Dear Class of 2023,
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Dear Class of 2023,
When people find out that I go to Dartmouth, they often ask me, “How do you like it?” Even though I should know how to respond as a rising senior, it’s a question that I still struggle with. In the few seconds it takes for me to conjure up a response, I find it difficult to encapsulate all of my experiences, thoughts and feelings into a coherent response without seeming too enamored — or conversely, disillusioned by a lot of what I’ve experienced on this campus. My answer has evolved from term to term, but providing an honest and critical response to this question may seem inappropriate or perhaps ungrateful to some.
As you transition to Dartmouth life, there’s something you need to study up on. No, it’s not prepping for your pre-med classes or trying to learn the alma mater (no one really knows that anyway), but it is much more essential: you gotta learn the lingo.
In August and September, members of the College’s incoming class arrive on campus for First-Year Trips, a five-day outdoor program run by students before orientation week. Trips, officially run by the Dartmouth Outing Club, involves over 90 percent of the incoming class and includes over 300 student volunteers. It has roots that can be traced to humble beginnings over 90 years ago. In the near-century that has passed, the program has undergone numerous changes to shape it into its current form.
In 1978, “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” a comedy film that documents the ventures of several fictional fraternity brothers, was released. Chris Miller ’63, one of the movie’s writers, based parts of the movie on his personal experiences in Dartmouth’s former chapter of Alpha Delta. The film received critical praise, but its depiction of Greek life and party culture has entrenched a lasting negative reputation on the College.
Editor’s note: The class action lawsuit against the College about which this article is written concluded on Aug. 6 with an agreement for settlement. As of press time, the parties have requested a 15-day extension to file the Stipulation and Agreement of Settlement from the original Aug. 20 date. Many of the interviews featured in this article were conducted prior to when the settlement was reached.
Most students can remember the first time they stepped foot on Dartmouth’s campus. Perhaps they were struck by the red brick and white columns of the dorms, or the impressive outline of Baker tower puncturing the blue sky. Or maybe it was the stately white of Dartmouth Hall, framed on either side by Thornton and Wentworth Halls.
In June, sociology professor and South House professor Kathryn Lively was named Dean of the College. She previously served as interim dean since July 2018, when former Dean of the College Rebecca Biron returned to teaching. As dean, Lively will oversee undergraduate academic life, the Student Affairs division and the six house communities. Her term began on July 1. In the following interview with The Dartmouth, Lively discusses her goals related to the house system, Greek life and more topics important to students.
Dartmouth has a reputation as an institution that excels at both research and undergraduate teaching. Incoming students are likely familiar with this notion, having read it in admission pamphlets or heard it during campus information sessions. Like its students, many of the College’s faculty chose to pursue a career at Dartmouth because of this dual excellence. But this double goal — quality teaching as well as quality research — isn’t achieved without challenges.
At Dartmouth, classes are taught by faculty members with varying titles, from “instructor” to “assistant professor” to “professor” — and everything in between. Though the specifics of each position are often unknown to students, these different titles generally refer to stages in an important process: faculty tenure.
In 2015, Dartmouth introduced a new house system in an effort to provide more continuity in the student residential experience. The system was introduced as a part of the Moving Dartmouth Forward plan, which aimed at eliminating high-risk behavior and increasing inclusivity, with a goal of promoting “intellectual engagement, community, and continuity.”
Welcome, Class of 2023! In case you haven’t yet received Dartmouth paraphernalia with “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” splashed across the cover, it’s time you learned about your new favorite author. Also known as Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel graduated from Dartmouth in 1925 before he went on to write over 60 books. While in Hanover, Geisel worked for the Jack-o-Lantern, Dartmouth’s humor magazine, adopted his famous pen name and even violated prohibition laws. Though Geisel is no longer with us, his legacy lives on in the Dr. Seuss Room in Baker Library, at the Geisel School of Medicine and, of course, in the hundreds of millions of children’s books on shelves around the world. One might even say that Geisel is Dartmouth’s most successful alumnus of all time. So sit back, relax and take notes from the Doctor himself.
Whether it’s your freshman dorm, a bench on the Green or a library study nook, you will soon find a place at Dartmouth that you connect to. But first, you will get lost more times than you can count, even after you ask five upperclassmen for directions. Here’s to minimizing your confusion and providing basic details about the most important campus locations to know! The locations are in approximate order of North to South.
Glittering trays of chicken nuggets, steaming hot waffles fresh off the press and ice cream — so much ice cream — await behind the doors to Foco. At the start of your freshman fall, I’m sure you’ll eat one, two, three or maybe four meals a day in Dartmouth’s only all-you-can-eat dining location.
Freshman orientation: For most, it’s a time of awkward introductions, forced smiles, getting lost and, if you’re lucky, the feeling that you might just have met someone who could be your new best friend. It’s also a time when it seems like your entire life has burst open with the opportunity to become a new person, develop new skills or concentrate on an interest that you haven’t yet had the time or courage to put out there. And so it was for me for a few glorious days of freshman fall — that is, until I was struck down by what I like to call the Freshman Plague.
As a new freshman class arrives to campus every year, students come bearing differing academic visions for their next four years at Dartmouth: some pre-med, some engineering, some humanities, others perhaps more focused on languages or social sciences. However, many — like me — come to Dartmouth their freshman fall knowing next to nothing about what to pursue academically or professionally. This can make choosing one’s first term of classes quite an endeavor.
Once upon a time, some Dartmouth fraternity brothers playing table tennis rested their mugs of beer on the table while they played. A few stray ping pong balls landed in the cups by divine accident, until someone proposed that it was more fun to aim for the mugs of beer themselves.
The painter. The poet. The nerd who owns it. The swimmer. The hiker. The party-all-nighter. The baker. The maker. The family caretaker. The bundle-of-nerves-for-this-term-long-icebreaker. You all have unique experiences that have shaped your identities coming into college. Every Dartmouth student — from those who come from “Just Outside Boston” to those who come from Rwanda — has their own world of memories and skills to share with the Dartmouth community. You are all so different, yet you all ended up here, in middle-of-nowhere New Hampshire, for the most transformative years of your lives.
Academia has historically been a white and male sphere. According to the National Center for Education, in 2016, 53 percent of full time professors were white males, while another 27 percent were white females. Despite an increasingly diverse student body, Dartmouth’s own campus reflects these national trends. According to the Office of Institutional Research, 80 percent of the 316 tenured professors at the College in 2018 were white and 62 percent were men. By contrast, nearly half of the newly-admitted Class of 2023 are Americans of color and 12 percent are international citizens, according to the College Admissions Office.
Dartmouth has long been known for its small-town charm and picturesque New England campus. As the smallest university in the Ivy League, the College appeals to students who appreciate its quaint setting coupled with the academic rigor common among its peer institutions. But of all the charming towns scattered in the Northeast, why was Dartmouth founded in Hanover, and how does the College’s relationship with the town stand today?