Students off campus face transportation and communication troubles

By Charlie Keohane

For the cohort of students living off campus this year, getting to class is not a breezy five-minute stroll from their dorm room. Many juniors living at the Marriott, the Inn on the Green or Bread Loaf have felt let down by inconsistent transportation to campus and a lack of clear communication from the college. 

Chang Ma ’23 was deciding between living at Bread Loaf or at the Marriott, and ultimately chose the Marriott. He expressed frustration with the shuttle system, and has had to walk to campus,  sometimes missing classes due to miscommunication about the shuttle schedules.

“They’ve [ResLife] never apologized or taken responsibility,” Ma said.

Glenn Kontor ’23 is living at Bread Loaf this semester, and described the experience as bittersweet. Kontor, like other Bread Loaf residents, received a room and board discount and future housing priority along with free ski passes for the coming season. Kontor looks forward to learning how to ski this winter, but the distance from campus has its challenges. 

“It literally takes an hour to commute to and from Breadloaf and campus, as opposed to the five- to seven-minute walk I’ve experienced my first two years at Middlebury,” Kontor said. “I can’t go to my room to take a nap or grab something I’ve forgotten, and if I have any clubs or commitments in the evening, I’m waiting around on campus until I’m able to head home for the night.”

Audrey Grimes ’23 was originally placed at the Bread Loaf campus but jumped at the opportunity to live closer to campus. Now, she lives at the Inn on the Green with about 20 other students. 

“I don’t know what I was expecting, but it’s definitely not bad,” Grimes said. “I still feel like I’m pretty much on campus, because it is close. I can drive — I can walk if I want to.”

Unlike students living at the Marriott and Bread Loaf, students living at the Inn on the Green do not receive any benefits like room and board discounts or future housing priority. 

“I think we should at least get housing priority for next year,” Grimes said. “It’s still not ideal.” 

There are no RAs or other staff members at the Inn on the Green, which struck Grimes as strange. “I wish someone would check in on us and be like ‘Hey, how is this going?’” she said. In addition to the lack of in-person support, Grimes has also been disappointed with the college’s communication with residents and said that there is confusion surrounding parking and transportation.

Grimes said there are also concerns about the colder weather, since students will be less likely to walk or bike to campus and therefore will rely more on the shuttle system.