For the past several years, students have spoken about the need for more mainstream coed options on campus. Last term, there were several campus discussions on gender, and the issue became even bigger. ’04s were involved in a few of these conversations, and from what it seems, many of you intend to change the campus climate. Certainly, you know it’s in your power. The world of How Things Should Be beckons.
But winter term is tricky. It’s the term when you can officially go out to parties, where you become more familiar with the nuances of social life here. The worst aspects of our culture start to lose their initial repulsiveness, and you become more comfortable with the system.
As ’01s, many of us fought for the system, and for better or for worse, it’s here to stay. Some rules will change, but the structure will stay the same. It stayed because the community expressed its faith in the system’s flexibility. We believed in its potential; it did not stay because it is the ideal system. We looked to the future, and you are it. We do not want the same for you that we had; we want better.
But I’m not writing to convince you on the need for change, particularly with respect to coeducational options — these conversations took place last term, and they will certainly continue. Instead, I’m writing to urge you to make a pledge to yourself. I’m asking you to think about your vision of the ideal social system, and promise yourself to make an effort to get there. Think about How Things Should Be. I hope you do this before you spend any more time in Greek parties or participate in any other aspects of Greek life. I hope you do this now, before your views become relative to How Things Are.
I hope you don’t lose your purity of beliefs this term, like so many before you have. As part of the old guard who has cared so much for our community, I look to you with trust and hope. You’re a Dartmouth student, so you’re a leader. You can do it all, you can change it all.
Please, don’t settle next year. I’m thinking of coed houses in particular, but it doesn’t have to be just that. Maybe you think pledge rituals are silly, or maybe you think the lyrics of a house song are hurtful and hateful. The point is, your class is unique. This institution is ready for a big change, and all eyes are on you. Dartmouth would be at a tremendous loss if you were to lose that idealism, that vision of How Things Should Be.
Over the last few years, the culture here has slowly been changing. You can help it become what it truly needs to be, or you can become just another class. The stars are aligned; the campus is more ready than it has ever been. But it’s not going to be easy. Your class can bring the campus so close to the world of How Things Should Be. Please don’t forget your pledge; please don’t leave the responsibility to somebody else. I’m talking to you. Are you up to the challenge?