Tag Archives: dartmouth

Initiation into Dartmouth Social Spaces – Dartmouth Housing System Initiation

Title: Dartmouth Housing System Initiation

General Information about Item:

  • Initiation Ritual
  • Dartmouth College
  • Informant: Trevor Ballantyne
  • Date Collected: November 1, 2018

 

Informant Data

  • Trevor Ballantyne is a close friend of mine who was born on March 31st, 1999. Trevor attended elementary school in Hopkinton, Massachusetts where he grew up and he then attended Rivers Academy for high school. After graduation, Trevor matriculated to Dartmouth College where he is currently a sophomore. Trevor is involved in a fraternity on campus, and he is on the Dartmouth Varsity Lacrosse team.

 

Contextual Data

  • Cultural Context: I personally interviewed Trevor in the Collis Café at Dartmouth College. Trevor was first introduced to the housing community when he arrived on campus for freshman orientation. Trevor was surrounded by all incoming freshman who were all going to their specific housing communities at the time. After that, Trevor was first introduced into South House when he attended a South House dinner at a professor’s house who was affiliated with South House. During this, Trevor was surrounded by all of the other members in South House, including me. The process of being initiated into a housing community always occurs during freshman orientation
  • Social Context: Trevor is a first-generation Dartmouth student who planned on being affiliated with a fraternity from freshman year. Before Dartmouth, Trevor was unaware of the housing system and did not expect the housing system to have an effect on his time at Dartmouth. This initiation occurs during freshman orientation which involves a countless number of activities and traditions that allow students to bond with other members of their class

 

Item

  • As Trevor arrived on campus during freshman orientation, he was first initiated and welcomed onto campus by fellow South House members excitedly cheering for their house. Trevor went to the South House desk and was given a black South House shirt and water bottle. Trevor felt this initiation ritual to be welcoming due to the hectic nature of the day as all freshman arrived on campus. Days later, Trevor was further initiated into the South House community when he attended a South House dinner at a professor’s house. Trevor ate food, met fellow South House members, and signed a book that all South House members signed. Trevor was especially grateful for this initiation ritual because he was able to meet other freshman in South House and start relationships with kids that he would one day possibly live with.

 

Analysis

  • Initiation rituals consist of three stages: separation, transition, and incorporation. For the South House dinner initiation, the separation stage occurs when South House members leave campus and the rest of the student population and go to a house with only South House members. The transition stage occurs when students enjoy food and meet their fellow South House members. Finally, the incorporation stage occurs when students sign the South House book and officially join South House.

 

Meaning and Interpretation

  • Every Dartmouth student is a member of a specific housing community. Many students feel a strong sense of pride regarding their house, and the initiation ritual into South House acts as the first way for students to officially join South House.

 

Comparison

  • Comparison within the subgroup: In this sub-group, we focused on Dartmouth College social initiation rituals. One similarity between most of these rituals is that they are experienced by freshmen. A student’s freshman year is a time to learn about his or her new community and the traditions that form its unique culture. Freshman year is also the time that most students join the clubs or sports teams that they will be most involved in throughout their Dartmouth careers. Therefore, it makes sense that so many of the Dartmouth social initiation rituals take place during the freshman year, such as the homecoming bonfire ritual. One difference within our subgroup is who initiates and runs each initiation ritual. Sometimes these rituals are set up and funded by the Dartmouth administration, and sometimes they are student-run. Another difference is the duration of each ritual. Some social spaces take a while to initiate into or involve a few different rituals that initiate new members, whereas others only require one short ritual.
  • Comparison with the rest of the subgroups: The subgroups differ dramatically across the board. Some of the subgroups focus on various ethnic groups while others focus on groups within Dartmouth. The initiation rituals of the groups within Dartmouth usually have the purpose of welcoming new members into their community and are symbolic. Ethnic-based group rituals have the purpose of testing the new members. Additionally, ethnic groups’ initiation rituals tend to be related to religious practices. Initiation rituals of Dartmouth groups are not religious in character. What all groups have in common though is the fact that the process of initiation creates closeness with the rest of the group and makes one feel completely immersed into the group.

Transcript

  • Trevor Ballantyne on the South House initiation dinner, “It was a good way to meet everyone and there is a huge book that you sign your name, say you were there, everyone from the house does it and you can tell it’s the foundation of a tradition that’s going to go on for a long time.”

 

Collector: Reg Anderson, Dartmouth College, Russian 13, Professor Valentina Apresyan, Professor Mikhail Gronas, Fall 2018

 

Tags/Keywords

  • Dartmouth
  • Housing System
  • Freshman
  • Orientation
  • South House
  • Initiation Ritual

Initiation into Dartmouth Social Spaces – Dimensions Initiation Rituals

Title: Dimensions Initiation Rituals

General Information about Item:

  • Initiation Ritual
  • Dartmouth College Club
  • Informant: Ian Harris
  • Date Collected: October 31, 2018

 

Informant Data

 

  • Ian Harris is my good friend who I first met freshman year of high school in 2013. Ian was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 28th, 1999 and has lived in Boston with his family ever since. Ian attended the Noble and Greenough School from grade 7 to 12 and he is currently a sophomore at Dartmouth College. Ian plans to major in economics. Ian’s father also attended Dartmouth College, but he was not in the club Dimensions.

