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The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Homecoming Issues

Fall has arrived, and as Martha Stewart would say, "it's a good thing." The signs of the season are all around us: the leaves are changing color, the '06 girls are realizing that half the campus already owns that J-Crew sweater-jacket they were so proud of buying, and humor columnists are adding strained Martha Stewart references to their pieces.

Yet to Dartmouth students, fall means something even more. It is a time of year that heralds the arrival of one of the College's oldest and most dear customs. A beloved ritual where students of all races and creed come together, often working several days straight, to prepare for one important traditional event: the publication of The Dartmouth's Homecoming Issue.

Once a year, The Dartmouth releases its famed Homecoming issue, a guide for the students and alumni alike who all gather on campus this last weekend in October for some sort of celebration or something. This special issue of The Dartmouth, often lovingly described as "larger then the normal daily issue," acts among other things as a forum for agile-witted writers such as myself to bestow Homecoming-related wisdom upon the yearning public; mainly in the form of beer jokes. For example, check out this sardonic masterpiece: The Homecoming bonfire is a chance for the freshmen class to bond with the Dartmouth spirit, that is if by "bond" you mean "drink," and by "with the Dartmouth spirit" you mean "a lot." Ha!

But herein lies the problem. With all the attention unfortunately given to the actual Homecoming events, not enough attention is given to the efforts of the journalists who toil so arduously to write about it. This is where I come in. I am pleased to officially announce the first annual "Cal Newport Superfluous Homecoming Writing-Related Award Thing." Below, I present awards to the very best scraps of Homecoming-themed prose spewed forth from the collective quick-witted orifice of the Dartmouth literati. (The award for "most unsettling writing metaphor" goes to the previous sentence.)

Of course, not everyone will want their name reproduced without permission, so to protect the anonymity of all authors honored below, I have replaced their names with fictional monikers that involve ex-presidents and breakfast foods. But I can assure you that all of the quotes are very much real. With this taken care of, I can, without further ado present my "Superfluous Homecoming Writing-Related Award Thing":

HEADLINE MOST LIKELY TO BE REUSED YEAR AFTER YEAR:

"History of Homecoming reflects Dartmouth spirit." (by Eggo Kennedy, 1999 issue)

MOST PROFOUND REPEATED USE OF THE WORD "CONSTANT":

"Traditions keep us constant in the face of time. They give us constant homes while the world keeps moving." (by Lyndon McMuffin, 1996 issue)

LEAST SUPRISING SURVEY RESULTS:

"According to a random survey of 25 College students conducted by The Dartmouth, all questioned freshmen opposed the [no freshman at Fall-term fraternity parties] policy." (by InstantBreakfast Coolidge, 1995 issue)

MOST AWFUL (YET DISTURBINGLY KIND OF FUNNY) FACT:

"Rushing the field has 'resulted in threat and intimidation to spectators and band members and in actual physical harm to a number of people, including a 70-year-old woman.'" (by Theodore BranMuffin, 1997 issue)

MOST REFRESHING REALIZATION:

"We could try to offer some helpful advice on how to spend your weekend, but you probably already realize that the memories created and lessons carried on by elder classes don't really matter." (by Poptart Hoover, 2001 issue)

LEAST REFRESHING REALIZATION:

"One day you will die." (OK, I made that one up.)

MOST SATISFYINGLY ACCURATE PORTRAYAL OF THE "DARTMOUTH SPIRIT":

"In 1991, students bewailing a new College policy banning open alcohol sources handcuffed themselves to the bonfire, shouting 'We want kegs! We want kegs!'" (by Thomas EggwhiteOmeletWithCheeseanda-LittleBitofHam, 2001 Issue)

So there you have it. It is my ambition that the introduction of this first annual "Cal Newport Superfluous Homecoming Writing-Related Award Thing" to the Dartmouth community will usher in a new golden era of writing. An age where the authors of Homecoming-themed prose will be elevated to the status of gods as the campus basks in their exuberant banality.

But seriously, in the end there is more to Homecoming-related writing than exaggerated dreams of god-worshiping or word-count fulfilling. It is a time of year when the budding wordsmiths of our beloved college on the hill are collectively visited by a time-honored muse, a muse that sits upon the back of tradition, as it has for some many young journalists of Dartmouth times past, and whispers into our ears with a voice of pure inspiration: "Holy shit! You have three days to crank out a Homecoming column ... you better go dig up that 'History of Homecoming reflects Dartmouth spirit' article, and quick!"