Students “Get Outside” At Middlebury College

In the interest of promoting energy conservation, students at Middlebury College will be spending time away from the luxuries that so many of us take for granted. In a six-day camp out that is part of “Get Outside Week,” concerned individuals will move from their dorms and onto Middlebury’s lawns.

Starting on January 15, the event will host a number of activities in an effort to raise awareness for the cause. At 4 p.m., Bill McKibben, author of Wandering Home and The End of Nature, is scheduled to give a guest lecture, and student performances will follow. Also outside, a potluck dinner will take place and food and cooking classes will be taught. In addition, there will be an art sculpture show, and a sled-building contest. The college hopes to include the Middlebury community as well by inviting the public to attend their free lectures, given during the week by esteemed professors from behind a snow podium, which are open to everyone and are scheduled to take place on Battell Beach.

The events, sponsored by the Sunday Night Group, are part of a much larger movement that supports the search and practice of simple solutions that could slow the trends of a spiraling problem in global climate change. One solution proposed is the lowering of all campus thermostats two degrees, a small act that would help cut down on unnecessary energy use. The idea is that: when people are outside, with their dorm lights off and the heat turned down, energy will instead be created through things such as the intake of food. The idea must be acknowledged that the human body is much more resourceful than it is given credit for.

By “living off of the grid,” students can develop a better understanding and greater appreciation for the convenience of everyday living. While only removed a short distance from their rooms, tent dwellers will face a lot of changes. There will be no electricity, plumbing, or heat (except that which is emitted by the tip of Nag Champa sticks) available to the brave Vermonters who will sacrifice comfort to participate in the event.

The long-term damage of abusing the earth by excessively draining its resources and placing constant stress on it is devastating and contributes to the growing problem of ecoterrorism. The opportunity provided by “Get Outside Week” is a step in the right direction for anyone interested in issues such as these.

The “cold-hearted” campers will be split into teams and prizes will be awarded to the groups that can spend the most time in their tents. An all-star prize will be given to the individual who spends the most amount of time outside.

Celebrate winter while it lasts at and start raising an awareness of energy use on January 15 during Middlebury College’s “Get Outside Week.”