 

Contextual Data

 

  • Cultural Context: I personally interviewed Ian in his dorm room at Dartmouth College. Ian was first introduced to Dimensions as a senior in high school when he attended a Dimensions event in Boston to welcome the incoming Dartmouth students into the Dartmouth community. This Dimensions event occurs every year in Boston and is attended by incoming Dartmouth students. At this event, those that participated were the incoming Dartmouth students and the current Dartmouth students in Dimensions who perform different dances and songs. After Ian discussed his experience with Dimensions as a senior in high school, Ian then elaborated on the initiation rituals for Dartmouth students joining the club. Ian originally learned of these rituals by participating in the initiation process of Dimensions after being accepted into the club. Ian was surrounded by the upperclassmen in Dimensions and the other new members of Dimensions while they participated in a hike to a cabin.
  • Social Context: I collected this initiation ritual from Ian Harris, a current member of Dimensions. Ian is not the first person in his family to attend Dartmouth, but he is the first person in his family to be in Dimensions at Dartmouth.

 

Item

  • As a senior in high school, Ian was initiated into the community of Dartmouth College by attending the Dimensions event and watching the various dances that were performed by the Dartmouth students in Dimensions. Ian felt more welcomed and initiated into the community after talking with different students in Dimensions, who attempted their best to initiate Ian into Dartmouth. Then, after joining Dimensions, Ian was initiated into the club Dimensions by participating in an annual hike. Ian and the members of Dimensions all hiked to a cabin in the woods and were then initiated into the club with a dinner at the cabin.

Analysis:

  • Initiation rituals consist of three stages: separation, transition, and incorporation. In the first initiation ritual that Ian participated in, separation occurs when Ian leaves his high school community and goes to the Dimensions event in Boston. The transition period occurs when Ian watches the various dances and performances put on by Dimensions and is welcomed into the Dartmouth community. The incorporation stage then occurs after the performances when Ian is able to speak with current members of Dimensions and meet his fellow classmates. Regarding the initiation ritual that Ian experiences as a member of Dimensions, separation occurs when Ian and the other members of Dimensions leave the Dartmouth campus to embark on the hike. Then, the transition period happens when Ian hikes to the cabin where the initiation dinner is held. Finally, the incorporation stage occurs when Ian eats dinner at the cabin with all of the Dimensions members and is officially initiated into the club.

 

Meaning and Interpretation:

  • Dimensions is an extremely important club on campus and being initiated into the club is a great way to bring the members of the club closer together. As a senior in high school, the Dimensions performance to initiate incoming students to Dartmouth acts as a way to welcome incoming students and allow them to meet current students and fellow incoming freshman.

 

Comparison

  • Comparison within the subgroup: In this sub-group, we focused on Dartmouth College social initiation rituals. One similarity between most of these rituals is that they are experienced by freshmen. A student’s freshman year is a time to learn about his or her new community and the traditions that form its unique culture. Freshman year is also the time that most students join the clubs or sports teams that they will be most involved in throughout their Dartmouth careers. Therefore, it makes sense that so many of the Dartmouth social initiation rituals take place during the freshman year, such as the homecoming bonfire ritual. One difference within our subgroup is who initiates and runs each initiation ritual. Sometimes these rituals are set up and funded by the Dartmouth administration, and sometimes they are student-run. Another difference is the duration of each ritual. Some social spaces take a while to initiate into or involve a few different rituals that initiate new members, whereas others only require one short ritual.
  • Comparison with the rest of the subgroups: The subgroups differ dramatically across the board. Some of the subgroups focus on various ethnic groups while others focus on groups within Dartmouth. The initiation rituals of the groups within Dartmouth usually have the purpose of welcoming new members into their community and are symbolic. Ethnic-based group rituals have the purpose of testing the new members. Additionally, ethnic groups’ initiation rituals tend to be related to religious practices. Initiation rituals of Dartmouth groups are not religious in character. What all groups have in common though is the fact that the process of initiation creates closeness with the rest of the group and makes one feel completely immersed into the group.

Transcript

  • Ian Harris on the tradition of the initiation ritual into Dimensions, “That’s a tradition. The upperclassmen that went with us did that too. They’ve been doing this for as long as Dimensions has been around which is really cool because you have the same experience as older kids.

 

Collector: Reg Anderson, Dartmouth College, Russian 13, Professor Valentina Apresyan, Professor Mikhail Gronas, Fall 2018

 

Tags/Keywords

  • Dartmouth
  • Dartmouth Clubs
  • Freshman
  • Initiation Ritual

Initiation into Dartmouth Social Spaces – Candle Light Ceremony

Title: Candle Light Ceremony

General Information about Item:

  • Initiation Ritual
  • Dartmouth College
  • Informant: Arvin Kumaran
  • Date Collected: October 31, 2018

 

Informant Data

  • Arvin Kumaran was born in Westwood, Massachusetts on July 28th, 1999. Arvin attended middle school and high school in Westwood and is now in his second year at Dartmouth College. Arvin is on the pre-med track at Dartmouth College and is planning on majoring in Economics. Arvin is a close friend of mine who I met the fall of my freshman year at the college.

