We spent a lot of time over the last two weeks preparing for reunion weekend at Middlebury in various forms – creating informational posters, getting brochures ready, prepping students to give tours, and lots more. It paid off! Feedback so far has been hugely positive.
At 10:45am on Friday, our reunion outreach officially began. The 50th reunion class had a formal tour of both Self-Reliance and InSite. Members of the reunion class were shuttled between the 2011 home and the 2013 construction site, where team members taught them about both projects. In the early afternoon, Ellie and Will presented at the Gamaliel Painter Cane Society Luncheon, where we spoke last summer. Peter, Hilary and Gwen were on hand for questions as well. We saw many familiar faces of alumni who have been supporters and friends of the project for a long time and it was wonderful to be able to share our progress with them. President Liebowitz also highlighted the Solar Decathlon project as the finest example of what the modern day liberal arts education looks like in his speech to the Cane Society.
Throughout the weekend we held open houses at both InSite and Self-Reliance, welcoming hundreds of visitors to the homes. Students working on all aspects of the project, from construction to finance, were on hand to talk to them and explain more about the project. We had visitors of all ages and backgrounds. One man visited from New Zealand, one woman traveled from Sweden, and we had a visitor from the class of ’43 – that’s 91 years old! – who would not stop asking questions at Self-Reliance. Many children came with their parent Midd alums, but the kids were a little more interested in the life-sized teddy bear and playing in the loft. Visitors to the construction site of InSite got to see our newly installed maple flooring. Our resident communications gurus, Gwen and Stella, had set up price tags to show where key furniture items and appliances would be and how even small gifts could help our project succeed. Some of the visitors knew of the project through Midd Magazine and online publications, others hadn’t heard about it at all, but each person was very curious to learn more.
We ended our participation in Reunion weekend on Sunday morning with an open house of InSite. Jack attempted to shut the gate at 12, when the event was scheduled to end, but wasn’t able to close it for at least another hour because people kept showing up for tours! It was a very busy and rewarding few days overall. We shared our energy and passion for the project with Midd alums from around the world and could not be happier about it.