From being on campus and talking with Campus Safety officers I can pretty assuredly say no. Like any campus, there are drugs, however unlike other campuses you will never feel pressure to drink or smoke and they aren’t necessary to have a good time or fit in with the social scene here on campus.
Our Campus Safety Officers are beautiful people who really care about our safety and are available 24/7 365 days a year. Part of this is working to keep drugs like heroine, cocaine etc. off our campus.
Additionally, students have recently formed the Bennington Substance Support group on campus. This club is focused on creating productive dialogue on drugs and alcohol and creating healthy sober spaces.
In all honesty, the most prevalent addictions on campus are probably nicotine, caffeine and work.
On the issue of heroin in town, here is a response to the New York Times article by students of Mount Anthony High School here in Bennington.
Arden J. ‘16
Reading is really important in college. There is no way you’re going to escape it. No. Really. There’s a lot of it. Thankfully this reading is usually (hopefully) pretty interesting and entertaining. We took two snapshots each from our reading this week to show to you.
Class: Magic and Witchcraft in Pre-Modern Europe
Professor: Carol Pal, History
“It is in fact significant that, in legitimating their profession, Renaissance magi passed the Socratic charges against illegitimate practitioners — not understanding one’s business, being unlawful and unscientific — back to those people who were often suspected of necromancy or sorcery, that is, to the very class of persons that included midwives.”
Serficus Kodera, “Deconstructing the Renaissance Magus”, 275 -293 from Disreputable Bodies: Magic, Medicine, and Gender in Renaissance Natural Philosophy
Class: A Survey of Avant- Garde Exhibitions
Professor: Carol Stakenas, Art History
“The oldest of us is thirty: and test already we have cast away treasures, thousands of treasures of force, love, boldness, cunning, and raw will power; have thrown them away impatiently, furiously, heedlessly, without hesitation, without rest, screaming for our lives. Look at us! We are still not weary! Our hearts feel no tiredness because they are fed with fire, hatred, and speed! … Are you astounded? of course you are, because you can’t even recall having ever been alive! Standing erect on the summit of the world, yet once more we fling our challenge to the stars!”
F.T. Marinetti, “Let’s Murder the Moonlight”, from Futurism, An Anthology
Class: Sociolinguistic Voices: Identities in Text and Talk
Professor: Peter Jones
“Within this configuration of sexualized gender identities and relations there did not seem to be any kind of space for non-heterosexual experience or desire, which was alluded to only indirectly and ambiguously as a source of humour, as in Darren’s anecdote. The social compulsion towards heterosexuality for the ten and eleven year-olds I researched, which seemed to begin right from the beginning of their school careers, was reflected and instantiated throughout their peer social practices and throughout the representations and discourse within their talk.”
Janet Maybin, “Airhostess Legs and Jealous Husbands: Explorations of Gender and Heterosexuality in 10-11 Year-olds’ Conventions”
Class: New Play Development: Rewriting in Company
Professor: Sherry Kramer
Note: Sherry required us to pick a nonfiction book to read that we thought would inspire us.
“Man is out of nature and hopelessly in it; he is dual, up in the stars and yet housed in a heart-pumping, breath-gasping body that once belonged to a fish and still carries the gill-marks to prove it. His body is a material fleshy casing that is alien to him in many ways—the strangest and most repugnant way being that it aches and bleeds and will decay and die. Man is literally split in two: he has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with atowering majesty, and yet he goes back into the ground a few feet in order blindly and dumbly to rot and disappear forever.”
Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death
And remember, if you ever get sick of reading, you can always take a break and try out some of those spells in your reading (but really, there are actual spells in my reading for class)
- Arden J. ‘16 and Alan D. ‘15
Bennington is small but the social life if vast. There are planned events like performances and parties and unplanned events like pillow forts and dancing in the rain.
Here is a link to all the planned events on campus. We have dance and theater performances, music performance (both student run and bands/music groups from off-campus), cool lecture series, and there are always events put on by clubs, for example the BSFP (Bennington Sustainable Food Project) and SWAG (Sexual Wellness Advocacy Group) always have several events per term.
If you’re looking for more of the party scene we have that too.
Keep reading and you will be rewarded with some real Bton knowledge and a gif.
Students have between 2-3 weeks of winter break, depending on when they leave for Field Work Term. So yes, Field Work Term does “take away” from winter break. In my experience, 2-3 weeks is the perfect amount of time at home. I have enough time to see all my friends, spend time with my family and lazily watch at least one season of something on Netflix. After two weeks, I usually get a little cooped up at home and am ready for a change. That said, a good percentage of First Years spend their first Field Work Term at home.
