Opinion Asks: What Needs to Change?

by The Dartmouth Opinion Staff | 3/26/14 4:23pm

In light of a recent column by Joseph Geller ’16 (“Support Our Sports,” March 25), we asked our staff: If you could change something about Dartmouth, what would it be and why?

I wish that social life were not dominated by Greek life and that there were viable social options other than fraternity basements and pong. Having other options would accommodate more interests. In turn, the dominance of the Greek system promotes a culture of heavy drinking.

—Kyle Bigley ’17

If I could change one thing about Dartmouth, I’d clone Collis and put the second version of it on the northern part of campus. While the existing building is clearly a hub for student activity, demand still vastly exceeds supply — snagging a table or ordering stir-fry during the lunch rush is an ordeal, especially when campus is at its fullest during spring term. The best eating options on campus shouldn’t come at such a premium, and north campus is already a black hole when it comes to tasty food (sorry, Novack). An added bonus of this plan might install some of those highly sought-after alternative social spaces we’re always casting around for. So as the College considers a new residential initiative, I think a second student center with a dining hall is an important consideration.

—Don Casler ’14

I wish it were more socially acceptable at Dartmouth to introduce yourself to total strangers — outside of fraternity parties and after freshman fall. Making new friends should not be reserved just for awkward but eager introductions at the start of college nor for drunken declarations of newfound friendship or attempts at flirting in a basement.

—Michelle Gil ’16

If I could change one thing about Dartmouth, I would make a residential college system similar to Yale’s so that students wouldn’t have to constantly be changing dorms. Or I would want admissions based on merit and objective standards (rather than the racist policies of affirmative action and the “old boys’ club” of legacies). Or I would have the students be more involved in how money is allocated and spent at Dartmouth. I would also like to see the administration, faculty and staff be held more responsible for why a small rural college has a $1 billion operating budget.

—Jon Miller ’15

I would abolish the Greek system in order to do away with a culture that espouses superficiality, champions groupthink, divides our community unnecessarily, gives a disproportionate amount of power to men, arbitrarily segregates women and men, does not make room for non-cisgender individuals, is embedded with heteronormativity, protects perpetrators of sexual violence, promotes abuse of students’ bodies and charges students an obscene amount of money to merely socialize. I would do this in favor of creating a community that prioritizes health and safety and celebrates individuality, true diversity (in gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and socioeconomic background) and mutual understanding — a community that is precluded by the artificial and divisive structures of the Greek system.

—Katie Wheeler ’15

If I could change one thing at Dartmouth, it would be the lack of overlap and synergy between different factions of the student community. I wish people wouldn’t join a group or social circle and have that circle define them and their personal experiences for the rest of their time at Dartmouth. We should strive as a collective to take advantage of the inherent diversity at this school by breaking out of our conventional, comfortable social spaces.

—Aylin Woodward ’15