 

Contextual Data

  • Cultural Context: I personally interviewed Arvin in his dorm room at Dartmouth College. Arvin was first introduced to Dartmouth’s candle light ceremony during orientation. Arvin was surrounded by all of his fellow classmates during the ceremony in the woods surrounding the East Wheelock dormitory. The ceremony took place as the sun went down and this ceremony occurs every year with Dartmouth’s freshman class in the same place.
  • Social Context: The candle light ceremony occurs during freshman orientation week. Orientation week involves a countless number of activities and traditions that allow students to bond with other members of their class.

 

Item

  • Every year Dartmouth freshman all gather in the woods outside of East Wheelock dormitory where they first listen to a member of their class talk about what Dartmouth values. After that, each student is given a lit candle and walks in a group towards Dartmouth campus. Every Dartmouth freshman participates in this ceremony and it really acts as the first initiation ritual while at the college.

Analysis

  • Initiation rituals consist of three stages: separation, transition, and incorporation. In this ritual, the separation stage occurs when the students leave the main campus and go to the woods outside of East Wheelock. Next, the transition stage happens when all the students are gathered in the woods listening to a member of their class speak. Finally, the incorporation stage occurs when all the students receive a candle and collectively walk back to campus.

 

Meaning and Interpretation

  • The candle light ceremony is a ritual that occurs each year during freshman orientation. The ritual acts as a way for students to be initiated into the Dartmouth community while also allowing students to meet their fellow classmates. The candle light ceremony is many Dartmouth students first memories on campus and the image of thousands of lit candles resonates with the entire student population.

 

Comparison

  • Comparison within the subgroup: In this sub-group, we focused on Dartmouth College social initiation rituals. One similarity between most of these rituals is that they are experienced by freshmen. A student’s freshman year is a time to learn about his or her new community and the traditions that form its unique culture. Freshman year is also the time that most students join the clubs or sports teams that they will be most involved in throughout their Dartmouth careers. Therefore, it makes sense that so many of the Dartmouth social initiation rituals take place during the freshman year, such as the homecoming bonfire ritual. One difference within our subgroup is who initiates and runs each initiation ritual. Sometimes these rituals are set up and funded by the Dartmouth administration, and sometimes they are student-run. Another difference is the duration of each ritual. Some social spaces take a while to initiate into or involve a few different rituals that initiate new members, whereas others only require one short ritual.
  • Comparison with the rest of the subgroups: The subgroups differ dramatically across the board. Some of the subgroups focus on various ethnic groups while others focus on groups within Dartmouth. The initiation rituals of the groups within Dartmouth usually have the purpose of welcoming new members into their community and are symbolic. Ethnic-based group rituals have the purpose of testing the new members. Additionally, ethnic groups’ initiation rituals tend to be related to religious practices. Initiation rituals of Dartmouth groups are not religious in character. What all groups have in common though is the fact that the process of initiation creates closeness with the rest of the group and makes one feel completely immersed into the group.

 

Transcript

  • Arvin Kumaran on how the candle light ceremony acted as an initiation ritual, “This was our first bonding experience and it is probably one of the few events where we’d all be at the same place at the same time.”

 

Collector: Reg Anderson, Dartmouth College, Russian 13, Professor Valentina Apresyan, Professor Mikhail Gronas, Fall 2018

Tags/Keywords

  • Dartmouth
  • Freshman class
  • Orientation
  • Initiation Ritual

The Lost Camper

Title: The Lost Camper

General Information about Item:

  • Customary, Practical Joke
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Noah Schwed
  • Date Collected: This data was collected during a one-on-one interview in the library of Dartmouth College with Noah Schwed on October 29th, 2018.

Informant Data:

  • Noah Schwed ‘21 is a male student studying Economics and Computer Science at Dartmouth College. He is originally from New Jersey. Noah participated in a hiking trip before the start of his Freshman year at Dartmouth as part of the First Year Trips DOC program. He has an older brother (Eric Schwed ‘18), who attended Dartmouth, but Trips were his first true introduction to life as a Dartmouth student.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context
    • Noah encountered this joke, which is not specific to the hikings section of trips and is actually quite common, when he was a tripee during August of 2017.
    • This joke is typically played by upperclassmen or students leading trips on their first year tripees. As the objects of the prank, the new freshmen are supposed to be initiated and bonded together as a new class by going through the embarrassment of this prank together.
  • Cultural Context
    • This joke occurs on first year trips, which close to 95% of every incoming class at Dartmouth College participates in. Trips are used as a way to welcome each new class to Dartmouth and to break down whatever misconceptions they might have. Accordingly, jokes on trips are used often as they offer a great way to subvert expectations and to make everyone have a good time. Typically, the practical joke is played once the members of the trip and the leaders have left Dartmouth’s campus and are together somewhere in the surrounding wilderness of New Hampshire/Vermont. In this way, practical jokes like this one are very common to the Trips setting as they serve to bring everyone closer together through group humiliation/embarrassment.

