Category Archives: Environment

The Caiçara: J-term Documentary by Tommy Hyde ’14.5

Whether you were interested in the beautiful country of Brazil before this summer’s ragin’ World Cup or not (BTW USA! FUCK YA @ 4PM TODAY!), once you watch this awesome documentary-style video by Tommy Hyde ’14.5 you will certainly be scratchin’ for a trip down south. Tommy spent J-term 2014 living the Brazilian beach life in the small, non-touristy, fisherman-fueled town of Bonete, Brazil. This video was his final project. Check out Tommy’s description of the experience below. Definitely worth watching (make sure those subtitles are on unless you’ve mastered português as well)!

“So this was pretty much the best month of my life. Rita Croce ’14 was a hero and set me up with a little hut her family owns on this beach. I got to eat coconuts, surf everyday, and hang out with these really amazing fishermen.

For the first week or so, I got a lot of weird looks. For one – there are very few tourists that stay in Bonete for longer than a few days, and it’s extremely rare to see any Americans. So a gringo staying for a month was confusing for the people there. However I gradually started to integrate – surfing with the locals, drinking beers with the old folks at the little bar at night, and even going to a few church services.

Marcelo, the centerpiece of the doc, was also a very shy guy. He is a man of few words, and was at first hesitant to open his life to me…even more hesitant about sharing with the camera. By the end of January however, right when my Portuguese was decent, he opened up and allowed me to film two days at his fishing outpost and conduct a single interview. It was a learn-on-the-fly experience in every way, and I’m privileged to have spent quality time with such an inspiring person in such a beautiful place.”

And here’s the link to the video again if ya missed it:

Self Reliance Planting Party Today 3-6 PM

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Spring is in the air, and there is no better way to greet Vermont’s seasonal rebirth than planting seeds and getting your hands dirty with friends.  Today at Self Reliance house (the Solar D house next to Meeker), there will be a planting party from 3-6 PM.  Self Reliance stalwart Greta Neubauer ’14.5 writes in:

Hello friends and lovers of the earth,

Self Reliance house is hosting a planting party tomorrow from 3-6pm and we would love if you stopped by to plant some seeds, drink lemonade, eat snacks and enjoy the sunshine! (And check out our fun house!)
Feel free to come early or late, although if you are feeling especially keen about getting your hands dirty, come within the first hour.
Happy springtime lovely people!

Get rooted before finals period, and give the gift of life to seeds!

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Room 404: The Problem With Public Art At Middlebury

Interdisciplinary publication Room 404 is releasing its third issue this Thursday (facebook event here). In anticipation of the release, 404 and Middbeat teamed up to publish this article by Sally Caruso ’15.5. It comes on the heels of a recent post about the use of public space on campus. Here’s to what you didn’t know, but definitely should know, about the art that defines our public space at Middlebury.

In 1983, Vito Acconci, a world-renowned architect, sculptor and performance artist, taught at Middlebury as a Cameron Visiting Artist during J-term. While here, he designed his first permanent structure, Way Station, which was installed alongside a path near Ross Dining Hall. The piece (right) was created as a private study chamber, and was intended as a place for introspection and contemplation.

[Selfies at the reconstruction of Way Station]

[Selfies at the reconstruction of Way Station]

Sally Acconci Selfie Mirror










Way Station, Middlebury’s second piece of public art, caused an immediate uproar— students thought it was an ugly interruption to the landscape. People spat and shat and fucked on it until, ultimately, the piece was firebombed during the 1985 Commencement ceremony, resulting in its permanent destruction and removal.

In the thirty years since the Acconci incident, Middlebury has developed one of the largest and most prestigious public art collections of any small college in the country. The administration likes to brag about this, and rightfully so. What goes unsaid, however, is that public art at Middlebury was, in a sense, born out of the destruction of Way Station. Way Station’s defacement became the impetus for the administration to create a serious public art collection at Middlebury. At the same time, the lasting memory of the controversy over and vandalizing of Acconci’s piece has led the administration to ensure that the art on our campus is particularly conservative and nothing that might incite another embarrassing, Accocni-like fiasco. Our public art, which is to say our public space, is defined largely by an event that took place thirty years ago, and which the student body had almost no knowledge of until this past fall when Way Station reemerged behind the Center for the Arts.

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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

TODAY: Real Food Week Keynote Address


Join EatReal and SGA for the RealFood week Keynote Address, given by Abbey Willard, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Local Foods Administrator! She will be speaking about local food in Vermont, and the roles that institutions, farmers and the state play in encouraging the growth of the local food industry. There will be local food snacks provided by MCOF (Middlebury College Organic Farm).

“I am super excited for this event, EatReal has been planning RealFood week all year, and this talk will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the week this year. Abbey is a phenomenal woman and a captivating speaker. I am excited to hear her ideas about how Middlebury can impact the local food industry here in VT”

-Noah Stone, 16.5

Date: Thursday, April 24
Time: 5:00 PM
Place: Hillcrest Orchard

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Find your beach


Sometimes at Middlebury when it is meant to be spring the weather throws us back to a winter wonderland or a monsoon of rain and mud. While I do enjoy the pristine clean white powdered covered trees and a romp in my Hunter boots, sometimes I yearn for the days of sun, warmth, and the potential for a full body sunburn.



