About The Rope Swing

The Rope Swing is a Green Mountain College Student run blog. We hope that you enjoy learning about the college as you follow each of our eleven bloggers. Each student has a different unique story to tell and will guide you through their own journey at Green Mountain College.


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Getting Outside at GMC - By Seraphina Mallon-Breiman

This past weekend, CPB, the community programming board, lead a group of about 20 students at GMC to go snowtubing at Killington Mountain, roughly an hour away, at no cost!

This all day event had everyone laughing! From choosing in which lane to ride, to concentrating on staying atop their tube, everyone was outside and taking advantage of the beautiful sunny day with their friends.  

We all rode on the bus for about an hour, exchanging stories, snoozing, cuddling with loved ones, and cracking jokes with Ryan Ihrke.

This day made me realize how much harder it is to have winter blues when you are outside and valiantly stepping up to the challenges of frigid temperatures and mind-numbing winds. With an abundance of layers, nothing seemed to be as morbid!

Especially when you surround yourself with the people you care about.

Spring break begins this friday! Warmth is just around the corner, hold on!


Beekeeping Intensive at GMC

by Krista Lee

This past weekend 15 students were a part of the beekeeping intensive at Green Mountain College. Andrew Munkres who is a bee-keeper from Middlebury Vermont taught the intensive and helped educate 15 students about the ins and outs of beekeeping in one information-packed weekend. His Treatment-Free Beekeeping Operation "Lemonfair Honeyworks" is located in Cornwall, Vermont where they produce raw honey & comb honey from bees that have not been treated with any miticides, antibiotics, or other medications.  Their honey is available for sale at the Middlebury Farmer’s Market, the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-Operative, Burlington City Market, and Champlain Orchards’ farm stand. Check out more about Andrew's bee operation at his website https://lemonfairhoneyworks.wordpress.com/

The class was given hands on experience on how to operate a successful and sustainable bee-keeping operation. We built beehives and worked in the REED studio to build the structures, and then finished working on the structures in the farmhouse on campus. It was the perfect balance between hands-on learning and learning in the classroom and we were educated in a comprehensive way and will continue the class for a weekend in April where we can get experience working with bees when it gets warmer. We watched the documentary "More Than Honey" and it was very eye-opening and we followed it by a discussion in the class. After building and learning about what it means to run a bee-keeping operation Andrew taught us how to look up the costs of all the material we would need to start two hives and we looked through bee-keeping magazines and priced everything out. This helped students work to understand the actual cost of starting this hobby in our futures, and most people in the class said that they were taking the class because they were interested in having bees and hives in their backyards in years following graduation. 

The weekend intensive ended with the students in the class being able to harvest honey and take home raw honey.  




Natasha Bowens and the Color of Food

by Krista Lee

This semester has brought in two of the best speakers I have had in my four years here at GMC. The talks by Michael Twiddy and Natasha Bowens have been educational and incredibly important and I hope that GMC continues with the trend of bringing in speakers of color to speak about social justice issues, because I think that is a topic and point of view that is often overlooked not only by mainstream america by also by many classes here at GMC. 

Natasha focused on how important it is for movements to have a strong focus on inclusivity and accountability. There have always been sustainable food systems and farming systems led by communities and farmers of color, yet there have been a lack of representation of people of color in the dominant culture and conversations about the food justice movement. This is because of white supremacy and racism in the United States, which is unacceptable and must be critically discussed and pushed back on. 

White (male) farmers and white folks must understand their institutional privilege and how that is detrimental to entire communities and must be critical of all the praise and acknowledgment that they receive from mainstream media through representation and support. So often narratives of farming and the food movement is co-opted by white farmers and activists both in representation and in conversations. 

Natasha touched on land loss, indigenous rights, and the resilience of communities that are systemically and institutionally oppressed and disenfranchised by the United States. I am looking forward to reading her book "The Color of Food" but even hearing the five narratives last night accompanied by the photographs was very influential. Hearing the stories of Caesar Lopez in South Side Tucson, Tanya Fields from New York City, Valerie Sigres from a reservation in Washington, and Jenga Nuevo from New Orleans was important and I am so glad to have been there last night. 

Natasha directly confronted the way that the media exclusively presents and brings to the table the stories of white farmers and white food justice activists and wrote a book highlighting the stories that are often left untold by media sources. 

Make sure to check out Natasha's blog http://thecolorofood.com/

& watch the recording of her presentation at Green Mountain College here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-roX6eDXuVI


Turning 21 in Poultney!

By: Natalie House

Last Tuesday was my 21st birthday! I went to the pub and had a great time listening to live music and drinking local beer! The pub is a really great space to interact with peers and faculty - some faculty members regularly play bluegrass which is one aspect of GMC I find especially important to the sense of community.

For those who are not familiar with the Poultney area, Tap's Tavern is the pub most people go to in town. Every Tuesday is bluegrass and $3 draft beer night, and every Saturday is open mic night.

It feels good to be able to participate more in Poultney's small town community. Aside from the pub scene, turning 21 has some other student perks. Every semester, the GMC community hosts a beer or wine & cheese tasting workshop, which is a rite of passage for students who have been at GMC since their freshman year. I'm excited to get to experience that soon!



Bill Mckibben's Talk for MSFS residency 

Last Monday, Bill Mckibben came to Green Mountain College to give a talk to kick off the Masters students residency. He spoke about the challenges we face with climate change looking to the future. 

                                                                        (photo from GMC Facebook Page)

He began by discussing the severity of recent winters in comparison to years past. Using this as a jumping off point, he then delved further into the issues of climate change. 

One highlight was a short video made by an anti-environmentalist group that told the tale of ‘Joe’ and his true love; oil. The personified barrel of oil leaves Joe, and in the wake of this ‘break-up’, Joe is left in the dark with nothing. This cautionary tale featuring an evil looking cartoon version of Bill Mckibben spewing horrible facts about “climate change”. It was an attack on the divestment movement largely supported and encouraged by Mckibben.

If you are interested to see this little video, here is the link:


Much of the talk was quite abysmal, mostly a deluge of facts and statistics about oil companies and extreme weather. As depressing as many of the facts were, it was a sobering reminder that we are living in a world that is changing and we are the main cause.  

He did end on a more uplifting note however, sending out the call for action. For we must act now to try and save this world we live in.

He showed a series of pictures taken from places across the globe of people showing their support for 350.org, a website and organization recently started by Mckibben. 

It is a site that aims to build a global grassroots environmental movement. By connecting people and providing tools to start movements the organization hope to create a more livable planet for the future. 

And the main take away from Bill Mckibben’s talk on Monday night was just that; we are responsible for keeping this planet livable and the way we are going to do that is by taking action and remaining hopeful.