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Many are worried about the projected impending bankruptcy of the Medicare Trust Fund, which is currently spending more money than it brings in. Theoretically, if nothing changes, the fund will become insolvent in 2028 according to Medicare’s actuaries, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates by 2030. The worry is likely overblown. If Congress lets Medicare go insolvent, seniors backed by AARP — one of the strongest lobbying powers in America — would turn out in droves and all of Congress would be applying for unemployment. For its own sake, Congress can’t let Medicare go broke. Perhaps they will raise new taxes, lower benefits, or simply print more money, but they will do something. Seniors vote in higher proportions than any other age group, and Congress is rightly afraid of making them mad.
So there I was on Friday night — standing on Fahey lawn, on the outskirts of the huddled masses in front of the concert stage, waiting for Saint Motel to start its performance. The air was comfortable, the crowd bustling, the vibes good at the first Green Key since 2019. The seemingly random Spotify playlist that had been on since Doechii left the stage cut out, and Saint Motel ran out to cheers. That’s when lead singer A/J Jackson said it: “Let’s go, Big Green!”
Last June, I had the not-so-delightful experience of being randomly placed on the housing waitlist. Despite the College offering a $5,000 incentive for students to give up a claim to fall housing in June, I and 128 other students remained in limbo in July. It was only in mid-August that I finally learned I would live on campus. This persistent uncertainty, compounded by my work as editor-in-chief and re-entry into classes after a pandemic gap year, was exhausting.
While the administration recently promised to reorient its focus toward student health, there are still some critical gaps in campus support systems. Despite my love for this school, the illusion of care spread by certain professors and disability services is an aspect of Dartmouth that disappoints me.
It’s no secret that Dartmouth is practically swimming in cash: Our $8.5 billion endowment rivals many nation’s GDPs, and we have dished out an enormous sum of cash on recent capital improvement projects, such as the recently announced $88 million allocated for renovating the Hopkins Center for the Arts. But aside from these public pronouncements, where exactly do we spend our money?
Any student who is even remotely familiar with fraternity basements during on-nights knows there’s one guest who is almost always present: cans of Keystone Light beer. Inevitably, these cans end up in the trash — take a walk down Webster Avenue on a Thursday or Sunday morning and you’ll see the aftermath of frats’ clean-up operations. When you consider the amount of beer that just one frat consumes in one night, the total number of cans used across campus each weekend must be enormous.
I was planning to publish a column this week about free speech. In it, I intended to argue, among other things, that the core of conservative student groups’ complaints about the free speech climate on campuses is correct — that being in the minority opinion can be frustratingly hard in college today.
Get off social media. Delete your accounts, even. Social media is actively harming your mental and physical well-being. The constant stream of tailored content is like catnip, and social media platforms are algorithmically designed to hold your attention. These apps chew up your free time, actively harm your self-image and worsen your overall mental health.
The sleepy cul-de-sac behind my childhood home in Alaska sat at the bottom of a long hill. One summer, with my scooter in tow, I would climb to the top of the hill and race down, reaching 10, 15 or even 20 miles per hour before I made it to the bottom. I felt like the King of the Cul-de-Sac. One Sunday afternoon, with the breeze of the hill wisping through my helmet, I took my hand off one of the handle bars to adjust my sleeve. Instead of stoically keeping my balance like the regal nine-year-old I was, I fell. Hard. My lips and knees were scraped raw, and a tooth was ground down by the asphalt. My parents rushed me to the emergency room, where my wounds were washed and I received a CT scan and several X-rays. Later that week, I went to my local pediatrician for a follow-up — and another X-ray — and my dentist, who gave me a filling for my chipped tooth. Thanks to Medicaid, we paid about 20 dollars out of pocket for these services — and that was just for gas.
When College President Phil Hanlon announced the elimination of five varsity sports teams in July of 2020, one reason he cited for the decision was the College’s desire to reduce the number of recruited athletes in each incoming class by 10%. Athletic recruitment, he wrote, “has begun to impact our ability to achieve the right balance between applicants who are accomplished in athletics and applicants who excel in other pursuits.”
In a Feb. 21 press release, the College announced that faculty and administrators had voted 89-4 to delay the development of proposed undergraduate housing along Lyme Road. The reason? Faculty members expressed concern about the distance of the housing from the core of campus, arguing that it contradicted the commitments Dartmouth made in its strategic master plan and threatened the quality of the “undergraduate experience.”
Rapid antigen tests are having something of a moment. In December, demand for the tests surged, reflecting a widespread desire to test before visiting relatives over the holidays. Last month, the Biden administration premiered its website to allow every household to order four free rapid tests. On campus, we’ve presumably administered thousands of such tests over the past weeks as people have tested out of quarantine.
There are benchmarks for everything now. When you are young, these benchmarks measure when you learn to walk, talk and read to determine whether you are on track in your development. As you grow older, people begin to measure not merely what you are able to do but how well you do it. In grade school, there are standardized tests and percentile calculations, then high school brings a combination of GPA, ACT and SAT. Even in college, it does not stop. We are constantly graded and assessed, our performance mapped and recorded.
At the end of fall term, my grandma — my biggest supporter in my journey to Dartmouth — died from complications of COVID-19. In the midst of finals, I scrambled to leave campus early and fly to Missouri for her funeral. While I was there — in a county with a 25% vaccination rate and what I saw to be a low masking rate — I found a newfound appreciation for Dartmouth, a place that took COVID-19 seriously and consistently sought to combat the virus’ spread.
COVID-19 containment is over. In some parts of the world, it never really began, and in other parts, it has been finished for some time. Now, even longtime bastions of scrupulous public health measures, from the Ivy League to Israel, are turning away from their previous containment strategies. Faced with the seemingly unstoppable omicron variant, this is the only logical result. Now, the writing is on the wall: omicron will burn out soon, and it is time to decide how we will proceed.
“We do not intend to police enforcement, but we expect all students to act responsibly and avoid indoor social gatherings,” interim provost David Kotz and executive vice president Rick Milis announced in an email this past Tuesday. This statement more or less sums up College leadership’s current response to the COVID-19 pandemic — absolving themselves of responsibility, while doing little to actually reduce transmission.
Over the past several months, two of Dartmouth’s peer institutions — Harvard University and Columbia University — saw members of their student unions strike. Harvard’s graduate student union went on a three-day strike in late-October, which later led to a contract that increased pay. Columbia student union began striking in early-November; that strike is still ongoing, upending academics as the union fights for fair pay and recognition of hourly student employees as union members.
Who am I?
On Monday, Dartmouth announced that its endowment — the pool of money generated from donors and investments and used in part to finance the College’s operations — grew to $8.5 billion at the end of fiscal year 2021, a striking 46.5% increase from the previous fiscal year. When Dartmouth announced this growth, it also announced several ways it would use the endowment to support the student body, such as increasing financial aid to undergraduates, offering a $1,000 bonus to certain graduate students and raising the student minimum wage from $7.75 an hour to $11.50 an hour — a change College spokesperson Diana Lawrence estimated would impact around 1,000 student workers.
This article is featured in the 2021 Homecoming special issue.