SOPHIE BAILEY/THE DARTMOUTH SENIOR STAFF
THE DARTMOUTH SPRING SPECIAL ISSUE
FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2021
Table of Contents
A typical Hanover spring represents a bright emergence from wintery weather, as grey slush recedes into memory and campus comes alive with an explosion of green. This issue would typically be the Green Key Special, and come out the Friday before the big weekend. For the second year in a row, however, pandemic conditions have made Dartmouth’s spring music festival untenable. But this spring is entirely different than the last. After 14 months of wearing masks, social distancing and virtual events, the end of this pandemic has come into focus. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcing that fully vaccinated Americans no longer needed to wear masks in most circumstances, the public health restrictions which defined this last year of life are beginning to recede. So much change has occurred within the last year, begging the question: how will we move forward? This spring special issue examines the lingering effects of pandemic life: what we will leave behind, and what we will bring with us into the future. The gradual emergence from the year of COVID-19 will define the next few months — for Dartmouth, the country and the world. We chose the theme of emergence precisely for this reason. The pandemic drastically changed our lives and much is still unclear as we step into a post-pandemic world. This issue explores the future of applications like Zoom that have dictated much of our daily interactions, as well as how mental health resources have adapted in response to the pandemic. We reflect on various cultural shifts brought on by this past year’s disruptions to the typical Dartmouth experience, from a new demand for off campus housing to changes in DOC leadership development. At the precipice of change, we hope this issue affords readers a glimpse into the future of Dartmouth. Sincerely, Arielle Feuerstein, Emily Lu & Max Teszler
During pandemic, barriers to mental health resources remain
Q&A: President Phil Hanlon on post-pandemic Dartmouth
The future of Zoom and online platforms
Number of students living in local off-campus housing jumps
Upper Valley officials focus on vaccinating vulnerable residents
Hanover restaurants begin return to normal operations
DOC faces pandemic-induced shortage of club leaders
Set change: theater department explores new virtual mediums
Post-Pandemic D-Plan Decision-Making
Arabian: Foreign Policy in a Post-COVID-19 World
Arrington: Emerging Equitably
de Wolff: Lest The Old Traditions Fail
Verbum Ultimum: Follow the Science
Dameron: Touché & Peters: Squirrels of Dartmouth
Will the Old Traditions Fail? A Look at Freshman Culture
A House, not a Home
During pandemic, barriers to mental health resources remain BY DANIEL MODESTO The Dartmouth
As the instability of drastic change that spring 2020 brought has shifted to pandemic-related fatigue, students continue to grapple with mental health concerns. While students and administration alike have emphasized the importance of maintaining wellbeing throughout the pandemic and mental health resources have adapted alongside the College’s shift to remote operations, some students continue to face barriers to accessing these services. Despite a growing awareness to recognize mental health on campus, the challenges of adequately addressing mental health are certainly not new. Over the past few years, the College has invested more money in its mental health resources. In 2018, the College allocated $17 million in mental health resources, citing a national increase in student demand. In addition, the College has expanded the Counseling Center by hiring four more counselors within the past year. Despite this allocation of funds, some students have continued to face roadblocks in accessing these resources. The pandemic has, for some students, only further exacerbated the difficulty of accessing mental health resources. Last fall, students expressed concern that the College’s COVID-19 social restrictions negatively affected their mental health, and during the winter outbreak, students in isolation and quarantine faced even more strain on their mental well-being. When the College shifted classes online last March, mental health resources offered by the College also shifted to virtual platforms to address students’ mental health needs. Simultaneously, new initiatives spurred by the pandemic have increased accessibility to mental health resources for students. In an email to The Dartmouth, assistant director of the Counseling Center Alex Lenzen explained that the Center offers multiple services, including short-term individual therapy, group therapy and discussion groups. The Counseling Center also runs Dartmouth Cares — a suidice prevention initiative intended to educate employees on how to provide resources and support to students. Lenzen said that these services, with the exception of group therapy, continue to be offered virtually. Reyna Santoyo ’23 said she had thought about seeing a counselor at the Counseling Center for a while, since her mental health started to affect her performance in classes. It wasn’t until this past winter that Santoyo called the Counseling Center, where she scheduled an appointment and found her weekly meetings with her counselor “really helpful throughout the term.” “The process was easy,” she said.
“I feel lucky that everything has gone really well for me with the Counseling Center, which I know is not the case for everyone.” Some negative experiences have led students to advocate for improvements to mental health resources at Dartmouth. Katheryn Caplinger ’20 had a particularly negative experience during her sophomore year when she made a triage appointment at the Counseling Center. According to Caplinger, she was experiencing some suicidal thoughts and said her counselor was “extremely pushy.” He asked her an invasive question about her suicidal thoughts, which Caplinger said made her “appalled and incredibly uncomfortable”; the counselor said he couldn’t help her until she answered his question. She recalled “having a breaking point” and crying, at which point the counselor escorted her out of the office because she wouldn’t answer the question. Caplinger said she “didn’t recall” that the Counseling Center followed up with her after the appointment. According to Lenzen, after a student attends an appointment at the Counseling Center, there is “always some sort of follow-up.” For example, after a triage appointment, the Counseling Center will follow up with the student to schedule another appointment. In the event the student misses the appointment, the Counseling Center encourages them to reschedule and reminds them of crisis resources. “Essentially, it’s sending a message to check in after an appointment, especially if there’s no follow-up [appointment],” she said. “If the student doesn’t show up for the follow-up, as planned, we’ll often check in about that. And otherwise, the follow-up is the next appointment.” Although Lenzen said she couldn’t speak to any specific student experiences due to confidentiality, she recognized that because the Counseling Center is a “response resource,” it can’t solve the needs of the entire community, noting that the needs of the community “require culture changes [that] are connected to systems that are beyond just Dartmouth.” “The Counseling Center can work and advocate for change that we think would benefit people’s mental health,” she said. “But we don’t actually have control over a lot of those things [like distress, grief, loss and isolation], and I think that’s where we come up against our own limits.” Caplinger said that mental health resources at Dartmouth need to be more sensitive to mental health concerns and address the underlying issues behind student’s concerns, rather than apply “temporary bandages.” Furthermore, she said, the issue of student mental health has been exacerbated by the pandemic. According to Student Wellness Center director Caitlin Barthelmes, the
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Students have long expressed frustrations regarding the availability of mental health resources.
last year has been difficult for “all human beings on this earth,” including for students’ mental health. She recognized that when the pandemic forced the SWC to go online “in a blink of an eye,” there was a sense of urgency to offer virtual resources to students. “It is interesting to do work that has a focus on how to thrive and how to flourish, [because] it almost feels even more difficult to be thinking in that mindset, when so many of us are kind of having day-to-day struggles of just kind of surviving,” she said. “How we’ve approached our work this past year is that it’s more important than ever to engage and experiment with practices that can support your well-being.” To that extent, Barthelmes said that at the beginning of last spring term, the SWC began to offer asynchronous mindfulness and yoga sessions in addition to online wellness guides. Barthelmes said that live mindfulness and yoga drop-ins were also offered via Zoom. The Dartmouth Mental Health Student Union — a student organization that advocates for the destigmatization of mental health on campus — also began to offer virtual resources during the pandemic. Incoming copresident Brian Kim ’23 said that when Dartmouth announced in March of 2020 that spring term would be remote, the decision left the organization “confused” as to how to offer their resources virtually. However, according to Kim, the transition from in-person resources to Zoom was “pretty stable.” For example, support sessions that would meet in
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SUBMISSIONS: We welcome letters and guest columns. All submissions must include the author’s name and affiliation with Dartmouth College, and should not exceed 250 words for letters or 700 words for columns. The Dartmouth reserves the right to edit all material before publication. All material submitted becomes property of The Dartmouth. Please email submissions to email@example.com.
person at Collis were simply moved online, while Calendly appointments were made available so students could set check-in appointments. Kim also said that two programs expanded during the pandemic. Peer support, which met four days a week before the pandemic, is now offered seven days a week. Additionally, in the winter, MHU created a “wellness challenge,” where around 50 students participated in activities such as making self-care kits and taking time to walk outside. Kaynaan Henry ’24 said he was going through “tough times’” in the winter, both due to academics as well as being away from home. On the advice of Native American Program director Sarah Palacios, Henry scheduled an appointment at the Counseling Center. After a couple of appointments, he said that he saw improvements to his mental health. “It definitely affected me positively, more than I had thought,” he said. “It wasn’t so much that I was finding groundbreaking things [about myself] by going to talk, but more I had someone to rant to or vent to that made me feel more structured going into the week.” Barthelmes said that virtual resources have both benefits and drawbacks. She said that the virtual nature of mindfulness and yoga sessions make them more convenient, since students can follow along from their room. In addition, students can join these sessions without showing their face, which creates a more safe and comfortable environment. However, Kim noted that many students miss in-person meetings because they provided a sense of intimacy. “I’m pretty sure there are students out there who would prefer an in-person interaction, because that would feel more real,” he said. “It’s kind of hard, for a lot of people, to have that kind of same interaction on Zoom as opposed to in person.” As students returned to campus in the fall, both Barthelmes and Kim
said that their websites experienced a surge in traffic. Kim added that more people started to use peer support sessions, which he attributed to students looking for help after months of being “stuck at home all day and [not being able to] meet with others and talk with others.” In particular, Kim said that the number of students who participated in the wellness challenge surpassed the MHU’s expectations, which demonstrated an increase in demand for mental health resources. Barthelmes said that asynchronous resources made mental health resources more accessible because they allow students to use them based on their schedules. “The removal of a scheduling barrier makes the appeal and access to these practices better for students to try out,” she said. As Dartmouth approaches the possibility of a more normal term this summer and fall, mental health resources will be offered in a hybrid format, allowing for both in-person and virtual availability, Barthelmes and Kim said. Both agreed that having a hybrid format allows students to take advantage of these resources, appealing to those who want an in-person interaction and those who want to use these resources from the comfort of their rooms. “Our primary goal is to work with our students and our campus partners to experiment with what the right mixture of in person, virtual, synchronous and asynchronous offerings feel best for our community and serves them in this moment,” Barthelmes said. Kim noted that despite the challenges students have faced this year, the increased demand for mental health resources is encouraging, especially due to the stigma that exists around mental health. “I am pretty proud of Dartmouth students for actively searching for mental health resources, especially because a lot of our students come from cultures where it’s discouraged to seek out mental health,” he said. “So taking that first step is always a very brave thing to do.”
FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2021
THE DARTMOUTH SPRING SPECIAL ISSUE
Q&A: President Phil Hanlon on post-pandemic Dartmouth BY LAUREN ADLER
The Dartmouth Staff
College President Phil Hanlon graduated from Dartmouth in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics. After nearly three decades in teaching and administration at the University of Michigan, he returned to Hanover to take on his current role in 2013, serving as the 18th president of the College and as a professor in the mathematics department. The Dartmouth sat down with President Hanlon to discuss all things pandemic-era — struggles faced by the College, commitments to racial justice, and COVID-19’s impact on higher education going forward.
back and say, gee, I wish we’d tweaked this a little bit differently or done that a little bit differently. I think one thing we did well is we adjusted over the year. In the fall, we were really focused on health and we had very robust constraints on how people were interacting with each other. We learned and heard from the community that this needed to change. We heard from students that it was too locked down, that you were suffering as a result. In the winter, we did our best to adjust to that, open it up, have skating on the Green and have the Adirondack chairs and fire pits, have the morning hikes, the Skiway open. So we tried to adjust to that. Did we get it perfectly right? Did any campus get it perfectly right? Of course not. It was an incredibly complex set of challenges, and so we all did our best — made our best judgments — given the information we had in front of us. We’re working hard in these interviews I talked about — the group interviews with faculty. One of the other topics that I’m bringing up with them is, how do we reawaken the campus in the fall? So fall, hopefully back to normal, fully densified, playing sports, having bonfires, the whole thing. So what do we need to do? Or how can we stimulate the people on the campus to reconnect and reinvigorate those connections?
