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The Dartmouth
May 19, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Baby’s First Green Key

One member of the Class of 2026 explores the newfound experiences and excitement that comes with Green Key Weekend.

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Green Key marks Dartmouth’s annual spring concert weekend. Celebrating the spring weather, Green Key serves as the last major instance of organized fun before the drudgery of finals. Organized and sponsored by the Collis Governing Board and the Collis Center for Student Involvement, the weekend brings live outdoor music for students to enjoy. With some students’ weekends starting on Wednesday night and many professors canceling Friday classes, the culture surrounding Green Key cultivates a rare moment when many Dartmouth students put aside their commitments to prioritize and enjoy the campus community beyond the classroom. Notably, this year’s concert featured headliner Neon Trees, Cochise, “Battle of the Bands” winner Frank and “Duel of the DJs” winner Duckfoot on the Gold Coast Lawn.

Coming into the spring as a first-year, I looked ahead to Green Key as the last major Dartmouth tradition I had yet to experience. In chatting amongst friends, the weekend garnered a reputation of chaotic fun, with returning alumni, a big day-party scene and  swathes of people mulling around. The anticipation of the weekend was best summarized in a peer’s comment: “It’s our one weekend to feel like a big university.”

Yet, the College’s two other seasonal events, Homecoming and Winter Carnival, failed to live up to their acclaim in my experience, so in Green Key’s build-up, I remained cautiously optimistic. Thankfully, the weekend met my expectations. More than anything, Friday’s perfect weather heightened the performances, and while Cochise lacked a great stage presence, he contrasted well with Neon Trees, who shined as performers. 

The afternoon weather throughout the weekend facilitated a great day party scene, most notably at Phi Delta Alpha fraternity’s Block Party. The following day, the rain and the mud heightened Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority’s Luude concert — forcing students to fully commit to the experience. To start the afternoon, gray clouds and prospective rain loomed over the event, and as student DJs Liam Warin & Friends played as openers, the skies began to open up. 

Once Luude finally made his late entrance, the backyard functioned as a large, muddy puddle, and students crowded, danced and sang together — initially to forget about the cold, then eventually for the shared energy of the experience. 

While I loved some of the Green Key events in particular, my highlights from the weekend stemmed simply from the passion of the student body and everyone’s excitement to enjoy each other’s company.

When reflecting upon her first Green Key, Miel Wewerka ’26 echoed this sentiment. 

“I think it definitely lived up to [expectations]. For me, the best part of it was turnout,” Wewerka said. “None of the actual events themselves were that different from typical darties or frat functions, but it was that there was really high turnout, and people were in good moods and excited.”

While discussing her expectations compared to her experience, Wewerka elaborated on the highlights of her weekend.

“I was honestly expecting it to be a little bit more hectic than it was … I thought that everywhere you turn there [would be people] just raging,” she said. “The highlight was the KDE Luude performance. Getting in was terrifying, but then once everyone kind of left … [it was] a mud pit of people having the actual time of their lives — it was probably only 100 people total still there. It was so much fun to see everyone splashing around, having a great time.”

As one of Dartmouth’s biggest party weekends, Green Key also entails members of the student body letting loose. Specifically, the build-up around the event fosters the exploration of drug usage. 

In an interview, one member of the Class of 2025, who asked to remain anonymous to speak candidly about her experiences, commented on the experience trying ecstasy for the first time this Green Key weekend. 

The student said she took it by chance after being offered some by a friend at the Block Party, noting their decision came from wanting to be “more of an open-minded person.”

Uniting the student body to celebrate the spring, Green Key provided a music-filled atmosphere to express the joy of Dartmouth culture. Finally living up to the mystique of the college’s seasonal traditions, the event offered a sense of kinship from a shared experience, and — as palpable in even the most fleeting interactions with friends or distant classmates — many students embraced the weekend’s activities. 

“I feel like the campus just came together for Green Key,” the anonymous student said.

Wewerka said the campus came together during Green Key weekend.

“In theory, this could be the energy every weekend, but everyone’s just always burned out and never makes time to have fun,” she said. “It was nice to see everyone enjoying themselves.”

While Green Key certainly facilitates an environment of alcohol and drug consumption, the structure of the weekend allows students to enjoy the campus environment within their comfort zone and come as they are. For naïve first-year students and “open-minded” upperclassmen alike, the weekend offered a time and place for new, varied experiences for Dartmouth students.