RIDDIM Tickets Still Available!!!

Screen shot 2015-05-08 at 8.34.19 AMHUGE NEWS!! Riddim tickets are still available for the 7:30 show this Saturday!! Okay, okay… so it may not be the 10:30 show, but this should still be AMAZING! Get your groove on this Saturday night and dance off that finals stress. As Annie Powers ’15 says, there will be lots of dancing, both on and off the stage!!

Date: May 9th
Time: 7:30 PM
Place: Wilson Hall
Cost: $6– hit up go/boxoffice now!!

 

How To Be Okay

This time of year is always tough. The relentless, mean winter finally fades into a welcoming, soft spring-summer (is there really a difference when it’s 80 degrees in May?) that makes us love this place more than ever before. Perhaps this is due to the influx of visible skin, or maybe it can be chalked up to some correlation between sun exposure and ~~good vibes~~, but it’s hard to deny that Midd + nice weather = happiness. Unfortunately, the equation usually isn’t that simple, so when it becomes Midd+ nice weather + increased workload + weird friend/boy/roommate drama + tons of cool things to do – free time – anonymity of huge puffy jackets and hoods + !!STRESS!!, that equals sign gets a little bit squiggly and no longer guarantees happiness. In fact, this time of year often induces more anxiety, worry, negative feelings, and overall unhappiness—regardless of the sunny skies and jacked-up temps—than even the darkest days of winter.  Amidst the craziness of this time of year, it is often difficult to know what to do to simply “be okay”.

In her final project for a film class this spring, Chrissy Ritter ’16, addressed this very issue. In her short film titled “Don’t Do Your Homework”, Chrissy covers 20 easy steps to take to “be okay”. Take a stress-free moment to watch this awesome vid and then, whether you feel like you need it or not, take a break. Follow one, two, or all 20 of these steps, and remember that above all else, in 2 weeks, finals will be behind you (!!!!!!).

Thursday Thought: Student Stress

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Middlebury attracts highly motivated students who have been galvanized by the competitive admissions process. We facilitate an environment of academic intensity that permeates every corner of this campus. It is rare to find a student here who doesn’t push to get the best grade possible or who is striving for a high GPA. There is a latent sense of competitiveness that we all feel that forces us skew our understanding of personal success.

Given the recent all-faculty meeting and talk of student stress levels reaching an all time high, we want to take a step back and look at the driving forces behind this stress.  While we are deep in this high-pressure environment it is easy to over-value the three figure number of our GPA. After the first job or some life experience out of college, a GPA doesn’t hold much weight as a standard of success.

Ultimately a lot of stress that we feel here is self-imposed. We’re not trying to belittle the work we do and we agree that is often too much, but when the stress starts to get out of hand it’s important to put into perspective how much one grade will really impact our life as a whole.

Good Title, s.T.R.E.S.S.E.d Campus

With the year coming to a close, many of us are beginning to spend hours in the library, staking out the best carrels, memorizing the places that deliver past five, filling ourselves to the brim with coffee and calculating how much sleep we can afford to lose without a dean noticing. This is the beginning of finals week stress. Interestingly enough, many of us will also spend time on what could end up being the most insignificant part of an assignment, a good title. Below are a couple of titles to sum up the year and the “Middlebury experience” hopefully ease you into finals on a lighter note.

An Analysis of the Economic Justifications and Social Ramifications for Tailgating in the Addison County.

Presenting Opposition of Food Containers in Dependent Groups: a Critical observation of Missing Bowls in College Dining Halls

Empowering Political Monotheism in Feminism: The election of Middlebury’s first female president Laurie Patton

Adaptability Theory Applied to Visceral Reactions of Weather patterns in shire towns in Vermont

Illustrating Resistance of Emotional Alienation: Immediate Electronic Responses to the Theft of Crush Lists

Orange is The New Black: The Rise in Tinder, Grindr, and Porn Hub as Tools of Social Interaction

Transcendence from Traditional Migration Patterns of Suburban Americans: A Spatial Analysis of  Students Matriculating in February

Defensive Position on Athletic Privilege: Masculinizing the Muscular Development in the 21st century for Contest Driven Persons

Offensive Position on Athletic Privilege: The Importance of Muscular Development as A Strategy of Cooperative Cohabitation in the 21st Century Academic Setting

