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Friday, Jun 2, 2023

In Defense of Bread Loaf Staff

I’ve read all the write-ups in The Middlebury Campus about life up at Bread Loaf, and let me start by saying that we really do hear you. We take all of your feedback and requests very seriously. Just this week based on the requests submitted on Friday, you’re getting whipped cream canisters to accompany your hot cocoa dispenser, a deep freezer filled with ice cream novelties, fresh grapefruit and a new variety of sushi from John. 

What all the negative (and justified) write-ups have in common is they seem to completely omit how hard the staff up at Bread Loaf is working to make this place feel like home. Certainly, we cannot recreate the full undergraduate experience, and genuinely feel terrible for the feelings of isolation by all our students, especially the students of color who suffer these effects even under “normal” circumstances. But Bread Loaf’s Residence Director Katie Burns, and Community Assistants Khasai Makhulo ’23, and Sophia Lundberg, really have been working diligently to counteract this reality. 

Karaoke nights with mock-tails, board game nights, hot apple cider & fireside s’more nights have all gone almost completely unattended. Every Monday night we show a movie on the big screens and actually showed dinnertime movies every Monday – Friday night for the entire month of October. 

Last semester on the food truck I heard my students lament how much they missed being able to get pizza at Ross for any meal, and so we have scratch made pizza every Monday, and a hot homemade meal is served six nights a week. The one night is only omitted so that the staff up here can be guaranteed at least 1 night off a week, as just like all over campus, we are short staffed. The muffins baked fresh each morning by Mary Glidden from the catering department are made from scratch by me. There is no place else on campus that you can find our citrus carrot cake muffins, banana oat muffins, double berry muffins, etc. and we do that intentionally to show you we care.  

If I didn’t know these things and read the write-ups about life on Bread Loaf, I would have thought it was the failure of the staff up here, and so I felt I must say something. We love you, we hear you, and truly, we are doing our best. Your feelings are valid, and you have every right to say them, but if you wouldn’t mind acknowledging us when doing so, it would show us that you value us and our feelings.

Jennifer Stratman is the chef at the Bread Loaf dining hall.