August 21, 2002

Contact: Sarah Ray
Posted: August 21, 2002

MIDDLEBURY, VT- The 570 expected members of the Middlebury College class of 2006 will begin arriving on campus on Sept. 1. Coming from 38 foreign countries, 47 states and the District of Columbia, the students will take part in a week of orientation events and trips that open their eyes to the state they will call home for the next four years.

Students will be introduced to the campus by registering bikes, picking up their student identification, touring facilities and learning more about the commons system, which locates 400 students in a self-sustaining residential systems complete with living facilities, dining halls and study areas. All 580 incoming students will eat dinner with the president and his wife at his house after touring the campus. The dinner is a tradition that introduces and makes the president more accessible to the class of 2006.

The linchpins of the orientation week, however, are three activity programs, which will relieve the stress students often encounter as they sign up for classes and say goodbye to their parents. The programs, "Middlebury Outdoor Orientation" (MOO), "This is Vermont," and "Volunteer Preview" mix students together in small groups and introduce them to the state, its beauty and its culture at the same time students are introduced to each other.

Currently in its 15th year, MOO is a student organization that was founded by members of the Middlebury College Mountain Club. MOO leads student groups on overnight trips in Vermont and in New York's Adirondack Mountains. The expeditions feature a number of outdoor activities: trail maintenance, canoeing, rock climbing, fly fishing, backpacking and mountain biking. Each group consists of eight first-year students and two experienced student leaders. As part of the MOO program, an all-women's backpacking trip is being offered for the first time.

This is Vermont offers students who would like to become familiar with the Green Mountain State the chance to experience local culture and sites. Beginning with an overnight stay, storytelling and music at Middlebury's Bread Loaf campus in Ripton, Vt., the program continues with a day exploring the city of Burlington, cruising Lake Champlain on the "Spirit of Ethan Allen II," and feasting on a traditional New England barbecue. Students will conclude their adventures with the trip of their choice to Lake Dunmore, downtown Middlebury or Manchester, the Killington/Pico Adventure Center or the Ben and Jerry's factory in Waterbury.

Those participating in the third program, Volunteer Preview, work daily on local community service projects. Tasks include trail maintenance in cooperation with the United States Forest Service and the Green Mountain Club, reconstruction of playgrounds for area childcare centers, home renovation for affordable housing and painting the gazebo on the Middlebury town green. In the evening, students will enjoy cookouts, hiking and various social activities. With more than half of all Middlebury students volunteering at some time during their college career, Volunteer Preview offers an early glimpse into the real world concerns of and future volunteerism in Addison County.

On Sunday, Sept. 8, after students have returned from their trips, they will line up for the traditional convocation procession from Old Chapel to Mead Chapel. Following the ceremony, which formally marks the class' entrance into the College, they will gather for a class photo.