New Palaeopitus members plan year

by Khalil Ayvar | 10/2/01 5:00am

One of Dartmouth's oldest student service organizations, Palaeopitus, is ready to start furthering their goals for this year, with their newest members.

Palaeopitus is a select society of 15-20 active seniors whose main purpose, according to their charter, is to "encourage working harmony among the various campus organizations, facilitate communication between undergraduates and the College Administration, and to promote Dartmouth's welfare and to protect her name."

The society also serves to advise the Dean of the College and the President on student life issues.

Members are chosen at the end of their junior year by the outgoing senior class before them, and are usually drawn from the ranks of active leaders in a variety of campus organizations.

The seniors chosen for Palaeopitus At Large membership this year are Mark S. Bubriski, Samantha M. Burdman, Joseph G. Chavez, Shihwan S. Chung, Alison R. Gilles, Atteeyah E. Hollie, Hannah Kwon, Angela N. Martin, Heather L. McMillan, Hillary E. Miller, Jessica E. Morey, Erin K. Naipo, Vedad Osmanovic, Kevin B. Reavey, Adam Joel Sepulveda, Lonnie T. Threatte, and Gary E. Weissman.

Ex officio members include the President of the Student Assembly Molly B. Stutzman, the President of The Dartmouth Omer Ismail and Jennifer L. Tutak, who serves both as the President of the Senior Class as well as the Intern to the President of the College.

Senior Associate Dean of the College Daniel Nelson said of Palaeopitus, "one of the wonderful things about the organization is it tries very hard to get a cross-section of experiences and leadership -- not just representing one view, but a rich variety of perspectives and experiences."

Nelson explained that leaders from a very many active student organizations are looked at, including the culture-oriented, interest-oriented, and issues-oriented organizations on campus.

In fact, the Palaeopitus charter itself instructs that "in selecting incoming delegates the current Palaeopitus will strive to create a diverse body that represents the declaring the nature and purpose of the organization, under the heading of "The Palaeopitus."

The name had been chosen by one of its members, who suggested the Greek equivalent for "Old Pine."

Once free of the "dead weight" of its secrecy, as Ernest Hopkins Class of 1901 called it, Palaeopitus was clearly recognized by the undergraduate body as the society of student leaders dedicated to the improvement of the College that it was.

Since then, the organization's visibility has varied from year to year, depending on the issues it chooses to involve itself in.

Nelson said Palaeopitus is largely a low-key, behind the scenes group who often works together with and facilitates communications between other organizations who usually get the public credit.

Nelson also added that since the senior society is not elected or political, and there is no student body involvement in selection of its members, Palaeopitus does not benefit from the publicity of campaigns.

Vedad Osmanovic '02, member of Palaeopitus, said the group plans to "do more than the '01 class did. The '01s admitted their class talked about a lot of great things, but they didn't have the chance to really agree on most of them."

This year, he said, "we want to have less dialogue and discussion, and more action, so we can actually cause some changes."

Osmanovic, who is the captain of the basketball team, said an increase of Palaeopitus' visibility was definitely a goal, and they would seek to increase communication with different organizations, and spread word across campus.

Although the Palaeopitus has only met once this year, in a meeting that mostly covered introductions and organization, Osmanovic thought some issues they might involve themselves in this year could include minority treatment and sorority/fraternity issues, among other things.

"It's a long year, something will come up," he said.

"Palaeopitus will be better seen, make some positive changes, and try as ever to make the College a better place," Osmanovic concluded.

Palaeopitus member Gary Weissman '02, active in the Ultimate Frisbee Team and Hillel, among other organizations, said that while nothing much had been discussed in their first introductory meeting, it was the "general intent of the group to make the student body more aware of our presence."

Weissman did not feel at liberty to speculate what issues Palaeopitus might involve itself in this year, this early in the term, but he said, "We have the ear of the President, and we intend to use it."

The only comment Weissman made as per Palaeopitus' direction this year was, "I think we should take baby steps in the right direction, and set up a good plan for next year's delegation.

We won't revolutionize the campus in one year."

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