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In the next few days, people will come together to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. As a moment of triumph over division and repression, the event deserves recognition. But it would be a mistake to believe that the bringing-down of the wall, and the reunification of Germany that followed, marked an end. Germany is still not a unified nation, and the repercussions of this are only now coming to popular attention.
The term “cancel culture” is the latest euphemism for political correctness. Often a term lobbed leftward, cancel culture refers to the online public shaming, usually of a celebrity, for some past action now deemed inappropriate. The intention is to encourage others to “cancel” consumption of the celebrity’s work.
This term has been particularly trying for me. My run-in with a head injury and my adjustment to a more social Dartmouth experience has sent my highly structured schedule as a freshman last year into a new chaotic normal.
Dartmouth has a rigorous honor code, and students are frequently reminded of this fact. Summaries of Dartmouth’s rules against prohibited collaboration and other forms of academic dishonesty are conveniently printed on the cover page of many in-class exams, and verbal reminders are often given when a take-home assignment like a lab report is handed out.
When I arrived on campus in the fall of 2016, I became the first student — to my knowledge — from Nevada Union High School to ever attend Dartmouth College. Even if I wasn’t the first, I may as well have been. The comfort and security I knew from growing up in a small town where the kids I graduated high school with had known me for a majority of my years vanished the instance I accepted my offer of admission. The ’20s I had been fortunate enough to know prior to our arrival — namely, two boys I had become friends with at debate camp in high school — provided me with the perfect opportunity to latch onto the safety of familiarity. What I did not realize, however, was that there was a categorical difference between the familiarity I was developing with new people at Dartmouth and that which I had treasured at home.
As I mill about the beloved Class of ’53 Commons (colloquially adored as “Foco”), I cannot help but stop and reminisce on a somewhat nostalgic cavalcade of bygone pizzas and one-off lobster dinners. It strikes me that this glorious facility — this Sistine Chapel of student sustenance — has proven the backdrop of my most iconic collegiate memories.
With more than 400 days until Election Day, an overlong list of Democratic candidates shows no signs of shrinking. The slate of candidates is polling at numbers as varied as their experience, policies, backgrounds and tones. At the forefront of the minds of presidential candidates and Democratic voters alike is how to beat President Trump in the 2020 election.
Members of the Class of 2023 fresh out of First-Year Trips gave Divest Dartmouth a lot of attention during last week’s activity fair. Divest Dartmouth is a well-known brand at Dartmouth — they have almost 1,500 followers on Facebook and their stickers give MacBooks and Nalgenes around campus more personality. Divest Dartmouth also has a mission: “That Dartmouth College ceases to invest in coal, tar sands and the Climate Action List of the most harmful oil and gas companies identified by the Fossil Free Index and Union of Concerned Scientists.”
The legalization of the birth control pill was one of the greatest victories for feminism in recent history: Its use is prevalent, and its effects are profound. Though they were aware of the pill’s potential for women’s liberation, the women who worked to legalize the pill strategically prioritized legal goals over making an ideological statement.
While e-cigarettes are now, for the first time, attracting serious national attention, their popularity is nothing new to me. Nearly five years ago, there existed a sort of underground market for e-cigarettes at my private high school in Louisiana. The profiteers in this racket, a handful of sophomore boys, used all sorts of ingenious means to buy product to skirt legal age restrictions — fake IDs, siblings over 18 and online purchases made with Bitcoin.
On Aug. 7, federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents conducted raids in Mississippi targeting immigrants working in food-processing factories across the state. Around 680 immigrant workers were detained by the more than 600 ICE agents in the largest single-state coordinated sting operation in U.S. history.
Every time I pass through the Hopkins Center this summer, I feel disconcerted by how empty the building is. Student-led tour groups, which usually crowd the space in front of Moore theater, are now outside, enjoying balmy weather on the Green. Voices can sometimes be heard floating over from the Hinman mailboxes, but no one is seen. The windows of the Courtyard Café are dark, while the hallway next to it seems perpetually submerged in half-darkness. Granted, campus is a lot emptier during summer, but the silence permeating the Hop seems especially out of the ordinary.
As an environmentalist, I had come to think of the organic label as the pinnacle of sustainable agriculture. In my mind, an organic sticker signified that produce comes from small, multi-crop farms, without synthetic inputs or excessive water and energy use, and that animal products are raised in free-range, humane conditions. Organic means more environmentally ethical — or so I thought. As it turns out, organic agriculture standards have expanded in recent years to encompass alarming practices that few would consider to be true to the original values of organic farming.
Almost every weekend at Dartmouth, you can find me scrambling up mountains, skiing through the woods, or running and biking along quiet roads lined with pine and birch forests. Yet I have only recently begun to declare myself an “outdoorswoman,” despite having fallen head-over-heels for the out-of-doors almost immediately after joining the Dartmouth Outing Club at the end of my freshman fall. At first, my deniability was somewhat plausible — I was simply an amateur trying out a new novelty. As time wore on, though, I was forced to admit that my hours spent in the forests and on the mountaintops of the Whites were more than just a passing whim. I loved the mountains and felt most in touch with myself and those around me when outside.
Now is an interesting time for Ethiopia. The country has emerged in the last year as the sweetheart of the developing world, in large part due to the leadership of its new reformist Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed. But a central issue has threatened the country’s new-found prosperity: ethnic nationalism. At the moment, Ethiopia’s budding progress is being diluted by the secessionist ambitions of its myriad ethnic minorities. However, this is not the time for individual nationalist ambitions to be entertained by the central government. Rather, it is time to establish a functioning national government that can enable a well-oiled, growing economy.
The Democratic left has been punching well above its weight recently. Its ideas have dominated the primary season — of the candidates currently averaging over 10 percent in Democratic primary polling, only Joe Biden is associated with the moderate wing of the party (though he, to be fair, maintains a sizeable lead over his rivals).
The most nuanced conversations I have about current political issues are private. In large groups, I nod in agreement. With close friends, I engage.
Here at Dartmouth, the idea of a liberal arts education guides our institution like a north star. It’s why the distributive system plays such a prominent role, akin to “general education,” in our academic experience. And it certainly would explain why pamphlets and tour groups boast of the metamorphosis into well-rounded intellectuals (ergo capable within both STEM and the humanities) at every chance they get. The goal of our education is to cultivate the totality of our abilities, not just our respective disciplines.
Food is a needlessly controversial topic at Dartmouth. Still, there seems to be a strong consensus against the current state of campus dining. For the most part, this hostility stems from the limited food options that students find themselves left with. To be clear, this scarcity of variety should not be wholly surprising, as we are, after all, inhabiting a small New England town. However, the situation could be vastly improved in a way that benefits everyone involved. The solution is simple: Dartmouth meal plans should be usable in Hanover’s restaurants.
Sophomore summer is a heralded time — our wonderful academic romp about the woodlands of New Hampshire. You’ve likely read about it in pamphlets or associated propaganda, wherein the administration lauds this time of community and kinship. “The region around Hanover is ripe for exploring,” they say. And I suppose it is; it has to be. You can’t afford to have students looking inward when you essentially shortchange the summer-dwellers in regard to on-campus dining. That’s right. The Courtyard Café’s once miraculous kitchen lies vacant, collecting dust bunnies rather than quelling our voracious appetites. The Collis Café’s beloved Late Night operates on truncated “summer hours.” The Cube, the only of the three snack bars left alive, has seen its hours of operation dwindle. When the summer rolls around, it’s the Class of ’53 Commons or bust. And it shouldn’t be.