

For more info, check out go/lim!

Date: Today– February 18th
Time: 7:30-8:30pm
Place: Community Engagement Office (118 South Main Street, behind the library)
Cost: Free!