College, clubs plan spring outdoor activities following Green Key cancellation

Possible activities include disc golf, laser tag and outdoor concerts.

by Penelope Spurr | 4/5/21 2:00am

by Julia Siegel / The Dartmouth

As concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19 persist on campus, student organizations have sought to adapt their in-person programming. While some spring activities have been canceled, others have recently been introduced or adapted. 

For the second year running, Green Key has been canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions. During the College’s March 31 “Community Conversations” livestream, Provost Joseph Helble explained that the nearly decade-old tradition — a weekend of concerts, barbecues and other social events — “simply won't be possible under pandemic operating conditions.” 

Programming Board executive director Meg Targett ’21 added that “we don't want to create a situation where people are tempted to not be safe.”

While Green Key is no longer on the calendar for this spring, the PB has been planning several in-person events, according to Targett. She said that these events might include a series of “smaller” and more “low-key” outdoor live music events, which may also be livestreamed for a virtual audience. Other possible events include “Barn Babies,” a miniature petting zoo that in years past has been held outside Collis; and “Glaze It!,” an event where students can make pottery while munching on donuts. Some of these events, Targett clarified, are still in the “brainstorming phase.”

Collis director of student involvement David Pack said that the Collis Center for Student Involvement and the PB hope to begin hosting music concerts by April 30. He added that the PB has already begun to identify student performers for the outdoor live music events.

Large outdoor events like live music events, Pack added, require town approval, which he is “optimistic and hopeful” the student organizations will receive.

Pack also described other potential outdoor activities such as laser tag, mini golf and rollerblading, adding that equipment for these activities would be accessible free of charge from the Collis information desk. However, Pack added that Collis is “not committing to any of [these activities] at this point for sure.”

Student groups are also looking to incorporate outdoor activities into their spring planning. Women in Wilderness club chair Louisa Bay ’23 said that the club is looking to introduce activities like knitting and crafting, “feeds” on the green and regular outdoor trips.

“In-person activities provide opportunities to be more inclusive,” Evelyn Hatem ’24, a member of the Women in Wilderness club, said. “Connection to the outdoors is really important to me, and it’s nice to see that reflected on campus this term.” 

Outdoor Programming Office director Coz Teplitz added that after a “strong positive response” to free ski and sledding equipment rentals from the Winter Activities Center, the OPO plans to offer free rentals from a trailer behind Robinson Hall for equipment including warm clothing, hiking boots and microspikes. 

According to Teplitz, the OPO is also planning to install a disc golf course at the former Hanover Country Club, offer boating rentals from Ledyard, organize e-bike trips and host introductory rock climbing and “guided naturalist” hikes. 

Maya Nguyen ’24, who lived on-campus in the winter, said she is enthusiastic about this spring’s expansion of activities. 

“I’m hoping for a continuation of what the College organized this winter,” she said. “It’s great to see how accessible this equipment will be, and I’m hoping to take advantage of that.”