Item:

During First Year Trips each year, Trip leaders will have a member of the Trips Crew staff participate in their trip for a period of time, especially during hikes or travel oriented trips. Eventually, this individual will break off from the group, and the trip leaders will attempt to scare their tripees by claiming that the individual is now lost in the wilderness. Once it is clear that the tripees are legitimately concerned and that they have bought into the prank, the Crew member typically returns from hiding with food for the embarrassed tripees.

 

Transcript:

  • Jackson: Hey Noah, I understand that you went on trips and I’m conducting an interview regarding pranks that were played on trips. But, before we get started, could you say a little bit about your background, where you’re from, what you’re studying?
  • Noah: Yeah, so I’m Noah Schwed. I’m a 21. I’m from New Jersey. I’m studying Econ and CS, and, as of now, I haven’t declared an official Major yet.
  • Jackson: Cool. So, when you think back on your time on Trips, were there any like especially notable or like memorable pranks that were played on you or on your trip section?
  • Noah: Yeah. So one memorable one was when one of the trip leaders coordinated with one of the kids on Trips [Crew] to pretend that they got lost. When they disappeared from the group, the trip leaders told the rest of the kids on the trip, trying to get everyone to freak out that we’d lost someone.
  • Jackson: Did people like fall for it? Were people pretty into it?
  • Noah: Some, yeah, but it wasn’t the first prank they [our trip leaders] had pulled.
  • Jackson: Alright, great! Thanks.

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):

Audio file

Informant’s Comments:

  • “They [the trip leaders] had some people on my trip pretty scared for a while. Ironically, I think we actually came together as a group during that moment.”

 

Collectors’ Comments:

  • This prank plays off of a scared fear of having lost someone. As Noah mentioned, the group rallied together when they were under the impression that they had lost someone, bringing them all closer together.

 

Collector’s Name: Jackson Baur

Tags/Keywords:

  • Joke. Pranks. Practical Jokes. Trips. Dartmouth.

Deer Droppings

Title: Deer Droppings

General Information about Item:

  • Customary, Practical Joke
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Stanislav “Stas” Van Genderen
  • Date Collected: This data was collected during a one-on-one interview in the library of Dartmouth College with Stas on October 29th, 2018.

Informant Data:

  • Stanislav “Stas” Van Genderen ‘21 is a male student studying Russian Area Studies and Economics at Dartmouth College. He is originally from Cape Coral, Florida. Stas participated in a cabin camping trip before the start of his Freshman year at Dartmouth as part of the First Year Trips DOC program.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context
    • Stas encountered this joke first when he was a tripee during August of 2017 and mentioned that this is a classic prank that occurs every year on the cabin camping section of First Year Trips.
    • This joke is typically played by upperclassmen or students leading trips on their first year tripees. As the objects of the prank, the new freshmen are supposed to be initiated and bonded together as a new class by going through the embarrassment of this prank together.
  • Cultural Context
    • This joke occurs on first year trips, which close to 95% of every incoming class at Dartmouth College participates in. Trips are used as a way to welcome each new class to Dartmouth and to break down whatever misconceptions they might have. Accordingly, jokes on trips are used often as they offer a great way to subvert expectations and to make everyone have a good time. Typically, the practical joke is played once the members of the trip and the leaders have left Dartmouth’s campus and are together somewhere in the surrounding wilderness of New Hampshire/Vermont. In this way, practical jokes like this one are very common to the Trips setting as they serve to bring everyone closer together through group humiliation/embarrassment.

Item:

During the cabin camping section of trips each year, trip leaders plant small pieces of chocolate outside of their cabins in the morning. The trip leaders bring their tripees outside and draw attention to the chocolate, claiming that the pieces are deer droppings left recently. As they speak to all of their tripees and build up the suspense and hype surrounding the droppings, a trip leader eventually takes a piece of the chocolate and eats it in a repulsing manner. This prank is designed to falsely disgust everyone until they too realize that the droppings are chocolate, at which point they often join in eating with their trip leaders.

 

Transcript:

  • Jackson: Hey Stas, so I understand you went on trips when you were a freshman and experienced some pranks. Could you just tell me first a little bit about your background and where you’re from and what you’re studying?
  • Stanislav: Yeah, so my full name is Stanislav Robert Van Genderen. I’m from Cape Coral, Florida, and I’m currently planning on majoring in Russian Area Studies and Economics. So yeah, I had a prank played on me during trips. I woke up, you know, one day walked out of our camping tent, and then my trip leaders were both there. They were like telling us to “hush-hush” because they said that they found some deer poop recently nearby within the past five minutes and that it still means a deer’s still around. Then, they started to start to sniff the deer poop and then proceeded to pick it up and put it in their mouth and start eating it. I fell for this prank. I started to like, you know, say, “Ew! That’s so disgusting!” And then they handed me, you know, a piece of that quote-unquote deer poop and it was just pieces of chocolate. I fell for that pretty hard.
  • Jackson: Good. Thanks!

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):

Audio file

Informant’s Comments:

  • “I couldn’t get enough of that deer poop once I realized what it was. Great prank.”

