Mid-Atlantic defines students’ idea of home


Lindsay Freed, Life Columnist

For many people, college is the first time they’ve spent an extended time at an extended distance from family, old friends and familiar environment.

This is particularly true for the average UVM student, who often comes from a state other than Vermont, as 80 percent of undergraduates are out-of-state, according to the UVM Office of Institutional Research.

With a diverse population, understanding where UVM students call home is key to understanding how the student community can form its own unique sense of home.

More than 2,450 of UVM’s students come from the Mid-Atlantic, an area characterized by a suburban sprawl stretching from New York City to Washington D.C. in the south along the I-95

Annapolis, Maryland is located on the Chesapeake Bay – about 45 minutes away from Washington D.C. and Baltimore.

Two big parts of Annapolis culture revolve around its relationship to the bay and its role as Maryland’s capital, said junior Robert Rice, a fifth-generation Annapolis native.

“I think people notice this about Maryland a lot, but there is a lot of state pride,” Rice said.

It’s pretty typical to see someone wearing clothing with either the Maryland flag or a crab on it on campus, Rice said.

Rice owns 15 similar items himself, including a pillowcase and multiple pairs of socks, he said.

“I think the flag has a lot to do with why people in Maryland feel so much pride; they can use as a symbol to rally around,” Rice said. “Some people say it’s an ugly flag, but I think it’s the best flag.”

There is also a huge emphasis on sailing and watersports in Annapolis because of its location on the bay and association with the U.S. Naval Academy, he said.

Rice doesn’t actually live within the city limits, he said. He belongs to the community of Bay Ridge, which is under the county jurisdiction.

“There’s a lot of places like that that are outside the city limits,” Rice said, “but everyone considers them to be a part of Annapolis.”

About two-and-a-half hours north of Annapolis is the town of Havertown, Pennsylvania.

Havertown is 10 minutes outside of Philadelphia, and people from there have a strong connection to the city, senior Emily Grace Araviello said.

However, there is still a distinct Havertown identity, Araviello said.

“We identify with the city but we’re not a part of that culture,” she said. “We have our own, really strange culture.”

Havertown is in Delaware County, but people from the area refer to themselves as being in “DelCo,” which includes the neighboring Montgomery County, Arriviello said.

Arriviello talked the about how there’s a really friendly atmosphere in DelCo, regardless of whether people actually know each other or not.

“We wouldn’t even really know the people we were hanging out with while watching parades,” she said, “but they would be like ‘come in our house for meatball subs and have a soft pretzel.”

People in DelCo also have strong connections with the parishes they belong to, deriving playful rivalries from these loyalties for the annual elementary-school Thanksgiving football game, Arriviello said.

My dad went to St. Dotts my mom went to St. Ferdinands, and to this day they’ll get angry at each other about their football teams,” she said.

These games are an excuse for people to get together and have a good time, Arriviello said.

“All the dads come and get trashed, and like, scream and yell for their grade school team,” she said.

These two communities – Annapolis and DelCo – are just two examples of thousands in the Mid-Atlantic region that UVM students hail from.

They serve as a snapshot for the variety of community that you can find in one of the biggest regions of origin for the student population.

If anything, the Mid-Atlantic can be best described as “weird,” Arriviello said. “It’s weird, but good.”