As an administrator, what would you say that Dartmouth struggled with the most during the pandemic, and how did you address that challenge? PH: So the pandemic was, first of all, unlike anything that any of us have experienced before. There really was no playbook, and that was one problem. Second is it came at us really fast. I distinctly remember last March, within a 72-hour period, everything about the way we conducted business changed. And then third was, it wasn’t just a health issue. How do we operate? How do we teach? How do we continue to do research while Dartmouth had to adapt to keeping the campus healthy? How the pandemic and to remote do we deal with the mental health learning very quickly, and the challenges that come from isolation community as a whole has and a lack of connection? Then, learned to adjust. What has how do we deal with very severe Dartmouth learned from the financial issues? These came not just pandemic about its students from lost revenue, because we didn’t and its mission, and how will have as many students in housing the College apply these lessons and we were keeping the housing going forward? staff and dining staff on. It also PH: I think that there are positive takeaways, came because of o r t h i n g s we the broad-based experienced and economic fallout, Did we get it perfectly implemented which meant that right? Did any campus that we learned the financial get it perfectly right? actually work aid needs of pretty well. One o u r s t u d e n t s Of course not. It was is that we, by s k y r o c k e t e d , an incredibly complex necessity, have a n d we we re used Zoom to c o m m i t t e d t o set of challenges, bring experts into meeting those. So and so we all did our our classrooms. I think what was And we found really a challenge best — made our best was trying to deal judgments — given the out that we could actually get more with all four of information we had in experts to engage those challenges in our classes at the same time, front of us. if they didn’t without any kind have to travel of track record of to Hanover. So how to deal with - PHIL HANLON ’77, I think that will this kind of thing. COLLEGE PRESIDENT continue because this is great, you On the other hand, what did Dartmouth know, we can get Sen. Rob Portman struggle with the least during ’78, R-Ohio, to come to campus the pandemic? Why do you virtually and speak to our students. We’ll do a lot more of that. think that is? PH: I have, over the course of this I think that we’ve learned that term, been having group interviews some aspects of teaching work well with faculty, six at a time, from all online — for example, just rote across the institution. One of the lecturing. And there was already things I’m doing in these meetings a move to flip classrooms — that is trying to catch up with their is to say, to have students preview experiences during the pandemic. the lecture part. I think that the One of the things that so many of pandemic will accelerate that, or them have mentioned is how much what we experienced in the pandemic Dartmouth students stepped up will accelerate that. during this time, how it wasn’t just I think that we learned how faculty who threw themselves into productive our employees can be with converting courses to online — it flexible work arrangements. And I was students adjusting to that and know that many of our employees engaging through that mechanism. and staff liked the flexibility of I think what I’m really proud of is being able to stay home more the way that the community came and work from home. And we will together during this period. It wasn’t probably be more flexible about easy for anyone and nobody liked it, those arrangements in the future. nobody wanted to be doing this. But So I think there’s a lot of things we people really stepped up — both the learned that we will want to retain faculty, the staff that provided the from the pandemic. IT support, and then students, the And as I was discussing earlier, way that you all adjusted to this new we also learned, at least in my mind, the importance of the work environment. One other thing I’d say that was we do at Dartmouth, not just the a sort of uplifting part of this really liberal arts education, but I should difficult time was that I became have also mentioned the research more convinced than ever about we do. America’s leading research the importance and value of what universities sort of led the way in we do at Dartmouth, especially in the development of vaccines and the way that the liberal arts and the new therapies. So again, that just, education we provide, the bundle to me, stressed the value of what we of experiential activities, prepares do here on our campus. people for leadership. If you reflect over the last year, we had a clinic What was your own personal on leadership over the last year, the experience throughout the good and the bad. The leaders who pandemic like? Looking back, were most successful were the ones how has your experience been that valued science and understood with teaching a remote class science, understood the connection and running an administration between society and health and remotely, and how did those economic wellbeing, and understood experiences differ? that the arts can elevate the human PH: Yeah, in the fall I taught a more condition. In short, the leaders that advanced math class. I’m a math stood out to me were the ones that professor, and it was a class that had embodied the liberal arts, so I became a lot of visuals, a lot of diagrams and more inspired than ever by the work drawings, which I normally would do on a blackboard or chalkboard. So I that we do here at Dartmouth. had to figure out, how do I replicate On that note of looking back that? And I realized and learned over the course of the pandemic, from my colleagues that I could do what would you change about it with an iPad Pro, which worked how Dartmouth responded to somewhat, except my handwriting on the iPad is really lousy. And so, the pandemic and why? PH: Well, hindsight is always 20/20, what I realized is that I really needed right? I mean, you can always look to figure out in advance what I was
COURTESY OF THE OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
College President Phil Hanlon stood by the College’s pandemic response and discussed how he taught remotely.
going to draw on the board, and that included what questions students might ask and what drawings I would need to make in response to their questions. I needed to prepare those in advance on paper, scan it, and send it to the students. So the upshot was that I gave a lot more thought than usual to what I was going to do in the class, what I was going to say, what I was going to put on the board, what order everything would happen in. And so it took a lot more time, but I think it was time well spent. I think I taught better as a result of that. So that was my own experience of teaching. I deeply missed the inperson contact, I can tell you that. It just wasn’t the same. I am really looking forward, actually, to having some sort of reunion with my class, once conditions are appropriate for that. In terms of the administrative work, it was a brutal year. And it was brutal especially because of needing to give so many people so much news they didn’t want to hear. So it was way back starting in March of 2020 saying, we can’t have students back in spring term, we can’t have Commencement, we can’t have reunions, we can’t have students here in the summer, we can’t play sports in the fall, we have to de-densify our dorms for the whole year. So I really felt for people. As a Dartmouth student myself, I understand the magic of the Dartmouth experience. And so, it was just kind of exhausting. For me, like it was for everyone, the emotional toll of the last year was tough. Over the past year, systemic racial injustices have risen to the forefront of our national conversation. What additional commitments beyond what has already been announced w i l l D a rt m o u t h m a ke t o addressing those injustices on campus and within the College?
PH: Today and every day, Dartmouth stands in solidarity against racism and wants to be an anti-racist institution. So we can start with that for sure. One thing you may not know is that last fall, the Board of Trustees committed themselves to studying two strategic issues, and they were going to really do a deep dive into them and understand what the institution can do to address them. One of the two was creating a new, more welcoming and inclusive campus and a campus that’s more anti-racist and more welcoming to all peoples. So that’s one thing. In July, we will be joined by Brown University vice president for institutional equity and diversity Shontay Delalue as our new senior vice president — a cabinet level position — and senior diversity officer. Bringing her to campus, we at the same time expanded and built out the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, which she will lead, and moved her reporting line directly to the President from the Provost position. We made a substantial financial commitment in doing that. We are, beyond that, looking at how we can take these institutional commitments and couple them with philanthropic commitments. And so, already, one of the priorities in the campaign was endowing the E. E. Just Program, which supports students from systemically underrepresented minority groups who are pursuing STEM. We have already through the campaign expanded FYSEP programs significantly, both in the numbers of students it serves and in the length of the program — it’s now a four-week program instead of a two-day program. And the other thing I think that really bears mentioning is that it’s been a huge priority for Dartmouth to expand the number of BIPOC faculty. We already, starting in 2017, put in place a set of initiatives aimed at expanding the number of faculty.
This included things like provost funding for faculty lines, which bring diversity for faculty who are underrepresented in their fields. Also, there is implicit bias training for everyone involved in the tenure promotion process. In addition, we have a very successful postdoctoral to tenure track program, which allows us to hire faculty underrepresented in their fields, have them serve in a postdoctoral position for a couple of years and cement their scholarly work before all of the obligations of tenure track. How will the college experience or higher education as a whole be different after the pandemic, and what can we expect from institutions like Dartmouth going forward? PH: There’s a lot to say here, but let me just say that I think that the pandemic will have a profound impact on higher education overall. Now that every institution has experienced online learning, there will be a lot of push to understand how that can be used to increase the value of what’s offered and lower the cost of what’s charged. Having said that, I think that I’ll come back to something I said earlier, which is what I’ve learned from this is the unique bundle of activities that we do at Dartmouth with our great liberal arts curriculum and our robust co-curricular and extracurricular activities is exactly the right preparation for leadership in this world. I’ve never been more convinced of that. And so, while I think we will take our learnings from our own online experiences this year and use them to make what we do better, I don’t see us replacing this unique residential, high-touch, in-person education that we provide. I think that we’re kind of at the top of the food chain in terms of the education we offer. And I think we’ve only seen this year how valuable that is.
STUDENT-CURATED EXHIBITION ON VIEW THROUGH JULY 25
“The Butt of the Joke: Humor and the Human Body” Grace Hanselman ’20, Mellon Special Projects Intern
Take a tour through this lighthearted and fun exhibition today! Use the QR code to register for our in-person gallery tours. Can’t get enough? Zoom in to hear Grace discuss her work on Wednesday, June 2, 3:00–3:45 pm. For more details, see our calendar of events!
Mika Rottenberg, S12 (Ass Print No. 3), 2006, graphite, gold leaf, acrylic on paper. Anonymous gift; 2018.37.318. © Mika Rottenberg
THE DARTMOUTH SPRING SPECIAL ISSUE
FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2021
Platforms like Zoom, Panopto Video, Slack are here to stay By Sydney Wuu
The Dartmouth Staff
Since the pandemic descended on Dartmouth, online platforms like Zoom, Panopto Video, Slack and GroupMe have dominated day-to-day interactions. While these programs rose in popularity to fill a void created by the shift to virtual classes, they might not disappear completely as Dartmouth moves away from online learning and back into the classroom. Some professors found that certain aspects of these virtual programs enhanced their teaching capabilities. When writing professor Min Young Godley taught WRIT 5, “Metamorphosis and Otherness” to freshmen during the winter term, she said that she used Slack and Zoom most often and found both helpful. Slack’s organizational system, she said, was particularly useful because she could post Zoom links and class activities in channels dedicated to the day of the assignment. “I had these channels dedicated to the times Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, so whether I do synchronous meetings or activities on Slack, it was all on Slack” Godley said. “I think that was easier for students to keep up to the structure because they could just go there and during class time they would know what to do for that week in addition to the syllabus.” Cardiolog y professor John Butterly, a 40-year veteran in the teaching world, taught four classes this academic year using Zoom and Panopto Video: GEOG 20.01, “Global Health & Society,” “Cardiovascular Physiology Year 1,” “Problem Based Learning Year 1” and “Problem Based Learning (PBL) Year 2.” He said he felt that Zoom generally served its purpose by allowing him to speak to the class and share slideshows, adding that the platform’s screen-sharing function was especially beneficial for displaying medical tools necessary for his class. “Zoom is ver y, ver y good for teaching a course on ECG [electrocardiogram] interpretation because I can show the ECGs to all the students I’m teaching,” Butterly said. “I can give them feedback, they can give me feedback, they can show me how they read them, so it was particularly useful for that.” Yet both professors said there were clearly limitations to using technology to simulate a classroom environment. Godley felt that it was difficult to reach students who she believed would have benefited from her personal help in a oneon-one, in-person meeting. Before the pandemic, students could come up to Godley after class to schedule appointments, but during remote learning, students often arrive at Zoom meetings promptly and immediately leave when class is over — rarely sticking around to ask
questions or schedule appointments with their professor. Godley said that the biggest challenge to online lear ning was helping students out and encouraging them to accept help when they need it. “I think students, especially the freshmen, struggle with this idea that instructors are judges rather than helpers,” Godley said. “To address that and convince them that that’s not the case, me being visible is really important.” Butterly echoed the sentiment that Zoom cannot capture all e l e m e n t s o f t h e c l a s s ro o m . He emphasized that although Zoom effectively communicates information, students and faculty miss all of the personal interaction, which he feels is “very important.” “It’s not just about what I’m saying and what you’re saying,” Butterly said. “It’s about how we’re saying it and how we feel about it. You use body language when you’re talking to people so you can draw more out of them or tell they’re not quite getting it. That’s much harder to do on Zoom.” For Butterly, the conveniences and perks of virtual teaching did not outweigh the weaknesses. He does not intend to continue using Zoom in future classes unless it is necessary for public health. “We didn’t have a choice,” Butterly said. “If given a choice, I would teach in person.” Godley, however, does not think she will cut all aspects of online learning cold turkey. She believes that as the College transitions to inperson learning, students will likely have different expectations after the experience of remote learning with faculty. As much as she is excited to go back, Godley recognizes that it may not be possible to completely return to pre-pandemic normalcy within the classroom. “I am excited to go back on campus, but there is an assumption that we’re going back to normal,” Godley said. “We’re not really going back to anything because we are entering into a new situation and probably have to deal with the residues of this experience — quarantine, remote learning, the trauma, if you will.” With this in mind, Godley plans to continue offering some Zoom meetings, even at “odd hours,” once the pandemic ends in addition to her regular office hours appointments, recognizing that it may be difficult for students to be present on campus at a certain time. She also plans to continue using Slack for peer reviews because it provides easy access to other students’ papers and peer comments. While most students are eager to return to the classroom, some hope that certain elements of online classes survive the transition. Emily Masuda ’24, who took GEOG 20.01, “Global Health & Society” with Butterly during the winter, said
LILA HOVEY/THE DARTMOUTH STAFF
Some aspects of Zoom and other online platforms will remain post-pandemic.
