August 27, 1997

Orientation Week Welcomes the Class of 2001 to Middlebury College

When 570 members of the class of 2001 begin arriving at Middlebury College on August 31, the faculty and staff will be ready to welcome a group of young people chosen from the largest applicant pool-4,738 students in the College's history. Coming from 49 states and more than 30 countries, the students represent a rich variety of experiences and talents. Forty-one new faculty members will also join the College community this fall.

"We're thrilled to have had a seven percent increase in the number of applicants for this class versus the class that entered last year," said Mike Schoenfeld, Dean of Enrollment Planning. "We feel especially fortunate since this growth follows the 17 percent increase we enjoyed last year."

Vermonters in the new class include Kate Wright, a Shelburne resident and graduate of Champlain Valley Union High School, in Hinesburg. "Middlebury offered me a good combination-a strong academic reputation and the opportunity to pursue the sports I love," said Wright, a field hockey and lacrosse player. "I'm also looking forward to being near home, but far enough away so that I'll live in a dorm."

Orientation Activities

In homage to an old science fiction movie, Middlebury College's 1997 orientation week for first-year students, which will take place from Sept. 1-7, is titled "2001: A Middlebury Odyssey." Offering an introduction to life as a Middlebury College student, orientation activities range from a preview of local volunteer opportunities and meetings with academic advisors, to wilderness experiences and traditional ceremonies, such as convocation.

Following the departure of their parents and families on Sept. 1, students will attend a variety of events, including: Middlebury College President McCardell's opening-of-the-school-year address, a discussion about life on campus with the deans of the College, a square dance, a library tour, and theatrical presentations based on admissions application essays by their classmates.

When class registration is complete on September 4, students will line up for the traditional convocation procession from Old Chapel to Mead Chapel. After the ceremony, which formally marks the class's entrance into the College, students will gather for a photo.

The final three days of orientation will give students the chance to experience life beyond campusboth in the local Middlebury community and beyond. Students choose between three options: "MOO" (Middlebury Outdoor Orientation), "This is Vermont" and "Volunteer Preview."

Now in its 10th year, "MOO" is a student organized orientation event that was founded by members of the Middlebury College Mountain Club. "MOO" leads student groups in outdoor activities such as hiking, developing among the new class an immediate appreciation for Vermont's beautiful countryside. The trips also allow students to form friendships in a relaxed setting as well as gain useful wilderness skills.

According to Juliana Popper '98, "MOO" coordinator, "MOO" was started with the idea that the outdoors is the perfect introduction to the College. "Many students don't anticipate the scope of outdoor opportunities that Vermont and the greater Middlebury area has to offer. These trips expose them to the possibilities right away," said Popper.

This year, "MOO" will supply a variety of backpacking opportunities. Most trips will explore Vermont's Long Trail, and one will focus on both hiking and trail maintenance. Canoe excursions and rock climbing expeditions will take place just across Lake Champlain in New York State's Adirondacks. On the Vermont side of the lake, mountain bike trips will explore miles of dirt roads.

Students who select the "This is Vermont" orientation event will also experience culture and landscape unique to the area. Their activities range from a storytelling session by Abenaki storyteller Wolf Song at the College's Bread Loaf campus in Ripton, to riding the "Sugarbush Express" train to Vermont's largest city, Burlington, and exploring Lake Champlain by boat on the "Spirit of Ethan Allen II."

Those participating in "Volunteer Preview" are introduced to the College's Volunteer Services Program, an important component of college life. During orientation week, students work on daily community service projects, such as trail work with the U.S. Forest Service or home renovation for affordable housing. With about half of all Middlebury students volunteering at some time during their college career, "Volunteer Preview" offers an early glimpse of the real world concerns of the local community of Addison County, and of the opportunities offered by the Program for students to make a positive impact upon them.

Opening-of-School-Year Address and Other Upcoming Campus Events

President McCardell will deliver his annual opening-of-the-school-year address on Monday, September 8 from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. in Mead Chapel. All members of the public are welcome to attend.

The following is a schedule of upcoming campus events:

Aug. 31 First-year students begin arriving

Sept. 4 Convocation

Sept. 8 Classes Begin

Sept. 8 Opening-of-the-school-year address by President McCardell (12:30 to 1:00pm, in Mead Chapel)

Sept. 12-14 Alumni Leadership Conference

Sept. 26-28 Fall Family Weekend I

Oct. 3-5 Fall Family Weekend II

Oct. 16-17 Mid-term recess

Oct. 25-26 Homecoming

Oct. 31-Nov. 2 Sub-Saharan Africa Symposium "Democracy and Governance:Sub-Saharan Africa on the Brink of the 21st Century"