Middlebury Disorientation Guide Pt. 2: Current Student Activism, Advice for Saving Money on Campus, and LGBTQ Community

This is a continuation of yesterday’s feature on a pamphlet created by Middlebury student activists call the Middlebury Disorientation Guide. Today’s post features an introduction to some of the most vibrant pieces of current student activism on campus, as well as advice for saving money, and avenues of expression and support for the LGBTQ community.  See after the jump for this second installation, and find the full guide here.

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Middlebury Disorientation Guide: Introduction and a People’s History of Middlebury College

Adjusting to Middlebury can be tough.  Hordes of new faces, an unceasing schedule, getting used to dorm life, going to your first round of parties, making friends, finding the student groups you want to join; the first couple weeks of college are universally as stressful as they are exciting.  While the transition is difficult for all, it can be particularly difficult for those coming from backgrounds different from the elite setting Middlebury presents.  If you’re one who feels this way, that your discomfort and difficulty transitioning to the college goes beyond the superficial mania of newness, and instead extends into your class, racial, cultural background, gender, or sexual orientation, a group of student activists on campus has compiled a polemic “Disorientation Guide” aimed to contextualize these structural inequalities many students face at Middlebury and offer support.  The authors write:

This guide is a working­ document written by a fluid collective of students committed to organizing, educating, learning, and building a transformative community. As students from diverse backgrounds and experiences, we critically examine Middlebury College as an institution and seek to honor it as a community of students, faculty, and staff with a long history of resistance to injustice. We’ve been part of many efforts to change this private college, which does not fit into our ideal of free education available to all. Some of our efforts have been through institutional channels, and others have not. We feel that no matter what methods people choose,it is important to know what has been done before and what is possible when we are organized. We think we can transform this place, or at least throw a wrench in the charge towards corporatization and white fantasy-hetero-sexist-­bleakification. This guide is a small effort to ask you to join us, or join with someone else, get creative, don’t wear salmon colored shorts, and if you feel like you have to sell your soul, don’t sell it to the wrong people.  If you want to get in touch, contact disorientmiddATgmailDOTcom.

You can find the rest of the guide after the jump.  Feel free to comment and discuss below, and get in touch with the authors at disorientmiddATgmailDOTcom.

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TEDx Student Speaker Competition

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Are you thoughtful? Extraordinarily talented? Feeling inspired and/or reasonably confident? Apply for the TEDx Student Speaker Competition by submitting your talk title and brief summary (150 words, to be exact) to tedx@middlebury.edu by September 23rd. The winner will give a five-minute speech at the student speaker competition, and be featured and filmed as a speaker for TEDx Middlebury’s main conference. Apply and enlighten us!

When: Submit your proposed talk to tedx@middlebury.edu by September 23rd
Where: The internet
Cost: Courage and imagination 

Fight For Our Right (to party). Then Fight For Our Other Rights too.

Discussion about the new ban on alcohol at Middlebury football tailgates has caused community wide discussion about drinking culture, school spirit, collective Middlebury identity, fundtraising,and the role of the administration in regulating college social life.  This piece, written by a frequent middbeat contributor, puts the wide range of opinions into perspective in an effort to focus the discussion its core elements of social liberty, administration-student relations, and creating a healthy social environment at the school.  Please continue to comment and share your thoughts as this discussion matures.

When this writer last checked the SGA’s We the Middkids website, the petition to make Reverse Changes to the New Tailgating Policy had 2,231 votes. While there are a variety of things that this statistic may be symptomatic of, it definitely does a good job of showing the amount of people that have come together to rally against this, and how. With the slew of emails, Middbeat posts, Facebook updates and angry Proctor conversations that have been centered around the recent decision made by the administration, it is evident that this has become a hot topic for the student body here at Middlebury, and there are many people both for and against the changes with many extremely valid opinions.

Yet, the scale of this unrest provokes the need to ask a simple question: Why is this so important to our community?

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DJ Spooky presents of Fire and Ice

dj-spookyThe award-winning Paul Miller, also known as DJ Spooky, is the featured performer of the 2014 Clifford Symposium. Spooky is known for creating music with a combination of digital and conventional techniques and for collaborating with well known artists. He incorporates violin solos, as well as iPad-made music into his lecture and video representation of climate change and its effects of the Arctic poles. As the author of Of Water and Ice, and The Book of Ice, Miller takes a new perspective on the issues concerning climate change that many are so familier with already. His knowledge of the algorithms that make up the geometry of ice crystals are interpreted through the music he produces to create unforgettable and intellectual performances. Get hyped!

Time: 9pm
September, 19 2014
Where: Wilson Hall, McCullough
Cost: $6-$15



A personal favorite Midd event, The Moth, is back. If you’ve never heard of The Mothit’s a stress-free non-fiction story telling environment where all are welcome and honesty is a must. At this Thursday’s Moth all will gather in a dim-light, cozy Gamut setting for five pre-designated Midd storytellers (featuring students and a professor), speaking on a pre-selected theme. The theme of the story slam will be ”Guts”, and there are only two rules: 1. It must be true, and about you. 2. No notes. Moth host Luke Greenway ’15 tells us that “Stories might range from daring escapades to hard-hitting punches to the gut, or from disembowelment to the inner working of things.”

Storytellers include Professor Jamie McCallum, Adam Milano ’15, Ilana Gratch ’16.5, Staci Hill ’15, Kendall Wycoff ’14.5, and Emilie Seavey ’18. 