that it was “really helpful” to go back to the recorded videos on Panopto as she studied for tests. She hopes that during post-pandemic life, crucial lectures will still be recorded so students can refer back to them. “I liked to search certain phrases in the transcript and rewatch sections of the lectures,” Masuda explained. “This feature was helpful because sometimes I didn’t catch everything that was said during class.” Beyond the academic classroom, clubs and organizations were a l s o f o rc e d t o s h i f t t o w a rd virtual platforms for meetings, communications and socializing. Mental Health Union vice president of outreach Dakota Ma ’22 appreciates how technology has allowed her to stay involved in MHU despite being physically very far away. Ma said that MHU has seen a lot of new faces this year. While she is unsure if this spike in attendance is due to better marketing to freshmen or other factors, she said that accessibility has “definitely played a part” because of the ability to hop on and off meetings and not worry about commute time. “We’ve heard from a couple of new members that they always wanted to attend an MHU meeting, but haven’t been able to because of various conflicts,” Ma said. “Now, since they can just log onto a Zoom link, it’s a lot easier for them, and so they’ve actually started coming regularly because of this.” M ov i n g f o r w a r d t o p o s t pandemic life, Ma is excited to build off this momentum and transition into in-person meetings. “In terms of general meetings, when we are able to have them inperson, we’ll have them in-person just because a lot of what we do in MHU is very collaborative — we build off of each other — and Zoom is a little bit awkward for doing that,”
Ma said. While Zoom may have increased accessibility to meetings, Ma believes it raises additional concerns: difficulty building connections and the exhaustion that accompanies using Zoom. “Since classes and other events are all on Zoom, there is a very real issue of Zoom fatigue,” Ma said. “These long hours in front of a screen can be very mentally, emotionally, and physically draining. I think there is a very delicate balance between how Zoom does improve accessibility, but it also brings a whole new challenge with having to spend more time in front of a screen and engage.” Although MHU member meetings will return to an inperson format, Ma noted that the pandemic opened the door to remote possibilities in their peer support program. Instead of the original phone line service that was used pre-pandemic, the MHU has decided to keep the Zoom portion of it with an additional in-person component. Other clubs noted that the experience of Zoom pales in comparison to the in-person events. Prior to the pandemic, Dartmouth Model United Nations would head to Montreal to participate as delegates at McGill University’s McMUN conference almost every year, and they would also host their own conference every spring. This year, many of these experiences shifted to Zoom and Slack. While secretary general of DartMUN 2021 Mila Escajadillo appreciated gaining the experience of attending a conference over Zoom, she missed the physical presence of her fellow delegates. “It’s really hard to get into the role of playing a character when you’re still sitting in your bedroom,” Escajadillo said. “You lose the charm of in-person interaction.” Escajadillo co-organized this
year’s virtual DartMUN weekendlong conference with Alec Rossi ‘21 back in April, bringing together over 500 high schoolers from around the world to the College to take on the role of countries and debate global issues. “ I t ’s u s u a l l y r e a l l y f u n , ” Escajadillo explained. “All these high schoolers are here, walking around in suits, going into Rocky. Everyone is confused. It’s really fun.” Escajadillo added she and Rossi waited until about November 2020 to see if an in-person or hybrid format would be possible before officially deciding on the Zoom and Slack format of the conference. As a ten-year participant of Model UN, Escajadillo wishes her final “victory lap” conference could have happened under different circumstances instead of on Zoom as she — along with all other members of the class of 2021 — approaches graduation. “I dreamed of being secretary general and running my own conference forever,” Escajadillo said. “I was really bummed not being able to meet the staff in person, the freshmen in person and really make connections like that.” In the future, Escajadillo does not foresee any elements of conferences shifting to Zoom permanently, but added that the group found Slack useful. “We will likely continue to use Slack. We are hoping to return to an in-person conference format, but Slack was such a great communication platform that we will likely favor it over GroupMe going forward,” Escajadillo said. While dif ferent clubs and professors will vary in how much they rely on these technologies in post-pandemic life, one thing is certain: Zoom and other digital apps won’t disappear from Dartmouth’s campus overnight.
Number of students living in local off-campus housing jumps BY ANDREW SASSER The Dartmouth Staff
While all Dartmouth students are typically required to live in oncampus housing for their first year in residence, some students choose to live in off-campus housing in Hanover and surrounding towns later in their time at Dartmouth. During the pandemic however, the number of students interested in living off campus has increased significantly. In the decade before the pandemic the number of students living off campus in the Upper Valley was increasing slowly, according to data from the Office of Institutional Research. In the 2011-12 academic year, 335 students lived in off- campus housing, a figure that increased to 504 students by the 2019-20 academic year. The numbers of students living in Greek houses and affinity houses also increased marginally. Over that same time period, the number of students living in residence halls declined from 3,111 in 2011-2012 to 2,902 in 20192020. During the 2020-21 academic year, the number of undergraduate students living locally off campus jumped to 1394, surpassing the 1,310 living in residence halls. Jolin Kish, owner of Kish Consulting & Contracting, which manages leases primarily within a fivemile radius of Dartmouth’s campus, said that prior to the pandemic, undergraduate interest in off-campus housing had remained “steady” for the last 15 years. However, she noted that students have recently begun to sign lease agreements for housing earlier, especially for students seeking housing for senior year.
“It used to be that students would have their leases [for senior year] signed by the end of sophomore summer, but now most places are taken by the end of sophomore winter,” Kish said. “To get the prime locations, students are competing with one another.” Prior to the pandemic, most undergraduate students sought places within walking distance of campus for easy access to the facilities, Kish said, while most graduate students preferred to live further away from campus, where they could get a “nicer” lease at a lower cost. However, during the pandemic, the number of undergraduate students signing off-campus leases increased “dramatically,” according to Hanover town manager Julia Griffin. She added that many undergraduate students also began to sign leases further away from campus in locations such as Lyme or Quechee, Vermont. “We saw a tremendous upward pressure on the rental housing stock across the region,” Griffin said. “Even though they weren’t all allowed on campus, a lot of students wanted to be close by and take classes remotely with friends.” Kish said that while undergraduate interest in off-campus housing increased, graduate student housing demand “plummeted,” as many graduate students chose to work remotely from home. She also said that all years of undergraduates — including some freshmen during winter term — had signed lease agreements. Many students who chose to live locally off campus during the pandemic chose to do so because of COVID-19 restrictions in on-campus
housing. Aditi Gupta ’23 said that she chose to live off campus this term in order to preserve a “halfway normal college experience.” She added that while managing the “logistics” of living off campus has been challenging, she has enjoyed living with her housemates. “Originally I thought living with four other people would be too many, but now it feels like a perfect number of people,” Gupta said. Katherine Lasonde ’23, who has lived off campus in Quechee since fall term, said that she wanted to live off campus in order to have a sense of “normalcy.” She added that while she would have preferred to live in a dorm this year, she tried to “make the best of the situation.” “Living in Quechee, a 20-minute drive from campus, isn’t the same as living on campus,” Lasonde said. “It is still really nice to be able to live with friends and enjoy the experience.” While on-campus housing is still at limited capacity, by fall term, these restrictions are likely to be lifted. In a May 13 email to the Dartmouth community, COVID-19 task force cochairs Lisa Adams and Josh Keniston wrote that residence halls in the fall will return to full capacity, with a small number of rooms set aside for quarantine and isolation. Both Griffin and Kish said that with capacity limits being lifted by fall, they expect undergraduate interest in student housing to return to pre-pandemic levels. Kish added that because most undergraduates value “proximity” to campus, most undergraduates are likely to return to living on or very near campus. “Graduate students are also going to be returning to the area with labs
and classrooms reopening, so they’re likely to return to places like Sachem Village and other locations further away,” Kish said. Both Gupta and Lasonde said that they are considering living off campus in post-pandemic terms. Lasonde added that while she had a “great experience” in Quechee this term, she hopes to live closer to campus in the future. “I’d prefer to live in Hanover close to campus, if possible,” Lasonde said. “However, given how much cheaper it is to live off campus, I’m not sure if I’ll ever go back to the dorms.” Griffin said that she thinks it will be “important” for students to return to on-campus living, as the increase in demand in off-campus housing over the years has impacted the community. One of the issues she cited was the shortage of workforce housing resulting from students signing more leases in the area. “A lot of the relatively affordable and modest housing in Hanover was being taken up by short term rentals during the pandemic,” Griffin said. “We’re already 10,000 housing units short in the entire Upper Valley, and students gobbling up housing is compounding that problem.” In addition to the housing shortage, Griffin also mentioned that a lot of off-campus student housing is in “poor shape” due to neglect by both the landlords and their student tenants. She saidmentioned that in recent years, some students have had to call town officials because of problems such as a lack of hot water or broken windows that their landlords did not respond to. According to Griffin, student rental housing units have also had problems with overcrowding in recent years,
a problem that stems from students attempting to “circumvent” Hanover’s zoning regulations, which prevent more than three unrelated people from living in a rental unit. She added that as a result of the overcrowding, students have been found to be living in unsafe conditions, such as students living in a basement with only one entrance or exit. “We’re really fortunate that we haven’t had a major house fire or other incident in the rental units,” Griffin said. “When you start to overcrowd a unit, the chances of having a tragic event happen grow exponentially.” In response to these problems, Griffin said that the town has discussed “beefing up” its rental housing ordinance to conduct annual inspections on rentals to both check for safety hazards and to combat overcrowding of units. While no formal ordinance has been proposed, she mentioned that many other college towns, such as Burlington, Vermont, have implemented annual inspections to “great success.” “I also hope that the College will consider building more affordable on campus housing so we don’t have so many students living off campus,” Griffin said. “While some upperclassmen prefer to live off campus, a lot of students have to live off campus because they can’t afford room and board on campus.” The recently announced Infrastructure Renewal Fund, created using additional distribution from the endowment, will be used in part to upgrade residence halls. In an April town hall, executive vice president Rick Mills said that the College will be discussing building additional student housing with the Trustees in July.
FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2021
THE DARTMOUTH SPRING SPECIAL ISSUE
Hanover restaurants begin return to normal operations By BEN FAGELL
permanently over the past year, these closures were not directly attributable to the pandemic. “They were restaurants that were The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought tremendous change on the already underperforming … and the business landscape in Hanover, forcing pandemic was just the final nail in the restaurants and retailers to grapple coffin,” Griffin said. Owner and CEO of Lou’s with shutdowns, mask mandates and capacity restrictions. Businesses that Restaurant Jarett Berke Tu’17 said managed to stay afloat over the past the move to a delivery-based model year, however, may begin to see a return has helped his business move forward. to normalcy amid low COVID-19 Although delivery is not profitable for case counts and changes in Centers Lou’s — primarily due to the high cost for Disease Control and Prevention of drivers and lower-margin products guidelines, Hanover town manager — Berke said it allowed him to keep his staff busy and employed. Julia Griffin said. “We never laid anyone off through “The good news is that downtown Hanover is doing pretty well,” Griffin [the pandemic],” Berke said. “Now said. “…People are coming back to we’re in a really strong position. A lot their offices full time. Having more of other restaurants are struggling to bodies downtown patronizing our hire their people back, struggling to get restaurants, shopping at lunch time and back to where they were. We still have parking is a good sign that normalcy much of the same crew here, and we’re in a good shape as we’re rounding the is returning.” Griffin said the town measures final corner.” As the pandemic subsides, Berke foot traffic in downtown Hanover by parking revenues, which in the past two said he is focused on increasing profits weeks alone have returned to 50% of by prioritizing efficient service, highquality food and dine-in customers. the normal amount. In addition, Lous, Murphy’s on Upper Valley Business Alliance executive director Tracy Hutchins said the Green and Boloco have banded the entire Upper Valley has handled together to form a delivery service called the Upper the pandemic Valley Eateries well and will and Restaurants c o n t i n u e t o “Having more bodies — UVER, for rebound during downtown patronizing short — which the summer. will eliminate the She added that our restaurants, businesses that shopping at lunch time need for third party apps like Grubhub were able to and parking is a good and DoorDash, shift to a digital according to m o d e l h a d sign that normalcy is Murphy’s owner an advantage returning.” Nigel Leeming. over those that The group hopes continued to rely to launch UVER on foot traffic. - JULIA GRIFFIN, TOWN before the beginning According MANAGER of fall term. to Griffin, the According to businesses that had the “acumen” to react swiftly Boloco co-founder John Pepper ’91 Tu to changes in state guidelines and ’97, UVER will employ an independent customer flows are emerging from the pool of drivers shared among the three pandemic, highlighting “the amazing restaurants, minimizing the variability amount of revising, revamping and in delivery traffic that different rethinking” they underwent to outlast restaurants experience throughout the day. the pandemic. “Hopefully, we manage the demand Griffin added that while the town saw a few restaurants close across multiple restaurants, better than
The Dartmouth Staff
NATALIE DAMERON/THE DARTMOUTH STAFF
Expanded outdoor dining may stick around as part of downtown Hanover’s landscape post-pandemic.
we’re able to do it alone, [eliminating instances when] some drivers are absolutely out-of-their-mind busy, can’t keep up with the orders, while someone across the street is absolutely dead,” Pepper said. Pepper emphasized the importance of collective action to overcome common challenges. “[UVER has] been a silver lining of the pandemic, just realizing we may be better served doing this together,” Pepper said. “ … It doesn’t make sense for all of us — delivering individually and competing as opposed to joining forces as a community.” Berke said he hopes UVER will keep “big, ugly businesses” from entering Hanover and “money in the community,” noting the outsized effect the pandemic has had on small businesses. “Unfortunately, I think [the pandemic] has made big businesses a lot stronger,” Berke said. “Companies like Amazon and Walmart and Grubhub really benefited from the pandemic, whereas many small businesses have not.”
Per the town’s COVID-19 guidelines, Lou’s currently has 30% of its total indoor capacity open for seating, which Berke described as “pretty limited.” However, he noted that the restaurant has reopened outdoor dining as of a couple weeks ago, and currently seats its typical number of tables. During the pandemic, the town also replaced parking spaces on Main Street with restaurant outdoor seating to accommodate for the loss of indoor seating. Griffin said the outdoor spaces for dining will remain and be incorporated into an ongoing sidewalk reconstruction project, but noted the controversy of eliminating parking. “Parking is typically in big demand, and to sacrifice parking would be controversial,” Griffin said. “So we’ll figure it out. We want to take the time to make sure we’ve heard from all sorts of groups of folks before we pull the pin on something. But outdoor dining vibe is a great vibe.” Amber Boland, the owner of Blue Sparrow Kitchen in Norwich and The Nest, which is currently under
construction in Hanover, said she is considering her employees’ well-being while deciding where to adopt more relaxed COVID-19 guidelines. Although she has shuttered indoor seating, she said her employees are becoming more comfortable with the idea of opening the interior of her restaurants as they become fully vaccinated. Eden Schneck ’24 said she feels safer now that she is fully vaccinated and has been taking advantage of downtown Hanover more often. “I feel like I have a layer of protection,” Schneck said. “I definitely feel like I’ve been able to interact with friends more and be more comfortable. I also have found myself going to restaurants in town more.” Leeming said he has noticed more patrons in his restaurant and believes there is a pent-up demand for normalcy as vaccination rates rise in Hanover. “The more vaccinations there are, the more people are willing to come out and not be so scared,” Leeming said. “We’re seeing a lot more older people come now than before.”
Upper Valley officials focus on vaccinating vulnerable residents By Jacob Strier
The Dartmouth Staff
Upper Valley and Hanover vaccination efforts continue, focused around special efforts to vaccinate vulnerable portions of the population. According to data from the CDC, in Grafton County, some 51% of those 18 and over — and 83% of those 65 and over — have been fully vaccinated as of May 20. The effort to immunize the population, according to executive director of the public health council of the Upper Valley Alice Ely, has been driven by state-run vaccination clinics and supplemented by regional health networks. “We don’t have public health departments at the regional or local level in New Hampshire as they do in other parts of the country,” Ely said. Instead, Ely explained that the state has 13 regional public health networks tasked with a number of responsibilities, including responding to public health emergencies. On the New Hampshire side, the public health council of the Upper Valley has been organizing vaccination efforts in 12 towns, she said. In Vermont, according to Ely, the council oversees public health initiatives in 22 communities, although most vaccination efforts are being run by the state. In New Hampshire, Ely said the earliest vaccination efforts started through a partnership with Walgreens pharmacy that brought doses to elderly Granite Staters living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Now, she said many state-run clinics provide the vaccine, including the nearby staterun operation in the West Lebanon J.C. Penney. According to Ely, regional public health networks, like the one under her direction, have been holding vaccination clinics at housing communities where older adults live in close proximity, such as Quail Hollow in West Lebanon or Rogers House in Lebanon. She said these apartment complexes “cater to older adults,” but did not qualify for the first efforts under the Walgreens partnership. Ely added that the public health network has also worked to vaccinate front-line workers, low-income communities and ethnic or language minority communities in the area. “We have some low-income housing communities around our region, where people have barriers in transportation or access to the internet,” she said. “Early on, the public health region was able to take [the vaccine] to homeless shelters, food shelves and some residential facilities for adults with disabilities.” Enfield resident Donna Ayres said
that she became eligible in late February as a senior citizen and signed up on the “first day.” “We waited 20-30 minutes for the website to work,” she said. Since booking that first appointment with her husband, Ayres said they have completed their sequence of the Pfizer vaccination. She said she received her first shot at the National Guard armory in Lebanon and her second at the West Lebanon J.C. Penney. Throughout the pandemic, Ayres said she and her husband isolated themselves on their “little farm,” keeping away from Hanover as much as possible to avoid infection. “I watched case counts; where we live, we could go to either Hanover or New London [for essentials],” she said, adding that now that she is vaccinated, she is more comfortable about returning to Hanover. Ayres noted that the reduced numbers of students on campus add to her comfort about visiting the college town. Local mental health therapist Kasey Graben, who lives in Bradford, Vermont, agreed that her vaccine has made her feel more comfortable about visiting Hanover. “I have only eaten out two or three times over the past year and a half,” she said. “I’ll be more nervous when people do not have to wear masks.” Graben expressed this feeling prior to the CDC’s announcement that vaccinated people do not have to wear masks or socially distance in most settings. Graben said that the student presence in Hanover did not specifically worry her, noting that her concern instead stemmed from Hanover being a “highly populated town” for the region. Hanover town manager Julia Griffin said that as upwards of 80% of the most vulnerable members of the Hanover population have been vaccinated — those over 65 — she has received fewer worried messages from residents about student behavior. “Peoples’ concerns about the student population as a portion of our own population and the potential for student social interaction to lead to more COVID cases, that concern was extremely high starting last summer, through the fall and into the winter,” she said. “Then, vaccinations were available, and as our most at-risk population got their vaccines, they stopped worrying so much.” Griffin said she measures local concern by the number of email and phone messages she receives from angry or concerned Hanover residents reporting student gatherings. “Even on a sunny day in October, when students were on the Green,
KYLE MULLINS/THE DARTMOUTH SENIOR STAFF
Over half of Grafton County adults are now fully vaccinated, according to data from the New York Times.
masked, I would get emails from people saying, ‘Have you seen the Green today?’” she said. Like Ely, Griffin emphasized local vaccination efforts for targeted groups, which she said followed an initial period when the state of New Hampshire “tightly” controlled vaccine distribution. She said that since January, more supplies have “entered the pipeline.” “We ran closed points of distribution for vaccines for targeted groups,” she said. “We targeted school teachers, frail individuals who had trouble getting to the sites, medical care providers at the hospitals and ultimately the College was able to set up a specific clinic to provide enough doses to students for those who want a vaccine on campus.” Hanover health officer Michael Hinsley said that he capitalized off of existing relationships with off-campus student residents in Hanover when it came time to vaccinate. Hinsley said he had forged those relationships as the
key local official enforcing isolation and quarantine in the houses during early March. Hinsley said that initially, the governor of New Hampshire made it difficult for out-of-state Dartmouth students to receive the vaccine, a message which Griffin echoed. After hearing that some New Hampshire Walmarts were lax on checking documents, however, he said he helped spread the word to students looking to get their first doses — all in the name of vaccinating as many students as possible. “My job as a health officer is to keep the citizens of the town of Hanover safe and healthy,” he said. “The citizens of the town of Hanover include Dartmouth students.” Hinsley also noted that he worked with existing community organizations like churches, speaking to religious leaders about the latest vaccination news. “You don’t need to know everybody. You just need to know five, or six or nine
people who know everybody,” he said. Ely described vaccination as a “community gift” and said that even young people at low medical risk of complications from COVID-19 should make the effort to be vaccinated. She noted that in addition to reducing vaccine hesitancy, a primary goal of the public health network is vaccinating those who are “not so great at planning ahead.” “We have to be where people are and just wave them in and say, do you want a COVID vaccine?” she said, referring to the increasing need for walk-in vaccination clinics. Griffin said that she plans on seeing a “high uptake rate” of vaccinations among Dartmouth’s student body, encouraged by Dartmouth’s general requirement of vaccination by September. “The good news across the US in general is that in academic communities, you see high rates of vaccination acceptance,” Griffin said.
