Beyond Your Trip Leader: How to meet upperclassmen
By Reese Ramponi, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, September 4, 2012
It’s Orientation week, so almost everyone on campus right now is a ’16. However, you will likely see some rogue upperclassmen wandering around campus, as well. Who are they? What do they want? If they’re not walking in packs, decked out in Dartmouth athletic gear and coming back from practice, then they might be here to meet you! Upperclassmen from numerous clubs, organizations and performance groups return to campus early to show freshmen what they’re all about. Chances are, the only upperclassmen you’ve met are your trip leaders and a few colorful Croo members. But there are others, as well — you just have to look. So, here are some tips on the best places you can look to cement those inter-class ties.
Student Activity Fair — If you want to meet upperclassmen, this is a good place to start. Whether you are interested in volunteering, performance or the outdoors, upperclassman representatives from many campus organizations will be at the Student Activity Fair on Sept. 9 to answer your questions.
Mentoring organizations — For women, look out for the LinkUP program, Women’s Forum or the Women of Color Collective, which are three groups that work on creating connections between older and younger women at Dartmouth through forums and one-on-one mentoring. For men, a similar forum for discussion can be found at Men’s Forum. Especially for those ’16s who don’t immediately choose to join a club or organization, having an upperclassman mentor is extremely helpful in navigating the transition to Dartmouth. For emotional, social and academic guidance, as well as an active discussion about the role of women at Dartmouth, these organizations are the place to go.
Performance groups — Dartmouth is practically overrun with performance groups, so you’ll have no trouble meeting them. Listen to the a cappella groups at the Spaulding showcase, and keep an eye out for open rehearsals, social events and additional shows with individual singing and comedy groups throughout the week. A cappella groups, comedy groups and some dance groups are run entirely by students, so they are a perfect place to meet upperclassmen friends and mentors.
Affinity houses — These houses tend to fly under the radar, but they do have open events and activities. Here, you can find groups of upperclassmen living in houses based on a shared interest such as sustainability, Native American studies or the Chinese language. Affinity houses aren’t open like Greek houses, but they will blitz out when they are having events.
The Dartmouth Outing Club — If you’re not sick of the woods after Trips, you should check out the DOC. During a break between Orientation activities, head down to the Ledyard Canoe Club and introduce yourself to whoever is checking out the canoes. If it’s mountaineering you’re interested in, you can find a bouldering gym and a laidback atmosphere in the basement of Maxwell-Channing Cox in the River Cluster. Want to camp some more? Check your blitz for a message from Cabin and Trail and get back out on the trail with a new group of students to get to know. If you’re really adventurous, join the woodsmen’s team and chop some logs with your fellow lumberjacks.
LGBT life — For the queer-ly inclined, have no fear. You won’t have to look far for a supportive group of upperclassman LGBT peers. If the idea of attending a gay-straight alliance is a bit intimidating, reach out to OUTreach Peer Mentors, an organization that pairs underclassmen with an older member of the LGBT community for support. OUTreach Peer Mentors will be around throughout Orientation, and you can blitz the group confidentially at any time.
SAPAs, DAPAs and EDPAs — The first few weeks of college can be very overwhelming, and sometimes issues come up. When a problem arises, these students are here to help. Sexual Abuse Peer Advisors, Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisors and Eating Disorder Peer Advisors are on call to listen when you need them. To talk, blitz SAPA, DAPA or EDPA, or ask your UGA if there is a peer advisor nearby. Often, a UGA in your building is qualified in one or more of these areas.
Greek life — Of course, I couldn’t leave out frats, sororities and coeds. Even if you aren’t interested in Greek life, it provides a great means of meeting new people during your first week at Dartmouth, whether they’re upperclassmen or fellow ’16s. Even with the lack of upperclassmen on campus during Orientation, some houses will be open. Take a walk down Frat Row and explore with a few of your buddies — houses are always friendly and accepting to incoming freshmen! Have fun, but be on guard for those cougars and fratstars who came up to campus early to show off a bit more than their clubs and organizations to you (if you get my drift).
For information on any of the above cross-sections of campus, you don’t have to look far — just check your blitz (or check out Dartmouth’s organization database online). Upperclassmen can seem intimidating at first, but in the end, we really do want to be your friend. So don’t be shy — your ’13, ’14 and ’15 soulmates are waiting to meet you!
Reese is a ’13. She swears she’s not a cougar, but we’re skeptical. Just kidding, Reese!