Sometimes I sit back, close my eyes, and find my beach (cue corona commercial). Now and again I drift so far as to hear seagulls squawking in the sky. But is this such a dream? I open my eyes and see that in fact, it is not. I can’t be alone in wondering why we have seagulls in Vermont, a land locked state far from salted waters. I set out to suffice this curiosity. Here is what I found:

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Middlebrow Show TONIGHT

Middlebrow Spring 2014 #1

Middlebrow will be having its second improv show of the semester, and its first with new members Justin Jackson Prince ’17 and Alexander Khan ’17.  The show, which will be in Pearsons Lounge, will feature a surprise guest, a storyteller who will make you LAWL.  Although 11 might seem like a late start time, Alexander urges fans to come out and support the group nonetheless, “11 is actually the perfect time for comedy!  Jon Stewart and SNL are both on at 11, and that’s when they air the best reruns of the Brady Bunch on TV Land!”  Luke Smith-Stevens ’14.5 adds, “KHAAAAAAAAANNN!”

Date: Tonight, Tuesday 4/1
Time: 11 PM
Place: Pearsons Lounge


LECTURE TODAY: Park Again: The Ongoing History of the End of Public Space

3166C0D2-B78E-4054-988E-3EADFFA6AA9DIneffective use of public space and how we might improve this predicament have been hot conversation topics recently at Middlebury. Questions like, “Why isn’t McCullough really a student center?” and “Why would they create a swipe system, Proctor is Midd’s only real student space?” are justified and fascinating to unpack. Today, the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs, Departments of Geography, History, Sociology and Anthropology will be hosting a lecture absolutely worth checking out if you are interested in urban planning or the use of public spaces, titled Park Again: The Ongoing History of the End of Public Space

The public lecture will be given by Don Mitchell, Distinguished Professor of Geography, Syracuse University, an award-winning author, and a social justice activist. Mitchell has an extensive portfolio of public space studies, and will be focusing specifically on the tumultuous history and present standing of the park as a public space.

Date: Today, March 31
Place: Robert A. Jones ’59 Conference Room (upstairs in RAJ)
Time: 4:30 – 6 PM
Cost: Free, open to anyone!


New evidence supports cosmic inflation of the Big Bang

Do you care about anything once was, currently is, or may someday exist in our universe? If so, researchers have made a massive discovery that provides some of the strongest evidence to-date for the inflation of the universe caused by the Big Bang. As an ENAM major, that’s about as much as I feel comfortable saying, but everyone should check out these findings for themselves. In addition to the BBC article linked above, here is the official paper, here is some info from the press conference and here is a video of one of inflation’s leading proponents receiving the news. You can find all of these materials and some interesting discussion among laypeople like most of us in the Reddit thread. Science is pretty cool, huh?

Here's a graphic that may or may not be helpful to you!

Here’s a graphic that may or may not be helpful to you.

TONIGHT: Community Water Solutions Summer Fellowship Info Session!!

Did you know…
Over 884 million people across the world lack access to an improved water supply.
Approximately 2.5 million children die each year from waterborne diseases.
In Africa, approximately 700,000 people die each year from these preventable waterborne diseases.

Looking for a summer plan? An exciting alternative to the behind-the-desk internship or ice cream scooping gig? Tonight, there will be an info session for the Summer Fellowship with Community Water Solutions with Middlebury CWS Fellow Alums in Hillcrest at 4:30, which we highly suggest you attend. Community Water Solutions is an incredible non-profit based in Western Africa, co-founded by Kate Clopeck, a MIT graduate and former rocket science who visited Midd for the at the Middlebury Center for Social Entrepreneurship speaker series last year. Community Water Solutions addresses the extremely severe clean water crisis in Western Africa and empowers women to launch sustainable water businesses. CWS does not drill wells but instead brings students and young professionals from around the world to West Africa (Ghana) where they build water treatment centers and train local women to run them. These businesses provide safe drinking water to the entire community, generate income for the women entrepreneurs who run them, and use local products. To date, CWS has launched 60 water businesses in Ghana that provide clean water to almost 35,000 people. 100% of our businesses are still in operation today. 

The CWS model is based on two components:

  • They use low-cost, community-scale water treatment and household safe storage solutions to ensure that the water stays safe and clean while users transport it and store it in their homes.
  • They use a hands-on approach to engaging communities as owners, operators and customers to ensure comprehensive community access to safe water, sustained use and lasting social change.

The four week CWS Summer Fellowship in Ghana has run successfully since the Summer of 2010 – many Middlebury students have participated in the fellowship, including myself, Leah Fessler ’15 and Hudson Cavanaugh ’14, with whom I will host the info session tonight. The CWS Fellowship Program is a “water education and leadership training experience in Northern Region Ghana with the purpose of teaching individuals about the global water crisis, and inspiring them to become leaders in the field of international development.” I participated in the Fellowship the summer after my freshman year, and can vouch that it was one of the most fullfilling, unique and educational experiences I have ever had. Read more about the Fellowship beyond the click.

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