By Kristin Kirlew Bent Unigo Campus Rep at Dartmouth Sports at Dartmouth are a crucial past time; in fact it might even be considered a lifestyle. Many students on campus are passionate about sports, often spending all four years at Dartmouth as student-athlete. Not only is it just a form of exercise on campus, but it is also part of the Dartmouth experience. From the beginning of freshman year onwards, Dartmouth students are encouraged to participate in sports and athletics. Each first year student has the opportunity to attend a Dartmouth Outing Club trip (more commonly DOC trip) in which they spend two days camping with other students up on Mount Moosilauke and a final day at the Dartmouth Lodge. 90% of incoming students sign up for this trip and it remains one of the school’s long standing and favored traditions. However the emphasis on outdoor activities extends beyond the annual DOC trips; since Dartmouth is in such a rural area many people use the outing club to take advantage of the natural recreation such as the Connecticut River (for swimming and crew) and Mount Moosilauke (for hiking and skiing). In fact students are not the only ones who take advantage of the school’s “natural resources”. There is an emphasis from the school programming board to make use of the school’s surroundings. For example the lake on campus, Occmon Pond, is used as a skate rink in the winter to raise money for programs. Furthermore, all students have to fulfill a physical education requirement which introduces them to different types of sports or activities. Forcing students into trying different activities helps them to discover more about themselves and molds them into well-rounded individuals, which is a major goal of the school. Several of Dartmouth’s oldest traditions also revolve around sports and are kept alive by students and faculty alike. For instance, the annual Dartmouth-Princeton hockey game has a ritual in which Dartmouth students throw tennis balls on the ice; immediately following the homecoming football game the freshmen class is encouraged to rush the field. Sports also serves as a getaway for students that need a brief break from the academically intense environment. As one junior, who is currently an active participant in intramural sports, remarked, “Sports are a way for students to escape the Dartmouth bubble. I mean Dartmouth is great and everything but there isn’t much to do outside of campus unless you have a car. Sports give us something to do.” In the words of senior Julia Tse, “Dartmouth is a very sporty school. Many people are recruited for athletic teams and many other students are involved in club sports like ultimate frisbee and intramural sports.” It’s hard to avoid sports at Dartmouth because sports are an integral part of the college’s culture. Tse remarked, “There are always sports games. I believe that more students watch the games out of school spirit than for the actual game.” Everyone gives support to the teams on campus, and even the alumni still support the Dartmouth spirit by funding several of the more popular teams. Sports strengthen school spirit at Dartmouth and make everyone feel connected to something larger.