Dimensions show to be canceled
By Marissa Lilly
Published on Friday, February 22, 2013
Originally a hodgepodge of fake prospies, performers decked out in flair and a medley of Top 20 songs adapted to describe Dartmouth traditions, the Dimensions show will no longer headline admitted students weekend if proposed changes are put into place.
Dimensions of Dartmouth, a three-day event designed to give prospective students a feel for student life, is slated to undergo a number of programming changes to focus on intellectual life, including more student research showcases, a new program about the Dartmouth Plan, a student leaders mixer and a new intersectionality program by the Office of Pluralism and Leadership to feature diversity.
The event’s organizers plan to incorporate elements of the original Dimensions show into residence hall welcomes, as the show will no longer be held in Leede Arena.
“We hope these changes will take the shape of a multimedia event that will capture the breadth and depth of our students’ intellectual experiences,” said Katherine Madden, associate director of admissions.
The heightened focus on how Dartmouth helps students achieve academic success is consistent with Dimensions’ goal to give regular decision students the opportunity to explore the intellectual life of the College firsthand, Madden said. Dimensions organizers will strongly encourage students who applied early decision not to attend the event.
Admissions staff proposed the changes to Dimensions based on information from a number of sources, including surveys of prospective students after past Dimensions weekends and anecdotal evidence from those who previously worked the event.
Madden said she hopes the changes will strengthen the administration’s relationship with this year’s Dimensions crew. The students working with the program will manage the residence hall shows and advise prospective students about the activities put on by the College that are most relevant to their academic interests.
“I think seeing people here who are excited about what the College has to offer will have a big impact in who decides to come to Dartmouth,” she said.
Ashton Slatev ’15, Dimensions Show 2013 director criticized the academic and intellectual focus of the new program for its inconsistency with the student body’s best interests.
“It’ll be an obvious turn-off, at least relative to what we’re used to seeing,” Slatev said. “We can try to gauge our weekend off of Harvard and Yale and Princeton but the fact of the matter is, when we give up what makes us Dartmouth, we’re really giving up our identity and selling out.”
Slatev said the changes will likely have an adverse effect on matriculation rates at Dartmouth.
“I blitzed out to the ’15s and the ’14s and within five minutes I had received 45 blitzes, paragraphs long, explaining why this was a terrible idea and that they had been thinking about other schools but hadn’t gone because the other weekends were boring,” Slatev said.
Emphasizing what upperclassmen have already achieved may alienate prospective students.
“Having the most accomplished students that Dartmouth has to offer to speak would be intimidating,” he said. “It wouldn’t be very suitable.”
Students had strong reactions when told that the Dimensions show would be forgone in favor of smaller residence hall welcomes.
“I personally enjoyed the Dimensions show because it wasn’t serious,” Alice Hong ’16 said. “A lot of people that I was talking to were between colleges, and they all said that Dartmouth’s Dimensions show changed their minds. I am so upset that they’re taking it away.”
Callan George ’16 said the school’s reputation for academic excellence makes this shift in focus redundant.
“Everyone knows about the academics and how the school is in that way, but seeing how excited and involved the students were and how they could be themselves and be so crazy and fun made me want to come here,” she said.
Pilar Brito ’16, who applied for the Dimensions 2013 crew, said that though she did not see any harm in incorporating more intellectual events into the program, she preferred having the traditional show, which is what convinced her to come to Dartmouth.
“I think honestly now Dartmouth is just going to look like any other Ivy League school, which is maybe what they want,” Brito said. “I knew I was going to get a great education here. If anything, I feel more passionate about being on the crew because since our role is being toned down I want to show people how great this school is.”
Ian Blanco ’14, Dimensions Show 2012 director, said he was not convinced by the admissions office’s justification for moving the show into residence halls welcomes.
“I really love Dartmouth and it’s given me so much, but in this instance, we as a student body have been failed by the admissions office,” Blanco said.
Both Slatev and Blanco felt that a more intellectual weekend and the Dimensions show are not mutually exclusive.
Reducing Dimensions crew members to “glorified tour guides” will only create a rift between prospective students and their hosts, Slatev said.