Topic of hazing elicits mixed student views

While 97 percent of students surveyed by The Dartmouth acknowledged that they are aware that hazing occurs on campus, only about 55 percent said that the administration should take increased action to discourage hazing. Student reaction to the issue of hazing, addressed in a Jan. 25 opinion column by Andrew Lohse ’12, ranged from disbelief to disgust.

Of 102 students surveyed in a convenience sample on Sunday, 64 individuals approximately 64 percent said that hazing is a problem on campus and poses a threat to members of the community. About 32 percent said they believe hazing is not a marked problem on campus, while five individuals declined to answer the question. When asked if administrators should take greater efforts to prevent hazing practices, 56 individuals responded in the affirmative, while 42 participants said no, and four chose not to respond.

Lohse’s allegations which included specific, graphic descriptions of hazing at his former fraternity and claimed that administrators failed to adequately address his concerns sparked controversy among students and led some to question the author’s credibility and motives. Other students, however, said the piece sparked a necessary discussion about both hazing and the function of the Greek system at the College.

“I was a member of a fraternity that asked pledges, in order to become a brother, to: swim in a kiddie pool full of vomit, urine, fecal matter, semen and rotten food products; eat omelets made of vomit; chug cups of vinegar, which in one case caused a pledge to vomit blood; drink beers poured down fellow pledges’ ass cracks; and vomit on other pledges, among other abuses,” Lohse said.

Stephanie Pareja-Fernandez ’13, a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority, said she was overwhelmed by the notion that students would subject themselves to the rituals described by Lohse.

“I was absolutely disgusted,” she said. “I couldn’t even wrap my mind around the idea that anything that foul went on.”

Pareja-Fernandez also said she found the administration’s role difficult to understand, particularly given the voluntary nature of hazing.

“I don’t understand whether [Lohse] wants the system abolished, or what exactly he’s trying to accomplish,” she said.

Whether full responsibility lies with the victim of hazing is unclear, according to Alexis Monroe ’13, who is unaffiliated. While outsiders may suggest that potential victims of hazing “just say no,” unequal power relationships can leave individuals vulnerable to psychological pressures, she said.

“I wouldn’t necessarily blame him,” she said. “I don’t think it necessarily reflects a personal weakness if someone is in a very power-oriented relationship.”

Some students interviewed by The Dartmouth questioned the credibility of the allegations.

Ari Jackson ’13, a member of Chi Heorot fraternity, said that Lohse’s anecdotes of hazing seemed “skewed” and that he did not believe all of the claims.

Jesse Gomez ’12, who is unaffiliated, also expressed reservations about the content of the column and its implications.

“I never suspected Dartmouth of hazing before,” he said. “But I’m critical. I question the validity of it, and I’m not sure it’s anything to be concerned about.”

Lohse’s article brings into public view a formerly obscure area of campus life, whether or not the particulars are accurate, Hikaru Yamagishi ’12, a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, said. While students may wish to focus on Lohse’s history, his story merely confirms what many have heard in private, she said.

“Student body discussion needs to move away from Andrew Lohse because we’re all involved in the Greek system to some extent, and we all know what we know,” she said.

Moreover, the allegations bring rumors of hazing that previously circulated informally amongst the student body to the attention of the administration and faculty, who may be able to help address the problem, according to Yamagishi.

Monroe said she questions the ability of administrative intervention to prevent hazing.

Although it is important for the administration to be aware of the issue, its response will probably include “committees, subcommittees and a ton of ineffective bureaucracy,” Ben Ludlow ’12, vice president of Chi Gamma Epsilon fraternity and Interfraternity Council secretary, said.

While hazing is an important issue that needs to be addressed, Ludlow said he hopes the administration will proceed with caution when acting on “sensationalist and currently uncorroborated allegations.”

