Every year since 1999, some sophomores have embarked on First-Year Trips-esque adventures to kick off their sophomore summer. These sophomore trips — called STRIPS — have been an annual tradition for decades, and have always aimed to strengthen class bonds. However, given that the Class of 2024 missed their opportunity to attend First-Year Trips as incoming freshmen, the stakes this year seem particularly high.
One STRIPS student director, Nicolas Macri ’24, highlighted that because the Class of 2024 did not go on First-Year Trips, they also lost out on a major shared experience for Dartmouth students.
“First-Year Trips give you a sense of place within the College as well as memories, confidence with the resources that Dartmouth offers and brings your class together as a whole,” Macri said. The ‘24s are completely unaware of the traditions of First-Year Trips such as the songs, which just makes us more isolated as a whole.”
To make up for this, STRIPS directors are attempting to plan trips that emulate the First-Year Trips experience as much as logistically possible. To start, this means providing a wide range of trips — from cabin camping to hiking to kayaking — that students can choose from, according to Evelyn Hatem ’24. Hatem, another STRIPS director, stressed that she hopes STRIPS appeals to all sophomores.
“We want to accommodate everyone’s interests,” Hatem said.
The STRIPS directors are currently working on a number of projects within the program such as risk management, gear, outreach, food and inclusivity.
Samantha Palermo ’24, who will be a leader for STRIPS, also served as a First-Year Trips leader last fall. She saw how crucial the Trips experience was for building connections within a class, and she expressed that she wanted to revive that experience for the Class of 2024.
“[Trips] was such a bonding experience. I saw first-hand how impactful it was and I really want to give that to the ’24s,” Palermo said.
In their planning, Macri expressed that the STRIPS directorate is attempting to promote inclusivity within the program.
“Given different socio-economic backgrounds, some people may not feel completely comfortable with the outdoors and we want to encourage everyone to participate. This is not a program for just people with outdoor experience. I myself am not that involved with the [Dartmouth Outing Club], but have been able to get super involved with Trips which is so fun,” Macri said.
Mack Duthu ’24 said that she is unsure if she will be able to attend STRIPS because she wanted to spend time with her family during the break. However, she was enticed by the opportunity to grow closer with the rest of her class.
“Most of my close friends on campus are actually not ’24s and I don’t know that many people in my class, which is one of the reasons why I am so excited to go,” she said
Joe Earles ’23 took a gap year during the pandemic and is now part of the class of 2024. He had a normal First-Year Trips experience and loved it, and therefore wants to replicate the experience he had for the ’24s through being a STRIPS leader, as well as through getting to know more ’24s.
“STRIPS is different to First-Year Trips since many people have established friend groups because they are half-way through their college experience. In that sense, I’m excited to see the bonds that people form with one another because those that want to go are clearly passionate about making new friends,” Earles said.
Along with Earles and Palermo, Duthu expressed her appreciation for the work being done by STRIPS directorate. She expressed interest in a variety of STRIPS that range from surfing and birdwatching to intermediate hiking and cabin camping, and she has high hopes — and confidence — for the program.
“I’ve started doing a lot more outdoorsy stuff this term through [People of Color Outdoors]. I’m excited to go on STRIPS because I really trust the directorate and leaders. They are all super capable and amazing people,” Duthu said.
All three directors said that they are grateful to the College for the support they have received — they are advised by a staff advisor from the Outdoor Programs Office and are working in conjunction with the First-Year Trips office.
“The ’24s have had a rough start and unique transition to Dartmouth. We showed up sophomore year feeling like freshmen and we really want to provide them with a great experience that makes them feel that they matter as much as everyone else on this campus does,” Macri said.
Palermo said she had a great experience leading a First-Year Trip last year and is excited to lead a STRIPS group this summer — buying into the idea of class bonding and reciprocity.
“[Leading a First-Year Trip] was such a bonding experience. I saw firsthand how impactful it was and I really want to give that to the ’24s,” Palermo said.
As Hatem said, STRIPS is “a program for ’24s by ’24s,” and with a term full of sunshine and class bonding on the horizon, both its leaders and participants have high hopes.