Last Thursday, the town of Middlebury kicked off its first Midd Night Stroll of the year, welcoming 1,468 students with discounted deals in stores, live music, and the occasional run in with Santa Claus and his elves.
The Midd Night Stroll is part of the Very Merry Middlebury initiative by the Better Middlebury Partnership, a civic organization dedicated to supporting local businesses in Middlebury. This year, the Midd Night Strolls will take place from 5–8 p.m. on Dec. 1, Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 with promotions and pop-ups around downtown Middlebury.
The Student Government Association (SGA) partnered with Better Middlebury for a student-oriented Midd Night Stroll, called MiddKid Night, on Dec. 1. This event included a performance by student a cappella group The Dissipated Eight, several food trucks, a hot chocolate stand and pop-ups for student businesses.
“Students are undeniably a huge part of this community, but I think a lot of the time we are living in our own little bubble and you could say the same for the town,” Shane Silverman ’24.5, co-director of external affairs at the SGA, told The Campus. “We want to come together to find a way to get students in town and be a part of the community.”
Additionally, students were given $10 each in the form of Middlebury Money — a check that can be used nearly anywhere in the town of Middlebury. The purpose of Middlebury Money is to incentivize spending in town in an effort to bolster its economy. Silverman believes the money helps give students an active role in town, however it is not the only goal of the partnership.
“Our focus was not giving money to students, but rather fostering community between the town and students,” Silverman said. “Quite frankly, we need more than just a monetary relationship.”
While last year, students were given $20 of Middlebury Money during the Midd Night Stroll, the amount was halved this year. Silverman said students will have another opportunity to receive $10 during the spring semester, so the total amount of money will be the same as last year.
Nancy Dunn, an employee at Sweet Cecily, said the Midd Night Stroll was a complete success. Not only did it boost sales for the night, it was also a way to bring Middlebury students closer to the town.
“That’s the point of the whole thing, to familiarize the kids of the college with what’s downtown,” Dunn told The Campus. “I think these days a lot of people shop either in a mall but mostly online, so they seemed very delighted to be in an actual store owned by a local person.”
Abby Schneiderhan ’23 added that the experience was a great way to build community between students and the town.
“I had a great time with two of my friends. We went around to all of the vendors and bought an ornament for my dad for Christmas. I was so excited, it was such a good event,” Schneiderhan said.
More information on the upcoming Midd Night Strolls on Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 can be found at https://www.experiencemiddlebury.com/events/midd-night-stroll/.