This is a hard one. An overall feel? The overall feel of Bennington can be experienced in as many ways as you can imagine. This blog post would be way too long if I tried to tell you everything that makes this place so important for me. Still, I’ll try:
There are the inspiring friends, the classes that make you question paradigms you didn’t even know you had, the mountains and forests, the dinner conversations that can last for hours, the aspects of self-reflection and self-advocacy inherent in an education that you are responsible for creating and executing to its fullest potential… There’s apples every fall and the experience of the field work term, midnight breakfast before finals and the collaboration of students. I could really go on and on, but I recommend you come see it and feel it for yourself. All the students will be back on campus come September, and if you come for a visit I would love to hear how you describe the feel — it’s so particular and so hard to pin down.
Here’s a blog that my friend runs, where she posts vignettes of our time here. There’s one for every term she’s been at Bennington, plus several about different aspects of life here.
Maybe that helped, or at least made you confused and interested enough to come visit us and see for yourself.
Sylvia M. ‘16
There are designated non-smoking areas, which are as follows:
Within 30 feet of any door way
On house balconies
The porch outside of the dining hall
Inside any building
Other than that, the world is your smoke-filled oyster, my friend. But maybe don’t blow smoke in your friend’s faces. Cause that’s not nice and they probably wouldn’t like it.
So I wanted to give you a ONCE IN A LIFETIME sneak peak into what some people do on Thursday May 8th in the year two thousand fourteen on the Bennington College Campus after our work shift ends:
“Get a quick lunch and then go shopping for the camping trip (we are taking DREAM kids that we mentor on a camping trip this weekend) and then going to Historical Grievances and Retrospective Redress. Then I am going to dinner with my friend Kiley and her parents and then finishing the second half of my exhibition proposal for my Art History class.”
“After work today I am helping Noelle, the French professor, with assembling some videos for her husband’s birthday present. Then I am going to be in the video editing studio for a long time tonight with your basic meal breaks. Then I am going to the film screening tonight called the Black Powered Mixed Tap”
so first of all // no such thing as freshman housing! As a first year student, you’ll start off by living in any of the houses on campus with a medley of students.
As for your other questions, the beginning of orientation is when you can start to move into your room and house. You’ll receive your room key at orientation actually. Orientation starts August 29. Once enrolled, sometime in the summer you’ll be asked to fill out a housing questionnaire (just a short series of questions geared towards figuring out what your lifestyle is like) in order to do our best to match you with a good roommate!
I firstly want to acknowledge this is a really valid concern. When we received this question we were all a little freaked out just because this sort of thing has never happened to any of us and we would hate to see it at Bennington.
Some things you should know:
Bennington is very small with just under 700 undergrad and and a little over 100 grad students. While I certainly don’t know everybody, it’s hard to hide in such a small community.
Campus Safety does a walk through of all the buildings on campus every shift. They also make an effort to get to know the students really well so if somebody unfamiliar were to show up they would notice.
We have an alert system called ‘send word now’ where students, staff, and faculty can enter their phone numbers and emails to receive emergency notices and instructions.
I talked to one of the Campus Safety officers, Mike, and he said if there was an armed emergency the whole campus would be on immediate lock down, house chairs (who have received special training) would be given instructions to secure their houses, and the local police force would be here within minutes.
I’m sorry I can’t give more specifics but if you have any further questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact Campus Safety directly: 802-447-4250.
Just like most communities at Bennington, the queer community is apparent in various ways. We have a group called queer @ Bennington which can be a great resource. Bennington, like most any college, is a space for you to come in with a mainly-blank slate to really explore yourself as a person, questioner, and thinker. I think Bennington establishes a safer space for queer identified or questioning youth to do just that.
If you are looking to see if you will fit in here, no worries… you will find like-minded people and be a part of various communities. As a queer individual myself, I am personally not very involved in the queer @ Bennington group; however, I still feel a part of the queer community on campus. There are various ways to be involved as a queer person on campus. I took a bunch of people to the gender and queer conference at Hampshire this term and that was a wonderful way to spend part of my weekend! If you have any other questions or just want to chat about this more, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I know I can only speak for myself, but I have felt very accepted here. I have enjoyed meaningful conversations with friends, events through SWAG (Sexual Wellness Awareness Group) that have opened my eyes to other conversations, and finding general acceptance of various identities on campus.
It is without a doubt a safe environment for gays and lesbians — I would describe sexual orientation here as inconsequential. Don’t get me wrong, it is still an important part of the identities of individuals but its not something that affects the way students are treated by faculty or peers. The Princeton Review ranked us in their top 20 most LGBT friendly colleges and unigo put us at number one. There was a really great post that I’m going to link you to for the second half of your question here. (Queer@Bennington have since changed their name to Queer*) To add my own voice, the ‘chances of finding love’ are difficult to calculate because there are a lot of variables.The biggest one is the size of the school: we are a small school and our queer community is proportional, which can be frustrating. Like anything, its a combination of what it is and what you make of it.
Inspired by the fun we had surveying people for our Bucket List post, Liam and I went out on the field this morning and got up close and personal with some REAL bennington students. The question: What are you excited to do for fun over break?
H.C.: Read a million books (especially She Came to Stay by Simone de Beauvoir), and hang out with my dogs.
E.M.: See the Hobbit with my dad.
A.P.: read this super non-academic book called Dirty Snow about a serial killer or something. Finish watching Boardwalk Empires.
Z.W.: Do things I never expected to do, things I couldn’t even fathom, things the farthest reaches of my imagination couldn’t even think of right now!!!