Category Archives: Midd Off-Campus

Alcohol Policy at Stanford and Middlebury: Which Approach is Right?


The most recent spark in the alcohol policy debate comes not from Middlebury, but from across the country at Stanford University where Miriam Pollock recently published an editorial comparing Middlebury and Stanford’s alcohol policy.  An incredibly well-written, and insightful piece, Pollock’s perspective casts new light on the different approaches collegiate institutions can take in addressing alcohol consumption.  What follows is a re-posting of the Stanford Review piece.  Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.  Credit is due to Miriam Pollock and the Stanford Review.

Students file into the stands above Youngman Field, decked out in white and blue. The visiting team scores a quick touchdown, dampening the crowd’s spirits. But soon thereafter, quarterback Matt Milano launches an eighty-yard drive that ends in a dramatic touchdown. The students and alumni in the stadium go wild.

Meanwhile, a junior, removed from the action of the game, stumbles across Route 30 into the woods and unloads his lunch. He can barely walk. The junior had drunk heavily at the pre-football game tailgate. A Public Safety officer spots the student and determines he needs to be transported to the hospital. The student is sent to the hospital and safely recovers from his alcohol poisoning. Subsequently, he will receive both punishment and counseling.

The scene should be familiar to anyone who has attended a college football game: some students go too crazy at the tailgates, endangering themselves and others. Often, they will never even make it to the game. This scenario — with a different stadium, different quarterback, and different students — could play out almost anywhere in the US. But in this case the specific game took place at Middlebury College, a small liberal arts school in Vermont.

Understandably, the Middlebury administration — like many college administrations across the country — wants to reduce incidents of binge drinking at tailgates. And so, on September 16th of this year, Erin Quinn, Director of Athletics, announced a new policy. Alcohol was completely prohibited at tailgates, even for those 21 and over. (“Loud” music was also banned, causing students to question whether the policy was meant to protect them or to prevent them from having fun.)

While ensuring students remain safe is a laudable goal, this misguided policy is unlikely to accomplish that. In fact, this policy may even encourage binge drinking. Furthermore, it impinges on student freedom. Contrast all this with Stanford University, which has a far more relaxed alcohol policy. Residential staff champion an “open-door” policy. Students are encouraged to drink with their doors open; in turn, Residence Assistants (RAs) promise only to intervene if students’ safety is at risk. Is Stanford’s model more effective at keeping students safe? Which is right — the zero-tolerance approach, or Stanford’s more tolerant one?

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Granite Stoke Surf Movie Saturday

Tomorrow evening at 5 PM, Ryan Scura ’11 will be screening his film Granite Stoke in Axinn 232.  Granite Stoke focuses on the vibrant surfing culture on New Hampshire’s 18 miles of coastline, and thus far has been an official selection at the London Surf/Film Festival, the New Hampshire Film Festival, and the Honolulu Film Festival just to name a few.  Ryan and lifelong buddy Dylan Ladds have been making films together since middle school, and have struck gold with Granite Stoke which, according to the London Surf/Film Festival review board, “captures the very essence of surfing and what makes the friends we meet through it so special.”  Weaving surfing footage with the story of a tight knit community, the film should be a real treat.  Ryan will stick around after the screening for a Q & A.  The event is co-sponsored by the Programs in Creativity and Innovation and the Film and Media Culture Department.

When: Saturday, 5 PM
Where: Axinn 232
Cost: Free

Venture for America Info Session Friday

So you’re a senior, and you have absolutely no clue what you’re going to be doing next year. Finance and consulting apps have not been submitted. Kinda freakin’ out? Don’t fret, we feel you, and we’ve got an awesome suggestion: Venture for America.

VFA is self described as “A program for young, talented grads to spend two years in the trenches of a start-up with the goal that these graduates will become socialized and mobilized as entrepreneurs moving forward.”

More specifically, VFA’s mission is laid out as follows:

  • To revitalize American cities and communities through entrepreneurship.
  • To enable our best and brightest to create new opportunities for themselves and others.
  • To restore the culture of achievement to include value-creation, risk and reward, and the common good.

