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Last Friday, actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced for her role in the college admissions scandal uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues. Huffman confessed to paying $15,000 for an SAT proctor to change her daughter’s incorrect answers before her test was submitted a pretty obvious case of education fraud.
Members of the Class of 2023 fresh out of First-Year Trips gave Divest Dartmouth a lot of attention during last week’s activity fair. Divest Dartmouth is a well-known brand at Dartmouth — they have almost 1,500 followers on Facebook and their stickers give MacBooks and Nalgenes around campus more personality. Divest Dartmouth also has a mission: “That Dartmouth College ceases to invest in coal, tar sands and the Climate Action List of the most harmful oil and gas companies identified by the Fossil Free Index and Union of Concerned Scientists.”
After a night out last spring, as I walked from Webster Ave. to Fayerweather Hall, I encountered a strange monument on the sidewalk between the Dickey Center and Baker-Berry Library. There, sprawled across the ground, torn and dilapidated, lay the official West House flag. More than likely stolen from the House professor’s residence and then dumped on the sidewalk by drunk students, the flag, to me, represented more than mild vandalism. Like the flag, the House system stands at the crossroads of the student body and administration — celebrated by Dartmouth’s administration but evidently resented by its student body. In the wake of Dartmouth’s most recent restrictions on building access, it is clearly time for the College to abandon its unpopular housing regime.
The legalization of the birth control pill was one of the greatest victories for feminism in recent history: Its use is prevalent, and its effects are profound. Though they were aware of the pill’s potential for women’s liberation, the women who worked to legalize the pill strategically prioritized legal goals over making an ideological statement.
While e-cigarettes are now, for the first time, attracting serious national attention, their popularity is nothing new to me. Nearly five years ago, there existed a sort of underground market for e-cigarettes at my private high school in Louisiana. The profiteers in this racket, a handful of sophomore boys, used all sorts of ingenious means to buy product to skirt legal age restrictions — fake IDs, siblings over 18 and online purchases made with Bitcoin.
Looking back now, I have very few regrets from my first year of college. After all, freshman year is meant to be a time of trial and error. From randomly choosing a dance partner for the “Salty Dog Rag” (a First-Year Trips tradition) to painstakingly selecting courses for the fall, Dartmouth freshmen are presented with a multitude of choices right off the bat that often define their first term.
I spent the summer before Dartmouth in a constant state of buoyancy. I was finally done with high school, which meant I was finally free to do whatever I wanted in college. The possibilities felt endless. I told myself, as Carey Mulligan did in “An Education”: “I’m going to read what I want and listen to what I want, and I’m going to look at paintings and watch French films and I’m going to talk to people who know lots about lots.” Early on, I set my heart on economics and comparative literature double-majors and a minor in music with the kind of confidence of someone who knew nothing. The D-Plan, with all its touted flexibility, seemed like the perfect vehicle for my academic plans. And as someone who wanted as much range in her studies as possible, I thought the combination I had chosen was perfect.
When I first stepped off the Dartmouth Coach in early September to begin my freshman year at Dartmouth, I thought that I was dreaming. It was the kind of afternoon that those of us familiar with northern New England’s erratic climate hope to experience once or twice a season. With golden sunshine reflecting off of the rooftops, brightly colored autumn leaves and a bright blue sky set against the silhouette of Baker-Berry Library, Dartmouth’s beauty enchanted me the second I laid eyes on campus. Heaven, I thought, could not be more wonderful than my beautiful new school.
Welcome to Dartmouth — a place of self-discovery, creativity and humility. Perhaps it was the very subtlety of students and professors’ intelligence that drew you to the school — it certainly was at the top of my pros and cons list a year ago. The College is composed of devoted intellectuals who prefer to walk the walk over talking the talk. But while humility is a uniting thread throughout Dartmouth — professors and students rarely share their accomplishments— I encourage you to be bold, brave and confident as you take on freshman year.
Why do we gravitate towards certain forms of entertainment at certain times? My millennial generation witnessed the rise of the dystopian novel and the rapid growth of the horror television genre. Is there a particular reason my generation identifies so strongly with these forms of leisure activities that shock and disturb us?
On Aug. 7, federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents conducted raids in Mississippi targeting immigrants working in food-processing factories across the state. Around 680 immigrant workers were detained by the more than 600 ICE agents in the largest single-state coordinated sting operation in U.S. history.
Every time I pass through the Hopkins Center this summer, I feel disconcerted by how empty the building is. Student-led tour groups, which usually crowd the space in front of Moore theater, are now outside, enjoying balmy weather on the Green. Voices can sometimes be heard floating over from the Hinman mailboxes, but no one is seen. The windows of the Courtyard Café are dark, while the hallway next to it seems perpetually submerged in half-darkness. Granted, campus is a lot emptier during summer, but the silence permeating the Hop seems especially out of the ordinary.
As an environmentalist, I had come to think of the organic label as the pinnacle of sustainable agriculture. In my mind, an organic sticker signified that produce comes from small, multi-crop farms, without synthetic inputs or excessive water and energy use, and that animal products are raised in free-range, humane conditions. Organic means more environmentally ethical — or so I thought. As it turns out, organic agriculture standards have expanded in recent years to encompass alarming practices that few would consider to be true to the original values of organic farming.
Almost every weekend at Dartmouth, you can find me scrambling up mountains, skiing through the woods, or running and biking along quiet roads lined with pine and birch forests. Yet I have only recently begun to declare myself an “outdoorswoman,” despite having fallen head-over-heels for the out-of-doors almost immediately after joining the Dartmouth Outing Club at the end of my freshman fall. At first, my deniability was somewhat plausible — I was simply an amateur trying out a new novelty. As time wore on, though, I was forced to admit that my hours spent in the forests and on the mountaintops of the Whites were more than just a passing whim. I loved the mountains and felt most in touch with myself and those around me when outside.
Now is an interesting time for Ethiopia. The country has emerged in the last year as the sweetheart of the developing world, in large part due to the leadership of its new reformist Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed. But a central issue has threatened the country’s new-found prosperity: ethnic nationalism. At the moment, Ethiopia’s budding progress is being diluted by the secessionist ambitions of its myriad ethnic minorities. However, this is not the time for individual nationalist ambitions to be entertained by the central government. Rather, it is time to establish a functioning national government that can enable a well-oiled, growing economy.
The Democratic left has been punching well above its weight recently. Its ideas have dominated the primary season — of the candidates currently averaging over 10 percent in Democratic primary polling, only Joe Biden is associated with the moderate wing of the party (though he, to be fair, maintains a sizeable lead over his rivals).
The most nuanced conversations I have about current political issues are private. In large groups, I nod in agreement. With close friends, I engage.
Here at Dartmouth, the idea of a liberal arts education guides our institution like a north star. It’s why the distributive system plays such a prominent role, akin to “general education,” in our academic experience. And it certainly would explain why pamphlets and tour groups boast of the metamorphosis into well-rounded intellectuals (ergo capable within both STEM and the humanities) at every chance they get. The goal of our education is to cultivate the totality of our abilities, not just our respective disciplines.