Any lasting change that may come from the conversation surrounding hazing will have to contend with the fact that Lohse has ostracized himself from mainstream Dartmouth culture, according to Rebecca Rothfeld ’14, who is unaffiliated. Attempts to reflect on the implications of Lohse’s allegations and the effect of hazing on the Dartmouth community may be dismissed because of the author’s reputation, she said.

“Basically, if you read the reactions online, everyone is ignoring the content of his article and just saying, Whatever man, Lohse isn’t a sweet bro,'” she said.

Different types of hazing exist for different purposes, not all of which are harmful, Monroe said. Activities that test a pledge’s loyalty to a fraternity can foster deep bonds among members, but such bonds are more difficult to discern in sororities, where hazing is almost nonexistent, according to Monroe. The difficulty lies in distinguishing between activities that make pledge term valuable and those that merely test physical endurance or “play into an unhealthy power relationship,” she said.

The problem of hazing may prompt students to question the “structure of power and incentives” in the Greek system in general, Yamagishi said.

“We need to evaluate if this is the kind of community we want to leave for another generation of Dartmouth students,” she said.

Monroe said sweeping measures against the Greek system would not constitute a “smart” solution.

“I don’t think it’s a question of policies as much as a question of a change of mindset,” she said.

The prospect of hazing has raised anxiety among some freshmen considering the rush process next fall, Patrick Campbell ’15 said. While a number of his friends have debated what they would do in a variety of hazing scenarios or reconsidered their intention to rush altogether, Campbell said the campus discussion surrounding hazing has merely “reinforced” his decision not to participate in the recruitment process, he said.

Staff writers Gavin Huang, Leslie Ye and Madeline Zeiss contributed reporting to this article.

Daily Debriefing

A recent survey of college freshmen suggests that student emotional health is at its lowest levels in 25 years, The New York Times reported last week. Stressors that influenced trends in emotional health among students include not only academics, but also financial issues during and after college, according to the study. The percentage of students who said their emotional health was above average was 52 percent compared to 64 percent in 1985, according to The Times. Additionally, the survey found that over 60 percent of students seeking help with emotional health are women, The Times reported.

At approximately 2:41 a.m. on Saturday, a female student noticed an individual attempting to photograph her with an iPhone as she showered in her College residence hall, according to a campus-wide email sent by Director of Safety and Security and College Proctor Harry Kinne on Saturday. The intruder left after the woman pushed the phone away, and she proceeded to report the incident to Safety and Security. Safety and Security has recently received reports of similar incidents on Jan. 9 and during the Fall term. The Hanover Police and Safety Security are currently investigating the incident, according to the email.

Patrick Witt, senior at Yale University and star quarterback of the school’s football team, was informed in October that his candidacy for the Rhodes Scholarship had been suspended following accusations of sexual misconduct, The New York Times reported. Witt learned that he had been selected as a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship on Oct. 31, 2011 but received news of the allegations the same day, according to the Yale Daily News. His required final interview for the scholarship was scheduled for the same day as the Nov. 19 football game between Harvard University and Yale. It is unclear whether Witt withdrew his candidacy before the accusation, although he claims he made the decision to support his team before he was notified about the complaint, according to The Times. Mark Magazu, Witt’s consultant, denied the claim that Witt’s Rhodes nomination was suspended in an interview with The Times.

Trips directorate selected for fall 2012

The 2012 Dartmouth Outing Club First-Year Trips directorate, announced in a campus-wide email on Friday, will aim to extend a “sustainable welcome” to the Class of 2016, according to Trips director Emily Mason-Osann ’11 Th ’12.

Farzeen Mahmud ’12 will take on the role of assistant director. J Mentrek ’13 and Jennifer Lamb ’13 will serve as H-Croo chiefs, while Tommy McQuillan ’13 and Elizabeth Reynolds ’13 will lead Lodj Croo. Rob Collier ’13 and Katie Jacobs ’13 will serve as Vox Croo chiefs, Charlie Governali ’12 will fill the position of Grant Croo chief and Remy Franklin ’13 will act as Klimbing Kroo chief. Ian Herrick ’13, Cally Womick ’13 and Kyle Heppenstall ’13 will become the new Trip Leader Trainers, and Chris O’Connell ’13 will serve as Outreach Coordinator. Amy Couture ’14 will be this year’s Safety Master.

