Category Archives: Causes

MiddAction Fair at 6 PM

Looking for ways to volunteer in the Middlebury community?  Sick of getting emails from student orgs in which you have no interest?  Have a vested interest in working for the common good?  Like playing with kids?  Then make sure to head on down to the McCullough Social Space at 6 tonight for the MiddAction Fair.  Quanteshia Tennyson ’14 writes in:

Come to the MiddAction Fair! Over 50 local non-profits and student
organizations will be present to share opportunities for students in
local activism, volunteering, and social justice activities in areas
such as education, literacy, youth mentoring, environment, public
health, poverty, hunger, housing, and much more. Organizations include
the Open Door Clinic, WomenSafe, and Bridport Central School.

When: Tonight, Tuesday Sept. 16 at 6 PM
Where: McCullough Social Space
Cost: Free

People’s Climate March Sept. 21

Two weeks from today, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon and heads of state from around the world will gather in New York for the first major climate summit since the largely ineffective Copenhagen conference in 2009.  Moon hopes to reach a global deal to reduce greenhouse gases with 100 the heads of state expected to attend, an ambitious yet increasingly pressing issue.  Atmospheric CO2 this week is hovering around 396 ppm, almost 50 parts per million higher than the 350 ppm goal set by many climatologists.

While we can always count on global leaders to reach groundbreaking accords to combat climate change,* environmental activists worldwide are organizing a “People’s Climate March,” with the main arm of the march taking place in New York on Sunday, September 21.   A broad coalition of environmental, educational, labor, and religious organizations have organized the march to pressure leaders into reducing greenhouses gas emissions in what promises to be the largest environmental march in history.  As to be expected, Middlebury students and faculty members have been busy organizing for the march, and want you to join in the fight.  Middlebury organizers will host a talk tomorrow, Wednesday September 10, in St. Stephen’s Church to give context to the march within the broader environmental movement, and more details on plans for the march.   Hannah Bristol ’14.5 writes in:

Things are heating up in the climate movement this fall as organizers prepare for the largest climate march in history at the People’s Climate March (PCM) in New York City on September 21. Bill McKibben, Fernando Sandovol ’15,Marjeela Basij-Rasikh ’15, Jon Isham, Rich Wolfley, and folks from Migrant Justice are speaking at St. Stephen’s Church (the stone one in town where you can ring the bell at Chili Fest) at 7 pm tomorrow, September 10, to give an update from the global climate movement and talk about why the PCM matters.

There are already over 80 Middlebury students signed up to head to NYC for the big march and a youth convergence on Saturday. Buses and vans will be leaving Saturday morning and getting back to campus Sunday. Transportation and housing are all taken care of, although we are asking students to donate if they are able to help pay for the bus and gas. To sign up, visit go/pcm. Email Hannah Bristol at with any questions.

Again, the People’s Climate March and the following UN conference are of seismic importance to the environmental movement and the state of the planet as we know it.  The failure of the 2009 Copenhagen Conference, and the continued delaying of large scale, multi-national action to reverse the increasingly ominous specter of global climate change have only furthered the need of mass social action.  If you consider yourself an environmentalist, there is no better opportunity to practice your beliefs than pressuring the leaders of the world to act on one of the defining issues of our time.  See you all there.

Meeting detes
When: Wednesday at 7 PM
Where: St. Stephen’s Chapel, downtown Middlebury
Cost: Free

People’s Climate March detes:
When: Saturday and Sunday, September 20-21
Where: NYC
Cost: the fate of the planet


Labor Day Celebration: Vermont Workers Center Presents Bernie Sanders

For those of you on campus this coming Labor Day weekend, make sure to check out the Vermont Workers’ Center’s Labor Day Celebration on Monday, September 1, starting at 5:00 PM on the Town Green.  Sen. Bernie Sanders along with other Vermont labor leaders will speak at 5:30 following a cook out and live music from the Bob Mackenzie Band.  It has been a big year for labor in Vermont, between the CCTA strike this past spring, an increase in the state’s minimum wage to $10.50 over the next 3 years, and Vermont homecare workers winning their first contract, just to name a few among many landmark events.  And what better way to celebrate than with the much loved Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has hinted at providing a challenge from the left in the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries, and has a long history of fighting on behalf of labor in his home state as well as the national stage.  The event is co-sponsored by Vermont Workers’ Center, UE, Vermont AFL-CIO, Vermont NEA, VT State Employees Association (VSEA).  Hope to see you there.

When: Monday, September 1 5:00 PM food and band, 5:30 speakers
Where: Middlebury Town Green
Cost: Free



Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 11.06.17 AMI’d never heard of the TBS hit series King of the Nerds until the casting staff directly contacted middbeat in hopes of casting Middlebury students for their next season - this is an incredible opportunity. And what is this show all about?

