Tag Archives: freshman

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

Harassing The Freshman At The Bonfire

Title: Harassing The Freshman At The Bonfire

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Folklore, Tradition
  • English
  • USA

Informant Data:

  • The informant was a male Sophomore at Dartmouth who has experienced the bonfire two times.  He has experienced it both as a freshman and as an upperclassman, which are two vastly different experiences.

Contextual Data:

  • As already collected, there is an annual ritual at Dartmouth for freshmen to run laps around the homecoming fire.  This practice is encouraged and is widely participated in.  The upperclassmen, though, also have a role in this ritual.  Most upperclassmen, at least during their sophomore year, revel for this opportunity to be on the other side of this ritual.  Enthusiasm seems to die out as the students grow older.

Item:

  • “During the ritual of the freshmen running around the fire, the upperclassmen gather around the barriers and attempt to confuse and harass the freshmen.  They try to confuse them by yelling things such as “Touch the fire!” or “You’re running in the wrong direction!”.  Some upperclassmen even participate in the running while harassing the freshman.  Apparently, back in the day, the harassing was much worse.  It has become tamer and laid back since then.”

Informant’s Comments:

  • The informant said that he really enjoyed the tradition of running around the fire as a Freshman and was looking forward to being on the other side of it.  Surprisingly, though, he said it wasn’t really as fun as he anticipated and actually left before the end of the running.

Collector’s Comments:

  • I agree with the informant’s opinion.  The fire is a much bigger deal and much more fun as a Freshman.  I think it gets less interesting as you get older at Dartmouth, but I think the tradition remains because upperclassmen feel some sort of obligation to attend.

Collector’s Name: Devan Birch

Tags/Keywords:

  • Customary Folklore, tradition, homecoming, freshman

Touching The Homecoming Fire

Title: Touching The Homecoming Fire

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Folklore, Tradition
  • English
  • USA

Informant Data:

  • The informant was an anonymous male Dartmouth Junior who has actually participated in this ritual. Age: 20.  He is one of the very few people on campus that participated in the ritual during their freshman year.

Contextual Data:

  • As already collected, there is an annual ritual at Dartmouth for freshmen to run laps around the homecoming fire.  This practice is encouraged and is widely participated in.  This ritual, though, is rare and does not happen often.  Maybe 1 or 2 freshmen a year participate in it.  It is not necessarily encouraged, but more so accepted.  It is encouraged somewhat throughout the freshman class alone in an attempt to have a member participate in it.  But, the administration and security take steps to attempt to discourage this ritual greatly.

Item:

  • “Every year before the homecoming fire, upperclassmen constantly tell the freshmen to touch the fire.  They claim that somebody has done it every year.  They attempt to scare the freshmen by telling them that they will be the ‘worst class ever’ if nobody does it.  Obviously, nobody wants to be the worst class ever.  So it ends up happening every year as 1 or 2 people end up taking it into their own hands to touch the fire.  Touching the fire usually ends up in some sort of arrest or punishment, since you have to dodge SNS and Hanover Police officers to even get close to the fire.  But it’s always worth it because you can always say that you’re the one that touched the fire.”

Informant’s Comments:

  • The informant was actually arrested for doing this.  He says he does not regret participating in this ritual.  In fact, he was proud of it.

Collector’s Comments:

  • I found it interesting that people actually get arrested for this.  It seems also that they know that is a possibility going into it.  For a tradition with such harsh punishment, it is surprising that it has lived on.

Collector’s Name: Devan Birch

Tags/Keywords:

  • Customary Folklore, tradition, homecoming, freshman

Running Laps Around the Homecoming Fire

Title: Running Laps Around the Homecoming Fire

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Folklore, Tradition
  • English
  • USA

Informant Data:

  • Anonymous Male Dartmouth student in the Class of 2020.  Age: 19.  He is a part of the grade that just participated in this ritual within the past month.

Contextual Data:

  • Annual ritual at Homecoming that all Dartmouth Freshmen are encouraged to participate in.  The origins of this ritual are uncertain.  An experience that is almost a rite of passage for a Dartmouth student.  This is sort of seen as the last transition into becoming a full member of the Dartmouth community.  The ritual takes place at the location of the Bonfire, which is a Dartmouth tradition to build every year on the Green, which is the large open field in the center of town.

Item:

  • “Every year at the Homecoming fire, there is a circular section cordoned off for Dartmouth freshmen to run laps around the fire.  Tradition says that students are supposed to run 100 laps plus whatever their class year is.  For example, the class of 2020 should theoretically run 120 laps.  Overtime, this tradition has evolved into running as many laps as your class year.  So instead of 120, the class of 2020 would run only 20 laps.  Upperclassmen and Alumni are congregated around the fire outside of the cordoned off area while yelling and cheering the freshmen on.  This tradition is open to anyone, but it is primarily practiced by only freshmen.”

Informant’s Comments:

  • He was interested in knowing the origins and evolutions of the tradition.  He felt that it was interesting that the history of the tradition is never really explained to the Freshmen, they are just expected to participate in the tradition because every one else does.

Collector’s Comments:

  • Informant brought up a very intriguing point regarding the unknown history surrounding this tradition.  As a Dartmouth Senior, I couldn’t even lead him in a direction to find out that history.  It’s interesting that for such a common, well known, and heavily participated in tradition that no one really knows the origins behind it.

Collector’s Name: Devan Birch

Tags/Keywords:

  • Customary Folklore, Tradition, Freshmen, Homecoming

Freshman of the Week

Title: Freshman of the Week

Informant Info: Mene Ukueberuwa is an Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of The Dartmouth Review. He is a ’16 (formerly ’14) from Princeton, NJ. He was interviewed on May 12, 2016 at the Collis Center in Hanover, NH.

Type of Lore: Customary, Tradition

Language: English

Country of Origin: United States

Social / Cultural Context:  The freshmen tend to be the new members of the organization. This small tradition serves the purpose of recognizing their efforts and contributions as well as bringing the entire organization closer together on a weekly basis.

Transcript:

So, one of the smaller and probably newer traditions we have is called the Freshman of the Week, and of course that is one of the more frequent ones that plays out on a weekly basis. Basically, when any freshman has either distinguished himself in a good way, by contributing something very positive to the paper, like helping out with layout or has distinguished himself in a negative way, which could take a variety of forms that I won’t go into, we single them out either for corresponding praise or maybe make them do a task or something small to embarrass himself in front of the staff. So basically, it is just a way of highlighting our freshman and you know, kind of putting them under the spotlight a little bit … Nothing shareworthy strikes me at the moment, to be honest. But it’s always good fun. It’s nothing too bad.

Honoring the freshman of the week

Honoring the freshman of the week

Collector’s Comments: Details about the particulars of the tradition were not forthcoming in the interview. As with the other main Review traditions of Changeover and the Gala, outsiders are not privy to the exact details of these regular occurrences. Nevertheless, we were able to confirm the existence of the tradition and its general purpose within the organization.