Behind The Mirror

by Maddie Brown and Maggie Shields | 7/10/14 8:49pm


Here at the Mirror we like to write silly articles. We like to write about the campus blue lights, the different kinds of falafel at FoCo and even the dating dynamics on campus. While some of these fun ideas have blossomed into great articles, often stories in need of deeper thought remain on the shelf. Typically, when articles are pitched for the Mirror, the editors offer many different angles for the writers to take. Here is the pitch for today’s article:

The Pitch: Stalking the Dartmouth Seven

This sounds creepy, but bear with me. Somebody goes out on a weekend night and spends 20-30 minutes in each of the Dartmouth Seven spots to scope out any possible action. The article might include speculation as to why these spots evolved as the official Seven as opposed to, say, the golf course or the tennis courts. You could try to figure out when the first mention of the Dartmouth Seven was, either in The D or in a graduation speech. Take a look at when each place was built. For example, Dartmouth Hall was built a long time ago whereas the Hop is only 50 years old. So when would have been the first year possible to do the Dartmouth Seven?

What We Turned In:

You just had the most romantic dinner at the Class of 1953 Commons -- your crush even swiped you in. Now the date is over and you are both trying to figure out where to go to kiss a little. Your off-campus house is 4 miles away and their dorm room is a triple converted from a single. Your pickings are slim. You decide to partake in one of the Dartmouth Seven. It’s sophomore summer, why not.

Spontaneity may seem like the best approach to the Dartmouth Seven, but we disagree. Completion of the Seven requires careful planning, protection and execution. It’s essentially a fourth class, so you’ll need our help along the way. Think of us as your TAs.

THE RULES: You’re taking a fourth class now, so you must come fully prepared. There’s a lot of criteria to consider when choosing a partner — an open schedule, connections with janitors, a love of all things outdoorsy and a fiery passion for life.

As with coursework, we suggest that you start by tackling the easiest assignment before moving on to more difficult tasks.

THE BEMA: The Dartmouth Seven’s version of a layup. If the name “Big Empty Meeting Area” isn’t clear enough, then the phrase “gigantic person-less gathering location” should help you understand why it’s a good place to start. There’s some tips to remember for this one, though. Bug spray and sunscreen are essentials. Contracting West Nile could seriously hinder your journey to complete the Seven. Download a reliable weather app on your phone so you can ensure promising conditions. Some people think kissing in the rain is romantic, but we don’t think this should be left to chance.

THE STACKS: To avoid detection here, you’ll need your ECON/GOV/PSYCH/SOC 10 knowledge. It’s a busy place and you want to reduce the reduce the probability of running into another student. Visit the library at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, and compile a list of popular summer courses to determine when major examinations and assessments are due. Perform a two sided t-test to determine if the probability of getting caught is less than 5%. If it is, go to the annexes and hope you’ve done your calculations correctly.

Blitz if you are interested in the rest of our original piece. We think it’s silly. Our editors thought we could do better.

The Responses, Roughly

From: Mirror Editor

To: Maddie and Maggie

Subject: ARTICLE

I hate to do this to you, but the editor-in-chief just looked over the article and she really thinks it needs interviews. If you could talk to librarians, Hop employees and members of FO&M tomorrow that would be great. Basically we feel like we aren’t adding enough to the conversation of the Dartmouth Seven and having a few older perspectives would give the idea new life. I will see if I can wrangle people for interviews to make this as easy on you as I can.


From: Maggie and Maddie

To: Mirror Editor

CC: The Dartmouth Editor-in-Chief

Subject: RE: ARTICLE

I think that if we were to interview people about sex as a trivial matter it could become very controversial. The purpose of our article is to desexualize the Dartmouth Seven. I think it would create an uncomfortable situation to discuss sex with faculty members. Please let us know your thoughts!

-Maddie and Maggie


From: Editor-in-Chief

To: Maddie and Maggie

CC: The Executive Editor, The Mirror Editor

Subject: RE: RE: ARTICLE

Really appreciate your thoughts. Just to be totally clear, I hadn’t envisioned talking to adults as a disrespectful, lewd angle into the Seven — instead, I thought it would add a more mature perspective. I’ve found that Dartmouth traditions like the Seven are often seen through tunnel vision, and better understanding its effects on broader Dartmouth, to me, would contextualize it (and frankly desexualize it) further.

As it stands right now, I think the piece leans a bit too close to what’s already been published: here are the Seven and here is little quip about each of the places. It doesn’t seem to offer our audience something new and fresh, which makes for the best Mirror stories.

We won’t move forward with the angles we had noted earlier tonight, but we need another layer here. You all are of course more closely tied to this story than I am, and I respect your judgment on it. But I figured I’d put in my two cents because my concerns raised your questions. Let me know what you think.


From: Maddie

To: Maggie


What should we say



From: Maggie

To: Maddie


I dont know we need to add somethig else....

Sent from my iPhone

Proposed Ideas: We Tried

1) Interview SAPAs and MAV trainers. Ask them for their opinions on the Dartmouth Seven.

2) Interview students who have completed parts of the Seven. Pray they allow their names to run in the newspaper.

3) Scavenge all Safety and Security reports and try to find a few that could potentially relate to the Dartmouth Seven. We heard of a girl going to DHMC because she got stuck climbing the fence to the football field. Maybe we could find that report. Maybe we could interview the girl.

4) Run the story as it was originally written.

5) Completely change the purpose of this article. Although an article on the Dartmouth Seven has the potential to be incredibly thought provoking, we did not give ourselves enough time to fully develop the story. Our initial article was the direct result of our procrastination.

This story is not the story Dartmouth deserves, but for right now it’s the one Dartmouth needs.