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There is a collapsible, gray-and-white-striped fabric box from IKEA that sits neatly under my bed. This box has a flip top that opens to reveal all of my “going out” clothes. All of my female friends have their own versions of this box — a dresser drawer, a storage bin, a section of their closet, etc. On “going out” nights, we pull out various tops and bottoms, all baring more skin than is entirely practical for the bitingly cold nights of Hanover. Getting ready takes us anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, complete with plenty of laughter, compliments and outfit assistance on themed nights.
The American mall is home to some of our favorite retail stores. It’s where we go to browse for the latest clothing trends or to try on those boots we’ve been wanting. You see a shirt, try it on, decide you look dashing in it and, if you agree with the price, you buy it. What rarely crosses our minds throughout this process is how that shirt was made and who made it. After all, we worked hard for our money, which we have a right to exchange for the shirt. In this seemingly innocuous transaction, however, you have just been unknowingly swept up into the vicious cycle of fast fashion.
Discrimination is a learned behavior. Nobody is born with notions of the superiority of one group over another, nor would we even perceive much of a difference between people if these dissimilarities were not taught to us. But from an early age, we are segregated by sex, whether by direct grouping or by internalized societal pressures, so we grow up learning not to cross imaginary lines. The divide between the sexes is enormous and older than the human historical record. It’s high time the gap was filled, and what better place to start than the minds of America’s children?
On paper, the 2016 election cycle was an overwhelming success for the Republican Party — one that saw the Senate, the House of Representatives and, most importantly, the presidency fall under GOP control. With control of the White House and Senate, the administration of President Donald Trump was able to appoint Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, all but guaranteeing a strong conservative presence on the nation’s highest court for decades to come. Yet, in spite of the resounding triumph within each of the United States’ three branches of government, the Republican Party remains more fragmented than it has been in decades. Typically, divisions within major political parties have coincided with the presence of a crushing defeat, not an overwhelming victory. However, the recent failures of the GOP are anything but innocuous for a party that, despite its legislative dominance, seems increasingly disunified.
As a high school senior, the colleges I visited prided themselves on their undergraduate experiences. Admissions tour guides emphasized the depth and breadth of the opportunities available — study abroads, spring break internships, corporate recruiting partnerships and more. College was depicted as an all-you-can-eat buffet, where the idea that there was a single route to a degree was preposterous. At the same time, these same admissions tour guides spoke glowingly of their colleges’ four-year graduation rates. Dartmouth was no exception. But spending a greater number of years in higher education should not be so universally considered as indicative of failure. The benefits of a longer undergraduate education, which allows students to undergo a broader and deeper range of academic and non-academic experiences, outweigh the costs, financial and otherwise.
Last week, I attended two dinner events, ordered free gear and learned about two funding opportunities on campus. Such is the power of the knowledge I received via Listserv, the software with the capability to forward emails to the entire Dartmouth campus.
On Sunday, Oct. 1, the largest mass shooting in modern American history took place in Las Vegas. The usual questions came immediately to media attention: What was the shooter’s motive? Was this an act of terror? But no one second-guessed a critical part of the story: The perpetrator was a he. Since 1982, 91 mass shootings have occurred with more than four victims, and of those only three were committed by women. Mass shootings in America are a gendered issue, something that we need to acknowledge and question. What aspects of masculinity are contributing to mass shootings — and how can we take concrete steps not only to eliminate tragedies but also to change social attitudes surrounding gun violence?
Every woman deserves uninhibited control over her body. To question her dominion over her very self is to threaten her most intimate security, to impose inequity in interpersonal relationships, to inherently discriminate against her in professional environments and to put an essential element of her ability to lead a healthy, productive and happy life into the hands someone else. How can any person claim to know the best or most morally right path of action for anybody other than himself? Yet in opposition to what ought to be an unalienable right, a war for reproductive rights has been waged for decades, and on Oct. 6, President Donald Trump’s administration predictably stoked the flame.
In the fall of 2016, conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos came to Dartmouth to speak, despite vocal objections from many students and faculty. Last spring, Native American studies professor N. Bruce Duthu ’80 declined his appointment as the dean of the faculty of arts and sciences amid concerns over his support of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Both of these events roused dialogue about Dartmouth’s commitment to supporting diverse ideas, but they also raised a larger question. What obligation does Dartmouth, as a private academic institution, have to uphold free speech and at what point should Dartmouth comment on and act upon the public actions of its students and faculty?