This year, the position of sustainability coordinator which will be filled by Annie Laurie Mauhs-Pugh ’14 and Michael Perlstein ’14 was added to the directorate.

The 2012 directorate will build on previous efforts to incorporate sustainable practices, such as minimizing food waste and transportation use, according to Mason-Osann.

The new leaders of DOC Trips will also focus on spreading the idea of openness not only to the incoming freshmen, but to trip leaders and all Dartmouth students, Mason-Osann said.

McQuillan said he will emphasize transforming Moosilauke Ravine Lodge into an “open, inclusive environment” for everyone involved with Trips.

Changes to Trip leader training will be implemented to create a “more fun, more interesting and more engaging experience,” Mason-Osann said. Lower-level hiking trips, which will take place closer to Hanover, will also be added to this year’s slate of options.

Applications for potential Trip leaders will be sent to campus in February with a due date “sometime after spring break,” she said.

Although no particular criteria have been determined for choosing Trip leaders, O’Connell emphasized that any students excited about welcoming incoming freshmen to campus are encouraged to apply.

“There’s no one type of person that can be a Trip leader,” he said. “The outdoor skills are something that we can teach and provide you with. We’re always looking to bring in people with new perspectives and new ideas.”

A change in the academic calendar for the 2012-2013 year will play a new role in the selection of Trip leaders, according to O’Connell. The Faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences voted in May 2011 to change the calendar for the upcoming academic year, moving the end of Fall term to the week prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. As a result, Fall term will begin Sept. 10, two weeks earlier than in previous years.

Although Trips will overlap more with sophomore summer than they have in the past, sophomores will still be able to lead Trips in later sections and serve on Croos, according to O’Connell.

“It’s really important to us as a directorate and as a program that the ’14s are a part of it,” O’Connell said.

Mason-Osann highlighted the importance of DOC Trips in making a positive first impression on incoming students and in enriching the Dartmouth experience for all those involved, including Croo chiefs and Trip leaders.

“I think it brings out the best in people, and it brings out the best in the Dartmouth community,” she said. “It’s a really great way to welcome the new class to Dartmouth and express the wonderful spirit we have in this school.”

Former Vox Croo chief Emily Niehaus ’12 highlighted the uniqueness of DOC Trips and the collaboration they entail.

“Trips are one of the best programs that Dartmouth has because everyone is a part of it,” she said. “It is really a good way to make an impact and it is a very unifying program.”

O’Connell is a former member of The Dartmouth Business Staff.

Alumni and student orgs. honored for justice work

Four Dartmouth alumni and the student group Students for Africa were recognized for their social justice work on Friday.

Four alumni, whose undertakings have ranged from providing legal aid for overseas refugees to addressing poverty in the Dominican Republic, received this year’s Social Justice Awards, given by the College’s Social Justice Committee, at a Friday ceremony in Collis Common Ground. Students for Africa received the award presented annually to a Dartmouth student organization.

Rebecca Heller ’05, co-founder and director of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project; Jessica Lawson ’04, co-founder of the Mariposa DR Foundation; Chidi Achebe DMS ’96, president and CEO of the Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center; and Michael Mascari ’65, executive director of AHRC Nassau, were honored and spoke about their commitment to social justice at the ceremony.

Students for Africa, the recipient of the student organization award, was founded in 2006 in response to the “then-near invisibility of African affairs on the Dartmouth campus,” moderator and Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson said. The group was honored for raising awareness about social justice and development and encouraging open campus dialogue, according to Johnson.

In the past year, Students for Africa organized Mbele Africa, a convention that brought students from various colleges together to devise ways to contribute to African development, according to Johnson.