 

Collectors’ Comments:

  • Stas’ experience with this commonly repeated prank from First Year Trips highlights the use of a fake educational moment and the rapt attention of the tripees as the object of humor. The unravelling of the prank into an instance where everyone on the trip eats chocolate together creates a moment of togetherness and bonding.

 

Collector’s Name: Jackson Baur

Tags/Keywords:

  • Joke. Pranks. Practical Jokes. Trips. Dartmouth.

Emergency Landing

Title: Emergency Landing

General Information about Item:

  • Customary, Practical Joke
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Jack Kurtz
  • This data was collected during a one-on-one interview in the library of Dartmouth College with Jack Kurtz on October 28th, 2018.

Informant Data:

  • Jack Kurtz ‘21 is a male student studying Economics and Quantitative Social Sciences at Dartmouth College. He is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jack participated in a canoeing trip before the start of his Freshman year at Dartmouth as part of the First Year Trips DOC program.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context
    • Jack encountered this joke first when he was a tripee during August of 2017. Jack described that this practical joke is specific to the canoeing section of trips, where students camp out by an airstrip.
    • This joke is typically played by upperclassmen or students leading trips on their first year tripees. As the objects of the prank, the new freshmen are supposed to be initiated and bonded together as a new class by going through the embarrassment of this prank together.
  • Cultural Context
    • This joke occurs on first year trips, which close to 95% of every incoming class at Dartmouth College participates in. Trips are used as a way to welcome each new class to Dartmouth and to break down whatever misconceptions they might have. Accordingly, jokes on trips are used often as they a offer great way to subvert expectations and to make everyone have a good time. Typically, the practical joke is played once the members of the trip and the leaders have left Dartmouth’s campus and are together somewhere in the surrounding wilderness of New Hampshire/Vermont. In this way, practical jokes like this one are very common to the Trips setting as they serve to bring everyone closer together through group humiliation/embarrassment.

Item:

During canoeing sections of trips each year, trips camp one night next to an old, seemingly unusable airstrip. In the middle of the night, their trip leaders and members of Trips Crew come and wake them up, telling them that they need to move their campsite and provide help with a plane that is attempting to make an emergency landing. When all the tripees get involved and begin waving flashlights to signal the impending arrival of the supposed plane, a bus with wings strapped to its sides arrives, much to the chagrin of all of the tripees.

 

Transcript:

  • Jackson: Could you tell me a little bit about your name and background?
  • Jack: Yeah, my name is Jack Kurtz. I’m from Philadelphia. I’m a 21 here at Dartmouth.
  • Jackson: What are you studying?
  • Jack: I’m studying Economics and Quantitative Social Sciences.
  • Jackson: So, I understand you went on first year trips. Where there any really funny pranks or anything that happened that was of note before you came to Dartmouth?
  • Jack: Yeah, so there was one while I was on canoeing. We were camping by this old landing strip that airplanes used to land on in the middle of New Hampshire, actually it was Maine. They [our trip leaders] woke us up in the middle of the night, when a group of the Grant Crew raided our trip. They told us that there was a plane that was coming in that needed to make an emergency landing because of some mechanical failure. They got everyone like woken up because we were all still kind of tired, and so we believed them and we all ran out. We were supposed to line the runway with flashlights so they knew where to land, so we all had headlamps and flashlights and like waving them and then they pulled out of the woods in like a truck that they had put wings on. At that point, I guess it was pretty obvious that it wasn’t a plane, but they still got everyone pretty good.
  • Jackson: Thanks!

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):

Audio file

Informant’s Comments:

  • “We were so tired we just were in a total panic when our leaders woke us up. I thought it was really funny after the fact, though”

 

Collectors’ Comments:

  • As Jack mentioned, the brief experience of fear and the need to work together as a team to accomplish a supposed goal both brought his trip together and served as a really funny way to prank everyone. The fact that this prank was taken as seriously and continues to be performed in such an over-the-top manner really underscores its function to bring trip sections together.

 

Collector’s Name: Jackson Baur

Tags/Keywords:

  • Joke. Pranks. Practical Jokes. Trips. Dartmouth.

The Lone Pine Greeting

Title: The Lone Pine Greeting

General Information about Item:

  • Customary, Practical Joke, Gesture
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Will Bednarz
  • Date Collected: This data was collected on November 4th, 2018 during a one-on-one interview at the Russell Sage dormitory with Will Bednarz.

Informant Data:

  • Will Bednarz ‘20 is a male student studying Government at Dartmouth College. He is originally from Larkspur, California. Will participated in a hiking trip before the start of his Freshman year at Dartmouth as part of the First Year Trips DOC program. Will is of Irish descent and has distant family who attended Dartmouth, but he knew little about Dartmouth before arriving for First Year Trips.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context
    • Will encountered this prank/gesture first when he was a tripee during August of 2016. Will noted that his trip leaders played many pranks on them such as this one, but that this was one of the funniest and most treasured amongst Dartmouth students.
    • This joke is typically played by upperclassmen or students leading trips on their first year tripees. As the objects of the prank, the new freshmen are supposed to be initiated and bonded together as a new class by going through the embarrassment of this prank together.
  • Cultural Context
    • This joke occurs on first year trips, which close to 95% of every incoming class at Dartmouth College participates in. Trips are used as a way to welcome each new class to Dartmouth and to break down whatever misconceptions they might have. Accordingly, jokes on trips are used often as they offer a great way to subvert expectations and to make everyone have a good time. Typically, the practical joke is played once the members of the trip and the leaders have left Dartmouth’s campus and are together somewhere in the surrounding wilderness of New Hampshire/Vermont. In this way, practical jokes like this one are very common to the Trips setting as they serve to bring everyone closer together through group humiliation/embarrassment.

