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It’s freshman year. All eyes are on you. Especially when you check the countless emails coming from the College’s Listserv inviting you to attend meetings or join a new club. Upperclassmen recommend you take Computer Science 1 and to choose the Non-Recording Option to protect your GPA. Just in case. Your senior self will thank you. But graduation feels infinitely far away; you have a long, long way to go.
So many pamphlets, websites, lectures and discussions are made available to high school students to prepare them for college’s intense social transition that it’s easy for Dartmouth students to forget that they are at the College to receive an education.
Adjusting to college can be a significant challenge for all students, but a student who also has to acclimate to a new country is in an even tougher position. Students living overseas, who account for roughly 13 percent of the Class of 2022 and who come from 57 different countries, simultaneously navigate the traditional adjustments to Dartmouth’s academic rigor and an adjustment to American culture.
Nearly 50 years ago, a group of Native American students approached the steps of Parkhurst Hall with a clear goal in mind — to end the use of the Dartmouth “Indian” as the College’s symbol and mascot.
As a liberal arts college, Dartmouth offers its students many options to specialize their academic goals according to their needs and interests. Despite the flexibility the College offers, the distribution of majors is far from even. According to statistics provided by the Office of Institutional Research, the two most popular majors, economics and government, graduated 197 and 151 majors respectively for the Class of 2018. The third most popular major was computer science, which graduated 95 majors. The departments with the fewest majors were ancient history and astronomy, both with only one graduating student with a degree from the department. The numbers help shed light on how the popularities of varying departments have ebbed and flowed over the years, and how the curriculum or the faculty of a department influences its popularity.
Every student’s college experience is influenced by their parents, whether they helped choose what college to attend, what major to pursue or what activities to participate in. However, when one attends the same college as one or both parents, this influence can be compounded. Sharing a parent’s alma mater can become an act of balancing their informed advice and guidance with the desire to forge one’s own path. The advice legacy students receive from their parents can reflect the College’s changes across generations, or demonstrate that, despite the decades between two students, the spirit of Dartmouth holds true.
The landscape of Main Street Hanover has seen significant changes in recent years, notably with the departure of pizza shop Everything But Anchovies and the imminent departure of the Dartmouth Bookstore. Despite the recent loss of these mainstay businesses, downtown Hanover is no stranger to change.
The earliest signs of the Homecoming tradition go back to the era of William Jewett Tucker’s presidency at Dartmouth in the 1890s. Back then, the College had weekly student body meetings that were known as “Rhetoricals,” which took place in the Old Chapel of Dartmouth Hall. By 1895, the student body population grew too large for the Old Chapel, and “Dartmouth Night,” the tradition we know today, took root. Dartmouth Night was an opportunity for members of the Dartmouth community “to devote an evening to the traditions and glory of Dartmouth, and to stimulate pride in her achievements, and strengthen the purpose that the present and the future of the college shall be worthy of its past,” as the Congressional Record and New Hampshire Journal wrote in 1896.
When alumni come back to Dartmouth for Homecoming, they may be surprised the number of changes that have occurred at the College and in Hanover. They may be astounded by the construction of the Life Sciences Center, the addition of Skinny Pancake in downtown Hanover, the derecognition of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, or the changes in the bonfire tradition within the past year.
With the spotlight on college Greek life across the country, Dartmouth has taken certain steps to respond to nationwide concerns. Student leaders have been collaborating with the administration to create safer and more welcoming Greek spaces, according to Office of Greek Life director Brian Joyce.
In the ongoing battles over student voting in New Hampshire, the anti-vote side latches onto the claim that students aren’t “real” residents of New Hampshire, and so don’t deserve the right to vote. And they’ve acted on it. A court recently struck down Senate Bill 3, one of two recent voter-regulation bills, but House Bill 1264, another bill that effectively disenfranchises students, goes into effect on July 1. Unless something changes, many students will still essentially lose their right to vote.
At a college that prides itself on being on the cutting edge, it’s only natural that the Dartmouth football program fosters a culture that stands out from the rest. In the last decade, head coach Buddy Teevens ’79 has implemented multiple changes to benefit his team on and off the field.
Established in the fall of 2016 as part of the Moving Dartmouth Forward initiative, the housing communities have become a key source of community and involvement for many students. However, in the system’s first few years, students have raised concerns about its initial roll-out. Some, but not all, have been tackled and resulted in changes to operations.
This year, the Class of 2022 will run just one lap around the Homecoming bonfire. As a member of that class, I was aiming to write a piece about why this is unjust, and how Dartmouth will quickly lose its identity if it ditches defining characteristics in the name of safety. Then I thought, why even bother? An opinion piece written by a freshman will be far from convincing to the officials of the town of Hanover, who have already made up their minds about the possible dangers of this tradition. This internal dialogue illustrates a much darker reality in the world beyond the Green.