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Black Student Advising

OPAL Black Student Advising (OPAL BSA) is dedicated to enhancing the Dartmouth experience through supporting and challenging the community around issues pertinent to healthy identity development and the Black experience. 

OPAL offers personal and academic guidance, advice, and support, including, but not limited to, social adjustment concerns, academic and classroom issues, bias-related incidents, interpersonal relationships, leadership development opportunities, financial aid concerns, and community and cultural programming.

Advisor Information

Interim Assistant Dean & Advisor to Black Students

Rachel Edens, Assistant Dean and Advisor to Black StudentsDean Rachel Edens (she, her, hers) serves as the Assistant Dean and Advisor to Black Students. Dean Rachel joined the OPAL team in 2015 as a Program Coordinator for Academic Engagement and Success. Before coming to Dartmouth, Rachel was Director of the Center for Civic Advancement at Tusculum College. She holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from East Tennessee State University and a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a minor in African-American Studies from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also is an adjunct professor at Community College of Vermont where she teaches Introduction to College Studies, First Year Seminars, and various courses on social justice and global equity. As a Black woman hailing from the American South, Rachel's undergraduate experience included being First Generation and Low Income, bookish, nerdy, and awkward (*she sends an eternal shout out to Issa Rae). She is committed to honoring and celebrating the many intersections of identities of Blackness and is firm in maintaining that there is no one way to have a "Black Experience".

Dean Rachel has trained students, faculty, staff and community members in various settings since 2010, and presents widely on topics pertaining to the Black-identified community- from DuBois, to Beyonce, to #BlackLivesMatter. She is dedicated to advocating for the success of students of African descent, across the Diaspora. Among her many professional affiliations, Dean Rachel is a member of African-American Women in Higher Education- New England and was the keynote speaker for New England College's inaugural Black History Month Celebration in 2016. In 2017 she was awarded Dartmouth's Lorna C. Hill, '73 Award for Black Faculty/ Staff Engagement.

She's focused on addressing issues of food scarcity, financial insecurity, social and cultural capital, and other barriers to educational attainment and personal achievement.

Dean Rachel loves getting to know students, so feel free to drop by her office in Collis 211f. She is also available by appointment.

Key Programs

Dartmouth Advancing Blackness (D.A.B.) Fellowship

The DAB Fellowship is a development program for Black men on campus, with a focus on supporting the transition of first-year students into the campus climate, as well as supporting upperclassmen in leadership skill development and professional transitions.

RISE Mentoring Program

RISE is a four-year enrichment program for Black undergraduate women at Dartmouth that aims to build upon the Resilience, Integrity, and Strength of young Black women, Empowering them to be their best selves. This program will facilitate a smooth transition for first-year students on campus through its mentoring program, as well as support upperclasswomen with professional transitions and mentorship by Black women professionals in the northeast.

The SupperTime

The SupperTime is a termly dinner that centers the Black Queer experience. Once a term a dinner guest who identifies is brought to campus and students have the opportunity for a group dinner with to celebrate, reflect, and simply just be with one another in a space of openness, support, and safety.

HBCU Exchange at Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College students have the opportunity to experience a term at either Spelman College or Morehouse College while enrolled on-term. The deadline for HBCU Exchange applications are typically January 31st of each year. For more information on the application process be sure to check the Frank J. Guarini Institute for International Education website.

Black Legacy Month

Black Legacy Month (BLM) at Dartmouth College takes place in February and focuses on moving beyond history to let history inform the present and illuminate the future possibilities of Blackness at Dartmouth and the world at large. The purpose of Black Legacy Month is to recognize the Black experience in the U.S. and Dartmouth College, explore topical issues in the Black community while giving context to a vision of what the Black future could be, and engage the Dartmouth community in an appreciation for all that Black people have contributed to the campus and the world at large. 

Black Lady Genius Week

In partnership with V-February, Black Lady Genius Week takes place in the last week of February/first week of March recognizing both Black Legacy Month and Women's History Month. This collaboration highlights the contributions of black women who often experience erasure and lack of recognition within traditional heritage and history months. The mission of Black Lady Genius Week is to combat the violence of erasure by centering the voice and experience of Black women at Dartmouth and the U.S. 

Lorna C Hill, '73 Graduation and Awards Celebration

Formerly known as the Black Baccalaureate, The Lorna C Hill, '73 Graduation and Awards Celebration is a culminating recognition celebration for graduating seniors who identify as part of the Black community. During the Stole Ceremony, students are initiated into the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association (BADA), and stoles are received by students to wear during the campus-wide official graduation ceremony. The celebration typically takes place the Friday of Senior Week/Graduation Weekend.

Student Organizations 

There are a total of 150+ student organizations on Dartmouth's campus! You can browse through culture specific organizations, performance groups, issue awareness groups, pre-professional groups and more by visiting Dartmouth OrgSync. Below is a list of Black related undergraduate groups:

Community Specific Campus Resources

Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association (BADA)

The purpose of the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association is to provide the continuing and active support of the College’s Black alumni in matters affecting the intellectual, cultural, social, and educational well-being of the Black Alumni and members of the Black and other minority communities, as well as the greater College community at Dartmouth.

Shabazz Center for Intellectual Inquiry

The Shabazz Center is a 26 bed, co-ed Academic Affinity House located in Cutter Hall. Living spaces are available to upper class students by application only. The mission of the Shabazz Center Academic Affinity House is to enhance the intellectual and cultural milieu of the Dartmouth College campus, with particular regard to those issues which pertain to the historical and contemporary experiences of people of African descent.

African and African-American Studies Program (AAAS)

The African and African-American Studies Program is designed to provide all students at Dartmouth with an understanding of the historical, economic, political, social, and artistic experiences of people of African ancestry in North America, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and elsewhere.

Black Hair Care

OPAL is in the process of securing a hairstylist. Mary Young at Makin' Waves salon in Hanover can provide services to the community, and she can be contacted on 603-643-1244.  Barber services will continue to be provided by Sean Taylor to  students and community members. Sean will be on campus in the basement of the Shabazz Center on the following dates:

October 25
November 15
January 17
February 21
March 14
April 11
May 9
June 6

If you prefer to see Sean off-campus he can be reached at his salon at (267) 750-8813.

Click here for information on booking appointments, service pricing, and additional hair service providers in the New England area


Last Updated: 10/17/17