Throwing Free Granola: The Parabola Variation of Projectile Grains in Social Settings

Heteronormative Images of Non-assimilating Performativity: The Disbanding of Kappa Delta Ro

What’s Your Major?: The Social Inhibition of Sexual Performance in College through the Tactic of Mundane Conversational Ability

The 140 Character Effect: Comparative Analysis of the shortened language on Yik Yak versus the excessive of Middlebury Confessional on the Millennial

Remember that even when you feel isolated in that carrel in the library at 2:30am, there are at least 725 potential seats filled with people who feel the same way. Remember to take a breath of fresh air, call your parents, walk around the library, take a quick nap, drink water when you have caffeine, and most of all take care of yourself.

Happy Finals!

Repost: The Importance of Graffiti

By now, the dust has largely settled with regards to the recent bout of graffiti on campus, but campus opinions remain largely divergent.  For, most likely, our last post on the issue, we turn to Beyond the Green contributor Ujay Siddharth ’18 who lays out a discussion of 4 reasons why we should consider graffiti more closely and examine the reasons which motivate it.  The author uses some quotes from past middbeat posts to elaborate on his discussion, something we’re always psyched to do.  At its core, middbeat is a template to put student opinions into conversation with each other as much as possible, and everyone in the student body should always hold us accountable for just that.  On that note, please let us know if you would ever like to write a post, or to respond to something we, the Campus, or any other college publication has written, send an email to middbeat[at]gmail[dot]com, and we’ll work with you to get your thoughts up on the blog.  We’re a medium for you to use.  Thanks to Beyond the Green for letting us re-post, and we hope you’ll enjoy the piece.

There are several things to consider when addressing the issue of graffiti, on this campus or otherwise. Jumping to the immediate conclusion that the use of graffiti is “wrong” or “incorrect” is not constructive and doesn’t lead to any productive discussion. Instead of dismissing it as simply pointless vandalism I think it is of greater importance to evaluate the issues that exist behind and within the greater narrative of protest and resistance which graffiti represents.

First: Graffiti as activism within itself.

Middlebury College is a private institution built upon the wealth of primarily heterosexual white males. This means that the campus, the faculty, the access to certain resources, all come with certain baggage. It isn’t possible to remove the history of privilege from the college or from any of its buildings. The fact that buildings such as Atwater Dining Hall, Ross Commons, and Bicentennial Hall are constructed from the money donated by the white and wealthy means that the establishment of these buildings comes from systematic oppression of the poor, most of whom are minorities. Through the defacement of buildings that represent such oppression, graffiti can be considered in itself a form of concentrated resistance.

Second: Graffiti’s effectiveness in finding a solution.

A common thought I have heard several people put forward is that there are several other less obtrusive methods of making voices heard–like sharing opinions at student forums, attending student council meetings, and directly making requests of the administration. I challenge that assumption and ask, are there really? When considering attempts in the past to rethink the AAL requirement, implement gender neutral bathrooms, divest from fossil fuels, divest from war manufacturing, withdraw support for the pipeline, and several other requests from the collegiate body, the administration has been far from responsive. If our voices are inaudible through these “legitimate” forms of communication then how are we supposed to create impact in our environment? In that way I view the graffiti not only as concentrated resistance against dominant systems of oppression, but also as a protest against a complacent administration unresponsive to the voices of its constituents.

Third: Graffiti as a form of art.

Representations of graffiti all over the world range from elaborate pieces of “artwork” to five minute sketches of spray-paint. Looking at the response to the graffiti from the campus and a recent MiddBeat article, many seem to think that the graffiti appeared lazy and unaesthetic. Using a quote from the MiddBeat article to illustrate this position, the writer concluded that the graffiti was not “thought provoking imagery calling the student body to action” but rather “haphazard rat stencils surrounded by childish drawings and unfocused writing.” I find this a fascinating aspect of the graffiti to focus on. In response I only have to ask, does all graffiti have to be aesthetic pleasing, unobtrusive, and “thought provoking”? Does this mean that graffiti in protest is only for the artistically inclined or those who are artistically “skilled”? When thinking about graffiti in itself as a form of important activism does it matter how aesthetically pleasing the graffiti is? These are all questions we need to ask if the apparently necessary criterion of graffiti is to be a “thought provoking” piece of work.

