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For many Dartmouth students, Greek life provides a space for them to connect with people outside of their normal circles on campus. Joining Greek life can make the College feel smaller and less overwhelming — especially after a year spent behind masks and on Zoom. This fall specifically, sorority rush was an important kind of mass introduction for a large portion of Dartmouth students.
As a resident of frat ban-era Mid Faye, I have learned to deal with loud music until troubling hours of the morning, a common room with a singular chair and the “freshman plague” that has been floating around campus. And although my personal bathroom is a bit grimy, it certainly can be worse — at least I do not have mold. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky.
In New England, the autumn leaves are most certainly “falling down like pieces into place,” as Taylor Swift sings in “All Too Well.” The Norwich Farmers Market in Vermont is a fabulous fall excursion: This outdoor market has several vendors selling products ranging from fresh produce to skincare items to coffee. The environment is incredibly welcoming and visitors leave with delicious goodies and special memories.
Blink and you’ll miss it — another Dartmouth term has passed its halfway point. And after a week-long, unseasonal warm spell, we’ve finally made our way into the chilly mid-October mornings that are oh-so-typical of New England fall. And you know what else is oh-so-typical? The ever-persistent cold that is passing through campus and the mid-week slump that seems to have its hold on so many of us. But it’s not too late to reignite that spark!
During course election this fall, I was entirely preoccupied with figuring out how the timetable worked and deciding whether I truly wanted to take Spanish at 7:45 in the morning. The farthest thing from my thoughts was whether the professors who would be teaching me had tenure or not, but for those enmeshed in academia, standing for tenure is often one of the most pivotal moments in their careers.
On my official Dartmouth tour, there seemed to be an odd trend: Some beautiful, classical buildings (or houses, I’d almost immediately learn) were taboos my tour guide danced around — “Here is Foco, short for Food Court! We sure love slang here at Dartmouth! Kindly ignore that building with fancy ancient letters!” Yes, the Dartmouth administration — and, by extension, Dartmouth tour guides — seemed to operate with a collective hushed embarrassment regarding not just the existence, but the dominance of Greek life on campus. For an institution that comprises such a massive part of student life, should Greek life not be a selling point for admissions’ advertising strategies?
This past week has marked many firsts, and also many lasts. It was the first time that the ’24s and ’25s participated in the cult-like tradition of the Homecoming bonfire and felt the warmth of its extraordinary flames. For many ’24s, it was their first weekend of being affiliated with Greek organizations. It was also the first time that the many members of the classes of ’21 and ’20 came back to campus post-graduation. And for the ’22s, this weekend was the first of many lasts — our last bonfire as undergraduates. It’s not always easy for these important moments to sink in. But even if we aren’t able to appreciate them in the moment, we always have the memories to look back on.
“Pretty much any contemporary problem is going to be better understood in a multidisciplinary context,” said public policy professor Charlie Wheelan, one of three professors co-teaching GOVT 68, “The Future of Capitalism” this term. The course is taught by professors of three different academic specialties — government, economics and public policy — and takes advantage of its unique teaching set-up to explore the pros and cons of capitalism through the lens of multiple disciplines.
As traditions are restored, friendships are rekindled and in-person classes are reinstated, the beginning of 21F marks Dartmouth’s return to a semi-normal campus. This historically significant term has afforded unique opportunities for connecting — and reconnecting — to Dartmouth’s community, not only for Dartmouth’s freshman but for all returning students.
I am halfway through my time at Dartmouth and halfway through 21F, and the glass is looking half full. I wake up to an open window in my off-campus home and a view of green leaves, I make coffee and eggs and finish up the odd reading for one of my government classes, and I get to feel the brisk October air on my face as I laugh with my friend on our way to computer science every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
This article is featured in the 2021 Homecoming special issue.
As Dartmouth has returned to in-person classes, students have come back to Hanover eager to join the many sports clubs across campus.
At first glance, the Dartmouth Library Instagram account could be mistaken for an unofficial, student-run page. Scrolling through the posts, photos of ‘Lab-rarian’ Ivy — the unofficial mascot of the library — complement helpful infographics about library resources and images of students hard at work, captioned with peculiar family-friendly derivations of the popularly used student phrase “academic weapons.” Favorite derivations include academic “harmonizing yodelers” and “sole survivors of lost whaling ships.”
Name and Class Year? Ally Burg, ’25
There’s something so special about the energy of campus leading up to a big weekend. Maybe it’s the intersection of students studying for midterms in Baker-Berry with students stumbling home from frat row (because going out on a Monday is fine if it’s for the sake of tradition, right?). Or maybe it’s that unique, palpable sense of community and history that flows through campus as alumni trickle into Hanover. Week 4 is also that time of the term when students begin to solidify their communities on campus — whether that’s through Greek life, club sports, performing arts groups or even deciding to write for the school newspaper (which sounds pretty fun, in our completely unbiased opinions).
As a queer person and a queer writer at Dartmouth, I believe that amplifying marginalized voices and telling alternate narratives is and should be my main focus. Dartmouth is a very old institution, and, for most of its history, it has been an unwelcoming space for anyone who is not a cisgender, straight, white man. It was one of the last Ivy Leagues to coeducate, had a famously homophobic chapter under Laura Ingraham’s tenure as editor of The Dartmouth Review and remains a difficult place to be a person of color.
As a senior, I sometimes feel out of place in my introductory language course which is, predictably, largely dominated by freshmen. I sit down most mornings in ARAB 1, “First-Year Courses in Arabic” and I hear ’25s asking for directions, chatting about the first-year frat ban and discussing their WRIT 5 assignments. As someone who knows my way around Dartmouth and has taken my fair share of classes, I feel distinctly out of place.
Earlier this month, we welcomed the Class of 2025 into the Dartmouth community. Upon arrival they embarked on First-Year Trips — albeit a modified version — just as every class has done for the past nearly 90 years, with the exception of the Class of 2024, for obvious reasons. The ’25s attended their matriculation and twilight ceremonies and began classes having completed all the initiatory prerequisites that Dartmouth requires.
The chaos of a Dartmouth term is starting to kick in; we’ve seen students head from the stacks to the frats, swarms of ’24s anxiously waiting on frat row for rush events to begin and the sore sight of dark under eye circles from late-night study sessions. It's week three; we’ve got a lot going on. But honestly, would we want it any other way?
Updated 5:40 PM, May 3, 2022.