The Freshman Ban Survival Guide

As new students of the College, you no doubt have heard of our geographical isolation. Placed within the chicken-egg dichotomy, Hanover existed squarely before the College did. Hanover is more of a placeholder than a town; because of this, it can often seem terribly insular here. Beyond world-class academics and the unique undergraduate social scene — which can seem undoubtedly meek when removed from the context of the Greek system — there isn’t much stirring in Hanover. Many professors lament holidays and the annual flight of students home as a time when the median age vaults into septuagenarian and boredom strengthens her clasp on the quaint, lonely Hanover.
In spite of these realities, Dartmouth College has enough extracurricular wonder within its margins to fill far more than four years worth of weekends. Yes, much of this wonder comes in the form of a fraternity basement — but Greek leaders have chosen to delay that experience for freshmen. With roughly three weeks left in your mandated social experiment, make sure you attempt to grasp something outside the realms of a pregame.

1. Dartmouth Outing Club

Dartmouth Outing Club

Dartmouth Outing Club

This one should be easy, and, hopefully obvious. And, as freshman attendance on first-year-trips indicates, the outdoors hold widespread appeal here. Each weekend and on several weeknights, student leaders lead canoeing trips, hunting trips, fishing trips, hikes, cabin trips, and more. If by some miraculous stroke you aren’t getting dozens of emails about this a week, stop by the DOC office in Robinson and sign up for a trip. The DOC program offers financial aid, guidance, and often times gear. Even if you don’t make it out there, take a dip in the Connecticut River before the autumn chill scares us all indoors.

2. The Hood Museum, Jones Media Center, and the Hopkins Center

Hood

The Hood Museum, Jones Media Center, and the Hopkins Center

The Hood Museum holds original ancient Assyrian reliefs, copious original sheets from Pablo Picasso’s private sketchbook, and comprehensive samplings of avant-garde art, to name a few. Its curators are so desperate to get students to attend that they frequently host wine and cheese events, barbecues, and lectures just to entice you to see world-class art. As a student, not utilizing this resource would be a critical mistake. The Hopkins Center offers other amenities, including a ceramics studio, a jewelry workshop, and music library. The Dartmouth Film society frequently hosts events with directors and actors and screens recently released feature films as soon as they can. Students receive reduced prices at all these events, because, again, students rarely utilize this resource. And if you can’t make the hike across The Green, then go to the second floor of Berry, walk into the Jones Media Center, and you can rent nearly any movie on DVD, pop it into your laptop, and have a fairly entertaining night watching something Netflix couldn’t provide for you. The librarians, in all their pedantic glory, even deemed it worthy to remind you every single night of simple fact that the Jones Media Center exists.

3. Open Mic and One Wheelock

Open Mic and One Wheelock

Open Mic and One Wheelock

One Wheelock is a great spot for hardcore video gamers, billiards players, or football fans. Whether you’re watching NFL instead of doing your homework while lounging on a couch with your friends, or playing Call of Duty with your Taiwanese foreign exchange student friend, its always going to be better than cradling a Taaka shot and wishing you were in TDX. Also, check out Open Mic night; the musical, poetic, and singing talents of your classmates will stun you.

4. Join a Club

Join a Club

Join a Club

One of the best ways to get to know upperclassmen and make new friends that you can really identify with is through clubs. Whether it be the club sports, an acapella group, DHE or chess club, it would be a good move for any freshmen to join a group on campus and there are over 160 clubs on campus, so there will probably be at least one that interests you. If you don’t think there’s a club on campus that caters towards your inclinations then I’d recommend trying something new — you never know when you might find your next hobby. One of the unforeseen benefits of joining clubs is the connection that freshmen can create with upperclassmen. Get to know a few older students and you might just find yourself getting on table a lot quicker than your fellow fraternity neophytes once the 6 weeks are up.

5. Intramural Sports

Intramural Sports

Intramural Sports

Another way to take up some of your free time during the first six weeks is IM sports. Whether it be soccer, flag football, or softball, there are plenty of opportunities to distract yourself from the fact that you’ve been completely isolated from the rest of the student body for six weeks by a well-intentioned, but strongly misleading rule that in no way confronts the real issues involved with the overconsumption of alcohol on this campus. IM competitions can get pretty serious with different leagues catering to different levels of competition and intensity.

6. Programming Board

Programming Board

Programming Board

Programming Board offers alternative events for freshmen to attend during the six weeks like Friday Night Rock, laser tag, and pumpkin carving. While personally I never really enjoyed sweating my extremities off in a Sarner Underground dance party, some people probably had fun at these events and if you think you’d be one of them, I’d recommend you go.

7. Hanover Country Club

Hanover Country Club

Hanover Country Club

This past fall, while trying to find activities to consume my relatively free days, I spent a lot of time playing golf or hitting range balls at the Hanover Country Club. Sure the course may be quirky, and the greens fees may be a bit steep at times, but to anyone who has clubs on campus, especially any member of the class of 2018, I would highly recommend playing a round either with some friends or by yourself. While the weather is nice, spend as much time as possible outside enjoying the sunshine and the warmth. It may be tough during the weekdays to find time, and it may be tough to stomach waking up early to play 18 on a Saturday, but I highly recommend doing it. The golf course is good for more than sledding!

8. Join The Dartmouth Review

Join The Dartmouth Review

Join The Dartmouth Review

Do you enjoy free beer, pizza, other fine drinks, good company, and – with plenty of fun levity – intelligent discourse? The Dartmouth Review has all of the above. I have come to look forward to my Monday afternoons for our weekly Review meetings and the fine and lively community of writers, thinkers, boozers, brawlers, and burners – all in the best senses – that they attract.

Julie A. McConville, Julian R. McIntyre, Samuel L. Hatcher, and Kush S. Desai contributed to this report.