Welcoming the Class of 2025
This fall, the Bennington community welcomed over 250 new students to the College.
This diverse student body includes over 15% of the Class of 2025 joining the College from outside of the United States (from 24 different countries). About 20% of the class of 2025 are domestic BIPOC students, 18% are the first in their family to attend college, and 25% are Pell recipients.
For more photos of student arrival and orientation, check out the Bennington College Flickr.
On August 31, 2021, the Bennington community gathered both in-person and virtually to celebrate the start of the academic year.
President Laura Walker welcomed students, faculty, and staff back to campus by offering her gratitude for the community's ability to gather in person, and encouraging students to build a sense of home at Bennington.
"A home is a place where you feel safe – safe to be who you are. It is an environment where you feel comfortable sharing your ideas, expressing yourself, and celebrating yourself. Today, we celebrate one another as we embark on a year of learning and making," said Walker.
Flo Gill '22, who chairs the Student Educational Policies Committee, was the student speaker. She spoke about community and compassion, charging her peers to participate in the collective effort of pursuing freedom.
"I encourage your active participation in your education, as a member of our community, and as you venture beyond Bennington. During your time here, leverage your privilege to support those who need it. [...] Leveraging your privilege is nothing short of having compassion for those who surround you," said Gill.
Dr. Alfredo Medina, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and College Diversity Officer, was the staff speaker. He reflected on his own experience as a first-generation college student, and particularly how he felt pushed to assimilate into the school's dominant culture. In his position at Bennington, however, he strives to build an unapologetically inclusive experience for current students.
"Like any home, we will be fraught with challenges. [...] However, our differences will make Bennington that much special. We will come together to create a home that is welcoming and inclusive despite our apparent differences. We will celebrate our differences rather than force students to compromise parts of themselves to make others comfortable," said Medina.
Dr. Maurice Hall, Provost, offered his thoughts on being a newcomer to the College, and the intentionality required to build a new home.
Home "is something we can build, something we can join. It is a place that feels right, comfortable, challenging but embracing," said Hall.
Faculty speaker Mariam Ghani then addressed the College, speaking of Bennington as a launching point for lifelong engagement with the struggle of activism.
"I hope that you will become the people who, confronted with a crisis of enormous proportions, don’t collapse uselessly in the corner, or wring your hands uselessly in front of your screens, or mumble 'how terrible' and go about your days—but rather think 'What can I do?', find others thinking the same, and figure out a way to do it," said Ghani.