“For ’24s, by ’24s: “Spotlight on the Sophomore travel planning process
Sophomore travel directors hope to build class unity and fill the void left by their class’ lack of first-year travel.
Every year since 1999, some sophomores have embarked on freshman adventures to kick off their second summer. These sophomore trips – called STRIPS – have been an annual tradition for decades and have always aimed to strengthen class bonds. However, since the Class of 2024 lack their opportunity to attend freshman trips as new students, the stakes this year seem particularly high.
A STRIPS student director, Nicolas Macri ’24, pointed out that because the class of 2024 didn’t take freshman trips, they also lost a major shared experience for Dartmouth students.
“Freshman trips give you a sense of belonging within the College as well as memories, confidence with the resources Dartmouth offers, and bring your class together as a whole,” Macri said. The 24-year-old completely ignores freshman travel traditions such as songs, which just makes us feel more isolated overall.
To compensate for this, STRIPS directors attempt to plan trips that mimic the freshman travel experience as much as possible. For starters, that means offering a wide range of trips — from cabin camping to backpacking to kayaking — that students can choose from, according to Evelyn Hatem ’24. Hatem, another director of STRIPS, stressed that she hopes STRIPS will appeal to all second-year students.
“We want to consider everyone’s interests,” Hatem said.
STRIPS directors are currently working on a number of projects within the program, such as risk management, equipment, awareness, food and inclusivity.
Samantha Palermo ’24, who will be a leader for STRIPS, was also a freshman travel leader last fall. She saw how crucial the Trips experience was to bonding within a class, and she expressed that she wanted to bring that experience back to life for the class of 2024.
“[Trips] was such a bonding experience. I saw with my own eyes how impactful it was and I really want to give that to the 24-year-old,” Palermo said.
In their planning, Macri said the STRIPS leadership was trying to promote inclusivity within the program.
“Given the different socio-economic backgrounds, some people may not feel completely comfortable with the outdoors and we want to encourage everyone to participate. This program is not just for people with outdoor experience. I myself am not involved in the [Dartmouth Outing Club]but I was able to be very involved in Trips, which is so much fun,” Macri said.
Mack Duthu ’24 said she wasn’t sure she could attend STRIPS as she wanted to spend time with her family during the break. However, she was seduced by the opportunity to be closer to the rest of her class.
“Most of my close friends on campus aren’t actually under 24 and I don’t know a lot of people in my class, which is one of the reasons I’m so looking forward to it” , she said.
Joe Earles ’23 took a year off during the pandemic and is now part of the class of 2024. He had a normal freshman travel experience and loved it, so wants to replicate the experience he has had for 24 years by being a leader of STRIPS, as well as getting to know the 24+.
“STRIPS is different from first-year trips because many people have formed friend groups because they’re halfway through their college experience. In that sense, I’m excited to see the bonds people form. with each other because whoever wants to go there is clearly passionate about making new friends,” Earles said.
Along with Earles and Palermo, Duthu expressed his appreciation for the work done by the STRIPS management. She’s expressed interest in a variety of STRIPS ranging from surfing and birdwatching to intermediate hiking and cabin camping, and she has high hopes — and confidence — for the program.
“I started doing a lot more outdoor stuff this term thanks to [People of Color Outdoors]. I’m excited to go on STRIPS because I really trust the management and the leaders. They are all super capable and amazing people,” Duthu said.
All three principals said they are grateful to the College for the support they have received – they are advised by a staff advisor from the Office of Outdoor Programs and work in conjunction with the freshman travel office.
“The 24 had a difficult start and a unique transition to Dartmouth. We came into sophomore year feeling like freshmen and we really want to give them a great experience that makes them feel like they matter as much as everyone else on this campus,” Macri said.
Palermo said she had a great experience leading a freshman trip last year and was excited to lead a STRIPS group this summer – embracing the idea of class bonds and of reciprocity.
“[Leading a First-Year Trip] was such a bonding experience. I saw firsthand how impactful it was and I really want to give that to 24 years,” Palermo said.
As Hatem said, STRIPS is “a program for 24-by-24s,” and with a tenure full of sunshine and class ties on the horizon, its leaders and participants have high hopes.