College President Jim Yong Kim welcomed the honorees and opened the ceremony by stressing the importance of community service and leadership. Kim expressed hope that the awards’ recipients would instill in students the “desire to tackle the world’s problems.”

Heller and Lawson received the “Emerging Leadership” award.

Heller, a lecturer at Yale Law School, was recognized for providing direct legal aid to refugees overseas applying for resettlement. As an undergraduate at the College, Heller started Harvest for the Hungry, which salvaged extra crops in the Upper Valley region for use in local homeless shelters and soup kitchens, according to moderator and Office of Institutional Diveristy and Equity Vice President Evelynn Ellis.

Near the end of the ceremony, Heller spoke about the things she wishes she had known as a student.

“Growing up is difficult because you have to make choices,” she said. “Your focus has to narrow. Life is short. You put in what you can.”

Lawson, who first visited the Dominican Republic in 2003 before graduating, was recognized for her efforts to combat poverty and her work with at-risk youth in the country. Through her work, she focuses on teaching girls via academic and health education programs.

“Dartmouth taught me how to prepare myself with the skills to recognize opportunity and seize it,” Lawson said. “What keeps me passionate is that there is so much more to be done.”

Achebe received the “Ongoing Commitment” award for his advocacy in implementing “medicine without borders,” according to Ellis. Achebe runs the Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center, which provides care to underserved groups in the Boston community.

“Always remember to give back to those who don’t have as much as you have because, boy, you have a lot,” he said to the ceremony’s attendees.

Mascari was awarded the Lester B. Granger ’18 Award for Lifetime Achievement, which is given to individuals who exhibit “exemplary” lifelong commitment to public service, Ellis said. After graduating, Mascari joined AmeriCorps before working with low-income and disadvantaged communities in New York and Ohio.

As the current director of Long Island’s largest non-profit agency, Mascari is committed to assisting children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Ellis said.

“We take great pride in our graduates who have distinguished careers in finance, law, business and medicine,” Mascari said. “We should take equal pride in those who have chosen the professions of social work, teaching and community organizing.”

Eight additional student organizations that received nominations The Dartmouth, Dartmouth Habitat for Humanity, Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering, GlobeMed at Dartmouth, Mentors Against Violence, Occupy Dartmouth, Outreach Peer Mentors and Project RightChoice also received recognition for their substantial contributions to the Dartmouth community.

Students, alumni, faculty and administrators were encouraged to submit nominations for the awards, and award recipients were determined by the Social Justice Awards Committee, according to moderator Chris O’Connell ’13.

O’Connell is a former member The Dartmouth Business Staff.

The Social Justice Awards Committee, which selected the honorees, included Gabrielle Lucke, director of training and educational programs in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity; Christine Crabb ’90, assistant director for the Office of Conferences and Special Events; Lauren Frank, events coordinator for the Office of Conferences and Special Events; Linda Martin, administrative assistant for the Dartmouth Medical School Office of Student Affairs; Kurt Nelson, assistant chaplain; Maghan Porter, administrative assistant for the Office of Conferences and Special Events; Molly St. Sauveur, programs assistant for diversity and equal opportunity and affirmative action in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity; and Sarah Sinclair, assistant director for leadership in the Office of Alumni Relations.

SPCSA organizes first symposium

Student leaders, faculty and administrators spoke and engaged in discussions at the first annual Dartmouth Symposium on Sexual Assault on Saturday.

Correction Appended###

The Student and Presidential Committee on Sexual Assault hosted its first annual Dartmouth Symposium on Sexual Assault on Saturday to reflect upon the programs and initiatives currently in place to address sexual assault on campus and consider new ways to confront it in the future. Over 100 faculty, administrators, leaders of campus groups, coaches, sports team captains and executive members of Greek and co-ed organizations gathered at round table discussions in Alumni Hall for a period of four hours to address sexual assault on campus.

Sexual assault constitutes a community problem and must be addressed accordingly, Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson said.

