Jan 162013
 

Some students considering Dartmouth may be nervous about the weather or the cold, but today reminded me of why I love wintertime at Dartmouth. Students that come here learn to take advantage of and love the beautiful white snow that covers campus. From skiing at the Dartmouth Skiway, to ice skating on Occom Pond, to school wide midnight snowball fights, students here know how to keep having fun outdoors even when the snow starts to fall (and doesn’t seem to stop!). From my experience, winter brings people together at Dartmouth, and new adventures are always available if you want. In just one week so far this term, Dartmouth has offered free cross-country ski lessons, winter hiking opportunities, beginner and intermediate gym classes for skiing and snowboarding, hockey games, and more! Not only will you learn to bear the New Hampshire winter, but if you’re like me, you will learn to love it!

Dec 062012
 

This post goes out to all the Dartmouth students that are now home for the holidays with this year’s new Academic Calendar extending from Thanksgiving to New Years as well as to the brand new ’17s that are, as of today, part of our Dartmouth family! Congratulations! I am excited to meet the DC- area ’17s at the Dartmouth Club of DC Holiday Party coming up next week.

As I finish up my time at home in DC this fall quarter, I have realized how crazy fast the time has gone by. After having this “real life” job, I am ready to go back and enjoy my time as a student for a little while longer. Although I have learned so much more in these past ten weeks than I could have imagined I would, I also miss my friends, my sorority and my classes that didn’t start until ten and were only a few steps outside my door. Get ready ’17s, for a fantastic college experience, whether you are in Hanover or taking off-terms in cities all over the world, take advantage of all of it! We’re all waiting to see what you’ll do.

Also, say ‘Hi!’ on campus!

 

Dec 062012
 

Chris O’Connell ’13 is the director of the Dartmouth Outing Club’s First-Year Trips Program.

Class of 2017 – Welcome to Dartmouth!

Congratulations on your acceptance and for getting through one of the more stressful parts of high school!  I remember how overwhelmingly crazy this time of year was with college decisions, so I hope you have had a few minutes to relax, celebrate, and get as excited as you possibly can for your next four years in Hanover.

Students gather on the lawn of Robinson Hall for the start of their DOC Trip.

My name is Chris O’Connell and I am the director of the Dartmouth Outing Club First-Year Trips Program – usually just known as “Trips.”  I am SO incredibly excited for you all to come to Dartmouth in 8ish months.  It seems like a long ways away (…because it is), but it will fly by and before you know it, we’ll be welcoming you to campus for your First-Year Trip!

DOC First-Year Trips first got its start in 1935 when some older students involved in the College’s outing club invited some new students to go hiking with them before the school year started.  Since then, the program has evolved, grown, and expanded to be much more than exploring the beautiful New Hampshire outdoors – Trips is an introduction to the College’s traditions, a fun way to meet other ‘17s, and (most importantly) an exciting welcome into this community…your community!

Each Trip is 5 days long and takes place right before the College’s official orientation program in late August/early September.  The program is entirely student-run: 60 support crew members, 300 trip leaders, and countless other student volunteers make DOC Trips an incredibly memorable and exciting experience for the incoming class.  Each trip has two, well-trained, upperclassmen leaders & 7-10 new students.  Don’t worry if you haven’t been in the wilderness before – we offer trips of all levels and varieties, everything from Cabin Camping to Whitewater Kayaking to Community Service to Mountain Biking.  We have added a lot of different types of trips over the years, so we hope you’ll find one that interests you!

The hiking trip I had the chance to lead as a sophomore!

I’m a member of the (great) Class of 2013, so it was only four years ago that I went on my own DOC Trip – rock climbing! I had never been climbing before, but I had the chance to learn and check out a beautiful portion of the Appalachian Trail.  Three years ago, I got to lead a hiking trip in the White Mountains and had a blast leading a group of freshmen through their first days at Dartmouth.  The experience you can have on your DOC Trips is one of Dartmouth’s most unique traditions — it’s a great way to get introduced to people different from yourself, learn about the Dartmouth community, and get connected to upperclassmen who can help you out during your time at the College.

