DOC begins trips program for everybody

by Kathrin Weston | 11/25/97 6:00am

Freshman trips aren't just for freshmen anymore.

This fall the Dartmouth Outing Club launched a new program that allows student groups to sign up for wilderness expeditions similar to those offered to freshmen before matriculation. The trips are referred to as Group Organized Outings, or "GO-Out!."

The program is intended to provide students who already know each other an opportunity to interact in a more casual, relaxed context, said DOC Vice-President Ben Berk '00. It is targeted at UGA groups, fraternities, sororities and other student groups.

About 90 students have already taken advantage of the trips.

Above all, the DOC wants students to take advantage of Dartmouth's rural setting and to take a step back from the everyday Dartmouth experience, he said.

Learning new skills and becoming involved are important aspects of the trips, but Berk pointed out that talking over group games and challenges offers opportunities for "taking an inward focus on yourself and reevaluating yourself in the context of the people you're dealing with", he said.

The idea for GO-Out was developed last winter, when DOC leaders discussed ways to incorporate the outing club into student life to a greater extent. Outing club leaders want to counteract the stereotype that the DOC is an intimidating, exclusive group of people.

Many people, however, have a tendency to "forget what an incredible place we're in, and how many opportunities we have", he said.

He hopes the new program will bring more people into the DOC and make them aware of the many outdoor opportunities available on campus. The GO-Out program is divided into two sections: entry-level and focus-level.

Entry-level outings serve as a general introduction to the DOC and provide all-DOC, no skills required activities such as day-hikes, overnight trips and climbing and ropes courses. These outings incorporate group games and group challenges to make the GO-Out trips a bonding experience reminiscent of freshmen trips.

Individual DOC clubs sponsor the focus-level outings with additional events designed to introduce students to specific activities.

In the spring, program leaders will start targeting other established campus groups, such as a cappella groups and athletic teams.

Gregory Marx '00, who went on a GO-Out day hike said he had "a really great day" hiking, participating in the group games and picnic at Velvet Rocks. Although he didn't know if discussing the group challenges after the game worked, he said it was fun.

Jill Perring, a UGA, went on a ropes-course trip with some of her residents and another UGA group. She said the trip was excellent, and the group games were very rewarding.

"It was a challenge," she said. "It wasn't easy but at every step we succeeded."

About 40 or 50 students have signed up to lead GO-Out trips, and many are not active participants in the DOC. "Leading these trips is a really great way for them to become active," Berk said.

DOC leaders also have worked with the Tucker Foundation to organize outdoor activities for at-risk youth in the West Lebanon Romona housing complex.

The program's leaders have organized a DOC "Winterfest Extravaganza" for Jan. 10 to introduce students to all aspects of the DOC.