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For the third year in a row, The Dartmouth conducted a survey that recorded the opinions and experiences of Dartmouth’s graduating seniors. Over the past four years, the Class of 2018 lived through many important events occurring on and off campus, all while navigating social and academic life at the school and preparing for the post-college future. The four sections below paint a picture of opinion on campus issues, facets of student life, relation to the national political scene and post-graduation life among members of the Class of 2018.
When the typical Dartmouth student thinks about the importance of athleticism in Dartmouth’s history, they may focus on annual traditions such as running around the Homecoming bonfire, diving into Occom Pond for the Polar Bear Plunge or hiking The Fifty. But Dartmouth sports also have a storied history of success as well, as the Big Green has produced professional athletes since the late 19th century.
This year, the College’s art history department will undertake a widespread effort to promote experiential learning and shift away from lecture-format classes, according to art history department chair Allen Hockley. Hockley stated that the renovation of the Hood Museum and the resources it will bring will “make a huge difference” in contributing to the changes. Hockley also noted that the department plans to increase its diversification efforts.
“Live authentically.” That’s such a common thing to hear, and it’s something most people likely believe. People tend to think of themselves as genuine, and everyone constantly hears how they should explore their interests, develop their passions and otherwise form an independent identity. People seem to know that they should stand up for what they believe in. They understand that they shouldn’t define themselves by a stereotype. But unfortunately, at Dartmouth, students often ignore that.
Colleges breed social activism. Thousands of young people from every corner of the country and beyond live together on one campus, bringing with them unique perspectives on issues both personal and political. In this melting pot of opinions, viewpoints collide to create either unity or tension, and movements take root under the leadership of inspired activists. Students arrive here bursting with ideas that they’ve brought from back home, many of them eager to share these ideas with their new community. They’re fueled further by an expansive liberal arts education and exposure to all kinds of new people. Perhaps most importantly, perceived injustices within the very institutions people attend motivate them to create change at the local level.
When Eric Libre ’85 arrived for his first year at Dartmouth in 1981, he found a school that was outdoorsy, down-to-earth, health-focused and thoroughly Greek. He absorbed all he could in his 150-student pre-medicine lecture classes while the biology and chemistry majors around him furiously scribbled their notes. But Eric Libre wanted more from his Dartmouth experience than what a one-dimensional focus on STEM could offer him. He pursued his passions in the humanities, socratically engaging with the origins of modern culture through history and Italian. He worked hard, using his D-Plan to secure off-campus work and research opportunities at the National Institute of Health and at local hospitals. When it came time to pick a major on his premed track, Eric Libre excitedly told the biology department head of his plans to combine STEM and the humanities through a new bioethics major — the professor told him he “wasn’t sure that fits” under premed. Under pressure but unwilling to give up on a liberal arts education, Eric Libre majored in history modified with Italian before heading to a top medical school in 1985.
Society dictates the ideal body. For women, it’s thin with luscious hair. For men, it’s broad shoulders with lean muscles. And for students at colleges with deep athletic traditions, the pressure to have an “ideal” body intensifies because so many people are physically fit. As Michaela Artavia-High ’21 noted in her recent Mirror piece, “Buff: The Ideal Male Body,” the connection between the demands of athletics and body image adds a layer of complexity to how everyone, including non-athletes, views themselves.
Phil Hanlon ’77 has served as the College’s President since June 2013. Five years into his tenure, Hanlon sat down with The Dartmouth to discuss issues facing the College.
Alcohol and substance use at the College forms part of a wider nationwide dialogue about high-risk behavior on college campuses. Dartmouth’s drug and alcohol policies have drastically changed over years, but most recently, the College has implemented new standards and refined current policies while continuing to offer a variety of programs that aim to reduce high-risk drinking and drug use among students. As the administration continues to evaluate current standards and programs dealing with alcohol and substance use, experts on substance use, students and alumni interviewed by The Dartmouth share their perspective on these policies.
Prospective Dartmouth students and parents arrive wide-eyed at the College after traveling far from their homes to reach the quaint town of Hanover, New Hampshire. These visitors who come to the school may make a stop inside Rauner Special Collections Library, where guides offer information about the magnitude and breadth of the library’s collections. Visitors can interact with the collection and learn about the artifacts, which range from Daniel Webster’s hat to historic documents like “The Godfather” author Mario Puzo’s papers.
Thirty years ago, the Internet was just arriving at the College. Not too long ago, desktop computers lined the main hallway of the first floor of Berry Library. Now, it is a common sight to see a Dartmouth student strolling this same hallway while looking down at their smartphone, perhaps checking their Blitz or Canvas.
Most of my Friday nights are spent according to a game plan adjusted based on social events put on by the College and the Greek system; I am no stranger to the different social spaces on campus. Since joining a Greek house, I have begun to become alienated from the party crowd that gravitates toward the big events organized by other houses. To refresh my memory and be able to record the student experience in some of campus’s most frequented social spaces, the Greek houses, I needed a guide.
Expectation drives, expectation cripples. Many students, despite coming to Dartmouth with a staunch readiness to absorb the breadth of knowledge inherent to a liberal arts education, carry the weight of expectations. That weight is sometimes definite, sometimes indefinite, but rooted always in a vision of the future that seems blurry and beyond reach.
Despite its explicit charter mission to educate Native American youth, the College largely ignored this commitment for its first 200 years. Between 1769 and 1969, the College graduated just 19 Native students.
Shakily gripping his iPhone, a father zooms in on his daughter’s tense expression, as she stares at her glowing laptop. She bites her lip, holds her breath, and makes one final, definitive click before dropping her jaw. “I GOT IN!” Her mom runs into the room and screams alongside her daughter, as her dad continues to film the culminating celebration of countless AP courses, after-school activities and Common Application essay revisions.
In February 2016, Dartmouth announced that it had created three working groups to examine diversity and inclusivity in the College’s faculty, staff and student body. The College then announced its Action Plan for Excellence in May. The plan, which focuses on six pillars to promote diversity and inclusivity, includes a long-term plan to ensure diversity in Dartmouth’s faculty.
On Jan. 10, 2018, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an education nonprofit that defends individual rights at American universities announced that Dartmouth had been downgraded to a “red light rating.” According to FIRE’s website, this title is reserved for universities that enforce policies that “both clearly and substantially restrict protected speech.” After this downgrade and a change in political climate following the 2016 presidential election, many individuals have begun to question the current state of free speech and political expression on Dartmouth’s campus.
This editors' note was featured in the Green Key 2017 Special Issue: "Awakening."
This article was featured in the Green Key 2017 Special Issue: "Awakening."
This article was featured in the Green Key 2017 Special Issue: "Awakening."