While MiddView encouraged the Class of 2017 to explore, connect, create, the Office of Sustainability Integration (OSI) relayed a seemingly contradictory message—be negative. This did not imply a shift in attitudes, but instead carbon emissions. If all goes as planned, the freshman class will see Middlebury College through carbon neutrality and take it beyond, or rather, below.
The orientation and MiddView planning committee and OSI collaborated to integrate sustainability practices into orientation activities. For the second year, the student welcome packets included a memory stick with important documents in lieu of of papers. This envelope, designed by OSI, featured an environmental theme and invited students to join campus-wide sustainability efforts.
Middview leaders sported shirts made by SustainU Clothing and dining services contributed to the cause by featuring local food and having recycling and composting stations present at events.
OSI held its annual Sustainability Fair on the sidewalk outside the Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest. Representatives were present from student environmental groups, the Recycling Center, the Bike Shop, Addison County Transit Resources (ACTR), and the School of the Environment. Inside the Center, Anis Mebarki ‘15, held a Sustainability Workshop to educate students, particularly international students, about environmental efforts at Middlebury such as recycling.
Inspired by sustainability activities on campus, freshmen carried their excitement into surrounding Vermont communities through various MiddView trips. The trips were designed to serve as a time for personal inquiry, exploration, and connection with the local community. The three themes included Community Engagement, Vermont Exploration, and Wilderness Exploration.
Examples of trips focusing on sustainable practices included Food Systems in Vermont, The History and Ecology of Lake Champlain, Vermont Farm Tours, Sustainable Architecture, and Alternative Energy.
“This year’s freshman class seems especially well-prepared to move the sustainability agenda forward. Many of them bring a high degree of literacy with the topic and impressive experiences addressing sustainability issues in their own communities,” said Jack Byrne, Director of the Office of Sustainability Integration. “We will no doubt benefit greatly from having a new class of highly literate and motivated students to advance the sustainability agenda at Middlebury.”