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Burlington College Alum: 'We Sort Of Knew This Was Coming'

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Eric Dreiblatt graduated from Burlington College in 2013. Dreiblatt says that while he and his fellow alumni are saddened by the news the school will be closing, they're not really surprised.

Like a lot of my fellow alumni, I’m saddened, but not really shocked by the news that Burlington College would be closing. Everyone is crushed.

People are losing their jobs, and I know of at least two students with only one class left to graduate.

Frankly, the way that I’m seeing our community come together as everyone scrambles around looks a lot like grieving, something I know thanks to the course I took on death and dying in 2012. That was just one of the unique classes I got to take while designing my own curriculum as a Philosophy and Religion major.

I knew going into Burlington College that it would be a different experience than a college with say, dorm rooms or a dining hall. Or more than 250 students. When I went, we had tuition freezes, half-price summer classes, even four credit classes for the price of three.

So I kind of went because it was on sale.

But it also offered amazing programs, like a ground breaking transpersonal psychology program, the option to design your own major, and the option to travel to Cuba. In 2010 you could travel to Cuba!

And Burlington College was weird. Full of nuts and weirdos and misunderstood geniuses with nowhere else to go. I always felt sincerity and genuine compassion were not in short supply at Burlington College.

And while I know some of my fellow graduates have plans for lawsuits, many of us are also making plans to meet up for barbeques in order to stay connected.

We sort of knew this was coming.

Burlington College has been fighting for its existence since it was formed in people's living rooms in 1972. But since buying a huge, expensive new space it’s been especially dire and its slow death has been public.

The entire spark of Burlington College was that financial concerns and traditional methods of education would take a back seat to experimentation and creativity, so is it surprising that by attempting to save Burlington’s biggest green space that Burlington College would get into crazy debt and close down? Not really.

Eric Dreiblatt is a stand-up comedian and 2013 graduate of Burlington College.

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