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Wednesday, Dec 6, 2023


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Making it Meaningful

With the ascension of the Class of 2005.5 and the graduation of the Class of 2001.5, the Feb program at Middlebury College is as prominent as it has ever been, attracting more students each year who specifically apply to enter in February. Yet despite the program's well-deserved prestige, there remains some debate over the formal recognition of Febs particularly in the way they receive their diplomas following graduation.

Currently, an outgoing Feb has three options to celebrate his or her departure from the College. He or she may choose to walk with the class directly ahead of his or her own, participate in the 'official' Feb graduation or take part in the graduation ceremony the following spring. But a key discrepancy emerges in the fact that Febs do not receive their actual diplomas until the spring ceremony for students that entered Middlebury in theSeptember after their arrival, forcing them to either return to campus after they graduate or, alternatively, receive their diplomas in the mail.

On a campus that has celebrated and nurtured the Feb program since its inception 30 years ago, it is important that we give Febs the same benefits as regular students upon their departure from Middlebury. Despite the fact that many elements of the February graduation ceremony are similar to those of the spring event – the handing out of replicas of Gamaliel Painter's cane, for example – the absence of a formal diploma in the former is a significant one. Incorporating giving this small but meaningful document to departing students in the February ceremony would be a necessary step in fully recognizing the value of the program as a whole.

Reviving the True Olympic Spirit

Six months after Sept. 11, American patriotism has reached new heights. The start of the Winter Olympics, held on United States soil in Salt Lake City, Utah, serves as a reminder that, while patriotism is a defining feature of any country, exaggerated displays of it are contrary to the true spirit of the Games — a spirit grounded in international competition and global solidarity.

In the opening ceremony of the Games, all entering nations were given warm receptions, with many athletes choosing to display American flags as well as their own, showing appreciation for the host nation and celebrating the unity of nations in times of international insecurity. National politics were put aside for a confluence of global togetherness and acceptance.

As Middlebury students cheer on their hometown heroes in television lounges across campus, we must remember the true meaning of the Olympics. Transnational unity, camaraderie and togetherness, bringing all teams together under the common cause of fair competition and love of sport is the genuine goal of the Olympic Games. The theme of the games is to foster an international community dedicated to celebrating excellence in athletics and the appreciation of all athletes' efforts: winners and the common competitors.