“It is not a question of whether sexual assault has touched you, but how directly,” she said.

She spoke about her vision to utilize the leadership of College President Jim Yong Kim, his office’s resources and a “dedicated core” of students, faculty, staff and alumni to devise a comprehensive strategy to prevent sexual assault.

Following Johnson’s remarks, Sexual Assault Awareness Program coordinators Amanda Childress and Rebekah Carrow and Special Assistant to the President for Health Initiatives Aurora Matzkin ’97 presented the College’s sexual violence initiatives, focusing on new and upcoming programs.

“We know that it’s not going to be just one thing, just one person that is going to bring about change, and that’s why we are taking a comprehensive approach,” Childress said.

The addition of a second SAAP coordinator, presidential fellow for sexual assault, external consultant and special assistant to the president for health initiatives, and the establishment of the SPCSA are among the steps taken by the College to address sexual assault since Kim assumed office, Matzkin said.

The leaders of several student-led programs involved in addressing the campus issue presented their goals for the upcoming year.

Anneliese Sendax ’13, a sexual assault peer adviser and member of SPCSA, said she hopes to increase the visibility of the SAPA program on campus and reorganize its structure to facilitate closer relationships between SAAP coordinators.

Anastassia Radeva ’12 and Andrea Jaresova ’12, both members of SPCSA and co-directors of Mentors Against Violence, said the MAV program will develop freshman programming, an athletics initiative and Greek facilitation for new members this year.

Gender and Sexuality XYZ student executive Van Melikian ’14 said GSX plans to host LGBT-themed social events to expand and maintain safe social spaces for LGBT students.

To address sexual assault, the Greek Leadership Council formed a committee on assault issues that began to meet in the fall 2011, according to GLC moderator Trevor Chenoweth ’12.

Green Team board member Sarah Wildes ’13 talked about Green Team’s plan to collaborate with the new Bringing in the Bystander program, which will focus on educating potential bystanders, who could prevent sexual assault by intervening in questionable situations, about their role on campus. Green Team will also work with 32 colleges and universities interested in implementing programs similar to Green Team.

Although a portion of the symposium was devoted primarily to student speakers, philosophy professor Susan Brison was asked by SPCSA coordinators to be involved in order to demonstrate that she and other faculty members stand by students in their campaign against sexual assault and violence.

“We’ve been told by some faculty members that this is not a faculty issue, but it is, and you can always come to us,” she said.

In her speech, Brison recalled two cases of sexual assault one of which was a rape and an attempted murder in France perpetrated by a 25-year-old stranger of which she was the victim. The second assault was committed by a man with whom she was acquainted, she said.

“The hard case is when you feel betrayed by someone you knew and where your credibility is questioned,” she said.

In response to those who have told her that “the whole problem comes down to mixed drinks and mixed messages,” she said 90 percent of perpetrators are repeat offenders who know what they are doing.

Following Brison’s presentation, facilitators led the individuals seated at their tables in a 30-minute discussion about the gaps in the College’s efforts to combat sexual assault. Facilitators then presented their groups’ responses.

Many groups cited the need to create a comprehensive coalition that encompasses all of the sexual assault initiatives, perhaps in the form of a centralized physical location like a violence prevention center.

Some spoke of the importance of providing freshmen with sexual assault education in order to demonstrate early in their college careers what is and is not acceptable in the Dartmouth community. Others talked about the impact of upperclassmen and student leaders serving as role models and of engaging faculty in the sexual assault conversation.

Table groups were then asked to discuss the power imbalances in the Dartmouth community. Many cited a host-guest relationship that creates a power imbalance, particularly at fraternities, which often host parties. Some groups said that it is also important not to isolate fraternities as the sole cause of the power imbalance at the College, and others discussed the difference between “day” and “night” behavior exhibited by students.

