Congratulations to the Class of 2013!

557 members of the Class of 2013 celebrated commencement yesterday in Nelson on a wet and chilly Memorial Day weekend. Despite student protests, the celebration was held inside the recreation center for the first time in 21 years. Yet the mood inside Nelson was anything but cold, as seniors walked across the stage to receive their diplomas and canes. Bronwyn Oatley delivered the student speech while young author Jonathan Safran Foer gave the commencement address. Check out both below. Congratulations to the Class of 2013 and best wishes for the future!

In Which Ron Liebowitz Paraphrases Comedian Jerry Clower

For those of you at Saturday’s Baccalaureate ceremony, you may remember President Liebowitz’s speech and its quotation of an old Jewish story about a Rabbi and his driver from the Talmud. What you might not know is that Liebz is in good company with his inspiration, with the late Southern comedian Jerry Clower making the same joke in the 70s. Check it out below and let us know if anyone has a video of Ron’s speech that we can post here for comparison!

Ron’s Speech:

Seniors React to Announcement that Graduation Will Move Indoors

Update: Former SGA President Charlie Arnowitz has released the following video to address the “We the Middkids” petition to keep commencement outside.

Early Friday afternoon after taking a class photo, the graduating class of 2013 was informally told that this year’s commencement ceremony, taking place on Sunday, would be moving indoors. The commencent website states that the ceremony will take place outdoors, rain or shine. This move would limit students to only two guests at the ceremony, with others forced to watch a live stream elsewhere.

Not even an hour after the announcement, students have taken it upon themselves to keep the ceremony outside. Former SGA President Charlie Arnowitz just sent out an email to the senior class encouraging them to email President Liebowitz the following sample message:

President Liebowitz,
As a member of the Class of 2013, I respectfully request that the Commencement Ceremony remain outside. Many of us have friends and relatives who have traveled here from around the country and the world under the premise that they would be able to attend Commencement, rain or shine, as it represents an important achievement for each of us. We strongly feel that the ceremony should remain outdoors in order to remain as accommodating as possible.

Thank you,
Members of the Class of 2013

MiddBlog will update this post as more reactions and responses from the administration are received.

Want a Date for Winter Carnival?

Winter CarnivalTo continue the tradition of the oldest student-run Winter Carnival in the country, Middlebury kicks off its 90th annual Winter Carnival on Thursday night! Thursday also marks one of the most fun/dreaded holidays of the year: Valentines Day. But whether you have a steady beau or are just making eyes at your proctor crush, I think that this year’s Winter Carnival events can work to your advantage.

Lets start with Thursday: as Winter Carnival gears up, what better excuse to hang out with that special someone, than to enter as a team into the Snow Sculptures Competition on McCullough Lawn. Any sculpture of Cupid will have my vote this year. And as the night falls, what could be more romantic than a kiss by the bonfire under a sky full of fireworks! Oh, and don’t forget to show off your stellar dance moves at Orange Crush (remember, there’s no school Friday so you can stay out all night!)

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Abigail Borah ’13 Ejected from COP 17 for Disrupting Speech

Photo Credit: Project Survival Media

Abigail Borah ’13 was ejected from climate change negotiations at COP 17 in Durban, South Africa early today for interrupting top U.S. climate negotiator Todd Stern. She has been serving at the UN Summit as a member of the SustainUS youth delegation. She also served as a member of this delegation last year at COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico.

After nearly two weeks of stalled progress by the United States at the international climate talks, Borah delivered a passionate speech calling for an urgent path towards a fair and binding climate treaty and admonishing members of Congress for impeding global climate progress to internationl ministers and high level negotiators at the closing plenary of the Durban climate change negotiations. Borah’s speech was met with an eruption of applause while she was ejected from the talks shortly following her entreaty.

Borah told Stern that the U.S. negotiators “cannot speak on behalf of the United States of America (anymore),” highlighting that “the obstructionist Congress has shackled a just and delayed ambition for far too long.”

“I am scared for my future,” cried Borah. “2020 is too late to wait. We need an urgent path to a fair, ambitious, and legally binding treaty. You must take responsibility to act now.”

Part of Borah’s Speech

Coverage of the incident can be found on SustainUS.org, Democracy Now!, BBC News (second picture from the end), and the NY Times.

COP 17 will end this Friday with Borah being banned from the rest of the negotiations.

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The Campus 4/23

campus23In an effort to deepen MiddBlog’s coverage of campus issues, this is a recurring column that comments on selected Campus newspaper articles, published most Thursdays of the school year. This allows a place for the Middlebury community to comment, expand, and discuss important issues in a dynamic way.

This Week in The Campus:

  • Dwyer wins coveted CC chair: I don’t know if I call it “coveted” but it is a key student position even if students know not what SCCOCC does for students. Dwyer was the right choice despite an interesting run by Ethan Schmertzler ’12.
  • Preview days host 400 students: Well, it’s up to them now. It’s like we’ve asked these students on a date and we’re waiting for  response. I even met up with both of the 2013 Challenge winners, both Febs and both coming to Middlebury for almost certain.
  • Summer students to bunk in Battell: I’ve been waiting for someone to say something about this. There actually is a large contingent of forgotten English-speaking students on campus during the summer. The students quoted in the article seem outraged at $70 rent and meal per week but as a person looking for housing in DC this summer, I know that staying at Midd to work is actually quite profitable (for a student) especially if you snag a hard-to-get C level job for 30+ hours a week.
  • All dining halls will serve same main course: Now there’s an idea to even up the lines. Less variety but good call overall. Director of Dining Services Matt Biette says students should avoid the rush by coming “a little earlier or a little later.” Students don’t choose when to eat lunch. We have class, we have a routine, we’re busy. If you think the majority of students can nicely and orderly disperse themselves across lunchtime dining hours then you are mistaken. Even dinner — practice, rehearsals, meetings. We eat when we eat because that’s when our schedules allow it. Biette is right about getting in different and separate lines for Ross though.