Friday, August 24, 2018

Disorientation 1972

Cover to Dartmouth DisorientationWhen the members of the Class of 1976 showed up on campus for their freshmen orientation in the fall of 1972, they were greeted with the usual enthusiasm that starts each year. Orientation is a time to introduce new students to college life, explain the workings of Dartmouth, and make some new friends. But in 1972, an underground group sought to shake up the feel-good experience with their very unofficial "Dartmouth Disorientation" guide. They make their intention clear right from the get-go:
"Let's get together!" sidebarWelcome! You are experiencing a week of Dartmouth "orientation." Before Dartmouth can begin to administer its four-year "education," you must be tested, photographed, registered, ranked, introduced, placed, and finally... accepted. We, the authors of this portfolio, would like to talk with you (not test you) and cooperate with you (not place you). As an initial contact we offer these pages..."
In classic '70s hipness, they go on:
Disorientation is often an enlightening experience. It is beautiful if it can help you discover a truer and more human orientation than you knew before.
What were they smoking? Maybe the truth! The articles inside offer a critique of the College on multiple levels but they mostly focused on the hypocrisies the authors saw in the college's obsession with money that created a complicit relationship with the military industrial complex and the CIA. But the deepest anger is directed at the Dartmouth Bubble. Quoting Mao, the authors launch into a series of diatribes against Dartmouth's insensitivity to the surrounding communities and exploitation of workers. It wraps up by saying "Let's get together! We will be at the Top of the Hop on Tuesday, September 26, 8:00pm."

Cartoon depicting community member with a large screw going through his body
The Valley News published an editorial that week fully endorsing the sentiments of the "group of long-haired former students." To see it, ask for the "Orientation" vertical file!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Into the Wild

Photo of students about to leave for Trips in the 1950s
The last few weeks of August on the Dartmouth campus traditionally signal the end of a full and exciting summer term for the Sophomore class. They also herald the impending arrival of a new cohort of first-year students, many of whom will choose to start their Dartmouth experience by embarking on a long-standing tradition called Freshman Trips. The Freshman Trips program was originally started by the Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC) in 1935 as a way of connecting with incoming students who had matriculated at Dartmouth specifically because of the Outing Club's reputation for outdoors adventure. The idea had begun in response to regrets voiced by graduating seniors who wished that they had known about the Club and gotten involved earlier in their college careers.

Color photo of two female students out in the woods on Trips in 1992Initially, there were only a few dozen men who opted to participate; nowadays, hundreds of students sign up for a distinctly Dartmouth-style orientation to college life in northern New Hampshire. Given the high numbers of interested freshmen, the Trips program also runs a training regimen for the students who lead these green recruits out into the wilderness. Here at Rauner, we have the joy of assisting in their orientation each August by laying out a selection of materials related to the history of Trips. The DOC's archives here at Rauner are vast, and there is a lot of great stuff about Freshman Trips within the many boxes that constitute the collection. Trip Leader applications, participant surveys, menus, publications, maps, photographs, and many other interesting items underscore the long and beloved tradition of what is, for many freshmen, their first encounter with their alma mater.

Freshman Trips menu from 1971

To see materials related to Freshman Trips, come to Rauner and explore the records of the Dartmouth Outing Club (DO-1) or the Freshman Trips photo files.