SPCSA recorded all responses to the round table discussion questions and will use them to formulate “solid, cohesive goals that the community can work toward” during the year, SPCSA co-chair Chinedu Udeh ’12 said. Next year’s symposium will look at the progress made on these goals. In addition, this year’s responses will be published on the SPCSA website.

During the dinner, Dani Levin ’12, previous SPCSA chair, addressed the “power structures [at Dartmouth] and the attitudes they engender,” especially within the Greek system, and the dependence that results from being a guest at a fraternity.

“As a guest, you are dependent on the hosts for continued extension of welcome in their physical space,” she said. “You’re dependent on them for access to their privileges, like beers or whatever happens be going on upstairs in rooms. And that dependency defines the parameters of the unequal relationship between members and nonmembers, an inequality that is replicated and magnified as soon as you leave the scope of general social interactions and enter into sexual ones.”

She cited the story of a female member of the Class of 2011 who was raped as a freshman. The assault invaded every facet of the student’s day as she focused on avoiding her attacker for fear that the healing process would be undone, Levin said.

“Can you imagine?” Levin asked. “To have your body violently imposed upon, and, months and years later, have a daily reminder of that moment by having every step of your schedule imposed upon too?”

She called on members of the audience to associate with the girl described because “it is statistically a matter of time” before they are affected by a similar situation, as one in four women are raped at some point in their college career.

“Don’t leave here and change power structures for me,” she said. “Do it because the victims are quite literally the closest people to you.”

Shivani Bhatia ’13 gave a spoken word performance about the meaning of the word “rape,” especially as it pertains to a friend’s story of sexual assault.

The symposium concluded with remarks from Duncan Hall ’12, co-chair of SPCSA, as he emphasized the community’s role in the issue of sexual assault and asked guests to take the discussion back to their respective campus communities in order to begin changing the current culture that allows acts of violence to occur.

“We hope they’ll take back a sense of accountability for this issue and a list of priorities,” he said. “We hope that guests have a new understanding of how this is a community issue and we hope they come away with a new sense of purpose.”

Hall said that SPCSA had their future goals in mind while choosing guests from different communities for the symposium.

“Who attended was important because we wanted not only to talk to current leaders, but also to those who are going to be campus leaders,” he said.

The process by which the committee determined the symposium’s round table discussion questions was thoughtful and geared toward creating productive conversation rather than hypercritical dialogue, according to Hall.

“We tried to encourage creative, out-of-the-box discussions,” Hall said. “The College already has a long list of things to be done. We wanted to discuss the cultural aspect why it is the way that it is.”

**The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Bhatia shared a spoken word performance about being personally sexually assaulted when in fact the piece was about a friend’s story of sexual assault.*

What to Watch For

So apparently there’s some big football game on Sunday. Check that. Make it a huge, massive, legacy-defining football game that just happens to be a rematch of one of the greatest Super Bowls ever. So since there’s really only one event worth watching this week, we’re going to write a combined preview.

When the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants in Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLVI (NBC, Sunday, 6:29 p.m.), more than just the Lombardi Trophy will be on the line. For New England, a win would cement the legacies of its quarterback, Tom Brady, and its head coach, Bill Belichick. Brady would join Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana as the only quarterbacks to win four Super Bowls, while a fourth title for Belichick would tie him with Chuck Noll for most all-time Super Bowl wins for a head coach.

A victory for New York would elevate Eli Manning to a whole new level, giving him two Super Bowl rings double the amount won by his more-heralded brother.

Four years ago, the Giants ruined the Pats’ chance at a perfect season, and while nothing can ever make up for the loss, a Super Bowl victory would go a long way toward healing those wounds. A loss, on the other hand … well, let’s not even go there.

For the Patriots, the keys to victory lie both with Tom Brady and the much-maligned Patriots’ secondary. Brady has so many weapons at his disposal that the 29th-ranked Giants’ secondary will have difficulty containing them all. Tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are absolute monsters, who can shake off tackles like raindrops, while Wes Welker, Chad Ochocinco and Super Bowl XXXIX MVP Deion Branch can open up space downfield. An improving running game led by BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead can also take some of the pressure off Brady.

