hello and prepare yourself:
there are open mics every other week not specifically for poetry but sometimes (less often) the bookstore will host poetry nites// the internet is pretty fast and wifi is everywhere on campus but it can get pretty slow around midnite when everyone watches netflix at once// the nearest major city is albany new york it’s about an hour away// you don’t have to do any gen ed classes at all here// there are 2000 and 4000 level classes and the 2000 level courses are all pretty good courses to take if you want to get started in a discipline but they aren’t always explicitly “intro” courses and if you think you’re it makes sense you can probs meet with a teacher and talk your way into their 4000 level course even as a first year student i’ve done it we’ve all done it// we have a lot of nyc students here they all adjust pretty well it’s fine you’ll be fine don’t worry.
If you have the time to be bored in college, you’re either really lucky or doing college wrong. For the most part, we’re constantly busy with our coursework, but I think a majority of Bennington students would agree when I say we enjoy our work.
What little free time you have (if you’re not catching up on sleep) will probably be spent trying to make it to as many on-campus events as possible. Just this weekend, we’ve got a concert in one of the houses, a student written and directed play (“Bert on Fire” by Sam Mayer ‘14, dir. Julia Mounsey ‘13,) our bi-annual 24-hour Plays, The Dupont Brothers are performing as part of our March Music Series, and that’s just what I can think of off the top of my head.
I could write an essay for you about this, but I think this video by Erika Lygren ‘16 will tell you a lot more than I can.
<3 Kagan ‘16
Well…there’s no such thing as bad publicity!
Before getting into the guts of your question I just want to throw out some quick facts: In terms of financial aid, in 2012-2013, 52% of Bennington students received a grant of $25,000 or more and the average aid package was $36,660 for a year. Bennington has got a big pricetag, but financial aid does a pretty awesome job at making it accessible to more people. Also, in the interest of saving space, in terms of diversity, I’ll point you to some other posts done recently (also, check out this one). I like these ones because I think these both approach the question from different angles.
But that isn’t your question: You won’t feel left out. Everything, including clubs, groups, concerts and activities on campus are free (or covered with tuition, depends on how you look at it). Certainly, you’ll go into town sometimes and buy iced coffee, but you’d be surprised how long you can go on campus without spending money. In the Bennington bubble, I don’t think money is a factor in the social scene at all: I legitimately don’t know which ones of my friends pay full tuition and which don’t.
Normally, I would use this as an excuse to post a song from Rumours, the Fleetwood Mac album, but I think I’ve already mentioned them on the blog too many times….here’s some Gladys Knight. Don’t believe everything you hear through the grapevine.
I was really worried about this too as an applicant. At home, whenever I got my way, my friends and I drove into the city and saw artsy movies or something in that vein: the town I was from didn’t have much to do that I was interested in. Thus, for me, city = fun, things to do entertainment, arts and culture. My number one criteria for a college was actually that it had to be in a city. Bennington broke the city = fun rule for me. We are a community of people that are jazzed about what we do and we want to do it all the time: there are constantly concerts, parties, literature readings, theater pieces, dance performances, lectures…I could go on. I love that when we’re here we hunker down and focus on our education, and that our entertainment becomes an extension of that. The fact that we are secluded allows us to feed off of one another’s energy and get inspired by our peers. And there is always FWT for city time. You’ll only be working thirty hours a week so you’ve got time for all the things you don’t during term.
I asked my friend Sara Green to answer this one — she’s an expert.
Hey! It’s really neither. Instead what you have is sort of an awkwardness when questions or comments about race are brought up. My experience has been that people would rather not talk about race- students of color and white students alike. Alas, hope is alive! Recently, there has been a small group of students that is creating spaces to talk about race in academic and student-led spaces. I could talk forever about race at Bennington. Email me if you want to keep talking; there are a lot of intricacies in the conversation. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I think students here hold the school to an incredibly high standard and thus have some strong opinions. Personally, I think the language that the school is ‘falling apart’ is melodramatic, but not everyone would agree with me. These posts, I think, speak more to the seriousness of our students than they do to the state of the school. Bennington will always be going through changes because we are always trying to get the school as close as possible to the values that drive it. In a sense, if you join our community, you should be concerned: Bennington students get involved and engage in discussions about these issues. But you shouldn’t be worried.
As for FWT, I would say you are getting a pretty fair portrayal between this blog and some of the articles on the BFP. We all make judgement calls regarding money going into FWT — balancing realism and idealism is a real world lesson, too.
Also, I think it’s important to note that these “burden FWT” articles aren’t reflecting any change in the nature of FWT. Not everyone has 4 amazing FWTs. In fact, I don’t know if anyone has ever had 4 straight FWTs that met every one of his/her expectations. However (and I think that we only realize this after FWT is over), we can always learn something about ourselves and our aspirations during an internship, even if the internship is not great, or even awful.
And I will happily second Alan’s point about “falling apart” being an overstatement. Yes, President Liz Coleman is leaving, but she is staying on for the next 2 years as Director of CAPA, and will definitely continue to have input re: Bennington’s direction well into the future. Apparently, she’s apartment-hunting in North Bennington, but that might just be a rumor. Also, we have no idea what the Office of Student Life will be like without Eva.
As long as Bennington College is full of students, faculty and staff who are invested in nurturing and following the values and ethos of this institution, it will not fall apart.
A link to another current student’s response can be found here.
If you’re concerned that we will swarm you on commons lawn and beat you with our birkenstocks until you confess your love of tempeh and renounce showers, I can guarantee there will be no hostility. You may receive a glare from one of our more passionate students as you accidentally throw your soda can in the regular trash, but even that seems unlikely. I will warn you though, that if you come here you will probably take on some of our ‘granola’ habits — it’s just what happens when you immerse yourself in another culture.
P.S. Also, I feel like girls here wear floral dresses pretty frequently. Are they supposed to be too mainstream for us?
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.
Sure are! While I don’t believe the college has any official affiliation with any particular stables (yet), here are a few of the nearby places you can go riding.
There are certainly a few students on campus who are riding enthusiasts and, thus, people you could count on/carpool/beg for rides. Additionally, Student Life usually organizes one or two day trips to a nearby stable per semester, which would be a great way to meet fellow horse-folks.
Housing is pretty much right smack in the middle of campus. I would say the furthest walk to a class is about 10 minutes.
As far as kinds of houses go, here are some great descriptions, but as for communities, they’re pretty impossible to describe. We have houses with a range of quiet hours and houses with no quiet hours. Houses where people cook a lot, play a lot of music, or make a lot of fires, but none of those things are at the core of what the community is. The community is the way 35 people choose to live their daily lives together, and that changes every term.
Not really, so far as I can tell. There is a rink in Manchester if you’ve got the itch to tear it up, and I’m sure you could find a few other students interested in going with you. I wouldn’t say ice skating is, like, a big factor in the Bennington social scene or anything like that, though.