MiddKids of Instagram

By SOPHIE HILAND

Perhaps you follow @MiddleburyCollege on Instagram where you’re sure to find photos and videos of our picturesque campus in the fall, winter, spring and summer as well as photos of teams and the trophies they win and appreciation for community members who have passed. Or maybe you follow @MiddAthletics which reposts pictures of Middlebury athletes who have received honors such as NESCAC Player of the Week and NCAA All American titles. At the same time, student organizations such as MiddSafe and the SGA maintain accounts that spread the word about their work. 

Alongside these more official accounts is its own niche of student-run microblogs. Whether it be in the dining hall or on the way to class, students are working to document the daily joys and personal stories of their peers through each their own styles of images and captions. 

Take @MeetMidd, for example. 

Before I had even applied to Middlebury, I stumbled on a friend’s MeetMidd feature, which she had reposted on Instagram. I started to scroll through the account’s posts, of which there are currently 772. The stories caught my attention as they ranged in vulnerability, humor, style and topic, but all were told thoughtfully and helped me get a much better sense of what my classmates would be like if I were to go to Middlebury. 

John Schurer ’21 started the account shortly after arriving at Middlebury in the fall of 2017. In reflection on his original intentions for the account, Schurer explains that the account came out of an “an effort to expand our circles and unite our community” and that he “wanted to create a way for us to forge authentic, meaningful relationships with others.” 

“I thought that if each of us shared a piece of who we are, it could be the catalyst that would lead to these kinds of relationships,” Schurer said. He says that Middlebury students often fall into natural circles based on academic interests, extracurricular activities, jobs and many other factors that to some extent keep us from getting to know many of our classmates. 

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#MeetMidd, Kailee Brickner-McDonald: “I love birthdays! They invite celebration and reflection, both things I like to do with others. Three things I do each year on my birthday: I write a list of things I want to do in the next year, one thing for each year I’m celebrating. These are usually simple, like ‘plant delicata squash in my garden’ or ‘check out an audio book at the library,’ and ideally fun. Then, I reflect on the past year’s list. I get a kick out of seeing the things that I imagined I’d do over the prior year, recognizing what parts I actually got to, the things I didn’t pursue, and the experiences I never could have planned that happened anyway. I also host a party for friends and family with a potluck and costume theme. Last year’s food theme was ‘little kid birthday party’ and dress was ‘what your younger self would be proud of.’ We had cowboys and Minnie Mouse show up, bringing treats like pigs in a blanket, ants on a log, and cheese doodles.” • • • Hometown: Mountain Lakes, New Jersey Department: Center for Community Engagement. Position: Assistant Director of Youth and Mentoring Programs. Interests: Gardening, hiking, biking, contra dancing, mentoring, generally playing outside, reading, canoe camping, gathering with friends, good food, the unlimited milk bar at Fire & Ice.

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While other Midd Instagram accounts have very different goals, they nonetheless share aspects of life as a Middlebury student that may not make their way into more formal Instagram accounts or get mentioned during admissions tours. 

One such account is @RealHumansofProc, started by Ella Nassi ’22.5 and Cecilia Needham ’22.5, two devout Proctor Dining Hall fans who noticed that meal after meal, their fellow Proc-goers were sitting down to eat creative meals they started calling “conProctions” and “ProcCreations”. 

What’s so special about making a meal out of food from the salad bar, hot meal section and alternate protein section? Needham explained that this individualized approach helps students feel more connected to the food they eat, and thus less likely to toss it after a bite or two. Nassi echoed this sentiment. “We love that by featuring students who make out of the ordinary, and often quite quirky ‘creations’ in Proc, we are giving other students ideas for how to make the food they want to eat, thus decreasing food waste,” she said. 

“This account has brought me so much joy,” Nassi said. “It opens people up to the possibility of getting excited about the mundane because it sparks enthusiasm for meals, which are so much more than just a time to refuel, but an opportunity to get to know your peers, to eat food that is both healthy and delicious and take a break from our busy lives here at school.”

Looking for another account that celebrates daily joys? Look no further than @MiddFits, an account founded by Laz Galvez ’23 as a way to recognize and document fashion on campus. Galvez, a New York native, grew up surrounded by street style and has always had a keen awareness of the many rules which governed getting dressed growing up. Galvez explained that running the account has helped him connect with other students and he hopes it helps inspire students to “pop off” when it comes to their outfits. “Here, I feel like I can take more risks,” Galvez said, before adding that he hopes the account will help others find the same confidence through fashion as he does. 

There you have it — a non-exhaustive lowdown on Middlebury-based Instagram accounts. If you’re ever looking to procrastinate on that final paper and find yourself short on content to browse, you know where to go. 

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