Category Archives: Environment

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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Campus Character: Andrew Holtz

Look at those plants!

Look at those plants!

Compared to most colleges in the country, Middlebury is minuscule—a 2,500-person student body is not that big. This allows us the opportunity to meet and learn about each other, but there are still plenty of students on campus who’s stories and experiences are something that could be shared, but they just don’t have the right front to do so. Thus, Campus Character has been created as a way to showcase the diversity of people and their interests on this campus. Every week or so, I will interview a student with the hopes of uncovering a hidden talent or a fascinating story. We are a school of amazing individuals, and I want people to see that.

Despite the diversity of interests at Middlebury, it’s not often that one sees a dorm room adorned with plants. Andrew Holtz ’16.5 stands apart from others in his love for botany. When asked where his interest in plants came from, Andrew replied: “My dad has always been interested in them and growing up we took care of our house plants and garden.” He continued: “I’m interested in how new plants grow from dead ones. I’m interested in their resilience.” Having been in Andrew’s room prior to interviewing him, I always notice that the plants help create an ambiance that is just not present in other dorm rooms.

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TONIGHT: Middlebury Fermenters Guild meeting



Have you ever enjoyed beer? I thought so! Are you interested in wine, mead, cider, kombucha?  How about sauerkraut, sourdough, or cheese?

Do you want to start your own culture or pursue hoppiness?

The Middlebury Fermenter’s Guild is having a spring meeting tonight at 9:30pm in the Old Stone Mill. We are a collective of experienced and novice fermenters looking to increase our knowledge and resources with regards to the creation of beer, and the foods of the gods, et al. No experience necessary, but soon you will be drinking the beer that you make yourself! We praise the yeast and drink its children. L’chaim!

Date: Today, 3/5
Time: 9:30
Place: Old Stone Mill

Treeman: The Return of the Tree

Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.  - Robert H. Schuller

Greetings middbeat. I, the treeman, have returned to tell you about another of our campus’s stand-out trees (if this is your first time reading one of my submissions, I recommend you at least take a look at my first article for some context), but first I must apologize to my fellow tree enthusiasts for my lengthy absence. For a time, even I, the treeman, was too caught up in my day-to-day human bustling to appreciate my aplomb arboreal buddies. Fortunately, that treeless time has passed and I am excited to be writing about my favorite woody sentinels once more. Treeward!


He might not look like much, but we should all aspire to be more like this tree.

Ever take the time to truly notice this little guy? Probably not, but that’s why I’m here.

I believe this dude is a red pine (though, as always, I urge you to take my entirely unprofessional opinion with a few dashes of salt) and I call him Danko. Rooted between Coffrin and the Chateau, Danko hardly stands out to most passers-by. In the fall and spring, the foliage of the surrounding Washington Hawthorns and nearby Sugar Maples easily draws our eyes from this squat little evergreen and in winter he is dwarfed by the Norway Spruces that mark the edge of Battell Beach while the frozen berries of his Hawthorn neighbors continue to steal the proverbial “limelight.” Continue reading

Improv Audition Week


Middlebrow Improv Comedy and the Otter Nonsense Players will be holding auditions all this week, and both groups are eager to see the hilarity that’s out there amongst the student body.  Here’s the schedule:

Middlebrow: Monday OR Tuesday, 4:30, Axinn 219
Otters: Wednesday OR Thursday, 4:30, Gifford Annex

It is important to note that you need only go to one day for either group.  So you could do Brow Monday and Otters Thursday, par examplé.  It’s also important to note that NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY; in fact, most current members of the two improv groups had never done improv comedy, or ever even made somebody laugh, before getting to Middlebury.  So please, come, it’s a lot of fun.

Make Cheese, Learn wonders of creation

Tomorrow (Saturday) at 4:30pm at the Old Stone Mill the Middlebury Fermenters Guild will give the final and third installment of the free and easy fermentation workshop series, 2014.

Learn, participate, and enjoy in the making of fresh raw milk mozzarella cheese with us! Join the dozens who have already enjoyed making yogurt, bread, and cheese with us. We’ll eat and make the best cheese you’ve ever had, no shit. It’s simple and easy.


Date: Tomorrow, Saturday 1/24
Time: 4:30 – 5:30pm
Place: Old Stone Mill

Continue reading for directions the the OSM, and keep your eyes open for the Fermenters’ Feast, this Monday.

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