Office of Student Life
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Schedule of Events | Where to Stay | Directions to Campus | Campus Map (PDF)


September 25–27, 2015

We hope you will join us at this year's Family Weekend. One of Bennington's great resources is its tight-knit, yet seemingly endlessly expansive community. For an institution its size, Bennington College has had a disproportionate impact on the world's cultural and intellectual stage. As parents and grandparents and siblings and friends of Bennington students, you are now part of this remarkable legacy and contribute to the College's vibrant network.

Over Family Weekend we invite you to immerse yourself in this community—sitting in on faculty workshops and discussions, hearing from recent alumni about their work in the world, and talking with Bennington's president about our vision for the future. Open houses, campus tours, cultural events, and our Family Weekend soccer match round out the weekend. Most importantly, you will have a chance to see life at the College through your Bennington student's eyes.

Hotels tend to fill up quickly during Vermont’s beautiful foliage season, so we recommend making your reservations early. For information about local lodging, check the region's chamber of commerce websites.

Registration and Meals

  • Registration fee: The per-person registration fee covers all programs and performances. The fee for parents and guests ages 19+ is $35 (prepaid) or $45 (on site); guests ages under 19 and Bennington students are free. Please note: Online registration will close at 11:00 pm on September 24—registration will open on campus at 11:00 am on September 26.
  • Harvest Dinner | Friday, September 25, 5:30–7:30 pm: Families can attend our Harvest Dinner for $17 per person for ages 7+ (children under 7 are free and Bennington students use their meal plan)—use the weekend registration form (above) to prepay and indicate how many dinner tickets you will be purchasing or pay by cash or credit card at the door.
  • BBQ Lunch | Saturday, September 26, noon–1:45 pm: Families can attend our BBQ Lunch for $13 per person (Bennington students use their meal plan)—use the weekend registration form (above) to prepay and indicate how many lunch tickets you will be purchasing or pay by cash or credit card at the door.
  • Other meals: Families are welcome to take advantage of meals in the Commons Dining Hall and Student Center throughout Family Weekend at their own expense. Payment (cash or credit card) for meals other than the Harvest Dinner and BBQ Lunch will be made upon arriving at either the Commons Dining Hall or Student Center and prices vary depending on mealtime (Commons Dining Hall) or what is ordered (Student Center).
  • Check-ins | Friday, September 25, 11:00 am–8:00 pm—pick up your welcome package and prepaid meal tickets; Saturday, September 26, 7:50 am–3:00 pm—if you haven't already, pick up your welcome packet and prepaid meal tickets.

Schedule of Events

Times and locations subject to change—a printed schedule will be provided at registration check-in. For additional information about ongoing events on and near campus, please visit the calendar or ask and at the registration tent.

Friday, September 25

9:00 am–7:00 pm
Bookstore Extended Hours


11:00 am–8:00 pm
Registration | Tent at the Flagpole

Please check in at the registration table for your welcome packet and refreshments.

1:00–2:00 pm
Science Workshop: Student Research Presentation | Dickinson 232

Current Bennington science students will present research conducted over the summer.

  • Evan Gall ’16 worked this last summer on the Bennington Radio Telescope, helping to commission it, characterize its sensitivity, and design observing protocols.
  • Maddy Moberg ’16 worked this past Field Work Term at SNOLAB, an underground science lab in a mine near Sudbury, ON (Canada), specializing in neutrino and dark matter physics.
  • Cody Jacobs ’18 worked this past summer at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA. He studied the role of plant extracts in preventing liver inflammation.

1:00–4:00 pm
Inflatable Space Installation Open Hours | Outside between VAPA and CAPA

Climb inside a unique Bennington creation and experience something entirely new!

Designed to be transitory, transportable, and transforming, this experimental space was developed by the Field Research of Closed Cells class to be a structure that feels completely new and unknown. The design organically arose from studies of form, membrane properties, and dialogue. Digital modeling and pattern-making were employed to push the boundaries of the chosen materials which are sturdy, reusable, and ultimately recyclable. The industrial fan used to inflate the space is repurposed from the Dickinson Science Center. Created by Interdisciplinary Support Specialist John Umphlett MFA ’99, faculty member Guy Snover ’06, and students Fae M. Blackmer ’15, Douglas M. Campo ’16, Adrien J. de Mones ’14, Alec W.C. Gear ’15, Elizabeth F. Gombert ’15, Alexander M. (Sandy) Curth ’16, Maren A. Johnson ’15, Kevser A. Kesici ’16, Lily N. Moore ’16, Kevin P. Mulvey ’16, and Harlan M. Steed ’16.

