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When I first came to Dartmouth, I was aware of several aspects of my identity. I was a lover of books. I wanted to study English and creative writing so that I could write stories that helped other people the way the stories I had read had helped me. I was white. I was a woman. I was middle-class. I was from Colorado, and I loved the mountains.
Law and Order. Beyond being the title of a popular TV series — we know the familiar “dun dun” just played in your head — the concept is present in many facets of our daily lives. However, it is also subjective; each society has its own set of rules and regulations on par with its norms and expectations. We often believe that laws reflect what’s right and wrong — but with the variable constructions of what is good or bad, it may not be so black and white. In some countries, corporal punishment is a practical parenting method; in others, it is child abuse and illegal. In some parts of the world, marijuana can be bought and sold legally; in others, its possession can be punishable by death. In this week’s edition of the Mirror, we look at issues related to law and order. We investigate the opioid crisis in New Hampshire; we hear from the director of the Global Health Initiative Program at Dartmouth about the implications of coronovirus; and we ask our writers about their views on matters related to the law.
One in six Americans report running out of food at least once a year. In college, where we have meal plans and dining halls, it is easy for some to ignore this problem. But at the collegiate level, food insecurity is still an incredibly pressing issue. A 2019 survey released by Temple University’s Hope Center for College, Community and Justice indicated that 45 percent of student respondents from over 100 institutions said they had experienced food insecurity in the past 30 days. At Dartmouth, students on financial aid who have stayed on campus over interim periods have reported struggling with financing meals.
It is in the nature of heroes to be flawed. Whether your hero is a parent, an athlete or a political figure, at some point, everyone realizes that their idol is not perfect. It’s a part of growing up, but that doesn’t make the realization any less difficult.
The end of the world — we’ve all thought about it. Whether the image that pops into your mind consists of aliens descending on Earth or acres of land engulfed in flames, the concept of “doomsday” has been present in our society’s media, literature and entertainment for centuries. However, with the looming threat of climate change — that nightmare is becoming closer and closer to reality. Footage of California’s forest fires, earthquakes in Puerto Rico and flooding in Florida have been circulating throughout the internet, rightfully terrifying all who view it. For some, these natural disasters are motivators to become more active in the movement to stop climate change. For others, the devastation of these events and the seeming imminence of total destruction is overwhelming and makes them feel helpless.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, WhatsApp and more — with the multitude of social media platforms that exist, we have access to endless streams of information with the click of a button. We also have the ability to share that information with anyone we’re connected to — whether that be thousands of followers or just a handful of close friends. With that power comes responsibility; the knowledge we perpetuate can have a widespread impact, both positive and negative. In the age of fake news and biased reporting, it’s just as easy to mislead others as it is to be misinformed yourself.
There is no shortage of conflict in our world today: from online discussions about a possible “World War III,” to the restructuring of the British royal family, to the debate over which candidates will represent the Democratic and Republican parties in the 2020 presidential election, the evidence is everywhere. But if conflict is the norm rather than the anomaly, how do we make sense of the swirl of players, agendas and outcomes all around us? How do we inform ourselves about conflict in a world increasingly permeated by misinformation, and how do we formulate an opinion and craft an appropriate response?
This year marks exactly 100 years since 1920, when the 19th Amendment was ratified and women in the United States were granted the right to vote. 1920 marked the end of a centuries-long battle by women to secure their ability to voice their opinion and fight for their political rights. In the 100 years since, the women’s rights movement has seen many more successes, like equal opportunities in higher education and equal pay, but it has also encountered many more setbacks, like the recent restriction of reproductive health rights. And lingering beneath everything that has happened over the past 100 years is a consistent undercurrent of oppression of those who identify as female, which makes achieving success difficult and each setback disheartening.
The cliché of “finding yourself” never feels as real as it does during the four years of college. Many of us may have completely different conceptions of our identities than we did when we first stepped foot on Dartmouth’s campus. Perhaps this is because Dartmouth pushes you to develop as a person or because you experience a great deal of change over the course of the four years you spend here — or maybe because at a place like Dartmouth, you are virtually guranteed to interact with people whose identities differ from your own.
Accessibility is often a topic that is not talked about until it is questioned. For many of us, accessibility is taken for granted; we don’t think twice about opening a door, walking up a flight of stairs or reading a whiteboard. But for some, these seemingly mundane tasks pose obstacles that must be carefully and thoughtfully addressed. For those with disabilities, going to college can provide a whole host of new challenges and struggles, beyond just being in a new place.
From Dartmouth’s cult-like ceremonies, such as the Bonfire and Candlelight ceremony, to its quirky student challenges, like the polar plunge or Lou’s challenge, the College sets itself apart through its unique traditions. However, we cannot ignore the fact that many traditions at the College have not been paid the respect they deserve. Dartmouth stands on Abenaki land, yet for the much of the College’s history, it largely failed to uphold its commitment to Native individuals: Between 1769 and 1969, the College graduated just 19 Native students.
Climate change has made sustainability an increasingly important topic in our daily lives. And with the 2020 election approaching, environmental issues have been at the forefront of many political debates, in addition to taking on a greater presence in Dartmouth students’ lives. Whether you’re using a to-go container from Foco, recyling paper in the library or participating in conversations about emissions and green living on campus, it has become impossible to ignore the ways in which the world is preparing to conserve resources and be more mindful of how our actions affect our planet.
The concepts of health and wellness have become buzz terms lately. From lifestyle blogs to mindfulness apps, it seems like everyone has something to say about improving our quality of life. Blogs like goop advocate practices based in pseudo-science, and Instagram influencers advertise “diet tea.” It is important to acknowledge that self-care is often a privileged activity, with many people lacking the time or resources to prioritize their health. However, our society’s recent focus on wellness has helped destigmatize mental health and shed light on the value of self-care.
Culture is a notoriously amorphous concept. To some, it encompasses the arts, food and language associated with a particular group of people. To others, culture might be more clearly aligned with factors like race, gender, religion and politics. However you may conceptualize the term, culture is intrinsically linked to our daily lives and is constantly changing. Especially this week, as we celebrate Dartmouth’s culture during Homecoming, it is important to consider how we can think mindfully and critically about the issue.
Privilege is everywhere at a school like Dartmouth — in our recently announced $5.7 billion endowment, in the names of the buildings around campus and in the students themselves. People casually wear Canada Goose Jackets and Patagonia sweaters, and many of them have summer homes. A fifth of the students here come from families in the top one percent of earners in the United States, and if you are not part of this fifth — as most of us are not — there are times when you feel out of place.
Just doing a simple Google search of the word “gender” reveals the role that the socially constructed definition of women and men has on the perpetuation of gender stereotypes. This, along with the history of gender neutral pronouns and the gender wage gap of the workforce, are just a few of the topics that pop up. At Dartmouth, the idea of gender is also often on our minds as we navigate Greek spaces, interact in classrooms and even introduce ourselves. Though some of us may think about gender more than others, we are all conscious of it nonetheless, and it affects many of the decisions we make on a daily basis.
With a summer of exciting experiences behind us and an autumn of endless possibilities ahead of us, this term is one of new beginnings. The ’23s are navigating being away from home for the first time, the ’22s are exploring a new sense of place on campus, many ’21s are completing their first term in different locations than their friends and the ’20s are appreciating their last “firsts” of Dartmouth. But regardless of what year you are, the sea of new faces, ideas, perspectives and opportunities surrounding us during this time can make anyone feel a little lost.