Counter Campus Culture

When you say you go to college in Burlington, most people assume you must go to UVM. While this is the case for us UVMers, it is not true for those students who attend Saint Michael’s College or Champlain College-two other institutions in the Burlington area. UVM’s presence in Burlington is undeniable; you can’t miss the crowds of students crossing Main Street in front of Living and Learning or, of course, the Davis Center. According to, UVM has about 10,504 undergraduate students, while Champlain has 2,678 and Saint Michael’s College (SMC) in Colchester has 2,008. UVM’s size has a huge image on the social scene in the Burlington area But what do all of those Champlain and St. Mike’s students do on the weekends? Where do they go? What do these students think of us Catamounts? What’s it really like to be a college student in the Burlington area but not go to UVM? “When I think of UVM students, I think of them as free-spirited, independent and more along the lines of ‘city’ kids,” Carolyn Smith, a freshman at SMC, said. Because of SMC’s distance from downtown Burlington, many choose to spend their weekend nights on the Colchester campus as opposed to going to parties in the downtown area. “Townhouses around campus usually throw some really good parties, so we always search for a dance party to go to,” Smith said. Smith also mentioned that SMC offers many on campus events such as free food from 11p.m. until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. They are also in the process of planning “Friday Knight Dry” – an event held in the student center, residence halls and the gym. Friday Knight Dry offers alcohol-free activities such as movies, dance parties and games. But Thursday nights as an SMC student seem a bit different from Thursday nights at UVM. “Surprisingly, Thirsty Thursdays aren’t that popular around campus,” Smith said. Even though Thursdays may be on the quiet side at SMC, on weekends many choose to shop on Church Street, driving themselves or taking the CCTA public bus — which is free for SMC students. Students at SMC are also able to buy a “Cultural Pass” to the Flynn Performing Arts Center in downtown Burlington. “We can buy a Cultural Pass for $30 and with that you can go to any show you want,” Smith said. “If there’s a show on the weekend that I have tickets for, then I’m at the Flynn.”Like many UVMers, Miranda Croteau, an SMC sophomore, takes advantage of Burlington’s beauty at North Beach. “If the weather permits, my friends and I enjoy hiking the local trails and lounging at North Beach.”Students who attend Champlain College seem to interact more with UVM students than SMC students do.”We almost always go to UVM parties or friends’ apartments who are from UVM, all of which are in downtown Burlington,” Vanessa Elliot, a freshman at Champlain, said. “I have only been to a couple Champlain parties the whole time I have been at that school.” Avi Kommel, a Champlain sophomore, says that on weekends “I’m often going from apartment to apartment and seeing different friends. Fridays tend to be real late nights.” Partying on campus doesn’t seem to happen too much at Champlain, as compared to SMC. Champlain’s intimate location to the downtown area makes it optimal to go off-campus for parties because they aren’t too far away. Thursdays at Champlain are pretty similar to UVM, kids go out, yet winter sports sometimes keep them in. “Sometimes I go out on Thursdays, but it really depends if I’m trying to go snowboarding early Friday,” Kommel said. And now for our UVM-ers Chelsea Brochu, a sophomore, usually goes downtown on Thursday and Friday nights. “I do go out on Thursday nights even though I shouldn’t because I have early classes on Friday,” Brochu said. “I usually start off making dinner with a small group of friends and either hanging out in the dorms with them for the night or leaving to meet up with other friends to see what’s happening downtown.” But Jesse Zastrow, a freshman opts to lay low on Thirsty Thursday. “I usually end up staying in my dorm on Thursdays and watching “LOST,” because I always have papers due on Friday,” he said. As for activities outside of downtown Burlington, Brochu, an avid shopper, likes to take advantage of the shops on Shelburne Road. “I always end up with good purchases,” she said. And as for hot spots on Church Street, “The Skinny Pancake is a must,” Brochu said. Zastrow, on the other hand, takes advantage of the mountains. “I go skiing at Jay Peak or Bolton on the weekends,” he said. UVM, Saint Michael’s College and Champlain College all have their own “campus culture” which defines them from one another, but, no matter the institution, students at all three of these schools seem to take advantage of everything Burlington has to offer. One thing is for sure: UVMers have a work hard play hard reputation that even students in Colcester recognize. “[UVM students are] very studious,” Kommel said. “But when that’s out of the way they all go out.”Miranda Croteau, St. Mike’s: Class? sophomoreMajor? Education and EnglishWhat’s coming out of your speakers? Keith UrbanWhere’s all your cash going? The GapWhat’s your beer of choice? I don’t like beerWhat’s your favorite Burlington hangout spot? The WaterfrontJesse Zastrow, UVM: Class? freshmanMajor? Environmental ScienceWhat’s coming out of your speakers? O.A.R.Where’s all your cash going? MavenWhat’s your beer of choice? Yuengling What’s your favorite Burlington hangout spot? North BeachVanessa Elliot, Champlain: Class? freshmanMajor? UndecidedWhat’s coming out of your speakers? Wyclef JeanWhere’s all your cash going? Urban OutfittersWhat’s your beer of choice? Bud LightWhat’s your favorite Burlington hangout spot? StarbucksCarolyn Smith, St. Mike’s:Class? freshmanMajor? JournalismWhat’s coming out of your speakers? Wyclef JeanWhere’s all your cash going? American ApparelWhat’s your beer of choice? I don’t drink beerWhat’s your favorite Burlington hangout spot? Dobra TeaAvi Kommel, Champlain: Class? freshmanMajor? Graphic DesignWhat’s coming out of your speakers? The Allman BrothersWhere’s all your cash going? 802What’s your beer of choice? Blackbeary Wheat What’s your favorite Burlington hangout spot? Main Street Guitar and AmpChelsea Brochu, UVM: Class? sophomoreMajor? HistoryWhat’s coming out of your speakers? Notorious B.I.G.Where’s all your cash going? MonelleWhat’s your beer of choice? I don’t drink beerWhat’s your favorite Burlington hangout spot? The Skinny Pancake