Everyone’s experience with DOC Trips is different, but we are working very hard to welcome YOU – whoever you are, wherever you came from, whoever you want to be in college – to your new home at Dartmouth.  Registration materials (with dates & details) for Trips will be sent to you later in 2013, but for now – enjoy this moment and get excited for an incredible four years!

I’m looking forward to welcoming you to campus next fall! Enjoy the rest of your senior year!

Chris O’Connell ‘13

P.S. Can’t get enough of Dartmouth right now? Check out our Trips blog for more stories, photos, and excitement!

 

Nov 142012
 

Christopher Norman ‘13
Hometown: San Francisco, California

Academic Interests: Geography & Sociology majors

Campus Involvements: Undergraduate Advisor , Rockefeller Leadership Fellow, Casque and Gauntlet Senior Society, Latino Ivy League Conference Head Delegate, First Year Student Enrichment Program (FYSEP) mentor, Former, President and Vice President of La Alianza Latina, Men of Color Alliance, Faith In Action Alternative Spring Break trip leader , Diversity Peer Leadership Program, Geography Foreign Study Program to Prague, Czech Republic, SEAD (Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth) mentor, Former DREAM mentor, Former America Reads tutor

What does “Latino” mean to you? To me, being Latino means being willing to express and learn about the developing history and culture of one of the U.S.’s fastest growing populations. The meaning of Latino changes depending on your context—from the various Mexican expressions characterized by West Coast influences, to Puerto Rican communities cultivating their culture in New York—Latino identity is shaped by its surroundings. While these nuances exist, the strength in being Latino is in knowing that these populations share parts of their languages, cultures, and histories—and that makes the identity all the stronger.

Describe Dartmouth in three words: Unique, Challenging, Enlightening

Favorite aspect of Dartmouth: The students here come from all over the world, and I’ve had the chance to hear so many of their experiences, challenges, aspirations, and perspectives on the people they are and how they’ve grown. I’ve learned so much from my impressive, motivated peers.

H. Gustavo Ruiz Llopiz ‘14
Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico   

Academic Interests: Government major/ minor Education

Campus Involvements: Dartmouth for UNICEF, President, Dartmouth Black and Latino Business Alliance, Treasurer, Student and Presidential Committee on Sexual Assault

What does “Latino” mean to you? For me, being Latino means having an extended family of millions of people across borders.

Describe Dartmouth in three words: Challenging, Fast-paced, Welcoming

Favorite aspect of Dartmouth: My favorite aspect of Dartmouth is the number of leadership opportunities it has to offer.

Daniela Hernández ‘15
Hometown: San Antonio, TX

Academic Interests: Hispanic Studies – Spanish Literature | Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies

Campus Involvements: Ballet Folklórico de Dartmouth, Dartmouth Fashion Council, First-Year Student Enrichment Program, La Alianza Latina, Sexperts

What does “Latino” mean to you? Being Latina is definitely one of the first words that I use to describe myself. I use this term because it encompasses my history, culture, and struggles in a way that is open-ended yet extremely specific at the same time. Paradoxically, being a Latino means having history and traits link you to almost every race in the world, without actually being part of only one race or people. This term reminds me that I am multi-faceted and that I do not have to be defined by any labels or classifications that others wish to impose on me.

Describe Dartmouth in three words: Challenging, life-changing, and a blessing.

Favorite aspect of Dartmouth: I love the relationship that Dartmouth has with its students. From the first moment that I stepped on campus I immediately felt the positive, friendly, and inviting atmosphere that the students, faculty, and campus projected. I think that Dartmouth has the ability to make anyone feel at home, even through the rough times.

Francisco J. Herrera, Jr. ‘13
Hometown: Miami, Florida

Academic Interests: Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies Major, Chemistry Minor

Campus Involvements:
First Year Student Enrichment Program mentor, La Alianza Latina, MEChA, Latin@ Partnership for Success, Spanish Drill Instructor, Novack Café Sales Associate, Undergraduate Advisor to the, LALACS Affinity House, Chemistry & Calculus tutor

What does “Latino” mean to you? I think being Latino is about having a family that at some point came to the US from Latin America. That being said, when I think about how I live my Latino-ness, I think of Nicaraguan and Caribbean food, Spanish music and literatures, dancing, laughing, being careful with my money and some more laughing.