Earlier this term, a floormate told me how guilty she felt for watching YouTube videos unrelated to coursework, something she had never felt in high school. While Dartmouth students have a reputation of being laid-back, even as a first-year I have seen how deeply imbued students are in the corporate recruiting world. As week five approaches and the term reaches its halfway mark, this balancing act becomes a juggling one. We manage academic and athletic schedules, friendships and relationships, healthy eating and declining DBA. This seems logical — most of us are Dartmouth students because we are wired to take advantage of every opportunity we can. But despite the extent to which our classmates pretend to have it all, not everything is possible. Unless we consciously change it, America’s emphasis on stress and corporate culture begins during our four years at college.
To most American citizens, the small Caribbean island of Puerto Rico seems to be distant and wholly irrelevant to the country as a whole. Indeed, only 54 percent of Americans are aware that the 3.5 million inhabitants of the island are U.S. citizens. And they are suffering, not just from Hurricane Maria, but from underlying issues worsened by the island’s territorial status. Washington has a duty, therefore, to protect its citizens by accepting Puerto Rico into its ranks as the 51st state in the Union.
I ran into something strange over the summer.
“Acche Din” — “Good Days” in Hindi — was the slogan that helped bring Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party to power in India in 2014. Now, more than three years into Modi’s term, India has yet to experience those promised good times. Modi has put India into an undesirable position. The BJP’s reforms have not gone far enough, the economy is not growing as quickly as expected and the country is increasingly being divided along ethno-religious lines.
We live in a time of tremendous social change. America enjoys more pluralism, civil rights and social equality than at any other point in its 241-year history. In the social media-dominated election of 2016, millennials surpassed baby boomers as the largest generational voting bloc. American democracy is more open, young and diverse than ever before. However, this country systematically denies the birthright of voting along a stark line of social, moral, political and economic inequality. This condemnation of young Americans to second-class citizenship delegitimizes our democracy, hinders long-term policymaking and violates human rights. We must recognize the inalienable voting rights of our minors.
Today, we often let convenience make our decisions for us. The easiest and perhaps the quickest option usually wins. The rapid growth and success of online retailers such as Amazon offer proof that many of us would rather click a few buttons than get ourselves to a store to buy the things we need or want. It’s just so easy. In the past two weeks, I have ordered a rain jacket, face wash, a phone charger and a comforter through Amazon. Yes, I could have walked down to CVS or taken the free shuttle to West Lebanon to buy these items, but why leave campus when I can make purchases from the comfort of my dorm room? Yet this convenience comes with an inherent trade-off in sustainability. Ordering things online multiplies the amount of packaging needed. Instead of the singular box an item comes packaged in at the store, the shipping process uses an additional box and tape that would not otherwise be needed.
On GroupMe and Snapchat, most exchanges with my friends begin with questions like: “Breakfast at 7:10 a.m.?” “Lunch after class?” “Collis or Foco?” At 10 p.m. on any given day, we can be found at the Hop for Late Night (“$5.50 for a fruit cup?!”) calculating how many meal swipes we’ve used that week. Over the past month, campus dining has streamlined my diet into a rotation of salads, pasta, omelettes and smoothies. Most nights I pair the latest offering from Ma Thayer’s with cantaloupe cubes while my more athletic friends gorge themselves on plates of pizza and grilled cheese. Yet as someone who believes that “you are what you eat,” I’ve felt that an essential part of me is missing.
When I first read Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History” as a high school student, I loved its romanticization of academia. The novel ostensibly focuses on the aesthetics of higher education. The main character, Richard Papen, arrives at the fictitious Hampden College and instantly falls in love with New England. He later manages to join five other students in the school’s exclusive classics department and spends most of his time bonding with his classmates over studying Greek literature.
Feminists are proud, independent women, but in order to further our cause, we do, in fact, need men. A major shift in the social paradigm is impossible when only part of the population is fighting for change. We need the other sex to fill the gaps, to help us form a united front and to project our voices in the places where we are not heard yet. This does not mean we are asking for charity.
If you were to ask a Dartmouth student studying Mandarin why they were devoting their time to learning the language, they might cite its potential utility in the near future. With a population of around 1.3 billion people and an economy that, depending on who you ask, either is about to or already has surpassed that of the United States, China is irrefutably a major player on the international stage. So, the Mandarin-learning Dartmouth student would be right to say that Mandarin will become more useful. However, its overall use will remain limited, and it is unlikely to ascend to become the next global lingua franca — or “bridge language.”
Dartmouth encourages and aspires for us to become citizens and leaders of the world, and an international perspective is a critical indicator of an enriching education. Yet gaining this perspective begins with how we read the world. To read it insightfully and critically, we require intercultural competence, knowledge about one’s own culture and other cultures and the ability to bridge these divides through dialogue. For many of us, especially those not fortunate enough to currently be studying abroad or completing an internship, our source of literature is the news. When we watch the news, we should consider issues in an international perspective to achieve our goals, to fulfill our civic responsibilities and to expand our minds.