Item:

Trip leaders signal back and forth to each other and between trips by raising two fingers on either hand together and crossing their thumb. They refer to this as “Lone Pine Greeting.” Trip leaders prank their tripees by leading them to believe that this is a common way of greeting individuals on Dartmouth’s campus and encourage them to use the signal throughout the duration of trips. In reality, no one actually does this at Dartmouth, and the signal means nothing. 

Transcript:

  • Jackson: Could you state your name and background please?
  • Will: My name is Will Bednarz. I am a ’20, and I’m studying government here at Dartmouth College.
  • Jackson: Where are you from? Did you know anything about Dartmouth trips before going?
  • Will: I’m from Larkspur, California. I have a couple of older cousins who went here, but I didn’t really know anything else about the school or trips aside from my connection to them.
  • Jackson: Were there any pranks that your trip leaders played on you when you were on trips?
  • Will: Yeah, actually there were a lot. I remember one of the funniest pranks was this weird gesture that they made us all do to each other. Our trip leaders would greet each other by putting their hands in the air with both fingers raised and their thumbs like *this*. They made all of us catch on to it as a friendly way to wave and say hello to each other, and it really caught on. At the end of the trip, when we got back to campus finally, they told us the gesture was totally made up, and I felt really stupid.

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):

Image file

 

Informant’s Comments:

·       “I looked so stupid doing this. I can’t believe I ever thought this was a real thing.”

 

Collectors’ Comments:

·        This gesture based prank seems like a hilarious way to develop something within a small group of people that only they share. Looking back, Will seemed to fondly recall the mutual humiliation of realizing that the sign wasn’t a real thing that people do at Dartmouth.

 

Collector’s Name: Jackson Baur

Tags/Keywords:

  • Joke. Pranks. Practical Jokes. Trips. Dartmouth. Gesture.

The Fake Talent Show Prank

Title: The Fake Talent Show Prank

General Information about Item:

  • Customary, Practical Joke
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Dylan Whang
  • Date Collected: This data was collected on October 29th, 2018 during a one-on-one interview in the library of Dartmouth College with Dylan Whang.

Informant Data:

  • Dylan Whang ‘21 is a male student studying Economics at Dartmouth College. He is originally from New York, New York. Dylan participated in a canoeing trip before the start of his Freshman year at Dartmouth as part of the First Year Trips DOC program. He has an older brother (Derek Whang ‘17), who attended Dartmouth and encouraged him to participate in the Trips program. However, he was not informed in advance of what the experience would be like.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context
    • Dylan encountered this joke first when he was a tripee during August of 2017. Dylan described that this practical joke was one of many played on him and his fellow tripees during their time on trips; however, he feels that this joke was the funniest because it was the best executed and was taken most seriously by his fellow tripees.
    • This joke is typically played by upperclassmen or students leading trips on their first year tripees. As the objects of the prank, the new freshmen are supposed to be initiated and bonded together as a new class by going through the embarrassment of this prank together.
  • Cultural Context
    • This joke occurs on first year trips, which close to 95% of every incoming class at Dartmouth College participates in. Trips are used as a way to welcome each new class to Dartmouth and to break down whatever misconceptions they might have. Accordingly, jokes on trips are used often as they offer a great way to subvert expectations and to make everyone have a good time. Typically, the practical joke is played once the members of the trip and the leaders have left Dartmouth’s campus and are together somewhere in the surrounding wilderness of New Hampshire/Vermont. In this way, practical jokes like this one are very common to the Trips setting as they serve to bring everyone closer together through group humiliation/embarrassment.

Item:

Trip leaders informed their tripees that there would be a talent show on the final night of trips and that there would be a special, unknown reward for whichever trip section performed the best. Trip leaders of Dylan Whang ‘21’s section encouraged their section to come up with something that they could perform together to help win the prize. After his trip leaders had their section perform a song and dance routine several times leading up to when the talent show was supposedly going to take place, he was informed by his trip leaders that it was all a prank. In reality, the talent show was just a practical joke played on all of them to get them to come up with a crazy, embarrassing routine.