Describe Dartmouth in three words: Challenging, Opportunity, Forests

Favorite aspect of Dartmouth: My favorite aspect of Dartmouth is that even though it can be extremely challenging, you can always find help when you need it.

Adriana Flores ‘13
Hometown: Eugene, OR, prior to that Los Angeles, CA, from El Salvador

Academic Interests: Spanish Major, Italian Minor

Campus Involvements: Cru Christian Group, Epsilon Kappa Theta Sorority, Panhellenic Council, House Manager and Usher for the Hopkins Center, Italian Drill Instructor, Gospel Choir, Sunday School Volunteer at Christ Redeemer Church

What does “Latino” mean to you? Latino means coming from a background of Latin America, whether you were born abroad or in the U.S. Being Latino means that your family or part of it speaks Spanish or Spanglish! Latino, to me, means strength, family, courage because in my opinion Latinos are a diverse and strong group of people.

Describe Dartmouth in three words: Challenging, diverse, community

Favorite aspect of Dartmouth: My favorite aspect about Dartmouth is the smaller communities that I am able to be a part of. I have found friendships and many people that I’ve come to consider almost my family.

Oct 112012
 

Well, unlike many of the other posts on here, my junior fall at Dartmouth is not actually at Dartmouth! I’m taking the Fall off, courtesy of the D-Plan, and working in Washington, DC. I’m interning at both the Department of State and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, for a total of at least 60 hours a week.

Overseas Private Investment Corporation

Overseas Private Investment Corporation

I’m a DC area native so I’m living at home with my parents and taking the metro every day to commute.

I know, I’m absolutely crazy. I go to State at 8 AM and leave at 4 PM for OPIC and work until at least 8 PM there! Thankfully, all of my friends are at school or the ones in DC are also working weekdays so I get to just come home and eat a home cooked meal before crashing into bed.

So far though, it’s been an awesome experience! Both of the internships are really interesting and I’m learning a lot every day. Most days I’m so busy doing work that I look up and its 7:30 already and I didn’t even notice. I know that if the jobs weren’t as interesting the 12 hour days would be dreadful so I’m thankful they are.

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

I’ve already been able to meet with the Ambassador of Panama, help with a North African entrepreneurship program, assist with multilateral agreements like the TPP and learn about development projects around the world.

The Assistant Secretary of the Bureau I work in is actually a Dartmouth grad and was really excited to have a Dartmouth intern, so it’s just another example of the Big Green network that extends across the world. It’s crazy that I get to take things I learned about in government and economics classes at school and actually see them in action here at State and OPIC, and it helps me realize how lucky I am to be a Dartmouth student and the opportunties off-terms give me. So far, it’s all been so rewarding!

Oct 072012
 

One of the most undervalued opportunities at Dartmouth, I’ve found, are guest lecturers.

In the past two weeks, I got the chance to hear from Joe Biden, Richard L. Bushman, and Zainab Salbi, three individuals whose work has had a positive impact on the world.

I’m sure lots of people heard about the Joe Biden speech–or rather, Jill Biden’s gaffe that left the college-age audience chuckling unapologetically. The link can be found here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IKfH_E-NsFQ

Less well known, was a lecture given by one of my personal heroes, Richard L. Bushman, who is a celebrity within the intellectual Mormon circuit. He talked about Mormonism and American politics, which is of course relevant due to the whole Mitt Romney campaign. Bushman is best known for his meticulously-researched biography of the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling. I had actually met his wife Claudia at a Mormon feminist retreat the weekend before, so I was not as terrified as I otherwise might have been to go introduce myself after the presentation (normally I’m kind of shy).

One of the most inspiring talks I’ve heard in a long time came from Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International. The story she told about her efforts to start an international organization to help women in war zones was incredibly inspiring and and reminded me why I came to Dartmouth in the first place–because I believed that with the right training and education, I too could make a difference. She offered profound advice–I’m paraphrasing here, but she said something along the lines of, “Saving the world is not a warrior’s journey. You must get off the horse and put the armor down–the world won’t change out of anger, only out of love.” I left the presentation feeling inspired and able to recommit to my sometimes exhausting service-oriented endeavors.

