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Residents of at least five sorority houses and one fraternity house have experienced a range of internet problems since the beginning of the term, causing some students to be unable to load prerecorded lectures, attend meetings or even connect to synchronous Zoom classes.
The quarantine period for students living on campus has come to an end, and many are glad to finally grab a meal inside Dartmouth’s dining locations. But from capacity limits to sanitation measures, even eating in a dining hall looks different this term.
This year’s Homecoming celebration marked a stark departure from a traditional Homecoming weekend, which usually sees Dartmouth’s signature bonfire and an influx of alumni dressed in green. Over the weekend, the College put together its first-ever virtual Homecoming celebration, which featured a mix of pre-recorded and live events.
Despite the national economic downturn due to COVID-19, the College’s endowment grew to a record high of $5.98 billion this year. In total, the College’s investments yielded a 7.6% return, up slightly from last year’s 7.5% return.
In pre-pandemic times, the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center greenhouse — which is currently closed due to COVID-19 — was a popular spot for students looking to escape Hanover’s bitter cold. Visitors could wander among tropical, sub-tropical and desert rooms that remain warm year-round. One of the more impressive features of the greenhouse is the 1,500-plant orchid collection, which fills two rooms — one cool and one warm. First donated by Alan P. Brout ’51 in 1996, the orchid collection comes from around the world — from Africa to the Andes.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the video-conferencing platform Zoom has dominated higher education, with many colleges and universities adopting the technology as a temporary substitute for in-person instruction. Though Zoom allows students to remain connected to their academic experience, as well as with family and friends, the wide-scale adoption of the platform has raised questions around student data and privacy.
As of Sept. 28, students spending the term on or near campus will be tested once a week for COVID-19. The primary testing area has been moved from the Maynard Lot near Dick’s House to Leverone Field House, and volunteer testers have been replaced by workers from testing company Axiom Medical.
Although undergraduate advisors have always had a role in enforcing community guidelines and school policy, pandemic regulations have added new duties, and with them new concerns.
After three years as interim director, Keiselim “Keysi” Montás has been officially named director of the Department of Safety and Security, according to a Sept. 22 College announcement. Montás has worked for Safety and Security for over a decade, while also teaching tango, writing poetry and advising student clubs and trips.
As the College continues to ride out a wave of revenue losses, budget cuts and hits to various programs due to the financial fallout of COVID-19, the Tuck School of Business announced on Sept. 15 that it had laid off 18 staff members. Meanwhile, the Thayer School of Engineering has announced that it is not planning any layoffs, and other divisions at the College have not announced decisions about job reductions at this time.
A thoughtful teacher known for his welcoming presence and community-based, experiential courses, Terry Osborne inspired his students to connect with their local communities. Osborne, who served as a senior lecturer at the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric and the environmental studies program, died of cancer on Sept. 7 at the age of 60.
On Sept. 24, the Hopkins Center for the Arts’ “Hop at Home'' series hosted Jake Tapper ’91 for a live chat session. Tapper, CNN’s chief Washington correspondent and host of “The Lead With Jake Tapper,” joined students and staff for a Q&A on the movie adaption of his New York Times bestseller, “The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor.”
Students looking for a way to stay in the loop about on-campus happenings have a new option for finding events. On Sept. 15, Arjun Bhatt ’20 and his team of Dartmouth students and alumni launched Who’s Down, a new app that aims to connect students safely with campus events during the pandemic. The app, which has been downloaded to 264 devices through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, was funded by the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship and created with support from the Digital Applied Learning and Innovation Lab.
Over 200 people tuned in to watch the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy 2020 Constitution Day lecture given by legal journalist and scholar Linda Greenhouse on Wednesday night. The topic of the lecture — polarization and the Supreme Court — was a timely one in light of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recent death.
In an effort to streamline laundry services on campus, the College has phased out most old Dartmouth ID card readers in favor of a new mobile app that allows students to pay with a credit card rather than with DASH. However, some students have reported difficulties with the new system.
Quarantine and regular testing aren’t the only ways in which COVID-19 has disrupted campus operations. In an effort to reduce contamination, recycling has been suspended indefinitely in residence halls on campus, according to Facilities Operations and Management associate vice president Frank Roberts.
With a number of highly contested races on the ballot this November, political hopefuls across New Hampshire have been vying to court the student vote. In a virtual town hall last week, NextGen New Hampshire, a political action committee that seeks to mobilize young voters to elect progressive candidates, made its pitch to students to support Democratic nominee for New Hampshire governor, state senator Dan Feltes (D-Concord).
While Dartmouth’s reopening has so far gone smoothly with only six cumulative cases since July 1, the College has identified certain key benchmarks for when it may need to reevaluate its reopening plan. Since its debut ahead of students’ return to campus this fall, the COVID-19 reporting dashboard has allowed the Dartmouth community to follow relevant testing, quarantine and isolation data.
As Dartmouth makes dramatic adjustments to student life due to COVID-19, the Dean of the College Student Advisory Board has met regularly with Dean of the College Kathryn Lively, seeking to bring student perspectives to the decision-making table. In the two months since its creation, the board has provided input on issues such as how to bring students back to campus safely and methods to promote adherence to COVID-19 regulations.
Protests in Hong Kong may seem far away for most Dartmouth students, but the Chinese government’s response — a new national security law with worldwide implications — has brought concerns about censorship and surveillance to Dartmouth itself. In the law’s wake, the College has issued a set of guidelines encouraging professors to take precautions when teaching about topics considered unpalatable by Beijing.