We do not. At a school where everyone is pursuing an individualized set of objectives in their education, that breed of competition has very little point. My work is closely related to that of some other students, in my disciplines and in ones I don’t study. For instance, the other person on campus who has a plan most like mine, that I’m aware of, is a computer science student, whereas I study conflict resolution, literature, and biology. Then there are plenty of students, inside my disciplines and out of them, whose work has very little to do with my own. There’s no reason we should be judged against one another, as a whole-school population or within arbitrary subgroups. Bennington prefers to work in a spirit of cooperation, wherein everyone’s work and conversation feed all of us in our various pursuits.
I will note, though, that plenty of Bennington students have GPAs; grades are opt-in here, not entirely absent. So if that’s something you need, for scholarships, grad school, or your own sense of your progress, you can have it pretty easily.
All of ‘em.
The ones where they keep the lights on are VAPA, CAPA, a set of study rooms in the library, and Jennings. You can wander through most of the other buildings but you’ll need the above pictured sweet twisty keys if you want to go in the rooms. Also, Campus Safety does not recognize the use of sweet twisty keys. Your mileage and disciplinary sentencing may vary. Alan, additionally, wishes me to remind you that in the Bennington educational philosophy, “freedom” is defined as “not the absence of restraint.”*
* “…but rather the fullest possible substitution for restraint imposed by others for restraint imposed by the self.” This applies equally to the Plan process and the availability of banned housebreaking instruments via the internet.
We get questions about Bennington’s incidence rate and handling of sexual harassment and assault fairly often, so today the intern body took some time and came up with a more comprehensive response than we can give off-the-cuff while on tour.
On written policy level, our rules governing such matters are available here. Campus Safety’s particular take on sexual harassment and assault, and campus crime statistics, are available here, and the updated 2013 figures should become available toward the end of this month. The statistics, of course, only cover reported assaults; according to the US Department of Justice, less than 5 percent of college sexual assaults are reported to campus security forces or law enforcement. Bennington does have in place several of the strategies that the DOJ report outlines to encourage reporting, but we also want you to be aware of the context of our statistics.
So. Sexual harassment and assault do happen at Bennington, as at all colleges. We are a great place to live and work, but we are not immune to this. Generally speaking, we are a safe school at which most everyone knows most everyone else. Due to the structure of campus life — the intimate size, the community-based housing setup, the lack of Greek life, the fact that students mostly socialize on campus and don’t go out clubbing — certain factors don’t apply. No one in the office has ever heard of rape drugs like GHB or rohypnol being used at Bennington. No one on campus has to fear walking around alone at night. And if you ever do feel threatened at a party or event, your house or the Campus Safety booth are only ever a few minutes’ walk away. Again, because the vast majority of socializing and partying occurs right on campus, it’s rare for anyone to have to feel stranded in a bad place. These factors together lower our rate of sexual assaults a lot.
In particular, we want to make reference to Ken Collamore, the director of Campus Safety. He’s a great guy and, more importantly, a safe person to go to when you need help. In our various encounters with him, he has never been anything but supportive and respectful of confidentiality. Also available ‘round the clock is Bennington’s team of sexual harassment advisors, who work with students in a confidential manner.
That’s about what we’ve got on this, but back in May, interns Alana and Arden posted about this topic, and provided a bunch of other helpful information. We encourage you to visit their post as well.
-Ray, Alana, Alan, Eliana, and Kagan
People debate at Bennington all the time in the our-education-is-a-conversation way. We don’t currently have any student groups devoted to formalized debate, although I am currently propping open my closet door with a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order. If you were to come to Bennington and find yourself missing the good old days when people only said what the rules told them they could, you could found a debate club. It’s pretty easy to get stuff going here. Keeping it going can be hard, but presumably you’re persuasive.
[Image description: two extremely buff shirtless men straining to push on a stack of book with their foreheads. The stack is between them and they oppose each other, fruitlessly, managing only to keep the books suspended immobile above the ground. The buff men should learn the value of teamwork, but alas, they are a .jpg file, frozen in time and doomed to their folly forever.]
While I can see how this would make for a compelling essay, discretion might be the better part of valor in this case. It’s a tricky thing. Bennington is not interested in turning your mom in to the feds, nor in penalizing you for your family status. But depending on the essay itself and how it is received wherever you send it, there could be some risk, either to your mother or to your chances of getting into schools. I can’t quantify those risks for you. I just genuinely don’t know what your family might come up against if you put that information on the internet and send it to a bunch of strangers, or how it might be received by colleges. Once it’s out there, you have no control over how it will be read or by whom.
If it’s essential to you that this aspect of your life is heard, if you need for people to know this about you, consider interviews. Bennington strongly encourages our applicants to have personal interviews with us, and just generally speaking… in a closed room, with a person you can see and feel out, you can open yourself to the admissions counselors who feel right and be selective about disclosure with the ones where something seems off. Just be careful, and best of luck to you and your family.
Yup. There are quite a few of them around and plenty of students get licensed. But don’t drive if Vermont makes you sleepy, dude. You’ll die.
The beds are on adjustable legs, so they can touch the floor, or be up high enough that you can store a mini-fridge and dresser under there. A trunk will absolutely fit. The colonial closets vary a lot in size; mine is like 3’x4’ right now, my last one was smaller, a friend of mine has one he could put a mattress in. It’s kind of a crapshoot. That said… you almost certainly don’t need as much stuff as you think you do. And keep in mind that a crowded room will affect your roommate’s quality of life as well as your own.
(part 2) I am the same student considering Bennington, it seems like a very friendly and lighthearted place. However i am wondering how Bennington deals with more serious problems at school like sexual assault. do you know anything about Bennington’s history or their process for dealing with rape and other issues on campus?
