Class Photo in Front of Dartmouth Hall

Title: Class Photo in Front of Dartmouth Hall

General Information about Item:

  • Genre: Customary Folklore: Ritual
  • Language: English
  • Country where Item is from: USA

Informant Data:

Current Freshman at Dartmouth who actually participated in this ritual in the beginning of the fall. Jack is currently 19 years of age and he is a student-athlete.

Contextual Data:

There is an annual ritual for the freshman class to take a class picture during matriculation. This picture takes place in front of Dartmouth Hall. At the end of the picture, it has been a ritual for every student to run from Dartmouth Hall to the cafeteria for as extravagant lobster dinner. This dinner is provided for the freshman to welcome them into school. Although this ritual of running to the cafeteria after taking the picture is not spoken of, it is taboo, as every freshman knows that not running to the cafeteria will result in possibly missing the lobster dinner.


“Before meeting at Dartmouth Hall to take the class picture, I remember hearing older kids talk about how I needed to sprint to the cafeteria after. I dressed up for the occasion, along with my friends. We went to Dartmouth Hall and took the picture with our freshman class. Literally the second after the camera flashed, every single freshman there took off in a sprint across the green to FOCO (the cafeteria). It was pretty funny because everyone there knew they would be able to get dinner, but everyone was running like their life depended on it. It was a lot of fun, and definitely a part of my matriculation that I will always remember. I plan on telling the freshmen next year that they better sprint after taking the picture in front of Dartmouth Hall if they want to eat any lobster.” 

Informant’s Comments:

Upon completing the interview, Jack Richardson, commented on how vividly he remembered the experience. He then referenced how it was no doubt a ritual that he viewed as a necessary introduction into Dartmouth College.

Collector’s Comments:

As Jack was reviewing his experience of taking his class photo in front of Dartmouth Hall, and then sprinting across the green to get a nice lobster dinner it made me remember the ritual. I remember how much fun it was to take part in the ritual alongside some kids I didn’t know, who are now some of my closest friends.

Collector’s Name: John McCormick


  • Customary Lore, Ritual

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