I’m so grateful that I have such amazing opportunities to listen to the voices of such amazing people who are finding ways of doing good in the world in their respective fields. Presentations like those mentioned above help me to become more and more cognizant of the fact that there are, in fact, plenty of other ways to have a meaningful, service-oriented career that do not, in fact, involve medical school.

Joe Biden visits Dartmouth

Celebrities from a variety of different sectors visit Dartmouth, sharing knowledge and advice with students.

Oct 072012
 
Autumn at Mink Brook

Changing colors signal the end of summer and the start of fall term chaos.

Compared to the summer term, when many of my extracurricular commitments were dormant for the quarter, there’s a frantic energy that arrives with the new faces and exhausting enthusiasm of the freshman class and the crispening air of autumn breezes. Gone are the days of Sophomore Summer when I could walk through the Collis dining hall and order my post-run smoothie without having to wait in line. However, the constant buzz of energized students really does help me stay motivated. Right now, I’m thrilled about all of the extracurriculars I’m involved in. Even though there’s a secret part of me that senses I might be overcommitted, I’m still enthralled with my commitments in a type of pre-midterms honeymoon phase. Currently, my extracurriculars include:

1)   working as a UGA. This is essentially an RA position, but Dartmouthspeak insists on its own vernacular, and so I am an Undergradudate Advisor instead. I am partly responsible for the well-being of 35 upperclass residents living in Andres, which is part of the East Wheelock housing cluster. My favorite part is organizing events for my residents—yesterday we had a movie night and tomorrow we’ll be going for a short hike.

2)   Students Fighting Hunger. During the summer term I was the organization chair, but luckily I have 3 other co-chairs this term. This organization plans and cooks a community dinner for low-income individuals every Friday evening. My favorite part is when we get to sit down to eat with our regular attendees and chat. It’s a great way to get out of the “Dartmouth bubble” and get to know local residents.

3)   Multi-Faith Council. This group meets once every week (over a free dinner) to discuss a different topic related to faith and spirituality. Some of my most meaningful discussions at Dartmouth have taken place here, listening to my Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, and Atheist friends, among others, talk about their faith journeys and perspectives.

4)   DCGHSE (Dartmouth Coalition for Global Health and Social Equity). This group meets once per week to discuss current issues relating to global health. Every week there is a different student presentation on a project or experience on a health-related issue and a subsequent discussion. I’ve learned tons regarding issues of sustainable development, HIV/AIDS, microlending, technology and medicine, and healthcare in general. I love that the group is super interdisciplinary—it’s not all pre-meds, by any means.

5)   Project Preservation. This was initially a short-term venture in which I attended weekly training sessions to prepare for a trip to Poland to restore a Jewish cemetery that had been abandoned during the Holocaust. After having an incredible experience there, I am now doing research on the town that we visited, Korczyna, and am trying to piece together a better understanding of the Jewish community in the town preceding the events of the Holocaust.

6)  Fostering Hope. This is a new organization that my friend Alice and I are in the process of organizing, in which we plan to work with local foster youth and spread awareness regarding at-risk youth including orphans and vulnerable children both domestically and abroad.

7) LDSSA (Latter-Day Saint Student Association). As a member of my church community, I’m involved in the social organization of my LDS church group. We meet together for church, Institute—an academic bible study program, and once a week for what we call Family Home Evening—mostly an excuse to hang out and chill for a bit. We also have an intramural soccer team this term—yes, we’re the Stormin’ Mormons. And yes, we got slaughtered by the Matholes. No shame. Well, maybe a little….

8)   I also babysit once per week for a parent support group at DHMC (Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center), which is fantastic because I get to escape the library by watching Disney movies and entertaining kids with finger puppets and crayons. :)

So after reading through all of this, I realized this kind of sounds like a resume, which was not my intention AT ALL. While you should realize that there will be plenty of Dartmouth kids who will tell you that LinkedIn is the new Facebook, that’s not really my style. The point I’m trying to make is that there are sooo many incredible opportunities to engage with topics and questions you’re interested in outside class—and even though this sounds cliché, I’m confident that if you open yourself up to the incredible opportunities waiting all around you, you’ll learn more at Dartmouth than you ever imagined, both inside and outside the classroom.

More blog entries to come! I promise!