THE DARTMOUTH SPRING SPECIAL ISSUE
FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2021
Set change: theater department explores new virtual mediums BY SABRINA EAGER
The Dartmouth Staff
As auditoriums and rehearsal rooms emptied last spring, theater students and faculty had to adjust to new mediums fit for remote productions. This year, the theater department managed to put on their fall and winter mainstage productions, as well as a series of senior thesis projects this spring through experimental virtual mediums. Last fall’s mainstage production,“Faith, Hope, and Charity,” took the form of a radio play in which actors recorded their audio and sound designer Jane Shaw mixed the recordings with sound effects. The winter brought another mainstage production: “The Radical Joy Project,” in which the directors invited students to come contribute their ideas instead of running auditions. The show consisted of both auditory and visual elements, showcasing student dance, animation, acting and music. This spring, the department focused much of its energy on supporting outgoing students: Five seniors put on productions as part of their senior theses, all of which were rehearsed and performed remotely. The performances ranged from “Bulrusher,” a live-perfor med radio show directed by Lexi Warden ’21, to “Flourtown,” a pre-recorded musical written and composed by Matt Haughey ’21. In order to stage these new virtual performances, the theater department faced new technological challenges. Production manager Brianna Parry noted that she and technical director Jason Merwin have had to handle issues like internet connectivity problems and the department had to ship mics to actors across the world, along with other adjustments. “We’re having to learn about all new software programs and
mediums and all the ins and outs of Zoom and how [...] you get the tiles to show up where you want,” Parry said. Parry said she felt that the department was able to make the virtual productions more accessible than past performances, and she hopes to bring some of these elements into future productions. “Being digital has allowed us to experiment more with access — doing subtitles for pieces, and you can now access them at any time of day,” Parry said. “If you don’t make it to the show you can still watch it the next morning. Thinking more consciously about access is going to be an addition to our program and going forward.” Warden, who directed “Bulrusher” this spring, said she was glad that her production was available online. “I live on the other side of the country, there was no way I would have been able to have shown this piece to my family or my friends,” Warden said. “I feel very lucky to have gotten to share some of my last performances with people who aren’t here.” Some theater students, like Lucy Biberman ’23, a stage manager for both “The Radical Joy Project” and “Flourtown,” were excited by the creativity and experimentation of the new mediums. “Theater has changed very little in the last 500 years,” Biberman said. “I think the pandemic has really pushed people to force themselves to think of theater and conceptualize it in different ways. I think now, there’s this different mindset of experimentation, which I think is really, hopefully, going to be an opportunity to bring forward a lot of different voices that haven’t been produced before.” However, the virtual productions had the difficult challenge of emulating the essential elements of a live theater production. For
NAINA BHALLA/THE DARTMOUTH SENIOR STAFF
The theatre department has found alternatives to in-person performances, but looks forward to a return to their spaces.
many, including Parry, one of the main draws of theater is its in-person element. “I got into theater because there is something magical about being in the same room with the people who are creating the art live, right there,” Parry said. “I think theater has the power to change minds and perspectives in a way that many other mediums do not, because of the magical live element.” Choreographer in residence at Dartmouth Rebecca Stenn felt that dance productions have suffered due to the lack of live performances. She doesn’t think that virtual productions can adequately capture the energy of live performances. “I feel bereft when I watch [dance] online, because I miss the visceral feeling,” Stenn said. “The scent of the room, the sweat glimmering on the dancers body and the vibration of the floor as they move.” Theater performances often re-
quire a high level of collaboration, said theater department technical director Jason Merwin, making the remote format particularly challenging. “I can’t walk down the hall and go into the director’s office and say ‘Hey, can you explain to me this issue that we’re having, and we can figure out how to solve it,’” Merwin said. “I’m going to send an email, and then I’m going to wait and wait and wait and hope for a response and hope that the response makes sense so I can help figure it out.” Professor Carol Dunne is currently teaching the course THEA 35, “Acting for Musical Theater” in person; she and her eight students meet in Moore Theater. Now that Dunne is back in a theater space, she said she realizes the value of the in-person aspects of theater that were lost in a remote format. “I’ve taught a ton at Dartmouth online,” she said. “I’ve learned being back in person, that the
perfect, beautiful heart and soul of theater is live.” Some students have still managed to find communities through theater — even remotely. Min Hur ’24 was involved with “The Radical Joy Project” and two honors thesis productions, all of which took place virtually. She feels that the connections she has made through the department, both with fellow cast members and with faculty, have made her feel very welcomed. “Even through Zoom, involvement in theater really helped us transition onto this new campus,” Hur said. Those involved with theater are excited to get back in the physical theater space. When Biberman returned to the Warner Bentley Theater, she said “it was almost overwhelming, just to be in the space again, and the fact that we haven’t been allowed to be in that space for so long has just been so heartbreaking.”
DOC faces pandemic-induced shortage of club leaders By KRISTIN CHAPMAN
The Dartmouth Staff
The Dartmouth Outing Club, the oldest and largest collegiate outing club in the nation, is facing unprecedented leadership shortages exacerbated by the pandemic. “Normally the Outing Club o p e r a t e s by h a n d - m e - d o w n k n ow l e d g e a n d l e a d e r s k i l l s through upperclassmen down to underclassmen,” DOC president Abby Wiseman ’22 said. “Obviously COVID-19 has impacted that because we haven’t really been able to run a lot of in-person trips in the last year.” The DOC was founded in 1909 to promote winter sports but has since grown to encompass all outdoor recreation. Each of the organization’s subclubs — which include Bait and Bullet, Cabin and Trail, the Ledyard Canoe Club and the Mountain Biking Club, among others — are run by student leaders who are charged with planning, organizing and leading outdoor trips of around 12 students. To become a DOC leader, students must first complete a series of courses, including First Aid and CPR, Risk Management, Group Dynamics, Outdoor Skills and Logistics, as well as meet additional skill requirements for their specific subclub. Ledyard Canoe Club president Gab Smith ’22 said that because many qualified leaders did not have on-campus access in the fall or winter due to COVID-19, Ledyard has been hamstrung in its ability to run trips in recent terms. She added that Ledyard had already been dealing with a shortage of skilled whitewater leaders before the pandemic, but because there have not been as many trips running, less experienced club members have not had as many opportunities to improve their skills and step into leadership roles. “Rivers go from class one to class five –– we don’t technically have anyone that’s able to lead us on class four and five rivers right now,” Smith said, adding that Ledyard’s annual spring training trip, where leaders would typically teach other club members more advanced skills, did not run last year. “Because [the trip] got canceled last spring –– spring of 2020 –– we weren’t able to build those people and build those skills, so we have less leadership in the club,” Smith said. Cabin and Trail Club chair Maya Khanna ’22 explained that although pandemic has not created as much
of a shortage of leaders in Cabin and Trail as it has in some of the other DOC subclubs, it has made the leader development process more challenging. “Some of our leader requirements just are not feasible in light of the pandemic,” Khanna said. Leaders-in-training –– called “heelers” –– typically must lead an overnight cabin trip before they can become a leader in CnT, Khanna said. Additionally, leaders must complete Wilderness First Aid, which she described as a “very hands-on course.” “ With th e pan dem ic , you obviously can’t have a bigger group of people all sleeping in the cabin together,” Khanna said, “… Although what we decided to do this term is basically waive that requirement.” Although the Outdoor Programs Office has developed a hybrid in-person and online course for Wilderness First Aid, Khanna said that less individuals have been able to complete all of their CnT leader requirements than in typical years. CnT heeler Eliza Holmes ’24 said she has four more requirements to complete before she becomes a leader, but because the OPO caps its in-person training sessions to comply with the College’s COVID-19 guidelines, “they fill up quickly.” Other DOC subclubs, such as the Dartmouth Mountaineering Club, Mountain Biking Club and Winter Sports Club were already dealing with a shortage of leaders before the pandemic, and have been “really hurt” over the course of the year, Wiseman said. “[Winter Sports Club] only had two leaders approved on campus this winter, me and the other chair, so that was really hard,” Wiseman said. “We just couldn’t get enough trips out to get other leaders trained, and we’re definitely going to be struggling moving forward with that.” Going forward, Wiseman said that the graduation of leaders in the Class of 2021 may place more pressure on current leaders and decrease the amount of high-level trips going out. “We’re certainly going to have to build back up to where we were prior to COVID,” she added. To alleviate the shortage of leaders and the “knowledge gap” many DOC subclubs are facing, Wiseman said she has been working with the OPO to bring in professional instructors who can train rising leaders. According to Smith, on May 8
NAINA BHALLA/THE DARTMOUTH SENIOR STAFF
To combat the shortage, the club has created an intermediate leadership position that requires less training.
and 9 Ledyard hosted a swift-water rescue training with Zoar Outdoors, an independent contractor. “We’re hoping to have skill sessions go out with the Mountaineering Club and some more with Ledyard working on leader specific skills this spring and next fall,” Wiseman said. As a result of constraints throughout the pandemic, students now have the opportunity to step into the role of local leader — an inter mediate DOC leadership position that requires less training, Wiseman said. “[The local leader initiative] really got going last fall and allowed students to become a lower level of leader — so less requirements, but basically letting them lead trips in the area that don’t require much technical knowledge,” Wiseman said. According to the DOC’s website, local leaders can run level one trips, which include beginner hikes, beginner snowshoe trips and winter hikes, beginner cross-country ski trips and flatwater paddling on the Connecticut River. Wiseman added that she hopes local leader trips continue after the pandemic. Cabin and Trail local leader Daniel Lin ’23 said that the local leader position allows him to lead trips within his comfort zone. “Because I’m a local leader, I can now lead trips within 35 minutes of driving and relatively lower level hikes and things like that,” Lin said.
“But when it gets to longer trips that are a lot more mileage, or out in the wilderness … I’m perfectly content joining those trips, as opposed to leading those trips.” Lin added that he believed the Class of 2021’s upcoming graduation will have a large impact
on the club. “Most of the people in leadership I know are seniors,” Lin said. “ … It will be interesting to see the other ’22s and ’23s who are in leadership come back and take the reins again and to see how that gap will play out.”
FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2021
THE DARTMOUTH SPRING SPECIAL ISSUE
MIRROR: Post-Pandemic D-Plan Decision-Making BY BRIAN ZHENG
The Dartmouth Staff
With restrictions on campus life, a de-densified campus and primarily online classes, the past year has been far from normal. While many students stuck to their initial academic plans, the pandemic prompted others to take untraditional gap years and personal withdrawals. Even as we begin to leave the pandemic behind, students still feel the lingering impacts of the socially distanced year as they plan for their future terms. Jesse VanNewkirk ’23, like many Dartmouth students, found it hard to focus and engage with his classes following the College’s transition to remote learning. As someone with dyslexia, dysgraphia and ADHD, VanNewkirk said that he struggled to learn effectively in the new online format, which lacked some of his favorite aspects of the college classroom including one-on-one time with professors and collaboration during group work. “When we got sent home in the spring last year — that kind of trial process of doing online school — I was like, ‘Wait, this is just garbage. I get very, very little out of this,’” VanNewkirk said. While many students stuck with friends across the country to the new remote format and took taking a bladesmithing course at online classes throughout the year, Texarkana Community College the College’s in Texas. This response to term, he is C OV I D - 1 9 continuing to prompted “I felt m o r e work part time VanNewkirk to comfortable being at while living in shake up his B r i d g e w a t e r, academic plans. home and I didn’t want Vermont with After spending to be restricted by the friends. his freshman rules that Dartmouth s u m m e r Va n N e w k i r k w o r k i n g a s put in place for COVID. w a s n o t t h e a n a s s o c i a t e I felt like it would o n l y s t u d e n t p r o d u c t be better for me to wh o d e c i d e d manager for a that enrolling security systems come back next year d u r i n g t h e firm in Virginia, when everything is pandemic was Va n N e w k i r k back to normal than not worthwhile. re a l i ze d t h at B e c a u s e the pandemic struggle with trying D a r t m o u t h wasn’t coming to live on campus w o u l d n o t t o a n e n d w i t h D a r t m o u t h ’s a l l o w m o s t anytime soon, sophomores and he elected restrictions.” to live on to take a gap campus this year to avoid - SOPHIA EMMOTH ’24 ON WHY fall, Alexander the burdens of Fell ’23 elected SHE CHOSE NOT TO RETURN TO t o online classes. extend “ I w a s l i k e CAMPUS AFTER THE WINTER h i s s u m m e r ‘Realistically, TERM internship the pandemic with a venture is going to capital fir m. continue,’” After taking two leave terms to VanNewkirk said. “I said ‘You pursue his internship, Fell realized know what? Let’s just take a gap he “was loving it and learning year.’” so much, so [he] decided after For the past three quarters, winter term to take a personal VanNewkirk has been working withdrawal.” part-time at the same security Withdrawing from the College systems firm while also pursuing allows students deemed “in good other passions, from visiting old standing” by the Office of Student
KAMILLA KOCSIS/THE DARTMOUTH STAFF
Affairs an avenue totake more than four consecutive leave terms, the maximum number normally allowed before a student must return to campus. For Fell, his decision affords him the extra flexibility to return to campus whenever he sees fit. “This experience is so, so unique, and I want to spend as much quality time as possible immersing myself in it,” Fell said. Some students changed their campus residency plans as a result of COVID-19 protocols, even if they weren’t able to officially take on off-term without withdrawing. Sophia Emmoth ’24 was removed from campus in the fall and found that the remote teaching format of her classes made her feel less connected with Dartmouth. Even in the spring, when ’24s who had previously been removed from campus were welcomed back, Emmoth opted to take classes from home. “I felt more comfortable being at home and I didn’t want to be restricted by the rules that Dartmouth put in place for COVID,” Emmoth said. “I felt like it would be better for me to come back next year when everything is back to normal than struggle with trying to live on campus with Dartmouth’s restrictions.” The promise of a more normal college experience has made many other students more excited for the upcoming academic year. Emmoth expressed that she “wants to be
on campus as much as possible He is currently registered for after being away from campus one on-campus class, one class so much” but with on-campus she first plans components o n at t e n d i n g “Right now in the and one remote the Collegeclass, but the s p o n s o r e d business, it’s a pretty fact that the e x c h a n g e exciting time, so I m a j o r i t y o f program with want to be here for c l a s s e s w e r e the American still offered University of the summer at least, entirely online Kuwait this fall and then I’ll reevaluate initially caused before finally ever y term to see Va n N e w k i r k arriving on to question campus for her where I’m at.” his decision to first full term in return. I Hanover during - ALEXANDER FELL ’23 ON WHY “ wanted to be the winter. She said that HE HAS YET TO RETURN FROM A in Hanover with friends in the the possibility PERSONAL LEAVE summer, but the of studying issue with that abroad in is it kind of is a Arabicspeaking country, a language a continuation of online school, that she is interested in learning, which was the thing that I was was an opportunity that she could really turned off by,” VanNewkirk not pass up, and she thinks it will said. If Newkirk had not gotten be an improvement over this past the in-person classes he registered for, he might have considered year’s virtual learning. “I was interested in studying further postponing his return to Arabic before, and it seems like campus.Not every student is in that would be a better learning such a rush to reassimilate into experience than studying at home campus life. For now, Fell plans from my computer and more to continue working at the firm at least through the summer, interesting and more fun.” VanNewkirk is also eager tentatively anticipating a return to return because he “[misses] to campus sometime in the next that intellectual curiosity that’s year. associated with school, so [he’s] “Right now in the business, it’s a looking forward to getting back pretty exciting time, so I want to to it.” After a year away from be here for the summer at least, campus, VanNewkirk plans to be and then I’ll reevaluate every term back in residence for the summer. to see where I’m at,” Fell said.