If you’re interested in entrepreneurship, start-ups, or just innovative and creative strategy at large, it’s absolutely worth stopping by the Venture for America Middlebury Info Session being held THIS FRIDAY. You’ll have the opportunity to learn all about the VFA program and application process, and meet current VFA Fellows Taylor Sundali ’12, Alex Bea ’12 and Astrid Schanz-Garbassi ’12, who’ve spent the last two years as  helping to build companies in Detroit, New Orleans and Las Vegas. For now, learn more about VFA here.

What: VFA Info Session
Date: Friday, October 17
Time: 4:30 – 5:30

Lunar Eclipse Wednesday Morning!!!

Lunar Eclipse

Here at middbeat, we’ve always been big fans of the moon.  It brings the ebbs and flows of the tide, makes wolves howl, and makes for romantic walks home from the bar.  It therefore pains us immensely to announce the total eclipse of the moon around 7 AM tomorrow.  For those early risers and sky-watchers out there, this will be a real sight to behold that may not happen again for quite some time.  This could be a good morning for a sunrise hike up Mount Abe, getting on top of your dorm’s roof, sending it to the coast to see the sun rise over the sea, or joining the Aviation Club to get above tomorrow’s expected rain clouds.  As they say, celestial events like this only happen once in a blue moon.  Don’t miss out.

Thanks to Eyal Levy ’14.5 for the tip.

When: 7 AM Wednesday
Where: the sky

Feb-Break MAlt Applications Due Thursday!

Maya Neria ’15 writes in:

MAlt is Middlebury’s alternative break program. Each year, students design and plan six trips during February Break (national and international destinations) and one Vermont-based trip during Fall and Spring Breaks. The goal of the trips is to engage Middlebury students with communities across the nation and the globe in order to share an experience, provide service where service is needed, and learn about the systems that shape community realities around the world.

The program has a needs-blind acceptance policy and does fund-raising throughout the year to make sure that anyone who needs financial assistance can participate.

See after the jump for trip descriptions.  Applications for this Feb-break are due this Thursday, October 9.

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Voices From Abroad: Jordan Seman ’16, Argentina

Jordan looking lovely with some incredible BsAs street art

Jordan looking lovely with some incredible BsAs street art

This week, middbeat’s “Voices From Abroad“ will feature Jordan Seman ’16, who is studying in Buenos Aires, Argentina this semester, living just blocks away from the National Congress. Jordan is a junior comparative literature major from Denver, CO. As part of the Middlebury School Abroad in Buenos Aires, Jordan is studying at Universidad Católica Argentina, taking classes in the psychology department for a change of pace. Jordan’s writing is extracted from her personal blog, and skillfully captures the complexities of life abroad, while offering some invaluable insights on how to deal with the transition. Having spent a semester in Buenos Aires myself, I’m particularly stoked to share this post. Read up:

Today, I met my dear friend Bryn’s father, Jim, for a cup of coffee during his brief stay in Buenos Aires. I can only describe seeing him as extremely comforting, if a little strange. The sensation was almost dream-like; one second I was on the bustling streets of the city, sweating from running the last four blocks from the bus stop, late (as usual), and impatient for the traffic to subside so I could finally cross the street…the next, I was in a luxurious lounge sipping a latte, sitting across from an old friend straight from my life in Denver. I immediately felt relief as we began to converse (in ALL English) about my experience the past two months. As I answered his questions (How are your classes? What’s the social scene like? Do you feel safe here? Do you like the food?), I realized that it was the first time that I had really decompressed the whirlwind of experiences in the past two months.

Talking to Jim helped me uncover some of the feelings that I’ve internalized while going through the daily motions of public transportation, confusion in class, endless misunderstandings in Spanish, and other cultural differences. Talking to him also left me with a choice: I could either sugarcoat everything, tell him how amazing Buenos Aires is and how happy I am every day to be here and be having this experience (which is all true, to an extent), or I could give him the true-to-life story, the one where I say how some days are really great, while others leave me with a pounding headache and a deep, aching desire for the simplicity of rural Vermont.

