DOC sees higher membership

by Michael Qian | 9/28/14 6:58pm

Next weekend, around 30 students in teams of three or four will embark on the Fifty, a 53.6-mile hike from campus to Mount Moosilauke’s summit. Hike organizers said the trip usually takes about 30 hours, and hikers are supported by five different stations. This fall, 75 people applied to hike and more than 130 applied to support.

This grueling hike is one of many activities organized by the Dartmouth Outing Club, the nation’s oldest and largest collegiate outing club, which boasts more than 1,500 members.

Among freshmen, interest in the DOC soared this fall, DOC president Hunter van Adelsberg ’15 said. Though he could not provide exact numbers, he said around 500 registered, close to a record high. The DOC encompasses Ledyard and 11 other clubs.

Van Adelsberg said the club’s large membership is partially due to Dartmouth’s self-selecting student body, adding that many students are attracted to the College’s location and its proximity to nature.

While many students returned home, went to a local beach or stayed on campus last spring break, Kristen Chalmers ’17 paddled alongside dolphins in the Florida Everglades with members of the Ledyard Canoe Club.

“I wanted to take advantage of the great location Hanover was in and try new outdoor activities like whitewater kayaking that I never tried before college,” Chalmers said of her decision to join the DOC.

Although DOC vice president Caroline Resor ’17 grew up in a Maryland suburb where she did not do many outdoor activities, she discovered a love for hiking when visiting her family in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

“I knew I wanted to go to a school where I could be outside all the time, because that’s how I recharge psychologically, academically, emotionally,” she said.

When Resor went to the first Cabin and Trail meeting her freshman year, she said she immediately felt she was part of a community. Now, as a Cabin and Trail leader, she said she enjoys watching first-year students have a similar experience.

Van Adelsberg said first-year trips also attract students to the DOC by exposing them to the club and encouraging people to spend time outdoors.

In recent years, more than 90 percent of incoming students participated in trips, which include activities like mountain biking, horseback riding, flatwater kayaking and canoeing.

Though she had never kayaked before coming to Dartmouth, Kimberly Son ’17 said her whitewater kayaking trip and positive experience interacting with Grant Croo inspired her to join Ledyard. Son went with a group of Ledyard members to North Carolina last spring break, where she paddled down rapids.

“We like to joke around that we have ‘social members’ who are an integral part of Ledyard, but don’t often paddle,” Son said.

The Greek Leadership Council policy blocking freshmen from attending Greek events serving alcohol for the first six weeks of term seems to have increased the amount of freshman involvement, Van Adelsberg said. He said the DOC strives to be open to anyone interested, noting that it has about 200 to 300 active members at any given time.

Founded by a Dartmouth student in 1909, the club has introduced enduring College traditions, including Winter Carnival, first celebrated in 1911 and first-year trips, launched in 1935.

The College ski team also evolved with the DOC, becoming the nation’s first intercollegiate ski team in 1909.

In addition to participating in club activities, DOC members can use the Daniels Climbing Gym, buy discounted season passes for the Dartmouth Cross Country Ski Center and acquire DOC periodicals for free, among other benefits.

“I love that we make adventures happen,” Van Adelsberg said.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction appended (Sept. 30, 2014):

Family members of Caroline Resor ’17 live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, not Jacksonville.

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