Title: First-Year Trip Section Shirts
- Customary: Ritual
- Material: Clothing
Charles James “CJ” Murphy was born in Greenwich, Connecticut on November 16, 1994. He is a 22-year-old student at Dartmouth College currently in his senior year. Growing up, he was an avid outdoorsman, and as such was very excited to participate in the Dartmouth Outing Clubs First-Year Trips program in the lead-up to freshman year. He was on the “Climb and Hike” trip.
This ritual was experienced by the informant at the outset of his First-Year Trip. Upon arrival in Hanover, his trip section gathered in front of Robinson Hall, where they were introduced to the trip leaders and “trippees” they would be spending the next four days with. As students have yet to interact with each other and are unsure of what to expect next, this is an awkward time.
In an effort to make previously unacquainted members of a trip group feel more comfortable with one another and provide the group with an identity that distinguishes them from the other groups, the first activity organized by trip leaders is customizing shirts (or sometimes bandanas) that the group can subsequently wear together throughout the duration of the program.
The informant emphasized the high degree of uncertainty and anxiety that he felt upon his arrival in Hanover. Although these feelings did not quickly subside, meeting his trip leaders and the “trippees” he would be spending the next four nights with gave him a better sense of what to expect. When his trip leaders immediately launched into the group t-shirt making activity, he thought it was somewhat childish and silly, but upon reflecting on it, he believes it brought his group closer together and gave them a sense of collective identity despite being strangers.
This ritual is representative of the differentiation element that is essential to initiation rituals, as the group shirts/bandanas function to collectively distinguish freshmen from upperclassmen as they embark on the rite of passage into becoming a member of the Dartmouth community.
Collector’s Name: Tommy Kaminsky
- Customary Lore, Ritual; Material Lore, Clothing