1:00–4:00 pm
Thematic Campus Tours | Tent at the Flagpole

Thematic campus tours will leave from the flagpole. Feel free to choose one tour or do all three!

  • 1:00 pm | Maker Space (3D Printer) and Inflatable Structure Tour
    Explore Bennington’s Maker Space, where art meets 21st-century technology. Sculpture faculty Jon Isherwood, Interdisciplinary Support Specialist John Umphlett MFA ’99, and 3D Technician Michael Stradley will be your guides through this intersection of old and new. Watch projects milled on the CNC machine, body scans come to life, and enter The Bubble. Amazement guaranteed.
  • 2:00 pm | Apple Picking
    Come pick apples with the Bennington Sustainable Food Project! From McIntosh to Golden Delicious, there are quite a few tasty varieties of apple trees right on campus that are bursting with fruit. Come taste as you go and help us collect apples for making cider on Saturday. The tour will include a short walk to the orchard, and all ages are welcome.
  • 3:00 pm | Sustainable Bennington Tour
    Learn more about how Bennington is meeting its sustainability goals by touring our biomass plant and current steam line project. Featuring various student-led initiatives, such as the Purple Carrot Farm, waste reducing project, compost facility, and clothesline project. Led by Buildings and Grounds Systems Manager Todd Siclari and students Erika Lygren ’16 and Lauren Brady ’18.

2:30–3:30 pm
Crossett Library Artists’ Books and Graphic Novels | Crossett Library

Artists’ books are book objects that have been conceived as works of art. Dean of the Library Oceana Wilson will share interesting examples of artists’ books from the library’s special collections, which will be available for hands-on viewing. Graphic novels are a type of text combining words and images typically telling a sequential story. Wade Simpson, library acquisitions coordinator and MFA graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies, will share graphic novels from the library’s collection, including his own series, and demonstrate some unconventional binding techniques.

4:00–6:00 pm
Open Drawing Class | VAPA B210

Visiting faculty member Colin Brant will lead current students and families in an open live model life drawing class. Supplies and materials will be provided. No prior experience necessary. Note: There will be a live nude model at this session, which may not be suitable for all.

5:00–6:30 pm
Bennington Community Harvest Dinner | Purple Room, Commons Dining Hall

Are your parents and/or family members not able to join you on campus for Family Weekend? Join members of faculty and staff in the purple room of Commons Dining Hall to socialize, dine, and solidify the fact that Bennington is home, and that friends, colleagues, and fellow students can become family!

5:30–7:30 pm
Harvest Dinner | Commons Dining Hall

The Harvest Dinner will feature “Farm to Table” dining. The dining staff work with our own student-run Purple Carrot Farm and other local farms to serve you a taste of the memorable Vermont fall harvest season. Tickets are located in your packet if you prepaid for the dinner. If you have not prepaid but have decided to join us, we are delighted to have you; please have cash or credit available at the door.

8:30–10:00 pm
An Evening of Music with “The Prescription,” ft. Faculty and Alumni Musicians | Student Center

Join Bennington faculty members Kerry Ryer-Parke ’90, Bruce Williamson, and Michael Wimberly for an evening of dance-heavy funk, soul, and Motown classics, set to the backdrop of a community-wide dance party!

8:45–10:00 pm
Stargazing at the Stickney Observatory | Meet in front of Commons

Please join physics and astronomy students for an evening guide to the stars while sipping hot chocolate. Meet in front of Commons at 8:45 pm and walk down to the Stickney Observatory. This event is weather-dependent. Check for updates on

Saturday, September 26

7:50 am–3:00 pm
Registration | Tent at the Flagpole

Please check in at the registration table for your welcome packet and refreshments. If you have already checked in, stop by for a light continental breakfast, including coffee, tea, and Bennington homemade granola.

8:00–9:30 am
Vinyasa Flow Yoga Led by Tracey Forest of Spirit Hollow | Commons Lawn, End of the World (rain location: top level of Myer Rec Barn)

Wake up your body and soul with an all-level flow yoga class. Stretch your body and center your mind for the day’s activities through focused breath, deep body awareness, and joyful, flowing movement. This class will make you feel great as you have fun. All are welcome; no yoga experience necessary. Please bring a mat and comfy clothes (no jeans).

8:00–10:00 am
Wake Up with Bennington! | Commons Dining Hall

Continental breakfast will be served. Please bring cash or credit to pay at the door.

