Students experience spirituality and religion in many different and rewarding ways as part of the Middlebury community.
Below you’ll hear from some of these students, and perhaps find your own voice among them.
The Varieties of Religious Experience
On campus, the discourse on diversity often omits discussion of religion. As a way to address this omission, Inaugural Thought Leadership Fellow Matthew Blake ’17 embarked on this narrative journalistic project to highlight students’ unique religious experiences at Middlebury, particularly exploring how religion shapes their understanding of identity, culture, and purpose.
Heather Cox ’19
“Church should not be the cherry on top of your weekend, something you just do for your spiritual quota for the week and then you are done… Your experience during church should inform the way you act in your daily life, and I think if you are going about that properly you should feel compelled to act with compassion and with love for people who are different from you.”
Bernardo Andrade ’18
“I didn’t have exactly a single moment of conversion that made me suddenly accept Christianity, but little by little what I saw happening was that philosophy, which I thought would give me the arguments for atheism, gradually was giving me a longing for God.”
In Their Own Words
Middlebury students and graduates respond to the question, “How does your spirituality add to your liberal arts education?”
Blake Harper ’15
I wish people understood that my immediate and ultimate concerns are not with what job I get, what I do on the weekend or who I call my friend. So many things that we do in college seem to distantly revolve around certain, relatively concentric, ultimate concerns and I want people to know that mine are a little different, which makes certain activities, internships and beliefs less integral to my idea of progress and personal development. This broadening of my level of comfort has also made it much easier to pursue a liberal arts education. Not only do I feel open to a broad array of experiences, but I feel grateful for them as well. When new classes and activities are approached with gratitude and wonder, it can go miles for your engagement. I’ve found that by approaching my studies with God behind, beside and beyond me I can get a great deal more out of them. Practicing mindfulness, meditation and transcendence can also do wonders for your intellect, and has been nice to feel sharper, more aware and more closely connected to the intuitive, creative brain.
Katie Pett ’14
My faith is the single most important thing in my life. During orientation I found out about one of the Christian groups on campus, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Two years later I’ve found some of the deepest and most honest friendships I’ve ever had. These relationships weren’t simply products of time spent together; they came from a collective pursuit for truth. This group was formed as a safe place to ask questions about who this Jesus guy is. There’s a community of trust that no question is too big or small and we’d work together to find some answers. This questioning has freed me to have honest conversations with peers across campus - from all sorts of spiritual or non-religious backgrounds. Faith is a big question and no one has all the answers. Learning is about asking and these spiritual life groups give students a space to naturally discuss, form communities, and invite others into that discussion.