Fourth: The message behind the graffiti.

NO SURVEILLANCE! The theme of this third wave of graffiti appears to be quite clear. In light of the recent proposal to install security cameras in front of Proctor Dining Hall, this graffiti appears to be a direct response to surveillance and its potential implications on this campus. This is not the place to present opinions on the issue of surveillance on campus so I will not discuss why I think the artist(s)’ oppose security cameras but when discussing the graffiti I encourage people to consider the messages behind the graffiti. When thinking about the first incident of graffiti with the message “too many cops, too little justice” people proceeded to get enraged over the defacement of Middlebury rather than focus on this clear resistance against police brutality. Only days earlier when Africa, a homeless black man in Los Angeles, was killed at the hands of the police state the campus produced hardly a stir. Instead of addressing the issues behind the graffiti, people decided to focus on the defacement of Middlebury rather than think about why the graffiti was up and what it represented. Something is clearly wrong when people get enraged over spray-paint but are hardly even willing to address the systematic murder of black bodies.

It really is unfortunate that many on Middlebury campus refuse to look past the spray-paint to the frustration and resistance that underlay graffiti. Throughout the history of protest, graffiti has been central to representing and championing the revolution. Just because it happens to “our” buildings doesn’t make it any different from the various forms of graffiti present in other parts of the world. But for some reason, once it invades areas considered personal space–or privileged space, really–graffiti suddenly becomes wrong and unconstructive.

FINAL MIDDLEBROW SHOW

Middlebrow Spring 2015 #4

Tonight, Middlebrow will be performing their final show of the academic year, entitled “Two Girls, One Forrest.” This show will also be the last time that group members Forrest Carroll ’15, Melissa MacDonald ’15 and Charlotte Michaelcheck ’15 will be legally allowed to stand on stage.

It has been a long and windy road to this moment for all three members, and there will certainly be a lot of emotional baggage unloaded in the Grand Salon this evening. Youngest Brow member Grace Levin ‘18.5 shared her thoughts on this weighty event, “It was nice being in the group with them. It will be somewhat strange I guess to be the only female. Should be fine, though.” Clearly, it can be tough to bear the gravity of these three forces departing, but we’re positive that tonight will present a feast for the eyes and ears (and some peoples’ mouths).

Feeling nostalgic about this? Check out the promo video for Charlotte and Melissa’s first show back in Fall 2012.

Come on by to the Chateau Grand Salon at 10:30PM to share in this event. The room tends to fill up fast, so get there early to find a comfortable place to settle your butt.

 

Study Abroad Research Grant Presentations

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Continuing today and tomorrow, the RAJ house will be hosting talks given by seniors on the research they conducted while abroad last year. While abroad may just be a glimmer in our underclassmen eyes, these talks should be super inspiring and offer insight into the type of work we can when we leave Midd for a foreign country. Come see what our peers have been working on!!

Date: Today May 6th
Time: 4:30
Place: RAJ conference room
Cost: Free

TONIGHT: Sweatervest Spring Release Party!

title-swAccording to my weather.com app and the tears in my eyes, spring has finally arrived! And with it– the spring edition of Sweatervest, Middlebury’s own literary magazine. Intrigued? Emily Luan ’15 writes in to middbeat:

Come celebrate with us as we release our newest chapbook!! There will be: copies of the spring issue, beverages, readings from contributors, couches to sit on, people to talk to, and of course an incredible spread of snacks snacks snacks.

Email [email protected] if you can’t make it but want a personal copy!

Date: Today, May 6th
Time: 8:30 PM
Place: Porter House
Cost: Free!!

 

Taking Flight Performance Tonight!

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If there’s one class many of us wish we’d had the balls to take, it’s Dance (well, intro dance, advanced beginning dance, any dance etc.). Tonight, we have the opportunity to watch the beautiful humans enrolled in Advanced Beginning Dance perform Taking Flight, a “lightly produced” showing of dance experiments by this new batch of choreographers. Perfect study break! Even if you don’t go, remember to turn on some jams and dance today. It’s good for the soul.

Date: Today, 5/6
Time: 4:30-6pm
Place: Mahaney CFA Arts Dance Theatre
Cost: Free!