Fun facts about Bennington College


Bennington College, located in Bennington, Vermont, is a small liberal arts college that has a rich and fascinating history. Founded in 1932, the college has been a center of innovation and creativity ever since. From its unconventional approach to education to its vibrant arts community, Bennington College is a unique and exciting place to study. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most interesting and fun facts about Bennington College.

Fun facts about Bennington College

Fun facts about Bennington College

The Unconventional Approach to Education

Bennington College has always been known for its unconventional approach to education. From the very beginning, the college has emphasized individualized learning and a student-centered approach. Unlike other colleges and universities, Bennington does not have a set curriculum or required courses. Instead, students work closely with faculty advisors to design their own course of study.

This approach to education has led to some unique and exciting academic programs at Bennington. For example, the college offers a low-residency MFA program in Writing and Literature. This program allows students to earn an MFA in just two years while only spending a few weeks on campus each year. Another popular program is the Visual and Performing Arts program, which allows students to explore a variety of artistic disciplines and create their own unique projects.

The Legacy of the Black Mountain Poets

One of the most interesting aspects of Bennington College’s history is its connection to the Black Mountain Poets. This group of poets, who were active in the 1950s and 1960s, were known for their experimental approach to poetry and their focus on the spoken word. Several of the Black Mountain Poets, including Robert Creeley and Charles Olson, taught at Bennington College.

The legacy of the Black Mountain Poets can still be felt at Bennington today. The college’s literature program emphasizes experimental and innovative writing, and many of the faculty members are published poets themselves. In addition, the Bennington Review, a literary journal published by the college, features work from both established and emerging writers who are pushing the boundaries of traditional literary forms.

The Fascinating Campus Architecture

Bennington College’s campus is a beautiful and fascinating blend of architectural styles. The college’s early buildings were designed by the famous architect Edward Durell Stone, who is known for his work on the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Stone’s designs for Bennington College were influenced by the modernist movement and feature clean lines, large windows, and simple geometric shapes.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the college underwent a period of rapid expansion and several new buildings were added to the campus. These buildings, designed by architects such as Graham Gund and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer, were more experimental in their approach to architecture. They featured unusual shapes and angles, as well as a mix of materials such as glass, brick, and stone.

The College’s Commitment to Sustainability

Bennington College has long been committed to sustainability and environmental stewardship. In 2007, the college launched its Environmental Plan, which set ambitious goals for reducing the college’s carbon footprint and increasing sustainability across campus. Since then, the college has made significant progress in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiency, and promoting sustainable transportation options.

In addition, the college has implemented a variety of sustainability initiatives on campus. For example, the college has installed solar panels on several buildings, created a community garden where students can grow their own food, and implemented a composting program that diverts food waste from the landfill. The college also offers courses and programs that focus on environmental sustainability and social justice.

The Vibrant Arts Community

Finally, Bennington College is known for its vibrant arts community. The college has a long history of fostering creativity and innovation in the arts, and many famous artists and writers have spent time at Bennington over the years. The college’s arts programs are among the most popular on campus, with students from all disciplines getting involved in music, theater, dance, and visual arts.

One of the most exciting events on the Bennington College arts calendar is the Spring Fling. This annual festival features a wide variety of arts and cultural events, including concerts, dance performances, art exhibits, and theater productions. The festival is a great opportunity for students to showcase their work and engage with the wider Bennington community.

In addition to the Spring Fling, Bennington College also hosts a number of other arts events throughout the year. These include visiting artist lectures, exhibitions, and performances by world-renowned musicians, dancers, and actors. The college also offers a number of artist residencies, providing opportunities for students to work closely with professional artists and gain real-world experience in their chosen field.

The Influence of John Dewey

Another important figure in the history of Bennington College is philosopher and educator John Dewey. Dewey’s ideas about progressive education and experiential learning have had a significant impact on the college’s approach to education. Dewey believed that education should be hands-on and experiential, with students learning through real-world experiences rather than simply memorizing information.

At Bennington College, Dewey’s ideas are still very much alive. The college’s commitment to individualized learning and its emphasis on creativity and innovation are all in line with Dewey’s progressive vision for education. In addition, the college’s Field Work Term program, which requires students to engage in a real-world work experience each year, is a perfect example of Dewey’s experiential approach to learning.

The Distinguished Alumni

Over the years, Bennington College has produced a number of distinguished alumni in a wide range of fields. These include writers such as Donna Tartt, Bret Easton Ellis, and Michael Pollan, as well as musicians such as Mary Chapin Carpenter and Annie Lennox. In addition, many Bennington alumni have gone on to successful careers in the arts, including actors Peter Dinklage and Alan Arkin.

But Bennington College alumni are not just successful in the arts. They have also made their mark in fields such as politics, business, and academia. For example, former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin and former Secretary of State John Kerry both attended Bennington College. Other notable alumni include environmental activist Bill McKibben and economist Jeffrey Sachs.


In conclusion, Bennington College is a unique and exciting place to study. Its unconventional approach to education, rich history, commitment to sustainability, and vibrant arts community make it a truly special institution. Whether you’re interested in literature, art, science, or social justice, Bennington College offers a dynamic and engaging learning environment that encourages creativity and innovation.