As the semester reaches its midway point, the college has tried to improve the off-campus experience for students housed at Bread Loaf, the Inn on the Green and the Middlebury Courtyard by Marriott.
With 300 additional students enrolled at the college for the fall semester, Middlebury scrambled to find extra lodging for these students. Most students who ended up with these housing options did so not necessarily by choice but because of a late slot for room draw.
The administration, in announcing the off-campus housing options, assured students there would be accommodations to make life off-campus more convenient, and have been gradually introducing measures to make the off-campus experience more workable.
On Friday, Oct. 1, residents of Bread Loaf and the Marriott received an email from Dean of Students Derek Doucet notifying them of their new dedicated lounge space on campus, a space which the college said in July it was working to identify.
Students living at Bread Loaf and the Marriott now have key card access to the President’s dining room in Proctor as a lounge space on the college’s main campus.
This notification, while welcome news for residents of Bread Loaf and the Marriott, came several weeks into the semester. Given that the college named this plan months ago, some students expressed frustration in the amount of time it took to identify the space for students.
“We were promised a lounge before we got to campus and it took a month. When we did get it, it was framed as a generous offer from President Patton,” said Grace McCarthy ’23, a student living at the Bread Loaf campus.
McCarthy, who did not volunteer to live at Bread Loaf, outlined the inconveniences that come with living there. She has a car, but she said friends have missed class due to missing the shuttle. She and fellow Bread Loaf resident Reuben Slade ’23.5 described the apparently common scenario of students spending the night in friends’ rooms on main campus, particularly on weekends.
The college, aware of transportation concerns, recently updated the shuttle schedule on Thursdays and Fridays to include a later shuttle that departs Adirondack Circle at 2 a.m.
In addition to expanding the shuttle schedule, ResLife has attempted to ramp up programming for Bread Loaf students to create community. Bread Loaf Community Assistant (CA), Khasai Makhulo ’23, mentioned several events including a bonfire and s’mores event that attracted both Bread Loaf students and their on-campus friends. Other events, including a karaoke and mocktail night and a discussion of current events with faculty members Sue Halpern and Bill McKibben, took place a few weeks ago.
“The Reslife staff has gone above and beyond to forge community but it’s hard because there’s so few people there,” McCarthy stated.
Bread Loaf resident Glenn Kontor ’23 expressed that he would like to attend more of the programming but that it’s hard given that he is often on the main campus. Still, Kontor is looking on the bright side of being housed at Bread Loaf.
“It’s a nice separation from campus. I get a lot of work done and get ‘me’ time,” he said.