Given our status as members of the Dartmouth College class of 2019, all members of this project are relatively new to life here at Dartmouth College. However, despite our limited time here, we have all heard of the Dartmouth Seven, the Ledyard Bridge Challenge, and the Lou’s Challenge. Our immediate exposure to these challenges showcases their importance to the Dartmouth College student body. This relevance to student life peaked our interest, causing us to desire to research into the matter further.
Links to Folklore, Challenges, Stories, and More:
Rite of Transition and Rite of Incorporation:
Arnold van Gennep came up with the idea that there are three stages to Rites of Passage. The most relevant Rite of Passages associated with Dartmouth Challenges Folklore was the Rite of Transition and Rite of Incorporation. As each person attempts the Dartmouth Seven, the Ledyard Bridge Challenge, and or Lou’s Challenge he or she is in the Transitioning Stages from being a non-member of the challenge to becoming a member of the challenge. Once a person has completed either the Dartmouth Seven, the Ledyard Bridge Challenge, and or Lou’s Challenge they become Incorporated to a smaller group of Dartmouth Students: those who have completed such challenges. These newly incorporated members now have a brotherhood and/or sisterhood with other Dartmouth students and Alumni who have also had the same experience. Although each story differs from person to person, they can look back on such experiences knowing that it was all done in the name of Dartmouth Tradition.
The goal of our collection project was to understand the various ways in which the Dartmouth Challenges brought the student body together, giving them a more enhanced sense of community. Our findings suggest that members of the Dartmouth College student body perform the Dartmouth Seven, the Ledyard Bridge Challenge, and Lou’s Challenge because they have an inherent desire to immerse themselves in Dartmouth tradition and culture. This desire seems to stem from a love of the school community and a need to immerse into such a wonderful, caring, and nurturing community. These challenges are a vehicle for participants to further become a part of the folk group that is the Dartmouth College Student Body; more specifically: the Dartmouth Challenges folk group.