The Patriots’ secondary has struggled all season, ranking second-to-last in the league this year. In order to win, the Patriots must not allow the inconsistent but very capable Eli Manning to light up Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Jake Ballard for touchdowns. Cornerback Kyle Arrington, who tied for the league lead in interceptions, and rookie cornerback Sterling Moore will need big games to contain the Giants’ skilled passing game.

For the Giants to repeat their Super Bowl XLII victory, they must disrupt the Patriots’ explosive passing game. Defensive ends Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul will need to battle past the Patriots’ offensive line to put the pressure on Tom Brady and prevent him from doing what he does best scoring points.

Curious Jorge

If you turn on your television and flip to any sports channel, odds are you will find some sort of coverage about Super Bowl XLVI. Since there are two whole weeks between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl, news outlets dig for stories that can entertain fans until game time. There won’t be many useless stories this year, though, because Sunday’s Patriots-Giants showdown is the perfect Hollywood ending for this season.

Think about it the season was in jeopardy because of the 132-day NFL lockout. Once commissioner Roger Goodell, the team owners and the NFL Players Association got on the same page, the season started on time and fans everywhere were head over heels about the return of football.

As the season progressed, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow became the hottest conversation topic in the country. The height of Tebowmania came when he threw a game-winning touchdown on the first play of overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers in his first career playoff game. Then, naturally, he lost to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, who are now in position to avenge their Super Bowl XLII loss to the New York Giants.

This Super Bowl has many background stories that could make your head spin, but it’s the players that make the drama. And much like these players inspire sports writers to come up with great stories, our Dartmouth sports teams are what allow me to write this column week in and week out. This might be a stretch, but it occurred to me this past weekend that some of the players that will participate in next Sunday’s Super Bowl have the same characteristics and personalities as a couple of Dartmouth teams. If you’re confused, just keep reading allow me to help you make the same apparently random connection.

Men’s and women’s swimming and diving Eli Manning, QB, Giants

During the offseason, Manning stirred up some controversy when he said he was an elite quarterback on the same level as Tom Brady. Reporters around the country put Manning’s and Brady’s numbers side-by-side and concluded that Manning was out of his mind. But I think Manning really does believe he’s an elite quarterback, and with his brother, multiple-time All-Pro Peyton Manning, sidelined all season with a neck injury, Eli knew it was his time to shine and shine he did. No one except his teammates believed in him, and look where the Giants are now.

The Dartmouth swimming and diving teams, much like Eli, came into the season with no one other than the team itself thinking they would make any noise in the Ivy League. The teams started off the season with triumphant victories over Cornell University and Brown University, and though the teams have suffered a couple of losses both teams lost to Yale University, with the men also falling to the University of Pennsylvania this season is shaping up to be one of the best in recent history. Add in victories against Bryant University and the University of Massachusetts this past weekend and there is a lot to be proud about. Eli is proving he belongs in the same class as Brady, and the Dartmouth swimming and diving teams are proving they can battle and win against Ivy League foes.

Men’s and women’s track and field Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots

Gronkowski turned some heads during his rookie season in 2010, but he made himself a household name in 2011. “Gronk” became a fan favorite by brushing off would-be tacklers every Sunday, spiking the ball whenever he scored a touchdown and taking a casual photo with an adult entertainment actress wearing his jersey. He absolutely dominated the tight end position this season, setting tight end single-season records both receiving touchdowns receiving yards.

The track and field squads are killing it this season, and both teams are unbeaten and untouchable a la Gronkowski. Abbey D’Agostino ’14 has been stellar this season, breaking the Dartmouth school record in the mile last week, only to break her six-day old record this past Friday. D’Agostino is just one example of how deep and well-balanced this team is, as the Big Green can easily score points from both the track events and field events. At the rate this team is scoring points, Gronkowski would be proud to be likened to a group such as the men’s and women’s track and field teams.

