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. Read more  >>


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Ecology of the Southwest - By Seraphina Mallon-Breiman

Over the past few weeks, my understanding of ecology and my environment has begun to incorporate the southwest desert and the land of Arizona. I'm taking an ecology class here at Prescott College with a John Muir impersonist and I’m beginning to think more about geology and rock formations instead of the greenery of New England. I’m learning that rock formations are merely ancient sedimentations of material and that they’re all actually very different. Most importantly, I’m learning that the basic understanding of physical geography, geology and plant species that I learned in high school were not enough.


There is so much wonder, so much natural beauty within the daily landscape of our human lives that we choose not to see. We forget to consider the ages of the trees we walk by or the placement of the bushes we pass. Our anthropocentric modernity has shaped our entire culture into a boring, and bored, unconscious group of people. Aldo Leopold writes, “The drama of the sky dance is enacted nightly on hundreds of farms, the owners of which sigh for entertainment, but harbor the illusion that it is to be sought in theaters. They live on the land, but not by the land.” I feel that most of my generations’ problems have come from a dullness they don’t understand and can’t explain. Humans have been given so many different types of technology that we’ve stopped concentrating on our most basic and natural forms of entertainment. For most people, wandering outside and exploring nature is rarely considered to be an equally enjoyable alternative to a movie theater.


There are things around us all the time that we’re constantly taking for granted, or at least not observing very well. So many creatures and beings and plants and matter make up our world and interconnected universe. Every minute organism plays its role in the procedure of our lives, yet we are probably deeming that creature as less important or unnecessary. It is so important to remember that every tiny creature or seemingly insignificant being or part of nature holds a significant place within this world. It’s so important to put away our smart-phones when we get to the top of places like Thumb Butte and just spend time sitting and looking at what is in front of us. It’s important to look at what we are hiking past and spend time counting the rings of tree stumps and identifying riverbeds. Nancy E. Langston writes, “…The world is dramatically affected by humans.” To ignore this is irresponsible; we must understood the role we play within this world without thinking anthropocentrically. We must continue exploring unobtrusively and we must continue asking questions in order to better understand and change the global crisis we’ve created. Humans must discontinue attempts to conquer the land and instead begin understanding ourselves as an active part within its system.



Punk Hits Poultney

By: Natalie House

 Last night, the coffee house was packed for it's first ever punk show. A touring band from Ontario called “Dirty Kills” played some songs off of their album “Stoved In.” Student artists also played music, including GMC students Jake Jemas (aka “Jemas Joplin”), Hayden Smith, and Will Morse (aka “Charavari”). You can listen to two out of the 3 bands on bandcamp: https://dirtykills.bandcamp.com/ & https://chari.bandcamp.com/

Students took a much needed break from homework to come gather at the coffee house, listen to the bands play, and enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches and hot drinks. The coffee house hosts events frequently thanks to student organizers who assist in scheduling performances. In addition to hosting touring bands, the coffee house also puts on karaoke nights, dance parties, art galas, movie nights, and serves as a cozy space for holding meetings and doing homework.

The coffee house is student-run and staffed, which makes it a unique spot on campus. It's open late at night, which makes it a convenient place to grab a snack or hang out. Sophomore Maggie Parson visits the coffee house frequently. She sums up her love of the space --- “good vibes, good times.”


Freshman Impressions: Cody Bradshaw


By: Matthias Baudinet

This past weekend I had the pleasure of conducting a short interview with Freshman Cody Bradshaw. For the next two weeks I will be chatting with different Freshman and getting their insights on how their first couple of weeks at GMC went.

      Below is the short interview conducted with Cody:

Cody with his father


What was your initial reaction when you first arrived on campus?

-"During my first couple days of classes I found that while the classes are really small, I figured out how beneficial that really is. I also did not expect the workload to be that heavy. I was bit overwhelmed as first. In regards to the rooms, I did not expect them to be that big. I'm so happy that I have such a large room. I also was welcomed by my wonderful RA. She was a great help in bringing together the people on our floor to create a great community."

How were your first couple of weeks here at GMC?

-"I found people to be very nice right off the bat. People were very friendly. Again, going to back to the workload, it was a lot more than what I thought it would be. It took me some time to manage my time to finish all my work, but I think that I got it figured out now. I also think that my adjustment to college social life was a lot quicker than a lot of my freshman peers. Also, I found the professors to be very welcoming, caring, and passionately interested in my academic success."

