Glad you asked. I wrote a thing about undergraduate playwriting degrees during an internship and it was heavily informed by my experience at Bennington, so it might be useful.
It’s helpful to remember that Bennington doesn’t have any pre-designed “programs” — instead, with some help, you get to navigate your own way through our award-deserving curriculum. And, yes, it supports an interest in playwriting.
My approach has been to work with Sherry Kramer (playwright, goddess), Kathleen Dimmick (dramaturg, director), Peter Jones (education researcher) and Ron Cohen (social psychologist) and dabble in literature. Sherry’s classes give me my much-needed creative outlet. Kathleen has taught me the greats: from Sophocles to Pinter. Peter teaches “discourse analysis” and “conversation analysis” which gave me another angle to think about dialogue. And Ron is just the best. I’ve learned about social issues (and how to research them) in his classes which helps with tackling difficult content.
But you should tackle it however you want!!
P.S. Go read Sherry’s play “David’s Red-Haired Death” immediately. There is no one better to study playwriting with. I’m convinced!
Over here on the East Coast we are more Green Mountain Coffee people. (Disclaimer: I say ‘we’, but I’m probably the only person on this campus who doesn’t drink coffee) While there aren’t really coffee shops on campus there are plenty of places you can get it for free. Admissions (bring your own mug), Student Life, the Bookstore etc. I can only speak to the Admissions coffee scene but we have a K-cups of a variety of flavors (blends? coffee is confusing) as well as a lot of teas.
There are some awesome free range, organic, local (those first two were a joke) places around Bennington/North Bennington. There is Nite Jars which is a tea house and South Street Cafe which is a popular study spot. Not to be forgotten is Brown Cow Cafe which serves Mocha Joe’s coffee which is coffee roaster in Brattleboro. Cathy’s Coffee is also in Bennington and a few other places.
You could also go the route many people take (I say many people, but I really mean my boyfriend) who grinds his coffee every morning and then uses a seemingly complex process using air to press his coffee. I don’t understand it, but he does so we’re good.
The coffee drinkers around me urge you take a hiatus from you Seattle/LA/San Francisco coffee and try some Vermont coffee. Plus you will have some cool new things to bring home to your friends.
Happy coffee drinking!
not 2 b saucy but…
Carlos ‘14: I am staying here! Hanging out with Evan and working as a Kilpatrick fellow for the school, for which I am very excited.
Genelle ‘15: I will be working at a neuroscience lab at Brandies University.
Doug ‘16: I am working at two art galleries in NYC
Ben ‘14: I am working with Brian Campion, making some videos for his re-election and then I’ll most likely be working at a summer school.
Alan ‘15: I’m going home where I’m going to start doing research for my senior work in playwriting.
The Tuesday Afternoon Crew!
We have a traditional grading system but students must opt into taking their classes for grades. There’s a range of reasons why a student might choose to take their classes for grades. I do because I find that it’s a good motivator for me. Regardless of whether students choose to take grades, their professor will still write a detailed evaluation of their performance in class. So, no matter what you choose, your work will be thoroughly assessed.
Each professor conducts finals for their class a little differently, some require a paper, a project, an exam or maybe even another thing that I can’t even fathom. I guess what I’m really trying to say is that you don’t need to receive grades to complete a culminating assignment for your class.
Here are some examples of what the Monday morning shift is working on:
Alan: I am writing sociolinguistics paper about the reality TV show Polyamory: Married & Dating and what happens when an unconventional relationship structure is brought into the viewer’s home. It’ll probably end up being 60 pages long….
Alana: Coincidentally, I am also studying polyamorous researchers and their bias towards relationship dynamics in my Human Natures class. And for my Rethinking Education class I’m trying to design a course without using a syllabus.
Arden: For my Historical Grievance and Retrospective Redress (4000 level history class), I am doing many case studies about how different organizations and classrooms teach the Holocaust and other state sponsored genocides. Tonight I’m having a dramatic reading of scenes from the plays Information for Foreigners by Griselda Gamboro and An Investigation by Peter Weiss, then I will lead a discussion on the role of the bystander in state sponsored genocide. Basically, my case studies have led to me trying out my own lessons.