King of the Nerds is primed to become television’s ultimate nerd-off. The show invites competitors spanning the full nerd spectrum to come together to face challenges that will test their intellect, ingenuity, skills and pop-culture prowess. The nerds will first compete as teams before moving on to individual challenges, all with the goal of being named the quintessential master of all things nerdy.

The show is has completed two highly successful seasons and is casting for the third. Basically, they’re looking to compile a bunch of super smart kids and make them compete in totally absurd “nerdy-based” challenges like Robot Dodgeball, Nerdiocart and a Science Fair. Not sure if you’re “nerdy” enough? Associate Producer Brian Scully wants to encourage you that King of the Nerds is looking to re-claim, diversify, and celebrate the term “nerdy” – they don’t just mean bio and math majors (while you’re more than welcome too!), they’re looking for anyone with any unique obsession with anything that works the brain – be it academics, science, robotics, fandom, comics, rubik’s cube, engineering, sci-fi, anime, you name it.

In previous seasons competitors have reigned from top undergraduate and graduate colleges and universities nationwide. While Midd has not yet been featured on KOTN, Associate Producer Brian Scully is eager to see a Midd participant this year, as he was a huge fan of Sophie Clarke’s ’11 fierceness, wit and intelligence on Survivor: South Pacific, and even remarked that this Midd grad was “one of his favorite reality winners ever.” 

Casting for season three is going on now, and ending soon, so if you have any interest please email the casting team at kingofthenerdscasting@gmail.comSeason three will be shot during the summer, so you will not miss out on any classes. AND JUST A REMINDER, IF YOU WIN YOU’RE LOOKING AT A $100K PRIZE. Just think of the Two Bros nachos that would buy…

For any questions or concerns about the casting process, email

For more information about King of the Nerds check out these sites:
official TBS page:
official Facebook page:
official Twitter account:
official casting Twitter account:

What to do with Privilege?


If you’ve kept up on the news or followed the social media buzz in the past few days, you have no doubt heard about the piece by a Princeton freshman entitled “Why I’ll Never Apologize for My White Male Privilege.” Tal Fortgang’s article originally appeared on the Princeton Tory, a “journal of conservative and moderate thought,” and was published as an opinion piece in Time magazine online on May 2nd. His piece, a manifesto arguing against political correctness and defending his white male privilege, has received a storm of media attention from both critics and supporters of his opinions. As a person who lacks many forms of privilege, his piece and the responses it has catalyzed touch on issues I’ve grappled with my entire life. As a Middlebury student who sees students playing into the myth that we live in a post-racial society constantly, I was honestly excited to see a written piece that challenges this myth within an academic institution that “places a policy of diversity and inclusion at the core of [its] educational mission.”

Amongst the flood of discourse that this student’s manifesto has engendered, one response gets at the core of the issue – his failure to understand what “checking your privilege” really means. A contributor to the Groupthink blog, Violet Baudelaire writes a well-articulated response to Fortgang clarifying what it means to have privilege, what implications that has for interacting with others, and the variant forms of privilege (i.e. white men are not the only people who experience privilege). Here’s just a tidbit from her blog post:

Checking your privilege doesn’t mean anyone is asking you to say “I only have things because I am part of privileged groups”. It does mean someone is asking you to say “By position of a characteristic I was born with, I have been helped, or at least not hurt, more than others without this characteristic”. It does not mean anyone wants you to apologize for it; it does mean someone is asking for an acknowledgement of the implications of it, either for how it is impacted where you are now, how it might be skewing your perspective or level of knowledge in discussing a subject, or for how the lack of that same privilege may have made things different for someone else.

Discourse surrounding gender, sexuality, and race are commonplace on college campuses, and this year Middlebury has experienced what I view as an active resurgence of dialogues on these important topics. From the Wade Davis talk to the Amy Wax lecture, a variety of critiques have been entertained with the often-implicit undertone of dealing with privilege in a world where most people don’t have it. Regardless of your race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or class situation Middlebury students are unified in an important type of privilege: the opportunity to attend an elite institution of higher education. With that privilege comes the responsibility to consider the different ways that privilege figures into the status of people everywhere and how to eradicate the inequalities it provokes.

Comment below on your thoughts on the Tal Fortgang’s opinion piece, Violet Baudelaire’s response, and anything and everything privilege related.

Geography Lecture: Martin Gamache from National Geographic Magazine

With geography on the rise as one of Midd’s most popular majors, there are few of us who haven’t heard about or experienced the daunting mapping program Geographic Information System, or GIS. Despite it’s difficulty, GIS has revolutionized geographers ability to “visualize, question, analyze, interpret, and understand data to reveal relationships, patterns, and trends,” – basically to map everything from Shaq’s best shooting location to migration patterns to otherwise undocumented landmasses, etc.

