Once upon a time many years ago, the good towns people of Hanover decided to impose a residence tax on the Dartmouth men who lived there nine months each year. The Dartmouth men responded by turning out en masse to a town meeting, waving signs of "Taxation Without Representation." Overwhelmingly, they voted that the town erect an eighteen-story city hall, one-foot square.
While the retaliation was unusual, the heralded Dartmouth unity was not. Needless to say, the combined effort succeeded, and neither a tax nor a city hall resulted. Now, at a time far removed from the legendary past, that Dartmouth spirit is beginning to diminish. No longer are the Men of the Green content to find their entertainment in fraternities or outing clubs.
Since the penertration of Henry Ford to even the wilds of New Hampshire, the Dartmouth man is no longer snow-bound. He is mobile, restless--eager to exchange the fraternal camaraderie of Hanover for the more appealing relationships of Smith or Mt. Holyoke. He is indeed, tragically eager at times: in the last year, six Dartmouth men have been killed in auto accidents on their way to or from girls' colleges.
Increased mobility, then, presents a somber problem to the Dartmouth officials. When a student was killed last spring, his demolished car was displayed on the college green. This was followed only by another fatal accident. So, despite mumblings from the student body, increasingly stringent auto regulations are being imposed on the 30 percent of the students who drive.
The Bowlers and the Chubbers
The difficulty of preserving the famed Dartmouth esprit d' corps is perhaps less immediately serious, but more difficult to resolve. Dartmouth officials hope that by making the school itself more appealing, they can keep students in Hanover--safely. To this end, President John Sloan Dickey began a $5,000,000 fund drive in 1946, which included among its objects the building of an elaborate student union. This would have featured bowling alleys, game rooms, and lounges; but the primary objection from a student view-point was succinctly expressed by a cynical undergraduate who asked; "It won't have any girls, will it?"
The cynicism, if not the reasoning, was evidently adopted by the alumni from whom funds were being solicited; they responded with less than 30 per cent of the goal before the plan was tabled, and the emphasis turned to scholarships. But the student union is still a goal of some Dartmouth administrators, who feel it should be a capstone to the general success of other Dartmouth activities.
The most popular of these is perhaps the most exaggerated one, for the "chubber" is almost a Dartmouth stereotype. No one seems to know the origin of the word "chubber". Evidently it originated in the '30s, but no one is yet sure whether it was intended as a derogatory, cynical, or laudatory term. One thing is certain: it refers to the Dartmouth outdoorsman. And that being the case chubber refers to almost 800 Dartmouth men, members of a vast organization known as the Dartmouth Outing club.
Including townspeople, the group numbers over 1100, obviously too large to fulfill the promise of "The Hanover Winter song":
"For here by the fire we defy frost and storm.
And the cup is at the lip is the pledge of fellowship.
Religion on Fraternity Row
So the chubbers, first organized as the DOC in 1909, have split into various sub-groups. The three major subsidiaries are Winter Sports, which sponsors the College ski team, Cabin and trail, which maintains a chain of mountain hostels, and a Carnival division. In addition, there are the Ledyard Canoe club, the Ski Patrol, the Mountaineering club, and Bait and Bullet.
The single division which has, perhaps the most significant influence on the college as a whole is the Carnival group. It is responsible for planning and administering the school's fabled Winter Carnival, held annually in the first week of February, after winter finals. While the fraternity revelry and other unrehearsed entertainments are not problems for the Division, the 35-foot snow statue in the "center-of-campus", events like Outdoor Evening, and the coronation of the Carnival Queen pose definite planning difficulties. Winter Carnival, however, is more than the Dartmouth equivalent of the Harvard-Yale weekend, says the DOC. "It means the realization that now you are a part of the production which is Dartmouth as it really is."
Be that as it may, the College administration encourages more in the way of activities than slalom-skiing and salmon fishing. President Dickey believes that "it is not the business of the college to intrude on the established religious beliefs of any person but it is the duty of the College to the moral and spiritual ingredients of a good life."