April 29, 2021
In designing this year’s survey, The Campus’ Zeitgeist team reviewed questions from last year’s survey (both those that were on the survey itself and others that were submitted but did not make it into the survey) and then distributed a form to solicit potential survey questions from members of The Campus’ editorial board. After consolidating the questions and in careful consultation with other editors, members of the Zeitgeist team generated 58 survey questions in total, including 16 demographic questions.
The Campus distributed the survey in all-student email on the evening of April 4, 2021. Responses were open for 8 days, until midnight on April 12. The survey was also distributed on The Campus’ social media platforms, posting at frequent intervals until the deadline. Upon receiving the email, respondents followed an anonymous link to the survey hosted on Qualtrics. This link ensured that no personally identifiable data as to the respondent’s computer or location could be tracked. After completing the survey, respondents had the option to enter a raffle on a separate Google Form, which ensured that the participants’ identifying information for the raffle and the survey data were not linked.
Following the demographic questions, this year’s survey questions were grouped into six general categories: Academics and the Institution, Social Life, Love and Relationships, Mental and Physical Health, Politics, and Community. Survey respondents were encouraged to answer all the questions, but none of the non-demographic questions were mandatory. All demographic questions offered an “I prefer not to answer” option.
The survey data was stored on the Qualtrics platform and was distributed to a small group of reporters in sections via Google Drive. Sharing permissions for the Google Drive folder were deleted after the completion of data analysis. Data remained only on the devices of reporters and never shared externally.
When analyzing the data, the team did not examine specific entries or attempt to extract the entirety of a respondent’s data, but worked with the data as a whole to survey general trends. In order to protect the confidentiality of respondents, we have chosen not to disclose or report the responses of groups with 5 or fewer members in demographic breakdowns. In total, 1,041 students responded out of Middlebury’s degree-seeking undergraduate student population of 2,434, making the response rate 42.77%.
The findings were then compiled and published in the April 29 edition of The Campus. In total, 12 students were closely involved with the making of this year’s Zeitgeist.