Two-day PE camping and hiking trips not offered in spring

by Andrew Sasser | 1/21/20 2:00am

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The Outdoor Program Office will not be offering two-day camping and hiking trips for PE credit this spring.

by Lona Girardin / The Dartmouth

The College will no longer offer two-day camping or hiking trips for physical education credit. According to College spokesperson Diana Lawrence, these trips will no longer be offered until the Outdoor Programs Office establishes administrative oversight of PE credit offerings. 

According to senior associate athletic director of physical education Joann Brislin, the department offers many options for those want to take PE classes. Brislin said that while some students wait until their senior year to fulfill their PE credits, no student has been unable to graduate due to the lack of availability in PE classes. 

“We’ve never had a situation where we couldn’t take care of a senior,” Brislin said. “There’s always space in some classes.”

In order for an activity to be eligible for PE credit, certain activities must meet a set of regulations. According to Brislin, the activities run at least twice a week for eight weeks. For a student to earn credit, they must be enrolled in the class and must participate in at least 13 activity sessions. 

While the two-day hiking and camping trips are no longer offered, the department offers several other outdoor programs courses. According to Lawrence, OPO currently offers credit for participation in Dartmouth Outing Club teams, a wilderness first aid course, an introduction to Nordic skiing class at Oak Hill and any other courses taught by qualified instructors outside the Dartmouth community. 

Some students have seen this change as a minor inconvenience. Kevin Ge ’21, who was planning on enrolling in a hiking trip this spring, said he saw the trip as an opportunity to explore the outdoors. 

“It’s a little disappointing, but it’s not the end of the world,” Ge said. “I am just going to do squash instead.”

Ge said that he doesn’t think the change will affect seniors very much. He added that he believes seniors often signed up for these trips to avoid the time commitment associated with regular PE classes. 

“If it’s your senior winter or spring and you’re missing one of these credits you will find the time for every class you choose to do,” Ge said. “To be honest, I really thought that these were kind of a cop out. It was widely known among the student body that these trips were a shortcut and now students have to actually do physical education to get a physical education credit.”

Lawrence wrote that a search committee will meet later this month to begin reviewing applications for OPO director, as a part of establishing the oversight needed to offer other PE credits.

This decision and the lack of permanent leadership in the OPO comes on the heels of a May incident during which a Dartmouth student, Arun Anand ’19, went missing for two nights in the area of Mount Moosilauke while on an overnight OPO trip, before being found by New Hampshire Fish and Game officers after extensive rescue efforts. Since that incident, both OPO assistant director for leadership and experiential education Tracie Williams ’05 — who led the trip itself — and DOC director Timothy Burdick ’89 Med ’02 have left the College. 

Associate dean for student life Eric Ramsey has since taken over administrative operations while Paul Teplitz and OPO assistant director Rory Gawler ’05 work as co-directors during the leadership search process.  

As required by the College, Dartmouth students must take three physical education credits in order to graduate. According to the physical education department website, these credits can be fulfilled by participation in club — and varsity — level sports, dance groups, outdoor programs, swim classes and FLIP fitness classes. Other seasonal offerings include classes in activities such as snow sports, tennis and sailing, and trip leaders in the First-Year Trips program are also eligible for PE credit.