Information Deprivation

by Matt Mcdonald | 5/8/97 5:00am

The other day in my eleven o'clock class we were discussing how we know what the weather will be like. My method generally is to look out the window and this bit of wisdom was shared by a number of others in the class. While that is my system here at Dartmouth, it is not generally what I do at home. There I catch the news in the morning by radio or TV. I also watch the news in the evening, and will usually look over a paper. Some things may escape me, but I normally have a very good conception about what is going on in the world.

Here I pick up the paper every once in a while, and, on rare occasions, I'll see the news on TV. Overall, however, my exposure to news, and the rest of the world for that matter. is pretty limited. The news that circles around me is pretty much limited to the Dartmouth/Hanover area. All the divisive issues that come up on campus seem to center more or less around Dartmouth; issues of a larger scope, such as affirmative action only get publicity when they concern this school.

Perhaps the problem is my own laziness, and I simply don't put in the effort to get the news that is out there. I'm sure there are many things I could do to improve my own awareness. I could order the Times to be sent to my door, a privilege that I know is not available to the Hanover area (much to the grief of one administrator I know). I could also search for an empty TV lounge to catch the evening news every night.

However, despite the fact that the information is out there, it doesn't seem as ubiquitous as it was when I was home. I couldn't help but know what was going on around the world when I was home. Here I have a vague sense of what is going on, but it also feels like everything I find out is old news that everyone else knew a few days ago and is just trickling down to me now.

Part of this could be the very nature of how I get news. There is little regularity to it. Most of what I hear arrives to me in bits and pieces. Newspapers that might be left around the Hop are a common source. The only source of information that I get with regularity is the one weekly magazine I receive.

When I hear snipes from hometown friends about being in the middle of nowhere and having nothing to do, it rolls right off my back, because it isn't true. There's never a boring moment unless you're looking for one. However, I am sometimes reminded that Hanover is somewhat removed from the rest of the world in a strange way. Even if it's that familiar Americana such as McDonald's or Dunkin' Donuts, we have to drive down to West Leb to find it.

Not that this is a bad thing in all respects, but Hanover and Dartmouth are in something of a world apart. It is wonderful when Tucker Foundation activities and programs such as DarCORPS get students out into the surrounding towns, because it is very easy to forget about the outside world when you're looking out from "the college on the hill."

While the relative seclusion and peaceful scenery of Dartmouth afford a wonderful place to spend the college years, it is important not to forget that there is a whole other world out there beyond the Green.