9:00 am–6:00 pm
Bookstore Extended Hours


10:30–11:45 am
Faculty Sessions

  • Terry Creach—Modern Dance at Bennington, 1934 | CAPA Symposium
    How did Bennington College become the nurturing “Home of American Modern Dance” in America within just a few years of its founding in 1932? We’ll look at rare footage of dance on the College lawn from 1938, as well as excerpts from a new film focused on the pioneering leadership of Martha Hill—Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter. Pulling photos from the Bennington College Dance Archives, we’ll review the early years, and also look at the decades of extraordinary artist-faculty who have contributed to the College’s dance legacy from 1932 to today.
  • Kerry Woods—Reading the Local Landscape | Lawn in front of Jennings Music Building
    We will use the Bennington College campus and its environs as a field laboratory, exploring how natural history observations can be used to generate insights into ecological dynamics and the short- and long-term histories of the landscape at a range of spatial scales. Similar exercises lead students to original research projects. Note: This will be outside. Dress for the weather and for walking on forest trails. This outing may run a little past 11:45 am, but there will be enough time for lunch and the following activities.
  • Noelle Rouxel Cubberly—What’s in a (French) Film Title? | Cricket Hill
    Before you see a film, you form a mental image from its title. Film titles, precisely because they are a lowest common denominator, are also a way to approach a language and culture. Explored as palimpsests, we will focus on American and French film titles in order to decipher what and how they reflect us. Excerpts from Freud’s Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious and Barthes’ Semiologic Adventure will serve as a framework for further reflection. We will also consider other forms of paratext related to titles, such as clips, film trailers, reviews, posters, and opening titles. Regardless of your level in French, you will learn a few new words and deepen your cultural understanding of French language, films, and culture.
  • Allen Shawn—Leonard Bernstein’s Concert Music | Fireplace Room, Deane Carriage Barn
    Leonard Bernstein (1918–90) was the best known American classical musician of his day. Celebrated in his lifetime as a conductor and teacher and as a composer for Broadway, he was also the composer of a considerable body of work meant for the concert hall, including three symphonies and a violin concerto; this work garnered at best a mixed reception from audiences and the press and tended to be ignored or scorned by academics and fellow composers. Yet somehow this body of work has continued to survive and has taken on new meanings since Bernstein’s death. Even a brief look at this side of his work reveals that it contains much that is beautiful and worth revisiting, and that the perceived split between the "Broadway" Bernstein and the "Concert" Bernstein may have been more in the minds of the listeners than in the actual music.
  • Elizabeth White—Another Roadside Attraction: Travel and Photography | CAPA Design Lab 2
    This workshop will examine the intertwined histories of travel and photography, providing context for critical thinking about photography’s relationship to tourism and facilitating conversation about participants’ own experiences.

Noon–1:45 pm | Commons Lawn (rain location: Commons Dining Hall and Down Commons)
BBQ Lunch, Soccer Game, and Clubs and Organizations Meet and Greet

Join us on Commons Lawn for an exhibition match featuring Bennington’s own Pioneers soccer team and SIT of Brattleboro, VT. A BBQ lunch will be available for purchase on site and a small cross-section of Bennington’s many student led clubs and organizations will be on hand for Q&As and more. Please bring your BBQ lunch ticket, cash, or credit to pay on site.

2:00–3:15 pm
Life After Bennington and FWT Experiences Panel | Student Center

Recent alumni share their experiences of life after Bennington and how they have balanced following their passions and building a career, and current students discuss how they are integrating their FWT experiences into the iterative nature of the academic Plan Process. Andrea Tapia ’15, Kilpatrick Fellow for Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations, moderates the panel including Yousuf Kerai ’06, a university faculty member for mathematics in Pakistan and musician; India Kieser ’12, a copywriter and artist; Brendan Mahoney ’03, a philosophy professor at SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany; and Chendru Starkloff ’13, a Master in Architecture candidate at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Sam Burhoe ’16 and Nare Filiposyan ’17 round out the conversation.