My first term at Bennington, I took a class called Fundamentals of Advancing Public Action. Over the course of the year, we explored six major topics — education, climate change, income inequality, health care, uses of force, and… I forget the two-word summary of the sixth one. It was about the state of American democracy, political gridlock, the worth of a vote in the 21st century, etc. So for everything we looked at, the class asked three questions, at least to start: “What is the world like? What should the world be like? and what can the world be like?” The approach was based on assembling a complete picture of the situation, then deciding what to do, because intervening without knowing what you’re doing, of course, risks backfire. But at the same time, we were discouraged from holding back and hoarding our knowledge until we felt like we were experts, because then nothing would ever get done. It was, essentially, a crash course in rigorous activism and in not cleaving to only the traditional strategies for changing the world.
Since then, most of my work in public action has been with Susan Sgorbati, who is my faculty advisor, frequent teacher, and an absolute goddess. Her classes are very project-based; working under her, I’ve helped convert North Bennington’s streetlights to energy-efficient LEDs, and co-written circulated a report to local hospitals and lawmakers about the heroin epidemic in New England. Even in classes that are more about abstract thought and less about using your hands, no one’s Bennington going to drop the world’s problems into your lap and say “these are yours now, have fun.”
We’re going to work up a separate post on sexual assault, so look for that later today.
The committee will read your portfolio, yes, because they want to get to know you as a person. The supplement, to which you can upload portfolios of any kind and pretty much anything else you want us to see, is a very important part of the Bennington application. Interviews, too, are strongly encouraged, and can be conducted in person, or over the phone, via Skype, etc. if you can’t make it here for a visit.
Not school-wide; all the buildings are really close together so it’s not hard to get to class. When your professor can’t make it in from wherever they live, that’s when you get off of class. Thus: only take classes with professors who live in New York City. Ever.
Prospective students are as welcome as people who already got into the college, of course! We’ll be seeing them in about a week anyway, whereas this is just the beginning with all of you.
Upon deliberation, we in the office have decided that you can be as friendly as you want in the emails. But, we’re going to put kissing of girls and all others off-limits… it’s just unprofessional. Our primary motivation was that we were bored and wanted people to talk to, so if you email us, that’s what we’re looking for.
We love you too, a.d. Just not in a kissing way.
Man, what a hugely implausible scenario. You’ve given all of us in the office a good laugh, to think that could ever happen. But, hypothetically… you could go to https://bennington.populiweb.com/ and log in using your bennington email. Your schedule would be on the right under “Courses,” and you could click on each course and look on the right to see when it’s being held. Hypothetically.
Write to me and escape! Let’s do some matchmaking.
My name is Alan. I study ~~language and gender/sexuality~~ through playwriting and linguistics; so I’ve studied in education, playwriting, dramatic literature, psychology, Japanese, literature, um, bio twice? Most recently, this has resulted in an original play which I want to call “Trigger Warning: Catharsis” but I’m not gutsy enough so it is called “How Time Bombs Must Feel.” I love the 70s — hence the pina colada song; Really, though, Fleetwood Mac and Harry Nilsson are the best. In high school I was engaged with school just enough to maintain a television addiction. My actual education was in Alias, Buffy, Star Trek (TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY), Battlestar Galactica, The X-Files. But my absolute favorites are In Treatment, Six Feet Under and the Good Wife. I often channel Alica Florrick while making major life decisions. Life goals include seeing all of the 1001 movies you must see before you die, and visiting Tibet. I’m all about horror movies (I watch them whenever I’m depressed — everyone think I’m nuts for this). Email me about how strong female protagonists in television can inform YOUR college decision making process. Or if you have easy recipes that are convenient for the magic bullet. Tea drinker, playwright, scholar. Be my friend! firstname.lastname@example.org
Im Kagan I like anime and i study animation and Chinese not Japanese lmfao..! email@example.com please email anime recommendations also cool games NOT Call of DUty also I need to beat this one guy in a pokemon battle so what’s the best pokemon team. g-d bless
Hey, I’m Ray. I’m headed into my senior work, my plan is in literature and conflict resolution, and it’s all about how fiction affects people’s thoughts on social and political issues. I’m also a huge history nerd. The biggest question in my life right now though is how soon I’ll be able to get Dragon Age Inquisition to run on my Mac. Because my interest in that is… totally about studying how Bioware builds much-needed diversity into a regressive industry, and not at all about smashing things and kissing virtual girls. That’s possibly the biggest lie I ever told. Email me if you like cool stories, feminism/queer stuff, smashing things, or… for completeness’ sake I want to also put “kissing girls” but it might come off a little weird. Er. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey, I’m late to the game on personal ads, but here we go…
My name is Alana and I like long walks on the beach and talking late into the night under the stars… just kidding (not really). I am a dancer who is interested in identity and community. When I am not in the dance studios, I could be found in a psychology or education class or outside enjoying nature. I have been recently picking up an old interest in fire spinning and continue to be amazed by the absolutely insane miracle that is the human experience! Email me to talk about your favorite loose leaf tea, your most used Pandora station, everything spirituality wise, anything sexuality,and all things polyamory :) email@example.com*
*whether my ad won you over or not, everyone should listen to my new favorite song/video that acted as my summer soundtrack:
Alas, southern Vermont is not known for its juice bars. There is one in nearby Williamstown… no, upon further googling, that’s a Williamstown in Australia. Um. This person is really into juice and wrote some about the offerings in Albany, but no one in the office has visited any of these places. The student farm here on campus has a cider press, though… and horses, sometimes. I find horses make up for a lot of deficiencies, in every area of life.
[Image description: bottles of juice shaped like horses, in six colors and flavors!]