Dorm to house Smugglers’ Notch Employees


Skiing is an important piece of Vermont’s tourism industry, and Smugglers’ Notch is a popular tourist destination for just that. Smugglers’ Notch often recruits employees from around the world to manage their facilities and experience a number of activities like skiing that seem to be quintessentially Vermont activities. This winter, between 60 and 75 such employees from Smugglers’ Notch Resort will be taking up residence on campus in the Senators South residence hall.

The Smugglers’ Notch employees, who will be on campus from Dec. 1 through March 31, are coming from places such as Peru, Chile, and Puerto Rico and will be encouraged to be active members of the Johnson community. “I hope that they enjoy their experience here and we learn a lot from their cultures, as they will learn from ours,” says Michele Whitmore, the Associate Dean of Students. She adds that the employees will be expected to follow all of the same rules and codes of conduct as students on campus. At this time, there is no concern for the safety of anyone else on campus.

The employees will be given cards similar to student IDs, which will give them access to the dining hall, library resources, events at Dibden, the SHAPE facility, and, of course, their residence hall. The number of meals that the employees are able to obtain using these IDs will depend on the number of shifts each employee works and when those shifts are; the majority of the employees are full-time and will be working 5-6 days a week with shifts lasting all day, from 7:00am to 5:00pm.

The employees will occupy all three floors of Senators South, along with supervisors from Smugglers’ Notch who are currently receiving training to act as Resident Assistants. With the exception of some of these supervisors, however, the overwhelming majority of Smugglers’ Notch employees will not have their own vehicles for transportation to and from work, and will therefore not occupy much space in the student parking lots. Instead, Smugglers’ Notch will be providing their employees with shuttle transportation to and from the resort, which poses an exciting opportunity for Johnson students. “The hope […] is that whichever vehicle […] they choose to use may have some empty seats, which our students can benefit from [by] jumping onto the shuttle and spending the day at Smugglers’ Notch if they wish to do so,” says Whitmore. She also stated that Smugglers’ Notch may be open to sending additional shuttles to the Johnson campus for students to utilize, depending on interest and the relationship developed between Johnson and Smugglers’ Notch.

“If we can find any ways to call it ‘Johnson Day at Smuggs’ or what have you, we certainly will push for that as well, because I think that it’s just a really neat way to acknowledge this partnership that hopefully will be in the works in the future as well,” says Whitmore while discussing the opportunities that this partnership could offer both the Smugglers’ Notch employees and the Johnson students.

Whitmore really emphasizes the importance of community within this housing partnership, both in welcoming the employees into the Johnson community and in creating a sense of community between the employees and members of the college- especially the students. “I’m hoping that we can provide some programming throughout the spring semester that brings both communities together,” says Whitmore. “I’m looking forward to introducing all of them to our community [and] I think we will arrange some community meet-and-greet at some point in the spring semester.”

This partnership between NVU-Johnson and Smugglers’ Notch will evidently be more than just a “housing agreement,” and will offer a host of opportunities for both the Johnson community and the employees who will soon be a part of it. It is important, however, to note that only the plans involving housing (i.e., the dorms that the employees will be staying in and what they will have access to on campus) have been set in stone. Many of the other goals for this partnership, such as community programming and transportation to and from Smugglers’ Notch for Johnson Students, are still being talked over before any promises are made. Still, those who are arranging the details of this partnership see it in an incredibly positive light and are exploring a number of possibilities for a mutually beneficial relationship between Smugglers’ Notch and NVU-Johnson during, and as a result of, this partnership.

“I see this as a positive relationship with a local organization, and I think that each of us will benefit greatly [from] learning from the cultural experiences [of the employees]. I think [this] will be incredibly beneficial and … help increase the awareness and diversity of our campus, and I know they’re very excited to learn more from us,” says Whitmore.