Contact: Sarah Ray
Posted: August 21, 2002

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

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.

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.