Physical Education or Camp Dartmouth?
By Sharla Grass, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, July 13, 2012
Sophomore summer is arguably the best time to fulfill that dreaded P.E. requirement. With offerings like sailing, climbing, forestry, canoeing, golf, kayaking and cabin overnights, students can get that much closer to graduating while acting like a kid at summer camp.
Many of the options, such as sailing, provide the perfect opportunity to venture away from Hanover. Sailing classes take place at the Dartmouth Yacht Club on Mascoma Lake and are taught by club staff and members of the Dartmouth sailing team.
Emily Li ’14 said she signed up for sailing because it was an easy and enjoyable way to fulfill one of the three P.E. credit requirements, she said.
“The benefit of taking outdoor P.E. classes is definitely that it’s so nice out,” she said.
While some students choose to stay relatively close to campus for one or two days of classes a week, others choose to spend a full weekend hiking and camping outside of the Upper Valley to earn credit. Alice Morrison ’14, who recently led an overnight canoeing trip in the Second College Grant, said she enjoyed leading other sophomores on an unrivaled outdoor adventure.
“In a regular class the students go out and do something for a few hours and then return to campus,” she said. “But because this trip was overnight, it is a much more complete experience.”
What makes these classes an attractive alternative to the standard P.E. fare of Zumba and weight lifting? Students said they chose to teach or take outdoor P.E. classes because of the natural beauty of Dartmouth’s outdoor surroundings.
“Mascoma is one of my favorite places in the world, and being able to show my friends where the magic happens, so to speak, is pretty cool,” Victor Hollenberg ’14, a member of the sailing team who teaches a P.E. sailing class, said. “Sailing is a pretty complicated sport, and teaching it forces you to simplify concepts and terms that we might take for granted. You don’t necessarily realize how much that’s the case until some of your students tell you that it sounds like you’re speaking a foreign language just because of the sailing terms you’re using.”
Morrison agreed that outdoor P.E. classes are a great way to explore “the world around the Dartmouth bubble.”
Others appreciate the chance to rediscover an old hobby. Ryan McWilliams ’14 said he signed up for a golfing class because he had not played the sport recently and thought the class would be a good way to ease back into golf.
“It’s a nice break from working, being able to get outside and play for an hour,” McWilliams said. “It gets you outside and, depending on which course it is, allows you to experience different parts of Dartmouth you wouldn’t otherwise see.”
Having the chance to take P.E. classes in natural surroundings offers an outlet for stress, Hollenberg said.
“Getting outside is a great way to forget about the stresses we might have in the classroom or in daily life, and for me, sailing serves as a kind of escape valve to do that,” he said.