Where's Nate?

living large in the four-oh-eight. wicked large.


it's good to be a social engineer.

My first job after college was in Residential Planning at Middlebury College. A group of us were tasked with revolutionizing the residential experience on campus by implementing a controversial system that encouraged community among students, brought faculty closer to campus life, and introduced the concept of "learning beyond the classroom."

Nearly a decade (and $150M later), the Commons system appears to be a success. Middlebury students live in world-class facilities, interact on a daily basis with faculty outside the classroom, and connect with each other in ways not possible before. One of the ways that social programming has changed on campus can be seen here.

In a score for Brainerd Commons, a steady crowd of over 200 turned out last Friday night for a late October pool party, complete with more than $2,200 worth of inflatable tubes and rafts and a two-story high projection screen showing "Jaws." Telling students not to worry about "rapidly paling Vermont skin," the event planners shut down the Natatorium lighting and cranked up the pool's underwater lights.

Who knew that an idea that polarized the faculty, confused the alumni, and challenged the students would end up being a hallmark of what makes Middlebury, Middlebury? I can only hope to have future responsibilities as cutting-edge as this.


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