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The Dartmouth
April 18, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

First-Year Trips hosts 88% of Class of 2027

Freshmen participated across 134 different trips from Aug. 31 to Sept. 6


The First-Year Trips program led approximately 88% of the incoming Class of 2027 through Dartmouth’s traditional outdoor orientation program, across a range of 134 trips, with 27 different trip options offered, according to First-Year Trips director Miles Harris ’23. Trips, which were conducted across four different sections, ran from Aug. 31 to Sept. 6. Trips continued its traditional overnight format for the second year in a row after having been canceled in 2020 and modified in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

First-Year Trips participation among the incoming freshman class was nearly identical to that of the Class of 2026, when 90% of first-years took part in the session. 

Trips planning, which began back in October 2022, was an inter-departmental effort between student between student organizers, the Department for Student Life, the Dartmouth Outdoor Programs Office and New Student Orientation, according to Harris. The entire First-Year Trips staff, including 268 Trip Leaders, 77 Croo members — volunteers who support Trip Leaders from various locations — and 21 Trips directorate members, were instrumental in planning and executing the student-run program.

Harris explained that the Trips directorate faced some logistical issues and last-minute challenges during Trips, such as transportation and mechanical problems. He said the main problem the directorate faced was a space shortage for equipment and safety talks due to the new management at Oak Hill

“There’s not all that many spaces on campus that can hold roughly 350 people … nothing quite in the range that we need to hold like the entire section worth of people, so that was an issue,” Harris said. 

Outdoor Programs coordinator and First-Year Trips advisor Kellen Appleton ’20 explained that part of her “full-time job” is to make sure that institutional knowledge about Trips gets passed along to new leadership each year, so that Trips can run smoothly. 

“I really do believe that [Trips] is an incredibly impactful program for both the people participating in it and also the people who are organizing it,” Appleton said. “I think that the effect that First-Year Trips have on the Dartmouth community is extremely large. It creates a positive impact across the board for folks from the moment that they get here.”

Julia Gershberg ’26 said her experience as a trippee inspired her to get involved as a Trip Leader this year. Gershberg, who led Cabin Camping and Meditation, said her excursion was “a nice way to start the year off and to meet new ’27s.” 

“Even though I’m not best friends with my trippees, [Trips] still gave me a really nice community when I came back and just friendly faces to say hi to around campus, so I wanted to provide that experience for other trippees,” Gershberg said. 

Gershberg said she enjoyed interacting with the Class of 2027 and being with them as a mentor and friend. 

“I loved getting to know them and being there for them when they have questions, like my Trip Leaders were for me,” she said. “That was a pretty rewarding part of leading Trips.”

Hanover-Croo member Juliana Jones ’26 added that meeting the ’27s was very “fulfilling and rewarding.” 

“Meeting the ’27s and getting to know them as individuals — hearing some of their concerns about going to Dartmouth and hearing what they’re excited about — was really amazing for me because I felt like I could support them in ways that maybe professors, parents or administrators couldn’t,” Jones said. “It was really nice to develop that one-on-one connection and get to know the trippees and make them feel welcome at Dartmouth.” 

H-Croo members welcomed trippees to campus by preparing bags of food for all trips, leading group dances and lending out outdoor equipment and gear, according to Jones.

“We had a really packed schedule,” Jones said. “We had to do a lot of labor such as packing all the food, making sure all the dietary instructions were met, practicing our dancing and singing and also checking in with every trippee that needed gear. Doing that for over a 1000 people was very challenging.”

Ahaan Jindal ’27, who went on one of the moderate hiking Trips, said he “felt a sense of belonging at this College” after his Trip. Although his Trip group found a snake in their cabin, it provided a bonding moment and turned into his “favorite part of the trip.” 

“I think my favorite part of the trip was when we had a snake in our cabin,” he said. “It randomly fell from the top, after which all of us kind of got scared and we were kind of pushed out [onto] the balcony. I think that’s when we really got to bond because we cooked food, played games and really got to know each other better.”  

Aina Nadeem ’27, a trippee who participated in a less strenuous hiking trip, said she was thrilled that Trips gave her the opportunity to push herself and meet new people. 

“It was more strenuous than I expected because I’m not into sports or hiking at all, but it was a good experience in terms of just getting out of my comfort zone and experiencing things that I have never done before,” Nadeem said. “I think it’s easier to bond with people [on] Trips because all of us were going through the same thing. It’s a great icebreaker, giving trippees the opportunity to bond with and have different conversations with people we may not have had the opportunity to do otherwise.”

Correction (9:25 p.m., Sept. 28, 2023): 

A previous version of this article incorrected stated that renovations at the Hopkins Center for the Arts, rather than the new management at Oak Hill, led to changes in First-Year Trips storage policy.