3:30–4:45 pm
Faculty sessions

  • Open Rehearsal of Daughters of Io by Quincy Long | Lester Martin Theater, VAPA
    Innocent milkmaids beset by bestial farm boys seek sanctuary at a progressive women’s college in rural 1930’s New England. Greek tragedy repurposed as local comedy in Daughters of Io, Quincy Longʹs adaptation of Aeschylus’ The Suppliant Women. This is chance to see students and faculty theater at work rehearsing this term’s production of Daughters of Io, directed by drama faculty member Kathleen Dimmick. Music by Michael Chinworth ’08. Please feel free to come (quietly!) in and out as you please.
  • Annabel Davis-Goff in Conversation with Francis Greenburger P’19—Incarceration in America | CAPA Symposium
    More than 2.2-million Americans are currently in prison or jail, and 7-million Americans are under correctional supervision. The United States of America has the highest documented rate of incarceration in the world. Faculty member Annabel Davis-Goff and Francis Greenburger P’19 will look at the basic facts and discuss two new elements in criminal justice reform: the Bennington College Prison Education Initiative, and the Greenburger Center for Social & Criminal Justice’s proposed Alternative to Incarceration facility for the severely mentally ill.
  • Michael Dumanis—The Bennington Review and Studying Writing at Bennington | East Academic Center 2
    We will discuss the history and future of Bennington’s newly relaunched national print literary journal, The Bennington Review, which was founded in 1965, was an influential literary magazine in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and published its last issue 30 years ago. We will talk about the process of resurrecting this journal, and of the new Bennington Review publishing practicum that students can take every fall term. We will also engage in a conversation about how students study creative writing at the College, perhaps looking together at several poems.
  • Eileen Scully—Lost and Found in the 19th Century | East Academic Center 1
    This is an immersion in “portraiture,” a unique methodology that “seeks to unveil the universal truths and resonant stories that lie in the specifics and complexity of everyday life.” Using online materials we will draw up a list of people to “look for,” such as runaway slaves, absconding debtors, eloping spouses, and so on, with the goal of crafting historically plausible narratives for individuals who in their own time were lost, exiled, or on the run.

5:00–6:30 pm
Faculty and Family Reception | Petrie Terrace, VAPA (rain location: Newman Court, VAPA)

Join current Bennington faculty for drinks and refreshments, as well as a musical interlude.

6:30–8:00 pm
Dinner on Your Own | North Bennington/Downtown Bennington

Look to your Bennington Downtown Guide and supplement located in your Family Weekend packet. Please enjoy the many restaurants in North Bennington, Bennington, and the surrounding Southern Vermont area. Local chamber of commerce websites.

8:30–10:00 pm
Student Works | Martha Hill Dance Theater and Newman Court, VAPA

An evening of original music, dance, theatre, and spoken word as written, choreographed, teched, and performed by current students. Visual artwork and a variety of science posters will also be displayed in Newman Court, VAPA. Light reception to follow.

8:45–10:00 pm
Stargazing at the Stickney Observatory | Meet in front of Commons

Please join physics and astronomy students for an evening guide to the stars while sipping hot chocolate. Meet in front of Commons at 8:45 pm and walk down to the Stickney Observatory. This event is weather-dependent. Check for updates on

Sunday, September 27

9:00 am–5:00 pm
Bookstore Extended Hours


8:00–10:00 am
Breakfast | Commons Dining Hall

Continental breakfast will be served. Please bring cash or credit to pay at the door.

10:00–11:00 am
Bennington Today: A Conversation with President Mariko Silver | Student Center

Join President Mariko Silver for a conversation about Bennington and its future.

11:15 am–12:15 pm
Exploring Parent Engagement at Bennington College | East Academic Center 2

As your student forges their Bennington path, we invite you to get involved. Please join President Mariko Silver, Vice President for Institutional Advancement Paige Bartels, Dean of Field Work Term Holly McCormack, and members of the Admissions team for coffee, tea, cider donuts, and conversation about how you can participate in the College community and become an integral part of the Bennington network. All are welcomed and invited to share their expertise and ideas about furthering Bennington’s mission through involvement in Admissions, Field Work Term, career mentoring, and fundraising.

Noon–2:00 pm
Fill the Bowls: A Lunch to Combat Hunger in Bennington | Down Commons

An extension of the local initiative, the Empty Bowls Soup Supper, this lunch invites families to make a contribution to fight hunger in Bennington County. Select a handcrafted bowl, made and decorated last year at Family Weekend by students and families. Then fill the bowl with a harvest soup made with ingredients donated by the Bennington College student-run Purple Carrot Farm and made by our very own dining hall staff. Then see students at work—current ceramic students will be demonstrating hand wheel-throwing on site. $15 suggested donation for handmade bowl and bottomless soup—all proceeds will be donated to the local Food and Fuel Fund.

As an alternative, brunch will be served in the Commons Dining Hall, 11:30 am–1:30 pm. Please bring cash or credit to pay at the door.

1:30 pm
Ball Drop | Crossett Library

Which of us hasn’t, as a child, longed for a quarter from our parents to buy a super bouncy ball from a vending machine? Come enjoy the experience of not one, not one hundred, but five hundred super bouncy balls raining down from above, while you stand protected under clear glass watching them bounce. Featuring an installation by Interdisciplinary Support Specialist John Umphlett MFA ’99, maker extraordinaire.

2:00–4:00 pm
Bowl Making Workshop | Ceramics Studio, VAPA

No experience necessary! Join ceramics faculty member Aysha Peltz, in a bowl making workshop. All bowls made today will be glazed and fired to be used in next year’s Fill the Bowls fundraiser.