Three new Strips debuting this summer

by Claudia Bernstein | 5/7/18 2:00am

“Sophomore summer is the new freshman fall.” That’s Jake Klein ’20’s motto for Strips 2018, which he will direct alongside three other sophomores. Strips — which stands for Sophomore Trips — is a program run each year that allows sophomores to both lead and participate in three-day trips before they begin sophomore summer, modeled off the Dartmouth Outing Club’s First-Year Trips program.

“One of my main goals as director is to really emphasize that the goal of the program is to meet people in your class that are outside of your social bubble, as opposed to the outdoors as an end in itself,” Klein said. “We want Strips to appeal to people who aren’t necessarily already involved with the DOC.”

The directors have made a concerted effort for Strips to be the most inclusive it has ever been, according to outreach coordinator Natalie Vaughan ’20.

In order to draw in ’20s who are not necessarily outdoorsy and might not otherwise be interested in Strips, the 2018 directorate has introduced three new trips for this year’s program: a cooking Strip, a surfing Strip and an iconic sophomore summer Strip, which was the “brain child” of Sarah Kolk ’20, according to Klein.

The cooking Strip will have Strippees take a cooking class in a professional kitchen one day, then allow them to attempt to use those skills to cook on camp stoves at a campsite for the next two days, Strips co-director Ben Saccone ’20 said.

According to Saccone, the surfing Strip — which is a part of the new surfing DOC sub-club — will take Strippees surfing on the New Hampshire coastline with a professional surfing instructor.

The third new Strip running is the iconic sophomore summer Strip.

“This Strip is a quick run through a sophomore summer bucket list. It involves stargazing, blueberry picking and a sunrike in Gile,” Vaughan said. “Our hope is that [this Strip] would be something people are really excited about, and at the same time more accessible for people who might not be outdoors-inclined.”

Vaughan said that her goal has been to make Strips as accessible as possible and reach out to people as effectively as possible.

“Reaching out to people in an individualized manner has turned out really successfully,” she said. “We got a huge increase in Strip leader application numbers over last year. We got 54 applications. Reaching out to people individually and letting people know why they would be really beneficial in that role has been much more successful than just sending out mass blitzes telling people to apply.”

Vaughan also said that this year the directorate is introducing physical education credits for both Strippees and Strip leaders, which is “really enticing” to individuals who may not otherwise apply to be involved.

The program has also placed an increased emphasis on financial aid for Strips. The cost of going on Strips has deterred students from participating in the past, especially because the Strips dates overlap with reunions, during which many students work between spring and summer terms, according to Vaughan. For this reason, the cost has been “hard to justify” for some, Vaughan said. The directorate hopes to decrease the deterrence of the cost barrier this year and going forward.

According to Saccone, this year is the first year that Strip leaders did not have to be DOC sub-club leaders in order to apply, as long as they are paired with a co-leader who is a DOC sub-club leader. Additionally, Klein is working to establish a policy that will allow both co-leaders to not need to be sub-club leaders for future years.

Saccone also said that the 2018 directorate is the biggest in history, with two outreach coordinators as opposed to one and four directors as opposed to three, as has been the case in past years.

“I really wanted sophomore trips to have the same sense of community building and emphasis on meeting new people that First-Year Trips has,” Vaughan said. “We’re halfway through our Dartmouth career, so [Strips] gives people a couple days to leave campus and reflect on and how far they’ve come, how far they still want to go at Dartmouth.”

Andrew Sun ’18 is a former Strip leader who led a trip at the College’s organic farm. Sun said that he was able to both strengthen old friendships and form new bonds with people through Strips.

“It was a great way to start a term that is all about getting to know your class and meeting new people,” he said.

Echoing Strips’ role in fostering new friendships among the sophomore class, Klein said the rationale behind his motto was that the feeling of being socially-isolated is not exclusive to freshman fall, and fostering community is an important part of every term at Dartmouth.

“I think people tend to think that feeling isolated and nervous only applies to the freshman experience, but it’s so not,” Klein said. “Not always feeling like you’re thriving is a normal part of the Dartmouth experience. Any program that mixes it up and lets you meet new people and talk about your Dartmouth experiences is worthwhile.”