Dimensions weekend for admitted students will begin today, a scheduling decision met with much contention, as events are scheduled to end just hours before the Jewish holiday of Passover begins on Saturday night. Despite some students’ irritation with the schedule overlap, this is not the first year that Dimensions has coincided with Passover.
“My flight was delayed six hours and I missed the first night of Passover at home,” said Sarah Lawson ’09, who attended Dimensions in 2005.
Many Jewish students and faculty interviewed by The Dartmouth were angered by the scheduling. The first night of Passover is important for families, they said.
“They sure as hell wouldn’t do it on Christmas, if we weren’t on vacation during it anyway,” a Jewish member of the Class of 2011 said.
Despite the weekend’s overlap with Passover, most Jewish prospective students still plan on visiting Dartmouth for Dimensions, according to Chabad Rabbi Moshe Leib Gray. Gray acknowledged the difficulty of accommodating Dartmouth’s diverse student body.
“If the College took into account everyone’s religious practices, it would be very difficult to find a time [for Dimensions],” he said.
Dartmouth Hillel is hosting several events for Jewish prospective students who may have been hesitant to attend Dimensions because of Passover, according to Hillel President Victoria Fener ’08. Events include “Jews and Java,” which invites Jewish students to have coffee at the Dartmouth Bookstore with members of Hillel on Thursday and Friday, courtesy of Hillel, Wine and Cheese Kiddush and traditional evening services and dinner.
“Hillel has been planning some great events for Dimensions that we think will attract a lot of students, so we are not too concerned about the timing [with Passover],” she said.
About 550 admitted students, traveling from as far as California and Guatemala, are expected to participate in Dimensions this year, according to Maria Laskaris, dean of admissions and financial aid. Two buses from Boston, New York and Manchester airport have been chartered to transport the prospective students to and from campus, she said. The College pays full transportation costs for admitted students who were offered financial aid and whose family income is $75,000 or below, Laskaris said in an e-mail.
Each prospective student is assigned to live with one of 350 host students from all class years for the weekend, according to Laskaris. Prospective students are generally matched to their hosts based on their hometowns, not religion or ethnicity, according to Janelle Braverman ’07, assistant director of admissions, but the admissions office tries to accommodate special requests.
“If there is a pressing desire to stay with someone from a certain group, because who you stay with is a very important part of the Dimensions experience, then we will definitely accommodate that,” she said.
This year’s online survey for hosts eliminated the option to request to host a prospective student of a particular ethnic or religious identification.
In order to accommodate the temporary hike in the campus population, Dartmouth Dining Services are increasing food supply at all of their dining facilities, according to Carmen Allen, DDS executive chef.
“On a usual night at Food Court we might make 625 orders of General Tsao’s chicken, and now we might increase it to 750,” she said. DDS will also provide fallback meal options to make sure that everyone has enough to eat, she added.