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Sunday, Nov 28, 2021

Zeitgeist 2020

At times,  the culture at Middlebury can feel amorphous. We see hundreds of  students gathering on the town green for a midday Climate Strike; we  hear our friends gripe about not being able to book a counseling  appointment; we sense that some students gravitate to substances more  than others. But these phenomena can often be lost to the four-year  generational turnover that is endemic to college.

So often, we exist in silos of social groups, unable to tap into what  our peers — who are by proximity, usually, so close to us — are  thinking or feeling or doing. Are students looking for romantic  relationships? What is the last social media app people look at when  going to bed? Are students regularly skipping classes? Do friend groups  coalesce around a shared identity?

These were a few of our guiding questions as we embarked on the  creation of the second annual Zeitgeist survey, a project that aims to  bridge the gap between data analysis and journalism by surveying  students through dozens of questions. The results do not reflect the  entire student body, with 49% of students filling out the Zeitgeist  survey this year (for contrast, last year we had responses from 47% of  students). Our hope is that every year this percentage will mount. And  with an ever-growing pool of respondents, our ability to report on  stories that matter to students will only improve.

We hope that in these challenging times for our school and our  nation, you will engage with our findings and continue to learn more  about the student body at Middlebury.

Introduction by Amelia Pollard ‘20.5.