DATE: Tonight, 9/18
TIME: 9:30PM
PLACE: Gamut Room, Gifford Basement
COST: nada

Importantly, contrary to many Midd students belief, the Moth did not started here, and is not just a “Middlebury thing.” The Moth is an “acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. It is a celebration of both the raconteur, who breathes fire into true tales of ordinary life, and the storytelling novice, who has lived through something extraordinary and yearns to share it. At the center of each performance is, of course, the story – and The Moth’s directors work with each storyteller to find, shape and present it.” The first Moth storytelling event was held in New York City in 1997, and the event is now held regularly in numerous cities (INCLUDING BURLINGTON!!!) nationwide and globally. Additionally, tune into NPR’s The Moth Radio Hour (or podcasts), which features The Moth’s most beloved tales and the stories behind the stories. This series debuted in 2009 and is now airing on more than 200 stations nationwide. Learn more about the official Moth organization here, and be sure to take part in Midd’s fantastic part of the project tonight at 9:30 PM. 

Woodin Environmental Studies Colloquium Series

Week 2 of the Series

Are you an environmentalist, tree hugger, or registered member of the Green Party? If you fall into any one of these categories, or just want to kick back in Hillcrest’s gorgeous Orchard Room after a heavy Proctor lunch, come sit in on the Howard E. Woodin Colloquium Series today at 12:30, and learn about the effects of human plastic waste in ocean ecosystems.  Professor Erik Zettler of the Sea Education Association will give a talk entitled “Life in the Plastisphere: The Ecology of Plastic Marine Debris.”

Date: 9/18/2014
Time: 12:30-1:20 P.M.
Place: The Orchard at Hillcrest (Room 103)
Cost: Just your brain

Free Friday Film: Tis’ The Season For Some Elf?


This friday, starting at 6 PM at the Dana Auditorium, what always seems to be the inappropriately early return of Christmas cheer is seeing an even earlier arrival than ever before. Along with the searingly cheery music, the tritely themed films pontificating about the importance of family, the lurid house decorations, and all the other forms of gross holiday paraphernalia that entail the coming of December 25th, Middlebury College has decided to play it’s part in the exceedingly long pre-season warm-up for this year’s Christmas.

For better or worse, one of the few Christmas films to poke a little fun at our country’s obsession with this great holiday, the 2003 Will Ferrell film Elf , is here for this week’s Free Friday Film! This will make a nice addition to this year’s movie screenings our college provides for our weekly entertainment, following the melancholy Cohen Brother Film, Inside Lewin Davis, and the odd collaboration of Zach Efron and Seth Rogen that made up this summer’s hit comedy, Neighbors.

All cynicism aside, if you’ve watched the film every year since 2003, never seen it before, or are harboring some bitter anti-holiday sentiments, make sure to come out and enjoy the show. After all, there’s only three months to go!

Where: Friday, September 19th, 6-8 PM
Where: Dana Auditorium
Cost: Free

A Letter from the Athletic Director

Middlebury’s athletic director, Erin Quinn ’86 has defended the new ban on alcohol at tailgates in a letter to the student body found below.  He first modifies what was previously believed to be a ban on music, adding that the policy states “No Amplified Music.”  This limits music to guitars and the Pep Band, who I’m sure will be more than happy to be the sole source of jubilation at future tailgates. This is the first administration side response to the recent outcry over the controversial policy, and Quinn highlights the “embarrassment” and “disgrace” Middlebury tailgates have brought upon the institution as justification for the ban.  Read below, and please continue to comment and keep the discussion going.

Dear XXXX,Thanks for the note.  I know on the surface it may seem like a simple fix, but we have been making incremental changes over a number of years in order to address the issues, but to no avail.  For me personally, the biggest issues are integrity and safety.  You may be aware that Integrity is a core value or community standard we promote with our teams, coaches and staff members.  Before I was Director of Athletics I was an assistant football coach in the fall, and when I became AD I was surprised to learn that we allowed alcohol in our tailgate area.  It seemed inconsistent to me with everything we stood for, and inconsistent with all of the messages we were promoting about Athletics at Middlebury and more broadly in NESCAC.  I was willing to give it a try, and we changed some rules over time to increase staffing levels, and to limit the amount of alcohol consumed.

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Just When You Thought Social Life Surveillance Couldn’t Get Any Higher: Alcohol Now Banned at Middlebury Tailgates

Few activities signify fall more than a good tailgate.  Bundled up, grilling, kicking it with friends and family, talking about the game (or not), and cracking a beer (or two) is one of the most familiar and enjoyable activities of the season. While we at Midd can continue to enjoy the first four of that set, the fifth has been eliminated by a new Public Safety Policy banning alcoholic beverages at tailgates, the latest in the increasingly strict regulation of campus party life.

And, to make matters worse, it’s not just alcohol that’s been banned. Brace yourselves: even music is no longer allowed. Laughing? You’re not alone. While many valid arguments can be made for and against alcohol consumption, banning music, arguably the least harmful social lubricant, is humorous. Innocent Tswamuno’s ‘15 response boldly resounds most students’ opinions on this matter: “With no music, what’s the point of tailgating at all? You’re sucking the love out of it all. Just let us have fun.”

While we will work to be objective in our discussion of this new policy, We can’t help but think “What. The. Fuck?”  Why take alcohol and music out of the equation for students over 21 at an age old tradition that takes place in broad daylight with readily accessible food right before attending a game at which alcohol is prohibited?

It’s unlikely we’ll receive an answer regarding these newly implemented alcohol and music bans straight from the horse’s mouth, but we can at least pick apart why this policy is a little, well, over the top. We’ll gauge student reactions in hopes of stirring discussion yet again about the increasingly omnipresent administrative surveillance of student social life at Middlebury College.

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