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Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Founded by Dartmouth student Fred Harris on Dec. 14, 1909, the Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC) began with a modest goal “to stimulate interest in out-of-door winter sports.” But Harris had big ideas, and after he organized Dartmouth’s first official Winter Carnival in 1911, the organization and the event were on their way to becoming famous in collegiate and outdoors-activities circles.
Today’s student-run DOC is a widely emulated, year-round outlet for the many Dartmouth students who enjoy outdoor sports and other activities — so many that they make up the largest membership of any Dartmouth undergraduate organization.
The DOC is celebrating with a full year of events, including Dartmouth’s 2009 Winter Carnival this Feb. 13-15. “Ours is the oldest outing club in the country, and in my opinion the strongest, so the fact that we’re one hundred years old and going strong is a great reason to celebrate,” says Andrew Palmer, Class of 2010, president of the DOC.
The origin of Winter Carnival at Dartmouth goes back to Harris’s simple field day in 1910 that featured snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. By the 1930s, with a crowning of a Queen, an “Outdoor Evening” of musical performances, and Boston running special trains to Hanover, Carnival became a national event. It was the subject of the 1939 film, “Winter Carnival.”
Winter Carnival is just one of many customs begun at Dartmouth that have been adopted by colleges around the nation. Others include:
Dartmouth students—with easy access to the White Mountains, the Connecticut River, and Green Mountains of Vermont—have long been recognized for their physical and spiritual connection to the outdoors. A 1981 New York Times article on the DOC read:
Today the club has over 1,500 student members, and as many non-student members, making it one of the largest collegiate outing clubs in the nation. Close to 90% of the first-year students are introduced to Dartmouth through DOC orientation trips. Leadership positions in the DOC are prestigious and competitive; there are often twice as many applicants as spots available.
The DOC organizes over a thousand excursions a year, and maintains 20 cabins in the White Mountains and on Dartmouth’s 27,000-acre property, the Second College Grant. Students provide outdoor leadership and medical/safety education and maintain seventy-five miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. There are about a dozen clubs specifically dedicated to such activities as whitewater kayaking, hunting and fishing; mountain biking; organic farming; hiking and cabin maintenance, and rock climbing.
In addition to Winter Carnival the DOC is hosting a range of other centennial activities, including:
For more info:
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