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I never imagined that I’d write a column in defense of kindness, especially in defense of appreciating small acts of kindness within the hyper-competitive, résumé-driven rat race of college admissions. I was dismayed after reading the April 12 piece by my colleague, Dorothy Qu ’19, that criticizes the New York Times op-ed “Check This Box if You’re a Good Person,” written by former Dartmouth admissions director Rebecca Sabky.
Americans spend an average of around $17 billion on Easter every year. With the copious amounts of food, clothing and gifts purchased for the occasion, the holiday provides retailers across the country with a vigorous revenue boost. Originally a religious and cultural tradition centered on modesty, humility and hope, this holiday is almost nationally celebrated and universally capitalized.
Many students choose Dartmouth because of the close relationships the school fosters between students and faculty. So, all peer mentors, trip leaders and other upperclassmen brimming with guidance will encourage freshmen to go to office hours — but what they don’t explain is how to actually go to them. As a freshman, office hours were to my academic experience what elusive secret menu items were to chain restaurants. To order Starbuck’s “Pink Drink” or In-N-Out’s “Animal Style” fries, you have to be aware of the item’s existence and confident enough to place the order. The actual fries or drink, regardless of taste, seemed to be a prize for attaining obscure knowledge and possessing self-confidence.
Student Assembly elections are next week, and social media is buzzing with candidates’ promotional photos and posts. With the election comes the age old question: what exactly does Student Assembly do? What should it do? For an organization meant to be the voice of Dartmouth’s student body to the administration, Student Assembly has potential that is currently untapped and under-supported.
President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget slashes the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by almost one-third. With the signing of his recent executive order, he has taken the first step in repealing former President Barack Obama’s climate policies, such as the Clean Power Plan, which sought to reduce emissions of U.S. power plants by 32 percent by 2030. None of Trump’s anti-environment pro-big-business policies should come as a surprise: this is a man who, on the campaign trail, expressed time and again his desire to rebuild America’s fossil fuel industry. Doing so — resurrecting this once-stalwart center of our nation — is passed off by many politicians as a patriotic act and therefore a worthy goal. Surely there is nothing more American, more laudable, then re-opening the coal mines! Yet, once patriotic sentimentality is stripped away, the problem becomes clear: regardless of whether you believe in climate change, repealing policies designed to protect our environment and giving the coal industry one last hurrah before alternative energy sources become more accessible to all is not just short-sighted; it is economically harmful for America’s future.
People go to college to build unforgettable experiences, meet amazing people and learn to be independent. Yet, last year I had forgotten one of the main reasons I chose to go to Dartmouth. Amongst the newness of college, as my freshman year closed, I became deluged with the routine that is school: wake up, go to class, grab something quick to eat, hide in the corner of 3FB and stay there until my workload seemed just a bit lighter. Whether to grab Foco or Hop for lunch grabbed my attention more than any news article. My reasons to plow through classwork changed from having a desire to learn to needing to get studying done.
Last week, a former Dartmouth admissions director, Rebecca Sabky, published an editorial in The New York Times. Its cute, clickbait title, “Check This Box if You’re a Good Person,” caught my eye even before I recognized her connection to this school. With Dartmouth so rarely mentioned in mainstream news recently, I eagerly scanned the article. Imagine my face falling comically as I reached the end.
One thousand, five hundred and forty-two high school seniors from almost every corner of the world opened their acceptance letters to Dartmouth on March 30. While they rejoiced, eager to become members of the Class of 2021, around 18,000 others were met with the words, “We regret to inform you…” For an 18-year-old, rejection from an elite university can be crushing. For years, academic institutions have indoctrinated their students with an obsessive desire for validation and an aversion to failure beginning from a young age. But what those students do not know is that the colleges and universities of their dreams are victims of the same systematic fear of rejection.
Last month, state representative Kim Hendren introduced Arkansas House Bill 1834 into the Arkansas state legislature. Its goal was to ban all of the late professor Howard Zinn’s articles and books from being used in public and open-enrollment public charter schools in Arkansas.
