Cultivating interest and activities around the unique characteristics of the higher latitudes is the mission of the newly formed Dartmouth Northern Club. Working with the Dickey Institute of Arctic Studies, the Club, according to its Web site, hopes to "discover, develop and promote arctic and northern interests on campus."
At an introductory meeting last month, Philip Cronenwett, former Special Collections Librarian, spoke to the group about the College's unique ties to the Arctic and northern regions of the world. "Dartmouth's involvement with the Arctic," noted Cronenwett, "stems at least in part from the legacy of Vilhjalmur Stefansson, the noted explorer who left his papers to the College."
The distinctive natural, cultural and geographic importance of northern latitudes has been woven into Dartmouth's fabric for generations. Faculty members at the Thayer School of Engineering work closely with the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL), a branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as do faculty members in Environmental Studies and other fields.
The Jan. 18 edition of the Northern Club's email newsletter previewed events including a presentation by a doctoral candidate at the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge (England), and a sled dog demonstration at Occom Pond.
According to Ross Virginia, Director of the Dickey Institute of Arctic Studies and Professor of Environmental Studies, interest in the Northern Club and in Northern Studies is building. "This group was started by students who share an interest in the North, and who want to find ways to enjoy our environment in ways that link their activities to their academic pursuits," he said. Virginia conducts research on organisms that live in Antarctica's Dry Valleys, which have a desert-like environment extremely hostile to life forms. He regularly takes teams of students to Antarctica to participate in his research.
By LAUREL STAVIS
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Last Updated: 12/17/08