THE DARTMOUTH SPRING SPECIAL ISSUE
FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2021
STAFF COLUMNIST KATHERINE ARRINGTON ’24
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequities at Dartmouth, but has given the school the chance to address them as it returns to normalcy. With the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020, Dartmouth rapidly adopted virtual learning. The College is now in its fifth online term, and there has been no shortage of obstacles for students attempting to navigate their education. These hardships, however, have not been felt equally by all students — nor have they been entirely the result of the pandemic. Many disparities in the lives of students have been laid bare by the current public health crisis and cannot be forgotten as it subsides. Rather, the College should consider the varying experiences of its students and take steps to enact policies that make the school as an institution more equitable going forward. With the added financial strain of the current crisis, students have faced issues finding secure housing and money for food. Of course, this has disproportionately affected students whose families struggled to make ends meet before the pandemic. Technology has malfunctioned or the internet has crashed, kicking people off of Zoom calls or interfering with their ability to complete schoolwork. Those who do not have easy access to high-speed Wi-Fi and new technology have felt this the worst. Concern about the health and wellbeing of loved ones and the state of the world — coupled with the stress of school — has proved a difficult combination to carry. Once again, those whose family members are essential workers without the privilege of time off, or those who are essential workers themselves, have felt these hardships most of all. As these challenging times have progressed, the College has made various accommodations to lighten the burden. The first virtual term of classes was Credit/No Credit. Extra stipends and COVID-19 relief funds have been given to students in need. Many professors have adapted their classes to weigh exams less heavily and have been more generous with extensions. The number
of mental health resources and events has been expanded. Yet while these accommodations have been helpful for students heavily impacted by the pandemic, they do not address the fact that the unique situations of low-income students did not begin with the pandemic — and will not end after it. In 2014, the six-year graduation rate of students who received Pell Grants at Dartmouth was only 91%, below the 95% overall graduation rate. Nationally, the graduation rate of Pell recipients is only 51% — compared to an overall rate of 65% — so while Dartmouth is above the national average, the gap is still there. It is already a struggle for low-income students just to be admitted to Dartmouth, but inequities persist once undergraduates arrive on campus. Many must work a job in addition to being full-time students in order to be able to pay their tuition or help their family back home. They do not typically have the prestigious networking connections their wealthy counterparts have. Often, low-income students must also adjust to the difficulty of Dartmouth courses, which they may not be fully prepared for if they attended an underfunded public high school. There are some resources for low-income and first-generation students that Dartmouth has put in place: FYSEP, the First Generation Network and Dartmouth Quest Scholars. Yet, if Dartmouth has been able to make extra accommodations for the pandemic, surely they can make accommodations that go beyond networking and group events once “normal” conditions return. For instance, student workers spend 10-12 hours a week at their job that they could otherwise spend completing classwork, attending Dartmouth events, socializing with friends, or even simply resting. Forcing employment for financial aid seems coercive. With an endowment valued at $6 billion, could the College not find the funds to fully cover the
financial aid of low-income students who need to devote all of their free time to their studies or extracurriculars? Such a policy might be more expensive, but the cost would be worth the added time and thus value of low-income students being able to afford their education. Another policy the College should consider is normalizing extensions. The pandemic has added a lot of variables into students’ lives, and as such, many professors have been much more lenient with deadlines. However, for low-income students, who are already working several hours or who might have a steeper learning curve for a given assignment, there are already a lot of extra tasks to juggle. For any given student, unexpected events just happen — even when a global pandemic isn’t raging — which can make it difficult to get assignments done. Adopting a campus-wide culture change that encourages extensions for those students who ask for them, pandemic or not, could help ensure that every student is able to put forth their highest-quality effort without overextending themselves. This could start with a College announcement encouraging, if not mandating, providing extensions for those who ask for them. In general, such a policy would give students the chance to prioritize what they need to when they are struggling, without sacrificing their grades. Extensions will give students who are under extenuating circumstances the opportunity to complete the assignment to their best ability rather than rushing through it. Finally, the Dartmouth administration should consider expanding the use of the non-recording option permanently. The expanded NRO that the Dartmouth Student Union advocated for last winter, and that was in place during the 2020 summer term would allow students to utilize their NRO at any point in the term, and would allow the classes it is used for to count towards distributional and
major requirements. The policy allows greater flexibility for students who want to experiment with studying new subjects without destroying their grades, upholding the idea of learning for learning’s own sake — a hallmark value of the liberal arts college. The College should also consider making the first-term classes of freshmen, or the introductory classes of each department, Credit/No Credit, which would give all students a chance to adjust to Dartmouth’s challenging academics without the stress of watching their GPA and class medians. Furthermore, the option gives students, especially first-years, a chance to adjust to Dartmouth classes without having to stress about how it will affect their job prospects post-graduation. It is also an option that students want: During the winter outbreak, both the DSU and Student Assembly were advocating for more flexible grading. The College rejected their efforts, but their ideas should be reconsidered. While these options might be thought to decrease academic rigor, they will in actuality allow students to engage with the material for the sake of learning rather than receiving a certain grade, thus prompting a better relationship between students and learning in the future. Though we may be separated by Zoom screens, the distinctions in our individual lives are more apparent now than ever. But these distinctions have always existed. So, give students the extension they dare to ask for. Meet them in the middle with an expanded NRO or Credit/No Credit. Recognize the difficulties students grapple with daily. Treating everyone “equally” and giving no allowances and no compassion only further disadvantages those who are already underprivileged. Moving forward and past the pandemic, Dartmouth should choose policies that allow for flexibility rather than rigidity, recognizing that all students’ circumstances are not the same.
STAFF COLUMNIST THOMAS DE WOLFF ‘24
Lest the Old Traditions Fail
Dartmouth must go above and beyond next year to restore a sense of community to campus At the end of Orientation Week this past fall, the Class of 2024 participated in a virtual version of the Twilight Ceremony. Traditionally, this ceremony involves seniors lighting candles held by the assembled freshman class in a literal passing of the torch. This time, freshmen held a glowstick alone in their rooms while they watched a prerecorded video. Many other traditions were also diminished this year. Major events such as Homecoming and Green Key were virtually nonexistent on campus. When campus life resumes in the fall, the Class of 2022 will be the only class to have experienced an entire normal year at Dartmouth. As such, it will be the responsibility of every upperclassman, with the administration’s help, to make their younger counterparts a part of Dartmouth and to preserve that which makes the College on the Hill such a special place. When the Class of 2025 arrives on campus in the fall, they will not be the only students in need of a proper orientation. The experiences that the soon-to-be sophomores will have missed out on range from significant ceremonies to the small everyday things which make campus life feel real. The vast majority of current freshmen have never taken an in-person Dartmouth class, experienced the mania of Green Key weekend, or even done something as small as order a chicken tender quesadilla from the Hop. Next year, three out of four classes will have never experienced a proper spring term. That leaves the Class of
2022 as the arbiters of campus culture — not only because they will be seniors, but also because they will be the only class with a full year of “normal Dartmouth” under their belts. The distractions of life after Dartmouth, combined with the weighty academic responsibilities of senior year, may cause seniors to feel burned out. As they look ahead to the future, their focus may be on other matters. But for the good of the community that will inherit this college, they must take care to pass on Dartmouth’s traditions and cultural idiosyncrasies to the grades below them. Historic events such as Homecoming, Winter Carnival and Green Key, and the various rituals they involve, tend to dominate the conversation around traditions. But other customs that are more understated and personal, such as “bequests,” are equally meaningful. It falls to the seniors to ensure their relatively inexperienced successors participate in these rites of passage. For its part, the College should recognize the best thing it can do when life resumes in the fall is to only involve itself where it is needed. One of the many gripes of those who were on campus this year was the moratorium on socializing imposed by the administration in order to curb opportunities for the virus to spread. Thanks in part to these strict regulations and increasing rates of vaccination among the student body, COVID-19 is now practically nonexistent on campus. However, after a year of living
under restrictions, student goodwill towards the administration is similarly nonexistent. As students attempt to rebuild the community that once existed, the administration can demonstrate their solidarity by limiting their restrictive interference in this process and giving students the resources to make this community as vibrant as it once was. This would grant students leeway to make campus feel lively again. Since students must get vaccinated if they wish to return to campus next year, in-person classes — which, I’ve argued, have been possible since the fall — must return. Given the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest announcement that vaccinated people can now shed their masks both indoors and outside, there is no reason to restrict socializing or in-person classes starting this summer. Additionally, proposed restrictions for the fall that would limit dining hall capacity and spread out seating are scientifically unsound. Letting students resume their old routines is the best way for Dartmouth to ensure the restoration of a normal campus culture. Given that many landmark events were canceled or watered down this year, some traditions may need to be revised and improved to incorporate those who missed out on them. For example, given the lackluster nature of this year’s Twilight Ceremony, it would not be unreasonable to stage an expanded version of the ceremony in the fall. In fact, a ceremony involving all four classes lighting candles would
be a worthy precursor to the unifying celebrations of Homecoming weekend. It will also drive home the literal significance of imparting each class’s wisdom, lest the old traditions fail and flicker out. Since the Class of 2024 has yet to walk around the Homecoming Bonfire and receive their proper welcome to the community, that is another tradition that should take place this fall. Finally, given the cancellations of the last two Green Key weekends, three classes on campus next year will have never experienced Green Key for themselves. Consequently, augmenting the Programming Board’s budget and hiring high-profile artists to compensate for this pentup demand would provide a Green Key for the ages. It may seem ironic that a freshman, who has no firsthand experience of many of the traditions mentioned above, is writing about the need to preserve them. But students frequently cite the nearly tangible sense of community that they felt on their campus tours as one of the main reasons for coming to Dartmouth. The traditions and cultural idiosyncrasies peculiar to Dartmouth are why its community has thrived for so long and continues to attract new students to campus. While that community was somewhat dormant this year, it is by no means dead. Come fall, it is incumbent on every student — but especially members of the Class of 2022 — to do their part to reawaken it. A student body that is indifferent towards its traditions is sure to lose them, along with what sets Dartmouth apart.