If you’re interested in GIS, geography, mapping, or even journalism, be sure to check out Tuesday’s Geography Lecture with Martin Gamache, Senior Map and Graphics Editor at National Geographic, our nation’s most prestigious geography magazine. Martin will discuss the design process for maps at National Geographic, drawing on recent examples and personal work. This guy’s front and center on NatGeo’s masthead – pretty big deal, not to miss. The talk is open to anyone!

Date: Tuesday, May 6
Time: 4:30-6 PM
Place: McCardell Bicentennial Hall 220
Cost: Free

FRIDAY: Relay for Life


Elise Cabral ’16 has all the information:

Relay for Life is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Come see performances by Mamajamas, Mischords, Tae Kwon Do Kicks, Crazyhearse, Troy Milette, and Summit of Thieves, participate in activities such as Zumba and yoga, enjoy food from local restaurants, and help finish the fight against cancer. Register for $10 at the event or at go/relay.

Date: Friday – Saturday, May 2-3
Time: 5:30 pm – 6:00 am
Place: Kenyon Arena
Cost: $10

Go/Vote…or not.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.35.27 PM

The voting period began today at noon and will continue until tomorrow at noon.  Go/vote to participate. You might be disappointed by your inability to choose.

As you may or may have heard, there’s only one person running for the position of SGA President this year.  This leaves us with two options – vote for Taylor or don’t vote at all.  That’s it. Don’t get me wrong, Taylor seems like a decent candidate, but I would like an opportunity to vote showing my dissension, otherwise known as a protest vote. Submitting a protest vote is stronger than abstention, it suggests a need for more options or a lack of confidence in the choices available.

Zee takes a stance: “There is no point to vote here because we don’t have a choice. There is no option to show dissent to the candidate or to the way the SGA is run. If this were truly a democratic vote there should be a vote for no-confidence that would allow students to show dissatisfaction with the status quo, or perhaps a write-in option.”

The lack of opposition may be the result of any number of things, but the outcome of this election has already been decided and now the responsibility to make change falls on us. Here’s Taylor platform, according to the Campus (I was unable to find anything else about the candidate you can read all about his platform here):

Taylor’s platform is significantly scaled back, looking to extend Thanksgiving Break, provide access to syllabi to give more information when we are picking courses, and partnering with local restaurants to create a revamped system of the MiddKid card.

Macslappy: “Last year, we had three candidates, Rachel Liddell ’15, Nathan LaBarba ’14, and Killian Naylor ’14.5, each of whom had extensive platforms, engaged in a debate, tabled in front of dining halls, and Liddell even went so far as to bake cookies, which admittedly won me over. Continue reading

The Case For Marx

The Case For Marx

Tuesday afternoon in Twilight Middlebury Professor of Economics Peter Hans Matthews will be giving a lecture entitled “The Case For Marx.”  Marx has been making a big return into economic consciousness since the Great Recession and the ensuing explosion of unemployment and wealth disparity.  While not long ago Marx’s name largely connoted lock-step, totalitarian, anti-American ideology, his political economy has come under reconsideration as his theories on crisis and the nature of free market capitalism have again proven to have salience. To use less jargon, the economy fucked up and people are now realizing our once superstitious resistance to his work may have been a bad idea.  This trend can be seen in the recent op-ed panel in the New York Times “Was Marx Right?” and the work of French economist Thomas Piketty embodied in his “Capital in the 21st Century.”  Political opinions aside, this should be a fascinating lecture, and an opportunity to see where theory comes into practice, the ultimate goal of the liberal arts, right?

Date: Tuesday, April 28th
Time: 4:30-6:30 PM
Place: Twilight Auditorium

SUNDAY: The Conversation Continues: A Follow-Up Discussion on Body Image at Midd

Image from Glamour Body Image Survey

Image from Glamour Body Image Survey

Last week, we were extremely pleased to see so many of you show up for the first Body Image Story-Telling event. Significant feedback about the power of the stories and the pertinence of body image related issues on campus has motivated a follow-up discussion to the event. At this Sunday’s follow-up meeting we are going to discuss where to go moving forward after this event and converse about what we want the school to offer in terms of resources related to body image, wellness, and eating disorders. We are honored to announce that the two Vermont state representatives for The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders will be joining us and will speak about various on and off campus eating disorder resources. We encourage anyone to join this conversation, whether or not you attended last week’s Gamut Room event. We look forward to seeing you there! Plus, there will be free Noonie’s catering! 

What: Follow-up discussion to Body Image Story-Telling event
Date: Sunday, April 27
Time: 2 – 3:30 PM
Place: Palmer House living room (first floor)