 

 

Sep 112012
 

Every Fall at Dartmouth, I’m reminded just how old I am.  As I walk around the beautiful Green, I hear the classic flair, loud music blasting and seemingly clueless ’16s wandering around!  And that’s when it hits me – I’m a junior!  In a way, Fall symbolizes a period of renewal.  It’s an exciting time to be sure — everybody coming back to campus after a lengthy break (except for the sophomores over summer!) and life at the Big Green continues.

Not for me, though. For me, Fall 2012 is something new, something exciting. With three other guys and a vision, I am finally taking the Fall off to launch a start-up with $16,500 in capital raised from the Dartmouth Entrepreneurship Competition (if you’re curious, see here http://thedartmouth.com/2012/04/06/news/des). With an early prototype engineered and our value hypotheses validated, we’re currently pursuing different techniques to tighten the validated learning feedback loop between customers and our start-up. Ultimately, whether the start-up succeeds or fails by conventional metrics of valuation is personally irrelevant. In my mind, success stems from personal growth and evolution. What really finalized this decision to pursue the start-up path was the realization that as someone with a vision and capital, I really had nothing to lose and everything to gain!

So Fall still, to me, is a renewal in some senses.

Aug 192012
 

So how did you like Dartmouth?

I think I’ve encountered this question about twenty times during my summer break so far. From my dad asking me as soon as my arrival at LAX to my high school friends who are curious to know about the life in the East Coast, this is an inevitable question that all freshmen who’ve completed their first year will confront at some point or another. Of course, for me, I always took the easy way out with the usual automatic response, “It’s great; I like it a lot” and move on.

While I was at Dartmouth, I never had to think about how my “Dartmouth experience” was. But now that I am back home, where I am constantly flooded with inquiry after inquiry about my life in Hanover, I decided to organize my most memorable experiences from freshmen year.

Interestingly, these times are those not spent on studying, and this is something I am sure every other student can attest to. It was getting sunburned during spring term while being outside all day because the weather was so nice, receiving my first ‘A’ in a class, talking about life and politics with an upperclassmen for four straight hours, throwing frisbees on the Green, mutually suffering in the library with my friends during finals, eating out in Hanover, getting Nutella milkshakes from Boloco or Hazelnut gelato from Morano after every time I ate out in Hanover, and so on.

From this, I realized one thing: none of these memories were made alone. Your Dartmouth experience, as much as it is “your” experience, is only made possible through the collective actions of the peers around you. Based on my encounters with various alums during my freshman year and during this summer break, the one thing you guys are definitely going to take with, years after you graduate from this beautiful school, is the friends and people you meet here. You never know, that tripee you thought was annoying and creepy might just be in your club sports team, or even worse, live right next to you.

So what I’m saying is… when you see people giving that clichéd response to questions like “What did you enjoy most about Dartmouth” as being “The people I met here,” there is a good reason why that question receives a near-unanimous answer. DOC Trips are just a few days away, and I know many of you guys are really excited for it. I hope you guys enjoy yourself and have a great time. You guys are now part of Dartmouth, try make the best of it.

Aug 162012
 

I promise I’ll keep this one short and sweet.

With the summer quarter almost over and finals beyond the horizon, the pace of Dartmouth life has been swift with great impact. Looking back, it surprises me just how much the classes here have engaged and taught me how to look at life from another perspective. Take astronomy: we learned everything from basic physics to supernovae to the big questions like: How big is the universe and how did life begin?

These big questions always throw me in for a loop. I take a step back and remember how amazing life is and how small the human race’s timeline is relative to the astronomical age of the universe. It seems to me that even if we had an iota of an impact on the universe, compared to the vast expanses of the galaxy and beyond, we still remain infinitesimally small. These humbling thoughts are both exciting and frightening to me at the same time. They further propel my belief that given the grand scheme of the universe, we should aim to make a dent on the universe in our lives.

Beyond this philosophizing about the universe, it’s interesting to witness just how much what you study influences your ideas and thought patterns. When I took accounting last winter quarter, I thought in a very rigorous, systematic way, always analyzing the smallest details and making sure each step of it was correct. When I took computer science, I sought to implement the optimized teachings and algorithms into my own life. And as an econ major, I realize that knowledge has increasing returns to scale.