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Technology rules as the class of 2010 packs for college

July 25, 2006

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Right now, numerous nervous, first-time college students are asking, "What should I pack for college?" And what ends up in their trunks and duffel bags is a clear reflection of how technology has influenced the items now considered essential college gear. The following is a brief sampling of what past and current students have packed for college over the last five decades:

Class of 1955
- one dark blue suit for seated meals
- portable typewriter
- treasured collection of 78s and LPs

Class of 1978
- AM/FM clock radio
- electric typewriter
- 10-speed bike
- Frisbee

Class of 1999
- portable fridge and microwave
- boom box and CDs
- word processor
- case of Ramen noodles

Class of 2010
- iPod
- laptop
- lacrosse stick
- Blackberry

"Students bring vast collections of media with them - their entire music, video, game, and photo collections can fit in their pockets - and thus they travel within their own personalized spaces," said Middlebury College Assistant Professor of Film and Media Culture Jason Mittell. "The challenge for today's students is often less about how to remain connected with home, and more about how to disconnect from their media-saturated worlds and engage in the face-to-face academic and social interaction of a smaller campus like Middlebury."

Mittell is available to comment further on the technological chronology of past decades. His areas of expertise include issues concerning popular culture and media, particularly new media studies and integrated technology. He can be reached at 802-443-3435 or

Middlebury College Orientation and Class of 2010

On Wednesday, Sept. 6, 560 members of the Middlebury College class of 2010 are expected to arrive on campus for orientation. This year's incoming class of first-years hails from 39 foreign countries and 46 states, and 6 percent of the students in the incoming class are from Vermont. They will take part in orientation events through Sunday, Sept. 10, ranging from small group seminars to class registration to convocation. Of particular interest to many new students are the Deliberative Dialogues, which consist of cultural discussions among students, faculty and staff who differ in nationality, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, political preference and family structure. All new students participate in a Deliberative Dialogue on a topic of their choice, and each group is led by a returning student. The framework introduces a new approach to talking about provocative and potentially divisive issues in a way that focuses on common ground rather than debate. More information about orientation is available online at

From Sept. 2-6, prior to orientation, approximately 250 students will participate in the optional "Middlebury Outdoor Orientation" (MOO), which offers students the chance to choose between overnight trips featuring a number of outdoor activities: trail maintenance, canoeing, rock climbing, fly fishing, backpacking and volunteer service projects. Currently in its 19th year, MOO is a student organization that was founded by members of the Middlebury College Mountain Club. MOO's trips take place in Vermont and in New York's Adirondack Mountains.