I chose the latter. Here are some of the impressions I gave him, with the 2-month perspective:

1) Taking classes in Spanish is not easy. Not only was I completely disillusioned about my ability to converse near-fluently with Argentines, but I also assumed that 8 weeks in the classroom would be enough to get the hang of my professors and the subject material. Not exactly true. The classes I am in (Sociology, Special Education, and Public Health) require a decent amount of theoretical background knowledge, which is difficult to understand in English, let alone Castellano. As such, I’m still learning. Some days I leave class feeling confident that I understood about 95% of the lecture; other days, I leave with a page full of vocabulary words to look up on my own, feeling disheartened and silly. All part of the process, I’m told.


2) My Spanish has most definitely improved. It’s no longer so much of an effort to listen and understand. I am not translating everything in my head anymore. The verb tenses come a little more fluidly, my vocabulary is a little more advanced, I can mostly understand what I’m ordering every time I go to restaurant. Small milestones that prove the cultural immersion really does work.

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Study Abroad Fair Today


Almost 60% of the Middlebury junior class studies abroad every year. Chances are, if you haven’t already gone, you’d at least consider jetting off for a semester or two. Plus, it’s just really, really fun. And you learn a lot. So, if you’re a freshman or sophomore (or junior!) dabbling with the idea of indulging that international Midd identity, be sure to stop by the Study Abroad Fair in BiHall today from 12-4pm. There will be representatives from study abroad programs all around the world, and ample information about previous student experiences.

Date: Thursday, October 2
Time: 12-4pm
Place: Great Hall in BiHall (where the blue and red chairs usually are)
Cost: free

Groennfell Meadery: Owned and Operated by Midd Alum, Interviewed by middbeat

Ricky and Kelly Klein ’07, ’09 are living the life.  No, they don’t have a Manhattan penthouse, they don’t go sailing around the Carribean for vacation, and they haven’t made their fortunes (yet). Rather than leading a life of glamor and riches, these Middlebury graduates manage their own meadery, Groennfell, in nearby Colchester, VT.  

The two met during Ricky’s senior year at Midd while he was pursuing a degree in Philosophy and Religion, and Kelly, then a sophomore, was working for a Math degree.  Both hail from Wilmington, Delaware, however didn’t know each other until meeting at Middlebury; Ricky relates that “in fact, when we were growing up, I knew her mother, and she knew mine.”  After a few years in transition working odd jobs and pursuing master’s degrees, the two married and decided to bring their marital partnership into the entrepreneurial world: they made a down payment on some property in Colchester, and started Groennfell Meadery where Ricky is the Head Meadmaker and Kelly the CEO.

middbeat recently caught up with Ricky, who was just at last weekend’s EatxNorthEast festival in Burlington doling out samples of Groennfell’s mead.  Ricky filled us in on everything from the epic bonfire parties he would host in Ripton while at Midd to his time studying theology, his take on Midd’s drinking culture, Norse mythology, and the entrepreneurial spirit.  His mead is now available on tap at Two Bros, and 4-packs are also available at BevCo. and the Co-Op (maybe). See after the jump for our interview with Ricky, and here for more info about Groenfell.

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A Case of the Mondays: music to start your week off right

What’d I tell you about the weather last week? I hope that everyone enjoyed the incredible weather and got as much sun as possible..and that you’re getting prepared to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage!

This week on A Case of the Mondays we’re getting outside of the Middlebury student population. I’ve always appreciated different perspectives on music — those who consider themselves audiophiles, casual listeners, die-hard fans, etc. Yet I think one of the most interesting groups to talk to are musicians themselves. Shane Carroll ’17 goes to Fordham University, and as personally experienced, is a phenomenal drummer. Seeing musicians engage in something they’re so passionate about is a joy to see, and Shane on the drums is no exception. Playlist after the break.

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Grape Harvest Party at Lincoln Peak Vineyard

unnamedIf you’re not slammed by work today, we highly suggest you make the quick drive to Lincoln Peak Vineyard for the Grape Harvest Party. Picking grapes and crushing them with your feet, live music, bubbly wine, VT cheese and sausage, and it’s free… what’s not to like? If you’ve never been, Lincoln Peak Vineyard is just three miles north of Middlebury, right off Route 7.

And, if you’ve got no time for anything but reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic today, just watch this and be happy.

Date: Today, September 28
Time: 12-5pm
Place: Lincoln Peak Vineyard