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At the time that I am writing this, I am in Rio de Janeiro — far away from Dartmouth, both physically and mentally. I’m living in Tabajaras, a favela in Copacabana that is run by a cartel with just three golden rules: do not rape, do not steal, do not kill. Break one, and the last remnants of you will be your ashes scattered over a mountaintop.
“I felt like a big celebrity on campus. Well, the kind of celebrity you could conceivably be at Dartmouth if you weren’t a jock or a sorority girl, who were the real celebrities.” This is the beginning of Mindy Kaling’s ’01 New York Times Bestselling memoir “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).” Though she is one of the more famous Dartmouth alumni, her public reflection on her years at the College ranges from fond to brutally honest, sometimes due to her self-deprecating humor and sometimes due to her willingness to address some very real problems that plagued campus in her day. Most of what she says, even her more frank quotes, are still not “bad press” for the College. But it’s possible the admissions office wouldn’t want her version of Dartmouth to be the first prospective students come to know.
To the Dartmouth Class of 2022,
At the start of a post-match interview with ESPN after the U.S. Open women’s tennis final, ESPN host Chris McKendry began the conversation with new champion Naomi Osaka by saying, “You can hear everybody’s cheers for you. That was a victory you earned,” her tone filled with reassurance and comfort. It was a strange opening to an interview with the newest Grand Slam winner, who one would think at that moment knows her ability the most. Unfortunately for Osaka, this final match was different.
A recent Nike advertising campaign is the latest controversy in our prevailing culture of “like or dislike.” The first ad posted on Sep.3 is a black-and-white photo of a solemn Colin Kaepernick overlaid with the words, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” This is a powerful statement for what it signifies about corporations and activism in America, as well as what his words say and mean to you.
After writing my second opinion article for The Dartmouth, I received my first Facebook response.
Earlier this summer, plastic straws were in the news. Seattle banned plastic utensils from bars and businesses, Starbucks announced it will stop using plastic straws by 2020, and major companies such as McDonald’s are joining the movement to end the use of single use plastics. It’s hard to imagine a time without plastics, but widespread use only dates back to the early 1950s. Over the past six decades, we’ve produced over eight billion metric tons of plastics – a number that continues to rise exponentially – of which only nine percent has become recycled. The plastic straw movement draws attention to the importance of replacing single use plastics once and for all. While the cost of change may appear prohibitive and daunting, we need to replace single use plastics with more durable materials, as the former damage the environment, food chain, and human health, both within our communities and around the world.
The College has an impressive track record so far.
After I received my college application results, I knew Dartmouth would be the school I’d end up at. However, in that stressful but happy period of deciding where to go, there were a handful of schools that tempted me — and not for reasons I originally deemed important. I never thought a campus’s aesthetic was a critical factor in deciding a college, and while it may not be the most prioritized, I have learned that they definitely has an effect on other potential students.
The Dartmouth Coach slowed as it approached the curb of the Hopkins Center for the Arts, crushing the small remnants of snow beneath its tires. As I stepped off the bus, the sun speared its light through the clouds, and the slight breeze carried the faint fragrance of flowers. I took in a deep breath and I stood with hope, eager for the opportunity of a great spring term that lay ahead.
Last month, Governor Chris Sununu signed into law a voter residency bill that will require New Hampshire voters to be residents of the state beginning in 2019, making it substantially more difficult for out-of-state college students to vote. What are your thoughts on the new law?
On a blistering September afternoon a few days before the start of classes, around half of the Class of 2021 is sitting in Spaulding Auditorium. The faces on stage are serious. “How many of you were the valedictorian at your high school?” one of them asks. Hands go up into the air, too many to count. Reality comes crashing down on the shoulders of hundreds of nervous first-years. As they file out of the auditorium 20 minutes later, one student turns to her friend. “Guess I peaked in high school,” she says. They laugh nervously.
This past spring term, I went to the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact club fair and happened to be roped towards a stand titled “Dementia Scholars.” The poster’s station was manned by a handful of bright-eyed students, eager to catch my attention. They gave me the whole spiel — who they were, what they did, how often they did it. And without much thought, I wrote down my email on their list and forgot about it once I left.
Despite my interest in politics, I have no plans to run for political office anytime soon. While I firmly believe that political participation is important at any age, the rush of millennials to run for public office in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency is an ineffective and reactionary approach, and it’s not what America needs right now. College-aged students are inexperienced, unprepared and are substituting legislation for political activism and protest.
It was a seemingly perfect October day — gusts of wind blowing the still-vibrant orange leaves in circles on the sidewalk, a vision of the idyllic New England autumn that every Dartmouth student is promised — when the community first received news of the sexual misconduct investigation into the allegations against three well-known and actively publishing professors in the psychological and brain sciences department.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the art of “B.S.” — a word too impolite to print in full, but too ubiquitous to shy away from.
The Dartmouth calendar is carefully planned.
Democracy rests on people’s ability to respectfully disagree. When America’s democratic fabric has eroded to the point where political opponents become incorrigible enemies, the last thing it needs is more incivility. Unfortunately, incivility is the type of discourse many people seem to promote.
After completing my first year at Dartmouth, taking a step back from campus life was almost as overwhelming as plunging into it. Life back in the “real” world moves slowly, particularly if one’s off-term does not include an internship, a research grant or any other educational endeavor. Friends go home at the day’s end, and no regularly scheduled club meetings fill up one’s evenings. Students find themselves with a lot of free time and little idea of what to do with it.