In addition, our Spring Break is also cut short. We usually have a long weekend, 5 days off, instead of the whole week. This is long enough to go adventuring (I went to Montreal with friends last Long Weekend), however you probably won’t be going to down to SXSW, Daytona Beach or other traditional Spring Breaky things.
Also, Field Work Term itself is like a strange, awesome vacation. Though you are working every day, there is no homework at night and you get to do what you want (aka watch another show on Netflix). Also, a lot of students go to different cities or countries for Field Work Term so you get to explore a new place.
In conclusion Field Work Term is really amazing and totally worth missing some of traditional college breaks. And honestly, how much time do you really need with your parents?
- Arden J. ‘16
This term we (Kate Davis and Arden Jordan) both took Social Practices in Art with Robert Ransick. This class is about learning and analyzing the field of social practice in art and the current artists and projects involved in this community. The best (which is saying a lot because it was an AMAZING class) thing about the class was designing our own social practice projects and implementing them for our final.
Arden: My partner, Maddy Kostman, and I recorded the thoughts of leaders, residents and students that were interested in examining the relationship between Bennington College and the town of Bennington. We archived these conversations in digital form, allowing people to listen to others’ responses.
Working on this project was one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences I’ve had at Bennington. Maddy and I had to revise our project several times and made several mistakes along the way. In the end, recording the different members of the larger Bennington community was an amazing experience.
I learned so much doing this project and now view the relationship between the college and the town in a completely new way. Maddy and I hope to continue these conversations when we get back to campus in the spring.
You can listen to all the recordings on our Soundcloud.
Kate: My partner, Christina Cary, and I taught a cooking class to kids at Fiddlehead at Four Corners. Our goal was to get parents excited about cooking with local vegetables by making cooking fun for kids. Before the event, we had NO idea if any families would show up, but families kept arriving, and it was awesome. Kids were coloring in images of the four main vegetable/fruit ingredients of the Butternut Squash and Pear soup, then got to take on the responsibility of slicing ingredients (with a plastic knife), scooping out the inside of the squash, and peeling the root veggies. Here are some of the pictures of the event.
Before each child left, he or she asked his/her parent if they were going to make the soup when they got home. The response was better than we could have imagined, and it was a great chance to creatively address a concern we heard expressed in town (not cooking with fresh veggies or not knowing exactly how), using techniques we learned in class, and referencing artists we studied. Overall, it was a phenomenal class and I would strongly suggest reading up on Social Practices in Art (check out Darren O’Donnell’s Social Acupuncture)
Arden J. ‘16 and Kate D. ‘14
So honesty time, I mostly just answered this post so I could put a thrift shop gif (see below). But we do have several thrift shops nearby. The two that come to mind are Goodwill and Salvation Army.
Students mostly go to Goodwill (I don’t think I have ever gone there without running into at least one Bennington student). Though fairly small, it has its charm and has all the ugly sweaters, surprisingly cute dresses and weird stuff for your dorm that you could ever need.
And of course, the trick with Goodwill is that the secret gems are the ones you aren’t looking for, like my friend’s pink Jesus-Shaped Magic 8 Ball (We call him Pink Jesus) and my roommate’s long beautiful winter coat.
However, in my personal opinion the best thrift shops are the end of term free piles found in all houses. Really cute nice stuff for FREE (I get really excited about free things). I got three new dresses and a pair of shoes from last year.
So I hope that answers your question, as well as providing completely unnecessary information I felt like talking about.
Arden J. ‘16
Yes and No. You cannot use your AP credits to “opt out” of any classes at Bennington because there are no required classes. Unlike other colleges, we don’t have any general education requirements, though you are encouraged in your first year to take a broad range of classes. If there are classes in which you would like to move on to a more advanced level (for example, languages and sciences) you would talk to the professor on a class to class basis.
All of your effort has not been in vain, however, Bennington offers 4 credits for each 5 received on a AP test. These credit transfers will be approved during Sophomore year if they are relevant to your plan and are cumulatively equal to or less than 12 credits. Woo!
I was also worried about this coming to Bennington. I took 6 AP classes during High School and worried that it wouldn’t be “worth anything.” Then I came to Bennington and realized that though they will not “opt” you out of anything, they are still helpful. I have used the information I learned in AP Psych in almost every social science (and other) course I have taken here.
So in conclusion:
A) You can’t opt out of anything at Bennington with AP Tests.
B) Because of the Bennington system, you don’t need too!
C) You can get 4 credits for each 5!
D) Though AP Classes may seem really horrible, you do learn a lot of information that you can use later in college when you are learning things you are passionate about.
Arden J. ‘16