STAFF COLUMNIST KAMI ARABIAN ’24
Foreign Policy in a Post-COVID World
The pandemic has proven that the United States should replace its reliance on military intervention with a commitment to humanitarian aid. President Joe Biden’s plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan offers an opportunity for the United States to reflect on the costs and benefits of military intervention. As I argued in The Dartmouth last month, despite spending over $2 trillion, the United States failed to establish peace in Afghanistan. After 20 years of military intervention, the Taliban insurgency that we attempted to defeat still controls or contests half of the nation. So, if Afghanistan has proven the inefficacy of military intervention, how should the U.S. conduct its foreign policy instead? The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the need for a particular alternative: The U.S. should replace its reliance on military intervention with a more humanitarian approach centered on a commitment to supporting public health programs across the globe. Promoting public health is a low-cost, highefficacy method of saving lives — one that does not require occupation. Almost a decade before the pandemic hit, government professor Benjamin Valentino argued for this approach in his Foreign Affairs article, “The True Costs of Humanitarian Intervention.” In it, he points out that vaccine-preventable diseases claim about two million lives per year. As of this week, the death toll of COVID-19 approaches 3.2 million — a figure that is four times larger than the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan combined. By investing in vaccinations in the developing world — alongside health education, disaster relief, mosquito netting, and other programs — the U.S. can save a lot more lives with a lot less money. We should accept that Washington does not possess unlimited resources and commit ourselves to the most effective life-saving strategy: one centered around humanitarian assistance rather than endless, ineffective military intervention. Uganda offers a compelling case study of this approach. In partnership with the U.S. and
its global partners, the Ugandan government invested about $18 million into its public health programs before the start of the pandemic. Learning from its experience with the Ebola virus in 2013, Ugandan officials trained more than 10,000 first responders, drafted protocols for social distancing and installed monitoring infrastructure, such as thermometers, in public places. While these measures were not specifically designed for COVID-19, they still proved to be highly effective in its containment. As a result, while most of the world was ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, Uganda fared comparatively well. With about 42,000 cases so far, the country has faced among the lowest rates of infection in all of Africa. This remarkable achievement led World Health Organization representative to Uganda Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam to proclaim that “COVID-19 found a ready and well-prepared preparedness and response system” in Uganda. If the U.S. had provided similar humanitarian aid to other countries ahead of the pandemic, COVID-19 may have claimed significantly fewer lives in the developing world. Beyond its moral obligations, the U.S. stands to gain significant financial benefits from a humanitarian approach, since investment abroad could avert the costs of future pandemics at home. In an increasingly interconnected world, a virus can originate in and spread to any country in the world. Thus, when the U.S. invests in the public health of developing nations, it also invests in its own public health. An investment in global health could have saved the U.S. a lot of money — and lives — over the past year. A team of Harvard economists has estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic — assuming it ends by next fall — will cost the country an estimated $16 trillion. This cost could’ve been avoided with better preparation, since a relatively small investment of a couple billion dollars years ago
might have saved trillions today. Historically, military intervention has almost always failed as a means of promoting global wellbeing. In the last few decades alone, the U.S. has been involved in catastrophic operations across the Middle East and North Africa. It has invaded Afghanistan to fight al Qaeda, toppled the Ba’ath regime in Iraq, and conducted countless airstrikes on former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in Libya. While, admittedly, these operations could be considered successful from a military perspective, they failed in the larger mission of facilitating peace and cooperation abroad. The removal of Gaddafi, for instance, led to a struggle between competing governments; that is, the situation in Libya became far worse as a result of U.S. and NATO meddling. And, of course, Afghanistan and Iraq offer similar case studies. After fulfilling its military objectives in these countries, the U.S. has neglected to provide them with humanitarian assistance in their recovery efforts. As one might expect, this has been poorly received by the international community. Without a humanitarian approach to save its tainted international image, the U.S. risks ceding leadership to China and Russia. After four years of former President Donald Trump — who, at one point, had a lower rating on global confidence than Russian President Vladimir Putin or Chinese President Xi Jinping — the Biden administration can bolster its public relations. Military intervention has been unpopular in the international community, as the U.S. has built a reputation for solving its problems through violence, and its current mishandling of the pandemic has not improved the situation. Poor international perception of this country has stifled cooperation with our regional partners, who have come to see the U.S. in a less-than-ideal light. Meanwhile, Russia and China are fighting to win the hearts and minds
of developing countries: China has sold over half a billion doses of its Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines and donated some doses to low-income countries, while Russia has sold millions of doses of its Sputnik V shot at a discounted price. If the Biden administration deploys doctors instead of soldiers, the U.S. could be seen as a force for good in the world. Where is the U.S. in all of this? More or less absent. Despite the fact that numerous clinics across the country are reporting a rise in unfilled appointments, the Biden administration only recently announced plans to donate AstraZeneca vaccine doses. The first batch is expected to ship in coming months — too little, too late compared to the programs led by China and Russia. The U.S. should have taken an active role in the global effort to curb the pandemic as a central aspect of its foreign policy, rather than treating it as a seeming afterthought. Military withdrawal doesn’t mean an irrevocable decline in this country’s global standing — in fact, it can have the opposite effect. If the U.S. adopts a foreign policy centered on humanitarian aid, it can be seen as a global leader independent of its military deployments. Hopefully, the pandemic will allow our citizens to realize that health risks are just as bad as — or, perhaps, worse than — the risks posed by violent conflict. If the Biden administration can invest in the future of global health, it can prove to the world that the U.S. is not only an economic and military leader, but also a moral one. This is preferable to the familiar pitfalls of military intervention: indefinite occupation in Afghanistan, regime change in Iraq, ineffective operations in Libya. The COVID-19 pandemic has put our foreign policy to the test, but on the bright side, we may finally have the opportunity to reshape it around a humanitarian mission — in support of the developing world and our partners, and in support of ourselves.
THE DARTMOUTH SPRING SPECIAL ISSUE
FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2021
THE DARTMOUTH EDITORIAL BOARD
Verbum Ultimum: Follow the Science
Both Dartmouth and the Town of Hanover should adjust their pandemic guidelines to align with CDC recommendations.
Last Thursday, the Centers for Disease vaccine, we now have another, more Control and Prevention announced that effective way to prevent individuals from fully vaccinated individuals can safely spreading the virus to others — eliminating resume most activities without the need the rationale behind strict masking for a mask. In an email that came just regimens for vaccinated people, as the minutes before the CDC’s announcement, CDC has recognized. however, Dartmouth’s COVID-19 task Despite the CDC’s announcement, force detailed the College’s plan to keep leaders of Dartmouth and Hanover in place its mask mandate and many other seem not to be responding to the clear, social distancing requirements through at scientifically-backed guidelines the agency least August 1st — the date that the College has released in recent weeks. While the plans to return campus to College may have been “full access.” The Town caught off guard by the of Hanover, meanwhile, In line with the CDC’s CDC’s sudden shift in has kept in place its own new recommendations, policy on indoor masks, mask requirement and i t ’s t i m e to re l ax D a r t m o u t h ’ s l a t e s t has no timeline for its decision to continue its end. The policies of both pandemic restrictions mask mandate in all the College and the Town for the vaccinated — campus spaces, indoor are now definitively beginning with ending a n d o u t d o o r, c a m e behind the science; in more than two weeks line with the CDC’s new the outdoor mask after the CDC ceased recommendations, it’s mandate. recommending outdoor time to relax pandemic masking for vaccinated restrictions for the individuals. Over this vaccinated — beginning with ending the past week, states, towns and businesses outdoor mask mandate. across the country have to varying degrees The CDC’s newly released policies moved to implement the new indoor mask are a welcome step toward normalcy, guidance, but Hanover and Dartmouth are grounded in solid scientific evidence a whole step behind. This is surprising, that full vaccination significantly reduces as both the town and Dartmouth had no transmission of the virus. While it was problems following the science earlier on always known that vaccines dramatically in the pandemic — in fact, the town’s reduced viral infections among those mask ordinance directly references the vaccinated, we now also have strong CDC’s earlier mask guidelines in one of evidence that vaccination significantly its first clauses. Yet, according to town reduces the likelihood that an individual manager Julia Griffin, instead of adjusting will spread COVID-19 to those not yet its policies in accordance with the CDC’s immunized. Preventing transmission new guidance, Hanover is choosing to “err is the primary purpose of a mask and, on the side of caution” while vaccination particularly given the risk of asymptomatic rates in the region remain below 70%. transmission, universal masking was a Though Griffin points to the current sound policy that saved lives. But in the vaccination rate as a reason to maintain
restrictions, the high rate of vaccination in However, the evidence strongly suggests the Upper Valley should actually be cause that broadly enforced outdoor mask for optimism and reduced restrictions. In mandates no longer meaningfully protect Grafton County, on the New Hampshire public health — and thus, they should be side of the border, at least 51% of adults rolled back. are fully vaccinated, according to data from Coming out of this pandemic will not The New York Times. While Vermont has be an overnight process — hesitation no county-level data, 49% of the state’s is understable after over a year of dire entire population — not just those above headlines and seemingly unstoppable 18 — is fully vaccinated. Vermont and community transmission. We shouldn’t New Hampshire also lead the country in judge or criticize people who continue terms of their share of total population to wear masks; in fact, if people want to with first doses, sitting at No. 1 and No. 4, continue to take heightened measures to respectively. If the CDC is ready to relax its protect themselves, they should do exactly guidance for the entire country, then New that. But for strong universal public health Hampshire and Vermont seem particularly measures to remain in place indefinitely, well-prepared for eased restrictions. there needs to be equally strong scientific O f all the evidence. requirements which There is light at must be re-evaluated, If the CDC is ready the end of the tunnel. outdoor masking should to relax its guidance For a week now, parts be first on the docket: the country have for the entire country, of The Town of Hanover had some taste of postand Dartmouth should then New Hampshire pandemic life, and this rescind their outdoor and Vermont seem return to normalcy will mask mandate promptly. be given a further p a r t i c u l a r l y w e l l - likely According to one study boost as the eligibility by Ireland’s Health prepared for eased for vaccines is expanded Protection Surveillance restrictions. to younger children Centre, just 262 of and vaccination rates 232,164 cases in the continue to rise. We country were traced back to outdoor all want more people to be vaccinated transmission — representing just .1% of and to truly, finally, flatten the curve of all cases. While an outdoor mask mandate COVID-19 infections. We all want to certainly made sense at the height of return to a world without the omnipresent the pandemic, with so many vaccinated threat of COVID-19. While we’re not there individuals and case counts continuing quite yet, as the situation stands now, the to fall, it makes little sense now. Though science is clear: Fully vaccinated people there are still risks associated with certain are much less likely to spread the disease types of crowded outdoor events — nobody and can safely resume many pre-pandemic should be advocating to allow unmasked activities — especially outdoor ones. It’s mass gatherings right now — those can time the College’s and the Town’s public be enforced against on a specific basis. health policies reflected that.
