Every year, more than 700 alumni, their families, and friends pack their bags to take a trip with Dartmouth. They might be headed for a community service project in Montana, an exploration of Myanmar, or a guided world tour. Whatever the destination, they all enjoy something no travel agent can offer: exclusive access to Dartmouth's professors. But it's not just the alumni who are having all of the fun. For faculty members, the enjoyment goes both ways.
Dartmouth alumni and guests at work on a historical restoration in Montana. The June 2008 service trip was led by Earth Sciences Professor Benjamin Bostick and also took guests to Yellowstone National Park. Bottom row, from left: Laurie Hamilton, Spouse '65, and Art Streeter '71. Second Row: Bob Cullen (Dartmouth staff member spouse), Suzy Psomas '88, and JoLynn Sharrow (U.S. Forest Service). Third Row: Bob Bayley '61 and Chad Martin (tour program staff member). Fourth Row: Shawn Campbell (tour program staff member) and Jorge Montalvo '02. Fifth Row: Skip Kessler '69, Jim Hamilton '65, and Pat Hoppe (U.S. Forest Service). Standing on top: Professor Benjamin Bostick. Participating in trip but not pictured: Melissa Cook '82 and Vivian Cullen, assistant director of Continuing Education and Travel, Office of Alumni Relations. (Photo by Vivian Cullen)
"The reason I like to teach is that I know that my students are going to go off and hopefully do amazing things," says Benjamin Bostick, assistant professor of earth sciences. "When you work with alumni you get to see some pieces of that. It's rewarding to see how Dartmouth students do in the world." Bostick led a new service trip last June to the OTO Dude Ranch in Gardiner, Mont., at the north entrance to Yellowstone Park. Participants volunteered to work on the historical restoration of a barn that is on the National Historic Preservation Register, and enjoyed guided visits to Yellowstone.
"The trip exceeded our expectations," says Jim Hamilton '65, who participated with his wife Laurie. "It offered just enough structure-an agenda, somebody cooking for us, a place to stay-with the right blend of a satisfying work experience and a thorough tour and explanation of Yellowstone with Ben Bostick. We went to places the casual tourist might only discover by chance." Click here to read Hamilton's journal about the experience.
Associate Professor of Music Steve Swayne is looking forward to leading a trip to Salzburg and Vienna in late November. Of past trips, he says, "It's been instructive to meet alumni from all walks of life, across the spectrum of beliefs, all of whom love Dartmouth with a passion unrivaled by any other institution I know. Faculty help the alumni stay in touch with their alma mater, by being available to talk about what's happening on campus, but also by revivifying their desire to be lifelong learners."
The curiosity of her fellow travelers also appeals to Susan Ackerman '80, the Preston H. Kelsey Professor of Religion. "It's a professor's dream to travel with people who want to learn about something completely foreign to what they do. It's also a benefit to my teaching to be able to visit places like Egypt and Libya so frequently. In a way, it shores up the undergraduate experience. We're all learning from one another." Ackerman will be leading "River Life: Saxony along the Elbe River" next April.
To learn more about Dartmouth alumni trips and the faculty who lead them visit the new Alumni Travel website. Browse trips by location, season, faculty member, and type of trip. The redesigned site also features alumni photo essays, highlighted trips, and more.
By DIANA LAWRENCE
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Last Updated: 10/7/08