Ask Tré

By TRE STEPHENS

Dear Tre, 

If you had the power to change one thing about Middlebury College campus culture today, what would it be and why?

-Anonymous

Dear Reader, 

If I had the power to change one thing at Middlebury, it would be the sense of entitlement that many students have here. Many students here at Middlebury College are a part of the top 1%. If you don’t know what being in the top 1% means, it means that the students got MONEY!!!! And let me be frank: it isn’t the wealth I’m mad about, it’s the sense of entitlement. However, let’s be honest. Entitlement stems from having a good amount of wealth. 

Why would I change the sense of entitlement? Well, many Midd students have a habit of making those without money feel like sh**.  Most of the time, they do that through displays of entitlement. Not sure if your behavior is entitled? Here, I’ll break it down for you. When you throw your dining hall dishes away in the trash, you are acting entitled. When you break campus equipment for fun, you are acting entitled. When you are patiently waiting for someone with their hands full to open a door for you, you are acting entitled. None of this is OK.

The amount of money you have does not make you untouchable or somehow above the rest of us. Now, I know some people may make this a race issue, and let me stop you all there. This is not a race issue. Why? Because there is a common misconception that it’s only white students that have this sense of entitlement, but that’s not true. This is a culture issue. Specifically, the culture of being privileged financially. Middlebury students: NO ONE OWES YOU ANYTHING. The staff here does not get paid by you. They don’t work for you — plus, they’re humans too. 

If you can’t find the time to learn the names of your custodial team, then you need to do better. Please stop reducing dining hall staff on social media to offensive, vague names, like “Proc lady” and “Ross lady.” We have to do better, both online and in person. Did you know that many of the (dining, custodial and facilities) staff here have to work second jobs just to make a living? Of course not. Stop this sh**!

I realize that this is more of a rant than advice, but the topic is asking for it. If you are not outraged by what I am saying, then I don’t know what else to say to you. We have to do better. I’m going to keep saying that. So make sure that you check your entitlement at the door — and, before you walk through that literal or metaphorical door, open it your damn self!

As always, I look forward to my readers submitting questions to my column. You can submit your own questions at the go link: go/asktre/. My goal is to produce one piece every week for the entire year, so keep the questions coming. 

Love,

Tre Stephens

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