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a photo of a concert happening on the lawn outside a residential building at Dartmouth

In the past month, I've been conducting interviews for Dartmouth's Regular Decision applicants and during one of these interviews, I talked about how every aspect of Dartmouth residential life fosters and enables such a close-knit community. In talking about this, I realised how unique this aspect of Dartmouth is and decided to make a blog post about it.

For most Dartmouth students, your first-year residential community, building and floor form your first community and group of friends at Dartmouth. As someone who went to a single secondary school for six years and was nervous about almost relearning how to make friends, this was very helpful for me. I had an instant group of people who I would have weekly meetings with, community dinners and would run into in common rooms and hallways. On my first birthday at Dartmouth in October 2021, only a few weeks into the Dartmouth term, my floormates organised a spontaneous group dinner where we ordered food from a local Hanover restaurant and watched a movie. It was such a heartwarming surprise!

A group of floormates in the same first-year residential building posing for a picture

After their first-year, Dartmouth students get the opportunity to room in groups with other people in their housing communities, who they've often gotten the opportunity to form friendships with. In my opinion, these roommate groups add a lot of fun to people's Dartmouth experiences because they get to live with some of their best friends! Similarly, some Dartmouth students opt to live in off-campus houses and apartments with some of their friends. Although these spaces are not directly tied to Dartmouth, they still provide an opportunity for Dartmouth students to hang out, host events and build friendships. Some of my friends who live in off-campus apartments and houses host dinners, movie nights, game nights and themed parties.

a view of Main Street, Hanover, where some off-campus houses are located

Aside from these, living learning communities are another way that students build community through residential life. Living Learning Communities (LLCs) are a system through which students with shared interests can live together and engage in activities related to these interests. In my first-year fall, I was a part of the French LLC; we would have weekly dinners where we would watch French movies, practise our language skills and discuss French news. Other LLCs include the Native American House, Sustainable Living Center and many others.

Lastly, Greek organizations also allow members to live in their houses. This term, I'm living in my sorority house, and it has been such a fun experience so far! Living in a Greek house is always a great opportunity to live with people you already have existing relationships with while deepening your relationships with members that you may not know so well. It's always so fun to run into other members in various rooms in the house. The physical structure of the house also adds a very homey vibe to the living experience as houses often have living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens and TV rooms.

a photo of the exterior of a Greek house at Dartmouth

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