Transcript:

  • Jackson: Hey Dylan, I’m just curious if you could just tell me a little bit about your background?
  • Dylan: So, I’m Dylan Whang. I’m a ‘21 from New York City. My brother actually is a 17 and went to this school.
  • Jackson: What are you studying?
  • Dylan: Computer science and quantitative social sciences.
  • Jackson: Cool. So, when you went on trips, did you have like any background or understanding of what it would be like?
  • Dylan: So because my brother told me like it’s a really fun time but didn’t really tell me anything other than that. I think he did like he did kayaking, and I did canoeing so we kind of went to the same spot which is kind of cool.
  • Jackson: Do you remember if there were like any pranks or jokes that were played on you during trips or anything that stuck out in particular?
  • Dylan: Yeah. So like one that actually sticks that sticks out to me is when we were canoeing like towards the end, [our trip leaders] were saying that like when we got back to the Mount Moosilauke or wherever we were going but we would have to perform a talent show. So, our group came up with a song. We did a remix of pop songs to make them have to do with Dartmouth and with Trips. The whole time on our trip we were trying to find songs to do and were practicing them across our boats.
  • Jackson: Why do you think it ended up being so funny?
  • Dylan: It was funny because a couple of our tripees got really into it and were really excited to perform in the talent show. We were actually sadder at the end that there wasn’t a talent show than being upset about practicing and having to come up with a song.

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):

Audio file

Informant’s Comments:

  • “I really enjoyed this prank. I was almost sadder that there was not a real talent show at the end because I had so much fun rehearsing songs with the friends I made on my trip.”

 

Collectors’ Comments:

  • Dylan Whang fondly recalled this prank. When I asked him if he recalled any jokes from trips, this was the first thing that came to mind. Thinking about the nature of the prank as a whole, it serves perfectly as a way to develop friendships and to bond as a group.

 

Collector’s Name: Jackson Baur

Tags/Keywords:

  • Joke. Pranks. Practical Jokes. Trips. Dartmouth.

The Cabot Cheese Taste Test

Title: The Cabot Cheese Taste Test

General Information about Item:

  • Customary, Practical Joke
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Brad Stone
  • Date Collected: This data was collected on October 29th, 2018 during a one-on-one interview in the library of Dartmouth College with Brad Stone.

Informant Data:

  • Brad Stone ‘19 is a male student studying neuroscience at Dartmouth College. He is originally from Tampa, Florida. Brad has lead several trips before as a member of the Dartmouth Outing Club First Year Trips staff.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context
    • Brad encountered this joke first when he was leading a trip during August of 2018. Brad noted that this specific practical joke was not very common on other trips, but that the practice of unknown visitors arriving at random trips and playing practical jokes on the tripees is a widespread part of the First Year Trips experience.
    • This joke is typically played by upperclassmen or students leading trips on their first year tripees. As the objects of the prank, the new freshmen are supposed to be initiated and bonded together as a new class by going through the embarrassment of this prank together.
  • Cultural Context
    • This joke occurs on first year trips, which close to 95% of every incoming class at Dartmouth College participates in. Trips are used as a way to welcome each new class to Dartmouth and to break down whatever misconceptions they might have. Accordingly, jokes on trips are used often as they offer a great way to subvert expectations and to make everyone have a good time. Typically, the practical joke is played once the members of the trip and the leaders have left Dartmouth’s campus and are together somewhere in the surrounding wilderness of New Hampshire/Vermont. In this way, practical jokes like this one are very common to the Trips setting as they serve to bring everyone closer together through group humiliation/embarrassment.

Item:

While a land-based trip is in progress (typically hiking), a random member of the First Year Trips staff unknown to the tripees arrives dressed in a lab coat posing as an employee of the well-known cheese company, Cabot Cheese. The visitor asks tripees and trip leaders if they want to give feedback about some new types of cheese that Cabot is rolling out that are targeted at hikers and other outdoorsy individuals. When the tripees say yes, the visitor gives them several samples of cheese, which are actually all the same cheese and asks them several prodding questions about how the cheeses taste, which is their favorite, etc. Eventually, after the victim of the prank is unable to tell that each cheese is the same and that they are being pranked, the truth is revealed to their embarrassment.

 

Transcript:

  • Jackson: Hey Brad, do you think you could tell me like a little bit about your background and where you’re from?
  • Brad: Yeah. Sure. So my name is Brad Stone. I’m a ‘19 from Tampa, Florida, and I’m a neuroscience major here at Dartmouth College.
  • Jackson: So, when you were coming here to Dartmouth, did you know anything about the school in advance or anything about trips or was that totally new for you?
  • Brad: So, interestingly enough, my dad was an ’87. So I knew a bit about the College. He told me that trips were an awesome experience for him, but he never really went into detail. So I was I knew to expect something positive but was kind of flying blind other than that.
  • Jackson: I know you’ve also led trips before too, so you must now have a lot of exposure. What are what are some funny jokes that you’ve heard before or pranks that you’ve heard being played on trips?
  • Brad: Sure. So this past fall, I was leading a trip had a group of eight ‘21s, and I had a ‘20 as a co-leader. One of the more interesting pranks that was pulled on our trip was a raid done by Vox Crew. So, Vox Crew is sort of the logistical division of some trips. They get make sure you have enough food and water etc. while you’re out on the trails. Any sort of emergency medical that wouldn’t be straight to 9-1-1, they would take care of. So, we met a member of Vox Crew coming down a trail. We just hiked like eight miles, and we were hitting an intersection of the trail around a main road when we met an upperclassman dressed in a lab coat. She approached us and said she was from Cabot Cheese Factory, and they were really interested in polling hikers as that as that was a Target demographic of theirs. So, they led us to a van. Outside the van, they had set up this table with a bunch of different plates of cheese labeled “A,” “B,” and “C.” At a glance, knowing they were Dartmouth students, it was pretty obvious they’d stolen the plates from Foco and had put out the same slices of cheese on each plate, but I decided to play along. And so, we told each of the tripees that they were taking an objective survey quiz asking various questions. The questions kept getting sillier and sillier, until it became obvious to everyone that it was a prank. At that point, we broke out cookies and chatted and had a good time, but it was pretty amusing to see them think it was an actual Cabot employee.