Next Sunday’s Super Bowl will surely be one to remember. Rematches are always intriguing and this ranks as one of the most exciting in my lifetime. Tune in to watch Brady and Manning battle it out, Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz dance salsa after scoring a touchdown and the track and field squads I mean, Rob Gronkowski shed tacklers and dive into the end zone.

1-on-1 with Sally Komarek ’13

This week I got the chance to sit down with women’s ice hockey forward Sally Komarek ’13 to discuss hockey, life and the team’s successful season.

When did you first start playing hockey?

SK: I started playing hockey when I was eight. I had figure skated since I was four years old, but I made the switch from figure skating to hockey when my older sister started playing. I’m also extremely pigeon-toed, so I didn’t quite have the grace figure skaters tend to have. Also, everyone in Minnesota plays hockey, so I thought I should probably play as well.

How’d you decide to play college hockey at Dartmouth?

SK: When I was 14, I was coached by Mark Hudak (Dartmouth’s head coach) at a USA Development Hockey Camp. I had always thought he was a great coach and got along with him well, so Dartmouth was on my radar. When I came and visited, I really liked the academics, the strong sense of community and the team. After that, I pretty much instantly decided that Dartmouth was the school for me.

The team dominated Brown University and Yale University over the weekend and has only lost once since the beginning of December. What do you think led to the team’s success?

SK: Our coach describes it as “getting in the wheelbarrow.” This happens when everybody is on same sheet of music, really supporting each other on the ice and playing in unison. I think we have been really good about working together as a team on the ice to win these games. We try and stay focused on what we can do as a team regardless of our opponent. We understand the potential we have to accomplish great things this season, and we trust one another to give everything we have day in and day out. This trust is really what I think is at the root of our success.

How was the experience playing at Frozen Fenway?

SK: The atmosphere at Frozen Fenway was unreal. The stands were packed and packed with Dartmouth fans. There were tons of alumni who came with flags, posters, huge banners, everything you can imagine. It was great to look out into the stands and see all that support. The experience of playing outdoors was fun because it really enabled us go back to our roots. Most of the team started playing hockey outdoors, and to play a competitive college game in that atmosphere was amazing. It’s sad to see that outdoor hockey isn’t played as often anymore, but I’m thankful that we were lucky enough to be able to play [at] Frozen Fenway. The fact that we won the game just made the experience even better.

It seems like most of your team is Canadian. Is there a big American-Canadian rivalry?

SK: There is a huge rivalry on the team between the Canadians and Americans. At captain’s practice, we always play America vs. Canada. A lot of our rivalry comes out in the locker room because of the phrases and sayings that Canadians have. For instance, we don’t “write tests” and grades are not “marks.” Their pronunciation of some words is pretty ridiculous as well. The dual-citizens serve as translators when the Canadians forget how to pronounce the letter A’ when they speak. Fact of the matter is, they left their country to live in ours, and we’re happy to have them here to entertain us.

I hear the team has some interesting pre-game rituals?

SK: Our entire team really loves to dance during our warm-ups. Although we’re focused when we hit the ice, we like to stay loose and relaxed during warm-ups. During our off ice warm-up, we sing and dance non-stop. Kelly Foley ’12 leads some of the team in “The Wiggle” before every game. After we’re warmed up, we circle up for a miniature dance-off followed by an emotional rendition of “Not Ready to Make Nice.” I like to think that it’s our lucky charm and has been a big part of our recent success.

What’s the most exciting environment you’ve ever played in?

SK: Although Fenway was a once in a lifetime experience, I think the best atmosphere I’ve ever played in was our home game this year against Cornell. The stands were packed, and we had a ton of alums come up. It was a big game and there was just a ton of energy. Cornell is the No. 3 team in the country, and even though we lost in overtime, we outshot them. To dominate the game against the No. 3 team in the country got us geared up for the postseason in hopes that we get a chance to play them again.