Students discuss the future of our social life
Middlebury’s social scene is still in the midst of an identity crisis. It largely began in the 90s when the College got rid of frats and sororities, which provided the foundation of Midd’s social life for, like, a hundred plus years. With the end of Greek life came a make over of the school’s identity from a typical white, privileged New England college (epitomized by fraternities and sororities) to a prestigious, diverse, global-minded, environmentally-conscientious, etc. institution, and brand really.
While most would probably agree this new identity has been a positive change overall, Midd still hasn’t figured out what it means for its social scene. This confusion has manifested itself in tensions over the role of alcohol consumption, social institutions like social houses and superblocks, strict Vermont State alcohol laws and the administration (old chapel, res life, pub safe, etc.) in defining our social scene. Student frustration over the administration micromanaging nightlife and shutting down social houses, a perceived lack of trust between students and pub safe, alcohol task forces, convocation speeches littered with warnings about knowing your limits have all emanated from this.
We also still have an alarming lack of student owned-space and student-created traditions (what gives, this school is over two hundred year old?!), which is partly the case, it could be argued, because we still haven’t filled the void of the greek system on campus and figured out what our new social scene/identity is exactly. But within this frustration, there also exists (we think) a kind of excitement at the opportunity for students right now to organize and reclaim social events, traditions, and spaces that will define the next iteration of Midd’s social scene .
A lot of this frustration and excitement was present tonight among the dozens of students who showed up to Crossroads this evening for a discussion called “What is the future of social life at Middlebury?” led by Student Co-Chair of Community Council Barrett Smith ’13 and co-sponsored by Community Council, SGA and the Dean of the College Office.
Among the those present were movers and shakers from social houses, MCAB, SGA (including two presidential candidates) as well as a few administrators (I saw Katy Smith-Abbott, Doug Adams and Shirley Collado). The discussion was directed around the following questions: Should hard alcohol be banned on campus? What is the future of social houses? How will this affect campus social life? Should the Atwater Suites be regularly patrolled by Public Safety? Should more parties be registered and what would promote that?
middbeat kept some unofficial minutes from the group discussion. Here are some of the themes that emerged:
Many argued the merits of the keg as a great way to provide regulated alcohol to lots of people and create community at the same time. Many wished it was easier for groups to acquire kegs and keep them for longer. Currently, kegs are confiscated after four hours encouraging people to empty its contents quicker to get their money’s worth, and or just to buy thirty racks instead, which promote faster, more exclusive drinking. Continue reading