January 10, 2000
Dear Members of the Dartmouth Community,
We are pleased to announce that the Committee on the Student Life Initiative has submitted a report on its recommendations for enhancing student residential and social opportunities at Dartmouth College. A summary of that report is attached for your review. The full report is available at www.dartmouth.edu, and a forthcoming issue of Dartmouth Life will be devoted to it as well.
Last February, we began a process of community discussion regarding the social and residential life of the College. We identified five principles that should characterize the out-of-classroom experience for our students. These included offering greater choice and continuity in residential living, as well as improved residential space; providing additional and improved social space controlled by students; creating a substantially coeducational and inclusive system; reducing the number of students living off campus; and reducing the abuse and unsafe use of alcohol.
In April, we established the Committee on the Student Life Initiative comprised of students, alumni, faculty and staff, chaired by Trustees Susan Dentzer '77 and Peter M. Fahey '68, to analyze the current system and propose improvements. Their report represents many hours of hard work and challenging discussions. They assessed the College's current residential and social programs, met with students, alumni and others to learn from their experiences, and drew inspiration from the committee's common desire to make Dartmouth ever stronger. The Board of Trustees is deeply grateful to the committee members for their efforts and thoughtful recommendations.
The release of the committee's report marks the start of a new phase in this initiative. The Board now invites the entire Dartmouth community to comment on the committee's recommendations over the course of winter term. The Provost, Dean of the Faculty, Dean of the College, and Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations will coordinate the community response.
These discussions will provide us with further opportunities to articulate and refine a vision of the College's residential and social environment that meets the needs of our students and supports our central academic mission. Dartmouth embraces many communities that overlap and interlock. Each course, each team, each recreational and volunteer group, each social and affinity organization, each set of roommates and neighbors—all represent microcosms that exist within Dartmouth. We must promote an environment that allows our students to reach their full potential, that appreciates them as individuals, and that fosters a sense of responsibility to this special place as well as to the wider community. We must encourage our students to become leaders in whatever fields they choose, as have generations of Dartmouth alumni before them. Stimulated by the committee's recommendations, our discussions this winter term will move us closer to achieving these goals.
It is only following this dialogue and a thorough review of the committee's recommendations that the Board of Trustees will begin to take action.
Thank you for your continued interest in the Student Life Initiative. All of us on the Board look forward to participating in this community discussion and hearing your views.
William H. King, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Trustees
James Wright, President