First-year trips will resume the overnight component for the first time since 2019

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The class of 2026 will participate in a more traditional freshman travel experience than in previous years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

by Kristin Chapman | 07/22/22 05:10

From Sept. 1-7, the class of 2026 will embark on freshman trips, which will include an overnight portion for the first time since 2019, according to freshman travel director Jack Kreisler ’22. Kreisler said the decision was made due to improving public health conditions and a belief that the overnight component of trips provides incoming students with the opportunity to bond with their class.

“I think time at night is really valuable for making friends, forming groups and feeling like you belong and [like] you have a group of people, so that was a priority for us,” Kreisler said. “At least for now, the current public health situation tells us it’s a good choice to make, and so we’re happy to make it.”

This decision follows two years without an overnight component for first-year trips. The program was not run for the Class of 2024 in 2020 due to the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. A modified version of the program ran for the class of 2025 in 2021 without the overnight portion of the trips so students could stay in Hannover in case they tested positive for COVID-19.

Kreisler explained that there are a few new logistical updates for Trips this year. The travel schedule has been reconfigured so that students no longer arrive on campus on staggered dates, as they did before the pandemic iterations. On August 31, the majority of the Class of 2026 – with the exception of incoming students participating in the Freshman Enrichment Program or other pre-orientation programs – will arrive at the Dartmouth campus and “ will run through” their freshman travels and their new student. Orientation experiences in four different sections, Kreisler said. Students opting out of trips will arrive on September 4.

Additionally, students will spend their last night of trips at Moosilauke Ravine Lodge or Skiway Lodge. In 2021, Tripees had programs at Moosilauke or the Ski Lodge – although they did not stay overnight – whereas before the pandemic the culminating celebration was usually held at one of the lodges.

Kreisler said incoming students have the option to choose from 30 different trips this year. He added that although the trips are optional, the vast majority of the Class of 2026 signed up.

“Every incoming student is invited — we’re going to have about 90 percent of the incoming class participate this year, which is consistent with the latest attendance rates from previous years,” Kreisler said.

Kreisler said this year there are about 400 student volunteers who will help organize Trips. According to First-Year Trips Associate Director Brandon Zhou ’22, these student volunteers include Trip Leaders, Croolings – volunteers who support and help with the logistics of trips – and the 19 members of the Travel Directorate, which include positions such as Croo Captains and Companion Trainers.

Colleen Moore ’25, who will be leading a cabin camping and cooking trip, explained that training for trip leaders requires chefs to attend three Outdoor Programs Office seminars – focused on mental health, dynamics management and risk management – ​​as well as two longer training sessions with Trips Management Members.

“I was surprised by how rigorous the training program was, but I think it’s all worth it,” she said.

Moore added that she felt inspired to become a travel chef because she “loves” her own travel chefs.

“I admired my travel leaders [and] asked them for advice all through my freshman year, and I really want to be able to give that to 26 years,” Moore said.

Matt Koff ’25 is a Crooling for Hanover Croo, who greets students outside Robinson Hall when they arrive on campus and distributes food and travel gear. Koff said he was interested in becoming a Crooling because it seemed like a fun way to welcome the class of 2026.

“Thinking about Croo in particular, a lot of people I know have had an experience where there’s a person on Croo that they remember very well – whether it’s dancing, being loud or just being their speak – and I would like to be that person for as many people as possible,” Koff said.

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