Alex: Lucas Marten and I have been writing a comedy variety show since Field Work Term and story boarding it. Now we’re shooting it for our Intro to Video class.
Emily: In Big: Exploring Large Scale Photography I’ve been working on creating photographs and collages that explore personal as well as mass produced ideas of domestic fantasy. For my final I’ve made two inkjet prints (one 22x30” and one 22x40”) and one oldy time analog b&w self portrait at 30x30”.
I am the girl who, in high school, when asked about her test scores, would get crazy eyes and go on a rant about how test scores are a private thing that a person should choose to disclose, not be mandated to. I didn’t want to contribute to the uber-competitive atmosphere of my high school by comparing scores.
Still though, I whispered the number to my best friend and quietly beamed to myself about the score that I was proud of. That’s just a little bit about me.
It’s okay to be proud of your scores, or disappointed, or nervous or any other feelings you might have about them. Because in the end, I hope everyone realizes that, a number truly has no effect on who you are as a person and has even less of an ability to represent the whole of you.
This is why Bennington does not require ACT/SAT scores as a part of the application. Because your score is not an indicator of how well you will do in college and at Bennington specifically. Because I am more than a number and YOU are more than a number.
So… I didn’t really answer your question. #SorryNotSorry
Hello incoming first-year students!
You have a wonderful Facebook community in which to ask questions! Sometimes the blog inbox gets inundated with questions and we have a harder time getting to everything. But on the Facebook group, there’s a way better chance you’ll get a more immediate answer.
It’s scary not to stealthily travel under an anonymous identity! We know! But, at the same time, we’ll be much more able to answer your questions in the Facebook group, especially the more practical/logistical stuff.
P.S. If you have no idea what I’m talking about send an email to email@example.com and he can hook you up with the 2018 admitted students group.
What is Pre-O you say? Well, let me tell you about the magical experience which is the Pre-Orientation Trip. This is an optional trip you can take before Orientation starts in the fall. You get to campus 4 days early and then spend 4 days and 3 nights hiking or canoeing depending on what trip you want. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet new freshman (you’ll be in a group of about 10), hang out with some super cool, good-looking upper classmen and have a really wonderful, awesome trip in the great outdoors.
I might be a little biased because not only did I have an AMAZING time on my own Pre-O trip, I’m going to be a trip leader this year. So basically y’all should do it so you can spend time with me. But seriously …
We have actually considered adding an FAQ but have pretty much decided against it because often the answers to the questions we get asked change from term to term. The questions themselves change too; what’s important to one year of prospective students might not be important the next year. And even if we had an FAQ that we updated each term or year, it would mean that we wouldn’t have to keep answering questions with a fresh perspective. One of the things I value most about this blog is that we do answer similar questions when we receive them which gives new people the chance to speak from their own unique experiences. Because, really, there is no singular answer to each question we get asked.
We do have a search a by tag option so that someone could look up all the answers/posts on a related topic which makes this blog sort of a running archive of Bennington as well.
All the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gossip Girl ‘16
People live here so there are naturally politics here.
Brian Campion works for the administration of the college and he’s our state representative. Many students have interned/worked (woop woop, money) for him in the past. He’s constantly in communication with students and if you are/want to be engaged and involved he’d love to talk to you!
You can also work for the Vermont Legislature during FWT. Or any other political office of your choosing - a friend of mine worked for her US Senator’s office.
Our very own intern, Eliana and a couple of other students organized phone banks on campus during the 2012 election. She also did some campaigning in New Hampshire as well as in North Adams for Elizabeth Warren. She has also done several FWTs in the political sphere - Boston mayor’s office, a state rep campaign in 2014, and US senate campaign a few summers ago.
The Environment Action group sometimes plans trips to rallies in cities nearby.
Also, the internet. You aren’t closed off from the world, you can stay in touch with what is happening in New York and DC.
All the best,
Eliana, Glennis and Emily