How would you describe the ideal Green Mountain College student?

-"I would say that the ideal GMC student is an activists, a person who has managed the perfect balance between social life and academic life. Someone who has the passion behind what they are studying, and are willing to go out of their way and comfort zones to educate themselves."


A Very Au Natural Weekend

By: Natalie House

It's that time of year again! If you were around Cerridwen Farm this weekend, you probably ate some delicous homemade soup and drank freshly pressed cider in celebration of GMC's annual Welsh Harvest Festival. What you may not have witnessed was this year's “Nude Food” photo shoot. Despite the chilly weather, returning and new students were determined to continue on the nude food legacy started years ago by the Slow Food club on campus. The shoot typically involves vegetables, students....and not much else!

The nude food shoot constitutes a moment for the embracing of bodies through beautiful photographs that showcase our connections with the land around us. This year, students posed with vegetables, milk jugs, hay, tractors, pumpkins – even chickens! Over 100 photos were taken, and the club hopes to take more next weekend! 12 of the photographs taken will star in a one-of-a-kind calender that students can save as a souvenir or give away as gifts.

You might be asking, “but what's the significance in stripping naked and holding fall produce anyway?” Well, for starters, the concept of slow food comes from the notion that food brings people together. It also revolves around the belief that food should be eaten seasonally and locally. In essence, slow food is literally the opposite of fast food. Promoting education around agriculture and local food looks like a lot of things to different students. But, really, what's more fun then getting naked and eating great food?

There will be another shoot next weekend - stay tuned! You can RSVP to the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/380454822112248


Time's Up, Rise Up! Rally and Sit-In for Climate Justice

By Krista Lee

On Monday October 27th folks from all over the state of Vermont will come together in Montpelier to rally against the VT Fracked Gas Pipeline. The Vermont Fracked Gas Pipeline is a pipeline that is threatening the state and is incredibly dangerous to the health of everyone in the state and beyond. Eminent Domain is threatening the land of landowners in the state, as well as farmers.  

"We've reached the end of our rope with Vermont’s broken utility regulatory process," said Jane Palmer, a small farmer and landowner in Monkton, who has been involved in a legal battle with Vermont Gas for over two years to keep the pipeline off her property and out of the state, "The Board is ignoring the facts. The whole process is broken and rigged to get Vermont Gas the result it wants. The Board is giving Vermont Gas carte blanche to do and spend whatever they want, while ignoring the concerns of the larger community."

There will be a Mass Rally and Sit-In that GMC students are encouraged to sign up to attend! This is the place that we have chosen to call home for our college career, and it is a state that we have to help protect from extraction that will end up polluting and threatening both the environment and people that live here and in the surrounding areas. This will directly confront the Shumlin administration who is continuing to support this project, and the Public Service Board who has been acting in the interest of Vermont Gas and not listening to the voices of Vermont residents.

As students at a small environmental liberal arts college it is our responsibility to take our learning out of the classroom and take a stand on this important issue.

“The coalition is also concerned that this project doesn't offer a long-term solution for families struggling to pay their heating bills.  "As a mother of two and a provider in my Addison County community, I know natural gas cannot address the reasons why members of our communities struggle to pay their energy bills,” said Bridport resident Amanda Sheppard of the Vermont Workers' Center. “Just as healthcare is a right, so is a healthy environment and a warm home.  And businesses thirsting for the cheapest available energy cannot provide a healthy, stable and fair economy for Vermont's working families.”

“Ninety businesses and dozens of farmers signed letters opposing the fracked gas pipeline. Religious leaders have spoken out, and hundreds of letters have been published in the press in opposition to what many are calling a short-sighted project that is undermining the democratic process in the state.” –Rising Tide (see link below to read more)

Activism@GMC is coordinating GMC people to get to this event. Email shugartk@greenmtn.edu if you are interested in going!


*Photo of Jane & Nate Palmer above from the meeting with the Public Service Board (PSB) & the other picture is from the meeting as well.  At this meeting Jane & Nate testified against VT Gas, along with environmental lawyers and people representing and working to protect the environment, animals, and people in the state from this pipeline. Despite this meeting the PSB refused to reopen the certificate of public good, thus siding with VT Gas and corporate interests.