Winter's Effects on Social Life: Migration Indoors

by Annie Farrell | 1/17/18 2:10am

As we settle further into winter term, the snow and the schoolwork pile up. Bean boots and backpacks come out. But along with the changes in weather, workload and attire, winter term brings about changes in Dartmouth students’ social life. 

A four-day survey conducted through polling application Pulse found that, out of a sample of 571 students, 47.8 percent of students think that winter impacts their social lives in a negative way. Kayla Rivera-Hoskinson ’20 said her social activities change in the winter.

“My likeliness to be able to go out and do things is definitely down,” she said. “What I would do is also different. I look for events that are much closer to where I live rather than venturing places ... in the winter I basically don’t leave my dorm area. I go to class and meetings and then I go home. I like the snow ...  but I don’t know if the trade off is necessarily great.”

According to the survey, 57.1 percent of respondents consider “Greek life” as their choice social scene during the winter. A similar percentage, 49.6 percent, of students indicated that they own a “fracket,” a jacket one wears out to fraternity parties in case it gets stolen. However, 72.7 percent of students also selected “Hanging in bed” as their usual social scene during the winter. 

According to Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity social chair Sam Colello ’18, the events the fraternity plans in the winter are not nearly as popular as they are in other terms. Colello attributed this lack of attendance largely to the cold weather, but also acknowledged that many Dartmouth students choose to take the winter term off.

Alternatively, Madeline Hess ’19, a member of the Coffee Club, said meetings are significantly more popular in the winter. Hess enjoys taking part in social activities such as Coffee Club during which she is able to sit down and have a meaningful discussions. 

“A lot of the crowds that come through is the crowd that happens to be around One Wheelock or inside … when we send out an email,” Hess said. “Additionally, I think people definitely are cold and want some hot coffee in winter. There is a clear correlation between the two.”

Students may choose to migrate indoors during the winter, and many designate the winter term as a time to focus more on academics. Hess said she typically plans for a more difficult academic schedule in the winter. Similarly, Rivera-Hoskinson chose to take four classes this winter term because she knows she will be spending more time inside her dorm room.

“I usually take harder classes in winter because I know that I’m going to be inside more,” Hess said. “I tend to overcorrect there and then I end up being stuck inside because I chose harder classes.”

However, Winter Carnival brings welcome relief to the indoors and academic intensity for some. According to the survey, 26.1 percent of students said that Winter Carnival was the Dartmouth-related activity they look forward to most during the winter. Colello is looking forward to Alpha Chi’s annual “Beach Party” during the Carnival week, and Rivera-Hoskinson is looking forward to taking advantage of what winter at Dartmouth has to offer. 

“During Winter Carnival people embrace the winter a lot more, whereas the rest of the term you just have to live in it,” Rivera-Hoskinson said. “Winter Carnival is a time to celebrate [winter]. It makes it nicer.”

While Rivera-Hoskinson, Colello and Hess all thought that there is some fun to be had during winter, they also agreed that spring is the most exciting term at Dartmouth. The spring term brings warmer weather, more hours of daylight and an abundance of social activities during the week of Green Key. “Spring term is definitely the best,” Colello said. “Everybody is in a good mood because it’s sunny as opposed to overcast like it was all winter.” 

Until spring rolls around, get out a fracket, grab a hot cup of coffee or try to enjoy the snow. It is only week three of the winter term — try to make the most of what’s left.