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The Dartmouth
February 22, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Cell phones make inroads on Blitz-centric College campus

Sophie Pauze '08 is always on the go. After class, she has just enough time to grab an apple and coffee at Collis Cafe before heading to dance rehearsal.

For Pauze, finding time to keep in touch with friends from home is also difficult, and locating friends on campus is always rushed, so she relies on her cellular phone instead of enduring long lines at BlitzMail terminals.

"I call friends in between classes or random activities," Pauze said. "Sometimes to find people on campus."

It is increasingly apparent that Pauze is not alone. As the years pass, the College's BlitzMail phenomenon slowly fades, and freshmen and upperclassmen alike turn their backs on Dartmouth tradition for the sake of convenience.

"I have started to hate blitzing. As a senior, I feel like it's kind of pass," Sam Lane '06 said.

"I also talk to my family and my boyfriend, who lives in New York, a lot during the day -- neither of which can be done by blitz."

Katie McNabb '06 finds that BlitzMail works fine during the week but not during the weekend.

"When people are all over campus at parties or football games, just picking up the phone and calling someone is usually a much easier way to meet up with friends," she said.

As always, freshmen have been spotted chatting on the go, some seemingly attached to their cell phones.

But this year, perhaps less intimidated than in the past, freshmen show no signs of relenting.

"I was told no one used them," Harrison Matthews '09 said, "which I obviously realized was false as soon as I arrived."

Matthews, who especially likes to use his phone for meeting up with friends while partying, is not worried about what upperclassmen think of his cell phone use.

"I am not ashamed to talk on my cell phone while walking around campus," he said. "No one reacts at all."

Things have changed in the last three years.

"When I was a freshman it was so uncool and 'against the rules' to use [a cell phone] -- even for the seniors I think," Lane recalled.

Even those freshmen who try to use BlitzMail are still fond of their phones,

"I do try to use my phone less than I normally would," Joanna Brooks '09 said. "Honestly, blitz is great, but it is just something that many of us haven't gotten used to yet. I'm hoping eventually I will wean myself away from the cell and get into blitz."

McNabb doesn't think it is just freshmen who are turning to cell phones.

"I use my cell phone more now than I used to," she said.

Others are increasingly using cell phones, too, and believe they are an integral part of life at Dartmouth. For Robbie Lim '08, a member of the men's varsity tennis team, cell phones are crucial for athletes who are planning rides to and from practice.

"The tennis center is a 15-minute walk from campus, so nobody likes walking there," Lim said. "We're always using our cell phones to communicate last minute rides before practice."

Besides athletes, upperclassmen who are living off campus also find it necessary to communicate via cell phone at some points.

"For a while our Internet wasn't up and running," Lane said. "So all contact out of my house was by phone."

McNabb also believes that living off campus facilitates cell phone use among upperclassmen.

"Now that I live off campus, and so do a lot of my friends, blitz has become a less reliable form of communication, so I think all of us have begun to use our cell phones more often," McNabb said of her senior friends.

Still, Dartmouth traditionalists like Adam Michaelson '06 are frustrated with the cell phone proliferation on campus.

"Where are all the sneering seniors who yell at freshmen on cell phones in Food Court?" Michaelson said.

"I used to think Dartmouth was alternative and respectable for not having a disgusting amount of cell phone use, but now I'm beginning to think that the student body is mildly impaired and just caught on to this prolific fad slower than the entire American population."

But other seniors just don't care.

"Personally, I can't find my cell phone," Steven Savella '06 said.