First-Year Trips 2023 directorate announced

This year’s directorate hopes to create more trip options and restructure activities to be more inclusive for students with different interests.

by Charlotte Hampton | 2/14/23 5:05am

by Tobin Yates / The Dartmouth

On Jan. 30, First-Year Trips program director Max Teszler ’23 and associate director Miles Harris ’23 announced the members of the First-Year Trips 2023 directorate in an email sent to the Dartmouth Outing Club. The group of students — who applied over winter break — will focus on “reevaluating” the way that trips are organized and run, Harris said.

“What made candidates stand out this year was willingness to question why Trips does things the way it does, and people who showed clear commitment, interest and gave us specific ideas for pushing the program forward,” Harris said.

Working with Teszler and Harris are Grant Croo captains Kira Parrish-Penny ’24 and Valeria Pereira Quintero ’24, Hanover Croo captains Evan Barrett ’24 and Sara Pickrell ’24, Lodj Croo captains Armita Mirkarimi ’25 and Anna St. Jean ’25, Sklodj Croo captains Eoin Hourihane ’23, Solange Acosta-Rodriguez ’24, Klymbing Croo captain Lucy Rathgeb ’22 and Oak Hill Croo captain Peter Schmid ’23. In addition, Nico Ludkowski ’26 will serve as the inclusivity coordinator and Lindsey Geer ’25 will work as the outreach coordinator, while Vaishnavi Katragadda ’24 will be the risk management coordinator and Keelia Stevens ’24 and Madeline Wolfe ’25 will be the outdoor logistics coordinators. They will also be supported by sustenance coordinator Madi Duhnoski ’23 and Vox Croo captains Katie Walther ’24 and Izzy Cheney ’24, as well as Trip Leader trainers Evelyn Hatem ’24 and Chloe Park ’24 and Trip Leader coordinator James Quirk ’25.

Harris said that the focus on reexamining the format of Trips came in response to a feedback form created by last year’s Trips directors and the Outdoor Programs Office and sent to all Trip Leaders and Croolings — other Croo members — in the fall. In particular, some First-Year Trip leaders and participants expressed that it can be “a very difficult program to go into as an introvert,” Harris said. He noted that the current directorate intends to keep each trip at four days long, as it was this past fall.

Lodj Croo captain St. Jean — who will lead the team at Moosilauke Ravine Lodge — said the directorate hopes to create alternative spaces with quieter activities at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge and the Dartmouth Ski Lodge.

St. Jean said the experience in previous years could be “overwhelming” for participants, adding that some students at the Lodge “didn’t look too happy to be there” when she was a trip leader last fall. She added that the Croo is exploring the idea of allowing students to take a break to play games or socialize with Croolings rather than learn the dances typically taught during First-Year Trips. 

“It’s important that we don’t present Dartmouth as a space where you have to be happy and enthusiastic and outgoing all the time, because that’s not true,” St. Jean said. 

Harris said that part of the transition to greater inclusivity also entails spending more time to plan trips that are less physically strenuous. In particular, Harris said that the Trips directorate wants to add more options for students who “have never hiked before and don’t want to hike,” including revamping their community service trip and partnering with the Tucker Center to create a trip that will explore spiritual venues in the Upper Valley.

Harris also said that last year, some trip leaders for the cabin camping sections felt like they lacked the resources, training or ideas to keep their trip participants entertained for the duration of Trips. 

For example, Harris said that the cabin camping and nature photography trip last fall had just one disposable camera for 10 people for three days. Harris said the Trips directorate would give next year’s iteration more resources — such as more cameras and a list of scenic vistas nearby as potential photo subjects.

Despite wanting to make changes in the way trips run, First-Year Trips program coordinator for the Outdoor Programs Office Kellen Appleton ’20 stressed the importance of institutional memory in planning Trips.

“My role is allowing a little bit of guidance into the program that allows us to stand on the shoulders of giants,” Appleton said. “We’ve been doing this a long time… In that time, we’ve tried a lot of things and gained a lot of perspective.” 

Harris agreed that planning First-Year Trips without the work of past leaders would be “a way bigger job than two people could handle.” He said that the directorate is working with a “wealth” of maps, itineraries and important traditions — such as the option to hike Mount Moosilauke at sunrise — which past directorates have created and refined.

Appleton and Harris added that they want to continue to make the position of Trip Leader accessible to all students, regardless of experience in the outdoors or with the DOC. Appleton added that Trip Leaders play a role in making Dartmouth an inclusive and welcoming place.

Appleton added that Trip Leaders also benefit from the sense of community fostered during First-Year Trips.

“[Being a Trip Leader is] an active exercise in shaping what that community is,” Appleton said. “Part of the reason that Trips is so powerful and long-lasting is because of the immense amount of community by and from it.”