First-Year Trips to resume overnight component for the first time since 2019

The Class of 2026 will take part in a more traditional First-Year Trips experience than prior years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

by Kristin Chapman | 7/22/22 5:10am

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by Michael Lin / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

From Sept. 1 through Sept. 7, the Class of 2026 will embark on First-Year Trips, which will include an overnight portion for the first time since 2019, according to First-Year Trips director Jack Kreisler ’22. Kreisler said the decision was made due to improved public health circumstances and a belief that the overnight component of Trips provides an opportunity for incoming students to bond with their class. 

“I think that overnight time is really valuable to building friendships, and group formation, and feeling like you belong and [like] you have a group of people, so that was a priority for us,” Kreisler said. “At least at the moment, the current public health situation is telling us that that is an okay choice to make, and so we’re excited about doing that.” 

This decision follows two years without an overnight component on First-Year Trips. The program was not run for the Class of 2024 in 2020 due to the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. A modified version of the program ran for the Class of 2025 in 2021 without the overnight portion of trips so that students could stay in Hanover in case they tested positive for COVID-19.

Kreisler explained that there are a few new logistical updates to Trips this year. The Trips’ schedule has been reconfigured so that students will no longer arrive at campus at staggered dates, as they did prior to the pandemic iterations. On Aug. 31, the majority of the Class of 2026 — aside from incoming students who participate in First Year Student Enrichment Program or other pre-orientation programs — will arrive on Dartmouth’s campus and “cycle through” their First-Year Trips and New Student Orientation experiences in four different sections, Kreisler said. Students who opt-out of Trips will arrive on Sept. 4. 

In addition, students will spend their last night of Trips at Moosilauke Ravine Lodge or the Skiway Lodge. In 2021, Tripees had programming at either Moosilauke or the Ski Lodge — although they did not spend the night — while prior to the pandemic, the culminating celebration was typically held at one of the lodges.

Kreisler said that incoming students have the option to pick from 30 different trips this year. He added that although Trips are optional, the vast majority of the Class of 2026 signed up. 

“Every incoming student is invited — we are going to have around 90% of the incoming class participate this year, which is in line with the past few participation rates from prior years,” Kreisler said.

Kreisler said that this year, there are approximately 400 student volunteers who will help run Trips. According to First-Year Trips associate director Brandon Zhou ’22, these student  volunteers include Trip Leaders, Croolings — volunteers who support and help with the logistical side of trips — and the 19 members of the Trips Directorate, which include positions such as  Croo Captains and Trip Leader Trainers.

Colleen Moore ’25, who will lead a cabin camping and cooking trip, explained that Trip leader training requires that leaders attend three Outdoor Programs Office seminars — focusing on mental health, group dynamics and risk management — as well as two longer training sessions with Trips Directorate members.

“I was surprised by how rigorous the training schedule was, but I think it’s all worthwhile,” she said. 

Moore added that she felt inspired to become a Trip leader because she “adored” her own Trip leaders. 

“I looked up to my Trip leaders [and] asked them for advice all throughout my freshman year, and I really want to be able to give that to the ’26s,” Moore said.

Matt Koff ’25 is a Crooling for Hanover Croo, which greets students in front of Robinson Hall as they arrive on campus and passes out food and equipment for Trips. Koff said that he was interested in becoming a Crooling because it seemed like a fun way to welcome the Class of 2026. 

“Thinking about Croo specifically, a lot of people I know have had an experience where there’s one person on Croo who they remember super well — from just dancing around, being loud or just talking to them — and I would love to be that person for as many people as possible,” Koff said. 

Sam Brook ’25 contributed to reporting. 

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