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From Dartmouth’s cult-like ceremonies, such as the Bonfire and Candlelight ceremony, to its quirky student challenges, like the polar plunge or Lou’s challenge, the College sets itself apart through its unique traditions. However, we cannot ignore the fact that many traditions at the College have not been paid the respect they deserve. Dartmouth stands on Abenaki land, yet for the much of the College’s history, it largely failed to uphold its commitment to Native individuals: Between 1769 and 1969, the College graduated just 19 Native students.
From a frybread baking contest to a panel on climate change, Indigenous Peoples’ Month at the College depicts a myriad of events centered on culture, collaboration and current issues. The month-long celebration also represents a feeling of community belonging.
Before coming to Dartmouth, meeting a political candidate was never on my radar. Candidates are rarely eager to come to my small town in Florida. Suddenly, however, in my first two months as a Dartmouth student, I have shaken Bernie Sanders’ hand and hugged Elizabeth Warren. Other students have had candid conversations with Michael Bennet and Cory Booker. As the nation’s primary election approaches, candidates are materializing on campus, and more are sure to appear. This practice has been in place since 1964, when New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller ’30 came back to Dartmouth to campaign in the New Hampshire primary.
Hallucinations, trench foot and intense sleep deprivation only touch the surface of the topics of conversation surrounding the legendary Dartmouth hiking event, The Fifty. A trek of 54 miles from the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge back to campus would be hard enough on its own; completing it over the course of roughly 30 hours without stopping to sleep seems downright insane. Yet many people on campus seem to have a lot of respect for this strange tradition, and even more seem to want to participate; it’s oversubscribed each term, and students have to be selected via lottery, according to co-director Mary Joy ’21.
The Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock is located just about three miles from campus. While students might attend workshops or lectures there, the annual CHaD Hero Fundraiser brings the spirit of the community to Dartmouth through a fun and meaningful tradition. The 2019 CHaD Hero took place on Sunday, Oct. 20.
At Dartmouth, we’re steeped in tradition. Whether it’s through big things like attending First-Year Trips or circling the Homecoming bonfire, or small ones like hearing the bells of Baker Tower play the alma mater every day at 6 p.m., we are constantly reminded that we are part of a larger community as we engage with the many rituals that foster commonality among our diverse experiences. As a community, we are well aware of this; we speak of tradition as one of Dartmouth’s major values, and we tend to refer to our many traditions with affection, excitement and pride.
For all intents and purposes, the word “sophomore” refers to a second-year high school or college student. However, a quick google search reveals that the word has a more meaningful etymology. “Sophomore” is a hybrid of the Greek words sophos (meaning wise) and moros (meaning foolish). So, where exactly does that leave us sophomores? We are stuck somewhere between cleverness and senselessness. Misguided by the illusion of maturity, we are left to navigate our second year of college.
Climate change has made sustainability an increasingly important topic in our daily lives. And with the 2020 election approaching, environmental issues have been at the forefront of many political debates, in addition to taking on a greater presence in Dartmouth students’ lives. Whether you’re using a to-go container from Foco, recyling paper in the library or participating in conversations about emissions and green living on campus, it has become impossible to ignore the ways in which the world is preparing to conserve resources and be more mindful of how our actions affect our planet.
A paper plate award hanging on the kitchen wall of Dartmouth’s Sustainable Living Center reads “SLC — Most Likely to … Make a House a Home!” The Sustainable Living Center, founded in 2008, is designed for students interested in learning about sustainability as it relates to social justice, innovation, and environmental stewardship. However, it is the sense of community fostered by the SLC that truly defines the experience of living there, according to Anna Matusewicz ’20, current house manager of the SLC, who described the kitchen as the “unwavering heart” of the SLC community.
From the first meeting on Trips to the Commencement ceremony many terms later, Dartmouth holds a myriad of opportunities for creating relationships with peers. Within the individual pathways at the College lies the shared student experience of navigating the beginning of adult life. Dartmouth students work to fulfill their academic requirements but also to maintain the fire that sparked their relationships with others on campus.
Many students at Dartmouth are aware of the concept of the “Dartmouth bubble,” or the fact that Dartmouth is a relatively isolated college community that inhabits an area that is more affluent than many of the areas around it. However, there are programs at Dartmouth, like the Center for Social Impact, that work to break down barriers between Dartmouth and the area surrounding it. One way that the center does this is through the Youth Education and Mentoring programs.
The concepts of health and wellness have become buzz terms lately. From lifestyle blogs to mindfulness apps, it seems like everyone has something to say about improving our quality of life. Blogs like goop advocate practices based in pseudo-science, and Instagram influencers advertise “diet tea.” It is important to acknowledge that self-care is often a privileged activity, with many people lacking the time or resources to prioritize their health. However, our society’s recent focus on wellness has helped destigmatize mental health and shed light on the value of self-care.