DOC Trips selects 286 trip leaders, 46 Croo members
By Isha Flores, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Of the 680 students who applied to be Dartmouth Outing Club First-Year Trips leaders this year, 286 students were accepted and 85 others were wait-listed, according to Trips director Emily Unger ’11. Of the 140 applicants for Croos, the five groups of students that act as Trips support teams, 46 students were accepted. The Trips program notified students of their application status via email Monday evening, Unger said.
Throughout the decision-making process, the Trips directorate tried to compile a diverse group of trip leaders and Croo members with whom incoming students would be able to identify and bond, Unger said.
The 2011 Trips program will include 143 total trips in 36 different categories, according to Unger. In response to trends in incoming students’ interests, the Trips directorate added additional easier hiking and cabin camping trips to this year’s schedule.
When assigning individuals to lead different trips, the directorate tried to holistically select groups of leaders for each section, Unger said.
“We have 10 sections of trips with 26 to 30 leaders per section, and we wanted each section to have a diverse group of interests,” she said. “That way, when [students] got to the [Moosilauke Ravine] Lodge, there would be a lot of different types of people that they could talk to.”
Several future trip leaders interviewed by The Dartmouth said they hope to leave a lasting impression on incoming students and help them feel more confident about the transition to college.
“Upperclassmen friends are the greatest, as they’ve gone through everything you’re tackling,” Morgan Curtis ’14, who will lead a horseback riding trip in the fall, said. “Beyond providing the perfect introduction to Dartmouth through Trips, the trip leader can step up to this mentor role.”
Julia Danford ’13, who will lead a harder hiking trip, said she hopes to connect with incoming students like she connected with her own trip leader as an incoming student.
“That’s why I’m so excited to lead a trip, because I know — based on my own experience and the relationship I still have with one of my trip leaders — how strong of an impact a trip leader can have,” she said.
Each trip leader and Croo member will undergo three different types of pre-Trips training, including a group dynamics seminar, a risk assessment seminar and a wilderness skills seminar, Unger said. This year, the Trips program will expand the wilderness skills seminar to provide students with additional outdoor practice time. Training culminates in a one-night “refresher” for trip leaders on Gilman Island the night before their trip departs, Unger said.
Students have been confused in past years about whether potential Trip leaders need previous outdoor experience in order to apply, Unger said. This uncertainty prompted the directorate to reach out to a variety of campus groups this year, particularly groups that have been historically underrepresented on Trips in the past, she said.
“We tried to emphasize that you really don’t need outdoor skills to lead a trip,” Unger said. “We need some people with skills, but a majority of the people don’t need any — we can teach them all that they need to know.”
To encourage a diverse group of students to apply, Trips representatives attended various student group meetings, held several information sessions and spoke to College staff members to better understand how international students view the Trips program, according to Unger.
Past Trips directors have also emphasized diversity during the selection process, and Unger said that building diversity is a “slow process” that will take more than just a year or two to accomplish.
“Diversity is hard to measure — it’s not just about race which is what is often talked about,” she said. “However, looking at the Croos we created this year and the trip leaders we chose, I think there are more perspectives and different types of people than ever before.”
For Croos and trip leaders, the applications are “blinded” during the selection process so that directorate members do not see an applicant’s name, background information or activities information, Unger said.
After each applicant receives a numeric score, the applications are made “unblind,” Unger said.
“We talk through every single [Croo] application,” she said. “We take the top scores and place people on Croos based on where we think they would fit best — it’s a big logistical puzzle because we want to create five really diverse Croos.”
Even trip leader applicants that receive high scores are occasionally not assigned to a trip due to individuals’ availability, Unger said.
Trips program organizers have traditionally asked Croo members to keep their selection a secret from the rest of the student body and sometimes even assigned Croo members to “fake trips,” Unger said.
To lessen confusion this year, Croo members will be allowed to reveal that they are on a Croo, but will not specify the Croo to which they are assigned.
“We want that to be a surprise,” Unger said. “For group dynamics, it’s really nice to have a group that’s fresh and doesn’t really know each other coming in and doesn’t have any preconceptions of one another.”
In order to persuade an even greater percentage of incoming students to participate in Trips, Unger said she plans to call members of the Class of 2015 who do not register on their own, as past directors have done. Unger said she will also create YouTube videos that address potential concerns.
Last year, over 95 percent of the Class of 2014 participated in Trips, according to the College’s website.
Removing financial barriers for students interested in participating in Trips — which cost approximately $185 per student — is another major priority, Unger said.
“Our goal is for anyone who wants to go on a Trip to be able to go on one,” she said, adding that financial aid will continue to be available for students who qualify.
The Trips directorate is considering the addition of a new outdoor education trip — which is “still in the works” — that would allow incoming students to work with local children in the Upper Valley and teach them outdoor skills, Unger said. The proposed trip would be very similar to the Outdoor Leadership Experience program, a weekly outdoor-based program organized by Dartmouth student volunteers, she said.
Trips assistant director Andrew Purpura ’11 was unavailable for comment by press time.
The original article was published with the headline "DOC Trips selects trip leaders, Croo members."