The experience of returning to Dartmouth as a junior is somewhat jarring. Most ’18s have realized, hopefully, that we will be leaving soon, and many will have gotten a taste of what will come next — probably through an internship where they brushed up against the previously inviolable Adult World. Part of what makes this experience more poignant than past work is the understanding that college will end soon.
“Hey, how are you?” “I’m good!” “How was your off term?” “It was really nice. It feels good to be back though.” “That’s good. Grab a meal?” “Yes! What’s your class schedule?” “I have a 10, an 11 and a 3B.” “How about lunch after 11s next Wednesday?” “Sure!”
Unlike its Ivy League peers, Dartmouth is not situated in the great northeastern cities or suburbs. Yet, it is in this setting that we can best embody the spirit of those who have come before us: that of a small liberal arts college, with an undergraduate focus, where faculty and students work closely together and where learning is pursued for its own sake.
The end of this spring term will mark the first year of Moving Dartmouth Forward’s full implementation on campus. Despite the establishment of flagship policies such as the budding housing system and the hard alcohol ban, students seem to have adapted when MDF affects us and forgotten its existence when it does not.
I never go on shopping sprees, but on a whim, I bought a black California Fleece sweatshirt and a grayish trench coat from American Apparel following the announcement of its closing. I will miss their black turtlenecks, thigh high socks and soft t-shirts; to some extent, I’ll even miss their controversial advertisements. Yet, when I lamented the death of American Apparel and expressed my ensuing urgency to buy more clothing before it closed, one of my friends said, “Clara, how could you?” Because of the sexual assault allegations against former American Apparel executive Dov Charney and the apparent sexism of American Apparel advertisements, I have been forced to call my American Apparel clothing “Problematic Faves.”
It was 4 a.m., and I was in the Digital Arts, Leadership and Innovation Lab when I again found myself in what I’ve dubbed “the limbo.” I had a 10A and a 2A, an application for an internship to submit at midnight, a presentation to put together, tasks to do for my job, a column to write, homework to catch up on and of course, sleep. The magnitude of the amount of work I had to do paralyzed me — instead of making a decision about which task I would tackle next (or not), I sat on the couch and gave in to a feeling of complete helplessness.
The first installment of this series posited a divide between freedoms the United States purports to afford its citizens and the actual ways in which pervasive, structural features of American life restrict opportunities for those citizens. Perhaps the most important manifestation of this divide is in the American education system. Vast inequities in the quality of primary and secondary education across district lines, stemming from the fundamental ways the United States has understood the burden of educating its youth, beget vicious cycles of poverty. The rising cost of a college degree, necessary for any job that might propel one to a higher socioeconomic stratum, means the rich benefit while the poor grapple with either debt or ignorance.
Every year, soon after welcoming a new class of eager and wide-eyed freshmen, Dartmouth releases a report on its demographics. In recent years, these reports boast increasingly high percentages of students of color, students who attended public schools and international students. The admissions board and administration congratulate themselves for admitting such diverse classes. At the same time, they turn their backs on what Dartmouth’s community looks like for these students once they actually step foot on campus.
President Trump's climate policies are an unwelcome gift.
Last year’s Presidential election brought out the fundamental flaws in America’s two-party system. Establishment Democrats and Republicans alike were seen as being status-quo and in bed with big business, Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. The success and popularity of populist insurgent presidential candidates, including now-President Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), was largely an effect of their loud antagonism toward the Washington establishment, corruption and big money.
Believe it or not, it is already week two. We trudged through a snowstorm for April Fools’ Day, forced our livers back into full gear over the weekend and wound up again with dark circles underneath our eyes again. Things are starting to get serious – as we finally settle into our classes, we now have to catch up on our readings, pay attention to our professors and start working for the midterms and assignments coming up. This stressful consciousness of our impending workload could not be more different from the cushy, carefree first week most of us experienced as we “shopped” for classes but didn’t necessarily do work for them.