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The Dartmouth
April 19, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Hanover shares in students' excitement

In bucolic Hanover, it's not surprising that town residents prefer to overlook the inconveniences caused by Dartmouth's Homecoming festivities. After all, the neighborhood only receives this much company once a year, said area residents -- it's more fun to join the party than to complain.

While the town's traffic arteries remain clogged for hours at a time and parties on Webster Avenue and in off-campus residences elevate the stress levels of much of the non-student, non-alumni population, the Hanover Police Department does not typically receive many noise complaints during the weekend, according to Captain Chris O'Connor.

"You get about three or four complaints on Friday or Saturday night," O'Connor said. "I think that a lot of residents are somewhat tolerant of the increased activity."

O'Connor added that the number of complaints varies year to year, but that most range from the area between Occom Ridge Road and Webster Ave., as well as on East Wheelock Street.

"A lot of the calls for [police] service are generated by Dartmouth's Safety and Security," he said, but "that's really based on the number of houses having parties."

Indeed, after Friday night's bonfire, which draws many people from the Upper Valley to town, many residents said that Homecoming returns to being a non-issue.

"I'm not all that aware of it," said Karen Sheldon, a long-time resident of South Main Street who occasionally attends the bonfire festivities.

"There's a certain festivity to [the bonfire] that's nice," said Christine Eickelman, who has lived in Hanover for 13 years. "It's one of the few things that brings the town and Dartmouth together."

Eickelman noted that for families with children, the excitement surrounding the bonfire is especially evident.

"It's a nice, social evening," she said, adding that she does not usually attend Saturday's football game, as it is of little personal interest.

Fellow resident Peter White, who grew up in Hanover, added that the current relatively sparse attendance at the annual football game was once inconceivable.

"In that stadium, you couldn't pack any more people in there," White said. "Small kinds of things like that have changed."

Though he still frequently attends the bonfire festivities, White said that he has "sort of gotten away from it."

"There doesn't seem to be as much [student] enthusiasm anymore," he said.

Residents also cited increased police surveillance as a factor of Homecoming that has changed with time.

"We often come in for the bonfire," said Peggy Archimbault, who lives four miles north of town. "It seems like the police have monitored the drinking of alcohol more closely than in the past."

No resident contacted by The Dartmouth said that they had ever been victims of student vandalism during Homecoming weekend.