Middlebury: A Town, Not Just a College

Audrey Nelson

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It seems it is not unusual to find a Middlebury student who, over the course of their four years here, hardly ever ventured beyond campus into the actual town of Middlebury. Sure, the occasional dinner with visiting parents forces people to walk to Storm Café, or perhaps the weekly trip to Hannaford’s for Pop-Tarts and Trident, but generally speaking, the average student spends very little time getting to know this Vermont town.

How hard would it be to take a moment each week to connect with the community? Busy as a student’s life may be, the amount of time, money, and effort spent by the town on our college is extraordinary, and the least we could do is take a genuine interest. For example, one could mentor a child, volunteer at a community dinner, or talk to someone who is not a student at least once a day. Why not get to know a truly hearty Vermonter who makes his own syrup, or whose grandson scored in the latest Middlebury Union High School game? To see and to love Middlebury as a whole, and not simply the bits and pieces of it at the top of the hill, means that we appreciate the context from which our college was born.

Middlebury is a town with a history, a town with stories, a town with interesting and real people who have lives and strengths all their own. Volunteer at a local preschool, and you might come to find that a large part of our Middlebury community struggles to financially support its youngest residents. However, if one college student took the time each week to sit down and read to that very same preschool class, we would see that it doesn’t cost a thing to show that you care.

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