NATALIE DAMERON ’21: TOUCHE
MARLEIGH PETERS ’24: SQUIRRELS OF DARTMOUTH
MIRROR THE DARTMOUTH SPRING SPECIAL ISSUE
FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2021
Will the Old Traditions Fail? A Look at Freshman Culture BY SOLENNE WOLFE The Dartmouth Staff
Many students will tell you that Dartmouth is a school anchored in its traditions and distinctive culture. Nearly every freshman embarks on a First-Year Trip, runs around the Homecoming bonfire and holds a candle in the Twilight Ceremony as recent graduates pass the flame to the new students. Some traditions are less institutionalized but still experienced nearly universally, like the initial interactions with freshman floormates and socializing at the library. That is, until the pandemic hit and many of these traditions had to be put on hold due to more than half the student body — and most upperclassmen — being absent from campus at any given time. Without the institution upholding school-sponsored traditions, and with a shortage of upperclassmen on campus to guide freshmen, has “Dartmouth culture” survived the pandemic? Life on campus this year was far from normal; many fundamental campus spaces have seen shifts in cultural atmosphere, and the freshmen have yet to experience these spaces as they once were. Maiah Newell said that she and her friends have felt that the pandemic slowed the Class of 2024’s development from a high school mindset to a college one and has made spaces like the Green — which she described as having the energy of a “high school cafeteria” — seem more juvenile than typical college spaces. “It’s zoo-like on some days, and there is an air of a high school masculinity,” Newell said. Yet, many upperclassmen have different associations with the Green. Raam Tambe ’21 described the Green as a hub of student interaction that allows students to connect. “You walk around on the Green, and you would get the feedback of just a busy campus, and you
get glimpses of people,” Tambe said. “You’ll see different sides of campus. But that seems gone now.” Another center of student life is Baker-Berry Library, which once followed a set of social norms regarding which spaces could be social and which were designated quiet spaces. Many freshmen are oblivious to the common customs, which has caused a shift in library culture. Since the Class of 2024 has been on campus social spaces like the first floor of Berry seem to have quieted, while traditionally quiet spaces, like the Stacks, are no longer silent. “The ’24s, myself included, just don’t know the proper divisions within the library. So I’ve seen people doing video chats in the stacks, and honestly, I’m guilty of that,” Newell said. “ [...] From what I’ve heard, you’re supposed to be dead silent there, and this guy was just calling his Dad — but he was being so loud — in the Stacks the other day.” Tambe said he noticed that there are more quiet spaces within the library now, and there is no longer a social ambiance on the first floor. “You could just walk in [to the first floor of Berry], and it was kind of like Novack is today, the whole first floor, KAF, 1902 Lounge,” Tambe said. Now, “there’s really no, go in, grab a seat, chit chat.” Hannah Lang ’21 believes that the changes in physical layout within the library may have prompted these changes in social climate. “FFB used to be, you could have a bunch of people crowded around a table,” Lang said. “Now you can’t do that, so of course that space will naturally be quieter.” Newell ultimately feels that there is a disconnect between the old customs for library use and the Class of 2024’s knowledge of the library. “I feel like so many of those unspoken rules need to be spoken,” she said. Beyond shifting the ambiance of physical spaces on campus, the
’24s have missed many hallmarks of the “Dartmouth experience.” For one, the class never experienced Dartmouth Outing Club First-Year Trips, which some upperclassmen believe shaped their freshman year and served as a social tool to connect with others. “I feel like [Trips] had sort of a large influence on my freshman experience, mostly in that when you met someone new, that’s what you would talk to them about” Lang said. “Obviously, not everyone participated in trips, but most people did, so [...] it allowed an immediate bond or an immediate shared conversation topic.” In the past, freshman introductions to many facets of Dartmouth culture have been passed down from student to student. When Hannah Lang ’21 was a freshman, she said that she primarily learned information about campus culture through experiencing it firsthand as well as through her connections with upperclassmen. “You, for instance, go into a frat basement, and then after you go a few times you can figure out what the culture and expectations are, and what the vibe is like,” Lang said. This year, many freshmen have had far fewer interactions with upperclassmen, creating an awkward gap in knowledge of the institution. Dylan Wang ’24 says that “everyone [he knows] is a freshman” and attributes this to the difficulty of forming personal connections over Zoom. “The only way I really meet upperclassmen is from my activities, but even that’s really low because for all the activities you’re usually online. How well do you really get to know upperclassmen from org anizations?” Wang asked. “Maybe you’re in a small group with some upperclassmen in your class, even though you probably just get on your Zoom together and get off. They have to be on campus in order to hang out, so there’s not
a whole lot of interaction with upperclassmen.” Wang thinks that the Class of 2024’s lack of knowledge of Dartmouth traditions can be attributed to their minimal exposure to upperclassmen influences, and he doesn’t think that the upperclassmen have much motivation to build connections with the freshman class. “No upperclassman is going to reach out to a freshman. They have their friends — they probably had the friendships established, they probably have their communities and it’s the freshman trying to figure it out,” Wang said. The upperclassmen that Newell has spoken to were “super proactive about trying to give [her] some semblance of a Dartmouth experience,” but Newell agrees that there were few opportunities for freshmen to interact with upperclassmen that could pass down institutional knowledge to new students. “There weren’t any upperclassmen there to take them under their wing and be like ‘Hey, that’s not how it works here,’” Newell said. In the absence of upperclassmen guidance, many members of the Class of 2024 had little awareness of the cultural staples they hadn’t experienced, so they had no reason to attempt to continue these traditions. “The problem is that I feel like we don’t know what we don’t know,” Newell said. “[There were] a lot of things I didn’t even know we were missing out on until I was talking to a ’21.” The freshmen have developed some cultural trends of their own. Lang notes that the class seems to frequent Novack more often than previous classes did, and the natural setting surrounding Dartmouth has become more central to their campus life. “I think one positive change is that people spend a lot more time
outside than before,” Lang said. “With some ’24s that I’ve spoken to, they’re experts on Pine Park and all their running routes there. It took me to the end of freshman fall to figure out where Occom was, and I lived in McLaughlin, which is literally next to Occom.” It is unclear how these losses and gains for freshman Dartmouth culture will influence the coming years. With student vaccination rates on the rise and the College’s announcement that it will be moving into “full access” by August 1, it seems that we have turned a corner on a year’s worth of pandemic life. Next year, only the Class of 2022 will have experienced at least one full Dartmouth year, and they are the only class to have experienced events like Green Key and rush in person. The majority of the campus will be, to varying degrees, new to Dartmouth and new to the full, in-person nature of it. “When I was a freshman and I arrived on campus, I had three years of people above me who all had really specific opinions about how things should work, regardless of whether or not they just liked those things,” Lang said. “So it will be interesting if you have just one class’s influence or even one and a half classes’ influence.” With less than two full classes able to impart the Dartmouth culture that they remember, it’s unclear what will emerge from this period. Will it be a simple blip on the radar, or will it be a turning point? With Trips on the docket for the Class of 2025 this summer, some elements of the experience will no doubt return, but the culture borne out of the pandemic won’t likely disappear immediately. Though the Class of 2024 has missed out on many of the hallmark experiences of a Dartmouth freshman year, their own Dartmouth version of Dartmouth has been forged in the quarantine-approved walks in Pine Park and their preference for Novack over First Floor Berry.
A House, not a Home: Mixed Feelings on House Communities BY MEGHAN POWERS The Dartmouth Staff
Since the inception of Dartmouth’s house communities in 2016, the system has drawn criticism and praise alike, but it perhaps inspires no feeling quite like apathy. A survey conducted by The Dartmouth in January of 2020 found that 73% of students disagreed with the statement: “I feel a strong sense of community with those in my House.” Many students, like David Millman ’23, don’t feel strongly for or against the house system. Although Millman describes his opinions as “neutral,” he doesn’t feel that the system is necessary nor contributes much value to campus. “My biggest problem with [the house system] is that it’s trying to fulfill a need that’s not there,” Millman said. H oweve r, t h e C OV I D - 1 9 pandemic dramatically altered the campus social scene and left a void once filled by Greek life, face-to-face club meetings and in-person classes. Without these spaces to provide community for members of the Class of 2024, was the house system able to fill a newly-formed niche? For Nicolas Macri ’24, the house communities did the opposite, and only served to reinforce limits on socialization. Last fall, students were prohibited from entering any dorms except the one they lived in due to pandemic precautions, which Macri felt restricted his social circle to people within West House and limited his ability to connect with students in other houses. “Over the summer, I met dozens of Dartmouth friends over GroupMe, and we were all really excited to see each other in the fall,” Macri said.“When we got there, practically everybody I knew was in School House.” Macri said he recognizes the potential of house communities as a means of community-building and even attended a few house Zoom events, including a murder mystery party and an escape room. Still, especially during the pandemic, he said that the house system has as much potential to isolate students as to welcome them.
“[The pandemic] very much heightened the feeling of: ‘Oh, since I wasn’t lucky enough to be randomly assigned the same dorm as my friends I’m not allowed to see them,’” Macri said. “I don’t know how much that applies now, because we’re a lot more free, but the damage is still done for [’24s] who were here in the fall.” Samantha Palermo ’24, a resident of North Park — the smallest of the six houses — feels similarly. While she appreciates the community provided by North Park, she notes the dissonance between what she expected of the house system versus what her experience has shown it to be. “[Originally] I thought: ‘That’s neat! We’re gonna get sorted like Harry Potter,’” she said. “I got here and now I kind of have mixed feelings about it.” Palermo said that while she became close with her freshman floor — North Park, she indicated, is small enough to provide a “sense of community” — and enjoys the events the house puts on, she also believes the house system creates barriers that make it harder to connect with people outside her house. “I have a really good friend in a different housing community, so we know even now as freshmen that we’ll never be able to room together unless we live off-campus, because of those barriers” Palermo said. Perhaps the most notorious policy of Dartmouth’s house communities is that students who want to live in their house’s residential buildings after their freshman year must choose roommates from within their house community. To Macri, the rule is a strange decision. “It’s pretty arbitrary to say ‘You can’t room with five-sixths of Dartmouth’ for no reason,” Macri said. Some students noted that there are inequities between the houses. Only some residences having printers, for example, presented an issue for Palermo. “During quarantine, when the library was shut down, people in certain housing communities had access to printers to print academic materials, and I didn’t,” Palermo said.
EDGAR MORALES/THE DARTMOUTH
East Wheelock Senator and former president of East Wheelock’s house council Angel Aguilar ’22 identifies with these struggles, but said he hopes that the function of house communities can be re-framed for students: “I think that students overall assume that there isn’t much to be offered by the housing communities,” Aguilar said. “In their minds, it’s this pointless group of students that offers minimal community. In my opinion, the housing communities offer the potential to do what students feel passionate about.” One of the projects Aguilar was proudest to have helmed was an East Wheelock trip to New York City — tragically scheduled for April 2020. Although that trip was canceled due to the pandemic, he is optimistic about what house communities could look like going forward. “I hope in the future, students can recognize housing communities as an avenue to put forth their projects and their passions and ambitions,” Aguilar said. “Once people realize that, housing communities will be
this structure that students can lean on for programming, events, advice, mentorship — it’s anything that students want it to be.” Millman, on the other hand, suggested that many of the alleged goals of the house system don’t actually necessitate its existence. “The question is, I don’t know what community it’s trying to build,” Millman said. “We have this residential sort of Hogwarts thing going on. There’s a lot of communitybuilding in the dorms specifically, and the house systems are tied to the dorms, but that’s something that happens inherently.” The house system, in this sense, can seem to merely be gift-wrapping communities that would have formed anyway, with house flags and events to boot. Macri’s critique of the system falls along similar lines; he noted its exclusivity. Events, for example, are often only held for students in a certain house. “It’s good to have some sense of community, but the issue is that the changes made [by the house system] are restrictive, not additive,” Macri
said. Palermo said she is grateful for any community-building opportunity at Dartmouth and expressed delight at receiving goodies like the teddy bear she got from North Park, but things like events and merchandise are pleasant non-essentials that don’t prevail when they go head-to-head with serious concerns about housing. “I don’t want [the house system] to disappear entirely,” Palermo said. “It’s nice to build that small community. At the same time, it’s hard to have the restrictions that go along with that.” Students don’t seem to gravitate toward extremes of either esteem or vitriol regarding the house system, and there’s no real reason to believe that this will change moving forward, since this impression was sustained even through the pandemic. For now at least, it seems that Dartmouth’s housing system has yet to strike an appropriate balance between effectively fostering a community and allowing students the freedom to develop friendships outside the system.