After a summer filled with work, adventure and fun, Middlebury students have returned to their on-campus homes. Dorm rooms are not only sanctuaries for students’ studies, sleep and sometimes parties. They are a reflection of one’s humanity, an extension of the student soul. A true creative outlet, dorm rooms are a canvas of self-expression for students, lending themselves to key themes of independence and self-discovery for their inhabitants.
Kate Vasquez ’26 was excited to have a single this semester because it meant she would be in the driver's seat in terms of decorating. “My bedroom at home is every cliché of a girl’s childhood room: pink walls with white-and-pink-ribboned wallpaper, the works. I’ve always loved the light green and blue color palettes, but of course my parents weren’t exactly enthusiastic about repainting and furnishing a whole bedroom, so I was really excited to have a single this year that I could make mine,” Vasquez told The Campus. In her clean slate of a room this semester, Vasquez chose to use mirrors and light colors to “expand and brighten” her dorm.
Skiles Roberts-Salvador ’26 also wanted a room that felt like it was uniquely her own. “During both my freshman and sophomore year at Middlebury it was really important to have a dorm room that really felt like me, decorating my room with creativity of my own, my friends and even my art students is both inspiring and comforting,” Roberts-Salvador said.
For others, their dorm room is a place of familiarity and safety within the sometimes chaotic college experience. Ellie Trinkle ’26 designed her room to be a welcoming, joyful space. She covered the walls with maps from places in her home, New York City, as well as letters and other mementos, like signs, matchboxes, a license plate and antiques. Trinkle’s dorm is a nexus between the past, present and future of her coming-of-age journey.
Talia Trigg ’26 chose to decorate her room with colorful sailing burgees from her dad and paintings of catboats.
“The one on the right represents a shared dream of mine with my dad, so it feels something like a scrapbook of my life — starting from something I was born into and reaching into the future,” Trigg described.
In the middle of the wall is a painting of a spinnaker takedown during the 1987 America Cup in Australia, which Trigg said she appreciates because it adds a sense of motion to the calm feeling of the room. All together the nautical artwork create a “comfortable” space on campus for Trigg to grow in.
Cole Chaudhari ’26 used the shelves in his room to combine pieces of his home and his academic journey, creating a library of sorts. The smattering of books Chaudhari displays in his dorm, “represent an intellectual and artistic map of where he’s been, who he is now, and where he hopes to go,” he said.
Bella Lucente ’25 made her dorm an altar to her own story. “My family and I didn’t have much growing up, so I relied on collecting items like posters, photos and random objects with which I have a significant connection. It would be as small as a leaf on the ground or a poster of my 8th-grade art teacher,” Lucente described. “Wherever I go, it always feels necessary to hang up all the items I’ve collected throughout my life and make any location my altar.”
In addition to centering a student’s personal history, dorm decorations represent students’ values and interests. Maisha Nuba ’26 chose to fill her dorm with a combination of Taylor Swift and Bernie Sanders paraphernalia. A highlight of her decor is a poster of Sanders’ face on Swift’s album, “Lover,” an unexpected detail that managed to creatively display her affection for both Swift’s music and Sanders’ political views.
Whether they are political, emotional, sentimental or artistic, dorm room decorations play an integral role in Middlebury students’ journeys to self-realization. Havens of interior design and practicality, each Middlebury dorm serves as an intimate reflection of the life of its resident — for the year.