The Middlebury Campus

Health and Wellness center offers alternative activities

By Middlebury Campus

TGIF! But what is there to do to kick-off the weekend? Friday Night Coffeehouses.

Every Friday in the Grille, the Health and Wellness Center hosts celebrations of good music, food and company. The relaxed atmosphere of the Coffeehouse events provides students with a mellow option for a Friday night after the relentlessly busy school week, as well as a chance to really communicate with other students.

“The coffeehouses are a response to our surveys,” said Jyoti M. Daniere, Director of Health and Wellness Education. “Students want a more quiet and mellow environment to hang out with other students, enjoy music, and have conversation.”

Conversation is the key aspect of these events. It provides students an outlet in which they can enjoy music and food and have a fun Friday night, while still interacting with other Midd Kids on a less boisterous level.

“They’re an alternative to the big, loud, noisy parties where you can’t really talk to anyone,” said Daniere.

But simply chatting in the Grille does not differentiate Fridays from weeknights, which is why the Coffeehouses were instituted. The major difference is that they feature musical performances by Middlebury students themselves.

“There is amazing talent on this campus,” said Daniere. “I can’t believe how talented Midd students are, and most of them don’t get a chance to showcase it.”

Friday Night Coffeehouses provide our student musicians and singers with an on-campus outlet to strut their musical stuff. But Middlebury talent does not stop at music, and so neither do the coffeehouse performances. The Health and Wellness Center is hoping to incorporate a stand-up comedy night, a poetry-slam, and other activities that will allow students of myriad talents to perform.

“My job is showcasing our students, and showing off different sides of these really interesting, complex people,” said Daniere. “Through Friday Night Coffeehouses, we’re celebrating Middlebury students’ talents and diversity.”

Another major goal of Friday Night Coffeehouses is to promote and normalize dating on campus, a concern many students voiced in the surveys.

“It’s a chance to meet someone you can actually talk with,” said Daniere, “and you learn important communication skills, intimacy skills … you learn how to flirt and be charming.”

In the past, the Health and Wellness Center has hosted speed-dating events, and it will soon host a Senior Speed-Dating night complete with root beer floats.  But perhaps its most successful event has been The Dating Game, a clever contest with the grand prize of a date with one’s chosen beau.

So far, the Health and Wellness Center events have proven successful thanks to CCAL and Michael Glidden, the nigttime Manager of the Grille, who offers the space to promote alternative Friday night options.

As part of the alternative Friday night options, the space will host a Halloween Celebration on Friday, Oct. 29, featuring a group costume contest. Between the set breaks of the scheduled band, a New York City group called Darling-Side, students in groups of 3 to 6 people will show off their group get-ups on stage. The top three groups will receive prizes.

“I really encourage people to come to these events,” said Daniere. “There’s really great music, amazing food, and really cool people are going.”

So next time you are contemplating Friday night plans and a loud, crowded, “rage” does not sound completely enticing, consider Friday Night Coffeehouses. Whether you want a mellow Friday to rest up for a wild Saturday, or you want to hear some talented musicians, or you just want to talk to students and meet some new friends, the Grille is open … and waiting for everyone to join the fun.

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