‘After Hours’ sponsors staff activities, outings
By Clifton Lyons
Published on Tuesday, July 3, 2012
A day trip to Montreal, balloon sculpture classes and social mixers are just some of the events that College employees and staff members can attend this summer through Dartmouth After Hours, a program sponsored by the human resources departments of the College and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. After Hours provides College and DHMC employees with opportunities to become better acquainted with one another and participate in social, recreational and cultural activities throughout the New England area, according to coordinator Rachel Keyser, who oversees the program for DHMC.
Keyser said that the After Hours program was created as an incentive in increasing employee retention rates.
“It all started when both Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Dartmouth College gave exit interviews which showed data on ‘not feeling connected’ to the area,” Keyser said. “In 2003, DHMC began the DHMC social club and by 2005, the College wanted to be included, and After Hours was born.” Prior to the formation of the After Hours program in 2005, trained and qualified staff often left campus and the Upper Valley area because they had trouble connecting with the local community and could not readily access entertainment venues, Keyser said. After Hours was created to remedy such problems and provide opportunities for like-minded people with similar interests to meet, she said. “DHMC is three percentage points above the national average for retention and we bet one-tenth of it is because of After Hours,” Keyser said. Joyce Wagner, an administrative assistant at the Geisel School of Medicine, said she has attended several After Hours excursions.
“The program is a great idea,” Wagner, who enjoys the trips to New York, said. “I’m a huge fan of Broadway, and as soon as the bus pulls in at Bryant Park, I head for Times Square and the discount ticket booth for matinees.”
Wagner said that a typical trip to New York consists of exploring the city through sightseeing, shopping and people watching.
“After the show, I grab dinner at my favorite restaurant and then head back to Bryant Park to sit on the grass and relax,” she said. “I love to walk, but we don’t have nearly as much concrete in the Upper Valley.”
Wagner said that last year, she and a friend took a bus trip to Montreal for the Jazz Festival through After Hours.
“In spite of the rain, we had a great time,” Wagner said. “There’s a big open plaza where some of the outdoor events took place. There is a water sculpture that squirts from spigots lining the pavement. We had a ball watching the kids play.”
Other After Hours activities that Wagner has participated in include classes on making sausages, crepes and “buches de Noel,” French log-shaped Christmas cakes.
“The activities were all very hands-on, and I love the variety,” Wagner said. “The monthly get-togethers are always fun, especially the ones with salsa classes.”
Tuck School of Business professor Donald Conway has also participated in the After Hours program and said that he made a number of new friends.
“It’s an excellent way to meet fellow colleagues who I would not normally interact with, which really helps to foster a strong sense of community at Dartmouth,” Conway said. “The After Hours staff is also very gregarious and upbeat — they make the entire experience.”
Conway said he has attended social mixers at the Norwich Inn and Six South Street Hotel and will be attending a Boston Red Sox baseball game with After Hours later this summer.
After Hours is open to all employees, their partners and families, and for most events, up to six guests are allowed, according to Keyser. The program hosts a meet-and-greet social event for professors and staff on the first Thursday of every month, she said.