Throughout my first term and a half at Dartmouth, I have consistently felt different. I am not from a large metropolitan city or one of its suburbs. I am not from New England or the Bay Area. I do not come from a long history of wealth. I come from a university town in the South with a population of about 26,000 people.
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At Dartmouth, other than making connections with our professors, we primarily interact with peers our age. “Homophily,” or the tendency for people to choose to associate with those similar to them, is common when we make friendships. This is common when it comes to what age group we make friends with. The concept that we must confine ourselves to same-age friendships remains unchallenged on our college campus, where the majority of people are considered to be young adults. Simply put, most of our friendships and close relationships are with other college students — which is natural.
There seems to be pressure placed upon humanities majors to abandon their studies for STEM fields. I have felt this pressure myself at Dartmouth, the desire to let go of my English major and study something more “practical.” Beyond my doubts, I have also had people tell me that English and writing have no future — that it is best to give up before I pour all of my time and energy into it. It’s not an incredibly outlandish desire, considering the STEM craze that has been ensuing for the past decade, driven by an increase in STEM-only schools and programs. But something in me will not let go. I simply love what I study far too much. After all, what job does not require strong writing and critical thinking skills? As a matter of fact, most employers typically look for candidates with strong written communication skills.
The past few months have been excruciating for many elite universities across the United States, and outside observers have had no mercy. News coverage of campus reactions to the war between Israel and Palestine has been far-reaching, painting a picture of chaotic controversy. In one instance, Fox News even titled one of their recent newsletters “The Poison Ivy League,” and guests on the network have criticized many elite schools’ responses to protests.
Any form of hate directed against students for their race, religion or nationality is unacceptable. Yet sadly, such hate was directed at Muslim and Palestinian students this Winter Carnival.
Dartmouth recently reinstated standardized testing as one of its admissions requirements. This is commendable: we must select the smartest minds. But we should not just raise our intellectual standards, we must raise our physical standards.
As a low-income, international student from Peru, I write to express my profound concern about the reinstatement of the SAT requirement in the admissions process for the Class of 2029 and beyond. As Dartmouth’s senior leadership is undoubtedly aware, the application process for international students differs significantly from that of American students, since the resources available to international students are both more limited and more exclusive. While some international students are fortunate enough to have the means for SAT fees and preparation, many do not have these privileges. This is especially burdensome for low-income, international students who seek to apply to prestigious institutions such as Dartmouth.
A coalition of Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latiné, first-generation, international, individuals with disabilities and working-class organizations and students on this campus express our dissatisfaction towards the recent repeal of Dartmouth’s test-optional policy and the reinstatement of required standardized testing.
As members of Access Dartmouth, a student group dedicated to student accessibility, we are writing to oppose President Sian Leah Beilock’s decision to reinstate the standardized testing requirement for undergraduate admissions. This decision will harm the admissions chances of disabled students, a group that has for far too long been overlooked in higher education. Disabled students are equally capable of excelling at Dartmouth and equally deserving of inclusion and opportunity.
Google collects users’ data and sells it, and that’s an undeniable fact. The reality that the world’s most popular search engine is spying on us is such common knowledge that it barely registers for most people anymore. Google is so ingrained into everyday life that most consider the search engine’s data collection to be a necessary sacrifice for the sake of browsing the internet. However, this accepting and defeatist attitude ignores the fact that there is a far superior alternative: Firefox. For any internet user, but especially those in college, Firefox is the only browser with no caveats.
Last Friday, the Biden administration delayed its approval of 17 liquid natural gas export terminals, including an expansion of the Calcasieu Pass 2 terminal on the coast of Louisiana that would have made it the largest in the country. Though the delay of the export terminals will decrease American exports of natural gas, it is not clear that it will actually reduce global emissions. Biden’s willingness to pause the projects due to shaky evidence signals a lack of solution-oriented climate action. Facing re-election, the President has prioritized the appearance of emissions reductions, not actual emission reductions. Young voters should keep this in mind when they go to the polls this year.
We all remember the chaotic election four years ago, as then-incumbent Donald Trump faced former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. With the nation divided more deeply than ever while also suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, Donald Trump proved to be an ineffective leader, and with the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, he proved to be an authoritarian seeking to destroy democracy through violent abuse of power. Now, as we seem to be close to a rematch between Trump and Biden in this year’s election, we must address the failures of the Republican and Democratic parties to nominate leaders that voters actually want to be in office.
Although we live in one of the most peaceful times in human history, we are likely the most engaged generation in the politics of our world. Student responses to the war in Ukraine and in Israel and Gaza prove just that. However, what I find disheartening is that students often only mobilize around whatever is currently most shocking and highlighted in the news. Seldom do I see people talking about the quieter issues. Now, this isn’t a slight upon college students. We are all exceptionally busy with exams, papers, extracurricular activities and the like, but I would like to encourage students to take an interest in the events that are unfortunately placed far behind the front page.
Climate change has been a hot button issue for decades now, and the surrounding fervor has even grown in recent years. Politicians continue to make it an issue on the campaign trail, while scientists search for solutions to what may be the greatest looming threat to humanity in the coming decades.
I love recycling — seriously. Nothing indulges my inner environmentalist more than rinsing a dirty plastic container and tossing it into a recycling bin. I once felt assured that my recycling habits had prevented immense amounts of plastic from ending up in a landfill. One can imagine my dismay when I learned that not even a third of waste in the U.S. gets recycled.
For as long as I can remember, climate change has been looming over my future. More and more people fear dying due to environmental devastation, and some even alter their plans for the future because of it. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 5% of childless people cite environmental problems as their reasoning behind not having children. While climate change and environmental destruction are some of the most pressing issues of our generation, having such a doomed mindset detracts from accomplishing tangible policy changes and environmental preservation.
Recent violence in the Red Sea has brought international shipping to its knees and challenged the idea that free trade brings global peace and cooperation. The United States must recognize that any short-term military involvement without the development of a long-lasting consensus on free trade and cooperation will only prolong violence.
The New Hampshire primary could be a turning point for the outcome of the Republican presidential nomination. While most commentators recognize that former President Donald Trump is the likely candidate to secure the party’s nomination, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has a real chance at winning New Hampshire. With a lower-stakes Democratic primary and undeclared voters eligible to participate, chances are higher that Haley will upset Trump. While the odds are long, a strong showing in New Hampshire would help Haley win the nomination.
Students can change the course of history. And on Jan. 23, Dartmouth students have the opportunity to help save democracy by writing in Joe Biden on the Democratic presidential primary ballot.
Last term, we were unfortunate enough to live through a major event in world history. Breaking out less than a month after President Sian Leah Beilock’s inauguration, the war between Israel and Gaza was the first test of Beilock’s nascent administration — a test which it failed. A series of mistakes from the administration following Oct. 7 have inflamed campus tensions and endangered students’ freedom of speech. The administration’s arrest of student protestors and its treatment of the Muslim and Palestinian communities have harmed many students, including myself, and my faith in the administration has sunk to an all-time low.