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):

Audio file

Informant’s Comments:

  • “I had never heard of this prank being played except a couple times, so I was really excited when it happened to us while I was leading Trips. Definitely brought my tripees a lot closer together and was just a great time.”

 

Collectors’ Comments:

  • This joke seems to function in-line with the goals of Trips as a whole, where the tripees have no idea what to expect. As the object of the humor, the tripees are pranked and embarrassed together, bringing them closer together and helping to build lasting friendships before their time at Dartmouth truly begins.

 

Collector’s Name: Jackson Baur

Tags/Keywords:

  • Joke. Pranks. Practical Jokes. Trips. Dartmouth.

Canadian Ground Fruit

Title: Canadian Ground Fruit

General Information about Item:

  • Customary, Practical Joke
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: Myself
  • Data Collected: This data was collected on November 1st, 2018 via a recording of Jackson’s experience with how the Canadian Ground Fruit prank is usually performed on trips.

Informant Data:

  • Jackson Baur ‘20 is a male student studying Economics at Dartmouth College, who is originally from Houston, Texas. Jackson is of German descent and had never been to New Hampshire prior to going on First Year Trips at the start of his freshman fall.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context
    • Jackson encountered this joke first as a participant in trips.
    • This joke is typically played by upperclassmen or students leading trips on their trip members (referred to as tripees). As the objects of the prank, the new freshmen are supposed to be initiated and bonded together as a new class by going through the embarrassment of this prank together.
  • Cultural Context
    • This joke occurs on first year trips, which close to 95% of every incoming class at Dartmouth College participates in. Trips are used as a way to welcome each new class to Dartmouth and to break down whatever misconceptions they might have. Accordingly, jokes on trips are used often as they offer a great way to subvert expectations and to make everyone have a good time. Typically, the practical joke is played once the members of the trip and the leaders have left Dartmouth’s campus and are together somewhere in the surrounding wilderness of New Hampshire/Vermont. In this way, practical jokes like this one are very common to the Trips setting as they serve to bring everyone closer together through group humiliation/embarrassment.

Item:

To perform this practical joke, First Year Trip’s leaders from each trip will wait until their trips leave campus.  Once they are in the wilderness together, one leader runs ahead and buries a pineapple that they brought along with them in the ground up to the tip of its pointy leaves/stem. Upon returning to their tripees, the trip leader will suggest that the trip goes on a walk or continues in the direction of the partially buried pineapple. When they approach, the trip leaders make note of the odd looking, half buried fruit and highlight for their tripees that they have come across a rare feature of Northeastern plant life called the Canadian Ground Fruit. Excited tripees inevitably gather around and are encouraged by their trip leaders to dig up the Canadian Ground Fruit and even taste it, reassuring them repeatedly that, although it may look like and even taste like a pineapple, it is not a pineapple.

 

Transcript:

  • Jackson: I’m Jackson Baur. I’m a ‘20 here at Dartmouth from Houston, Texas, and I’m studying Economics. Prior to coming to Dartmouth, I had no experience with Dartmouth. I’d never even been in New Hampshire. So, First Year Trips were really my first introduction to the school. On first year trips, one of the most prominent, seems like one of the most archetypal, pranks that was played on us was this one referring to something the trip leaders called the Canadian Ground Fruit. This happened when I was on a hiking trip, and, once we were out in the wilderness, my trip leaders ran away from the group or one of them did and buried a pineapple on the ground up to its stem. When we came across this later, they pointed it out, drew a bunch of attention to it, and said it was something that only grew in the Northeast, a rare plant called the Canadian Ground Fruit. They encouraged us to dig it up, at which point we all noticed that it looked like a pineapple, but they really were insistent that it wasn’t a pineapple, that it was this thing called a Canadian Ground Fruit. And so, when we pulled it out, they encouraged us to even like, you know, cut it open and even take a bite out of it. They said it was edible, at which point, we realized that we were the butt end of a prank, that this was, in fact, a pineapple, and they had just fooled all of us naïve, will-be freshman into thinking that a pineapple was something that is just totally nonexistent, a totally made-up thing.

Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):

Audio file

Informant’s / Collectors’ Comments:

  • As one of the most fondly remembered practical jokes of Dartmouth Trips, this practical joke is also one of the most widely repeated and referenced after many students are done with their trips.

 

Collector’s Name: Jackson Baur

Tags/Keywords:

  • Joke. Pranks. Practical Jokes. Trips. Dartmouth.