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The Perennial Function

By Bryce E. Nelson

It would be perhaps going too far to say that Dartmouth is little more than its Winter Carnival, but the perennial February function is indeed the best-known feature of this monastic college. Although the purpose of the Carnival may have degenerated from the intention expressed at the Carnival's inception in 1911--to have "good, wholesome, outdoor fun," into a device to give Dartmouth sufficient appeal to attract women there, it does serve this purpose, as well as that of being the major unifying activity of the college.

Due to the average modern academic Easterner's ultra-romanticization of the "Back to the Woods" movement, Dartmouth does not have to exaggerate the Carnival's attractiveness too greatly. It is claimed to be the "Mardi Gras of the North" and "A truly college, all college week-end--the biggest, coldest, and certainly the best-known in the world." It is certainly not the best college weekend in the country, that of the University of Colorado, for instance, being much better, but it does attract better looking women than the average Cambridge weekend.

Many of these women, however, reportedly left dissatisfied with the Carnival. Although their initial reaction might plausibly be as described by the information distributed to all Carnival dates--"You catch your breath and whip out a scrap of your most personal stationary and dash off the antithesis of a shaftogram; you say, "I'LL BE THERE!" --most of the female guests do not find the Carnival as Dartmouth imagines it.

Much of the answer to the dissatisfaction lies in the over-eager attitude the Dartmouth undergraduate has towards this event. The frustration inherent in the long journey to Smith or Vassar every weekend where the conditions are not exactly ideal is understandable, as is his hope for satisfaction during the course of the Carnival. But universal success can hardly be hoped for considering the sort of personality required to put out this sort of briefing for the Carnival date. "Sleep. Do it all before you arrive 'cause those strong, starved outdoorsmen as well as tweedy, pudgy pals have so much on your agenda, and so much stamina to back it up with that sleeping is practically forbidden, almost taboo, and don't suggest it to your date under any conditions ... Dartmouth Men are proud, husky men who like a lot of fun. Remember that."

Although much of the dissatisfaction can be attributed to this frantic need to prove virility, this year's carnival was hampered by natural conditions. It was very, very cold at the outdoor events, and there was no snow for the scenery, sculpturing, or skiing until Saturday afternoon.

The people working on the Carnival do, however, accomplish a great deal on their $10,000 budget and show, in this highly organized commercial effort, that Dartmouth has come a long way since its founding as an Indian Charity School, and that, in the words of its most famous alumnus, Daniel Webster, "It is, gentlemen, a small college, but there are those who love it."Ski-jumping, the last outdoor event of the Carnival, was held last Saturday at the Vale of Tempe, Hanover, N.H. It began to snow that afternoon, which along with the cold, the late start, and the long duration, made it a pleasant afternoon for all.

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