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Photo of an Andrew Yang tour

One of my favorite things to do as a Dartmouth student is going to all the various talks, lecture series, and events that the school holds throughout the year.

This wasn't something that I had anticipated coming in. In my "Why Dartmouth" essay, I had talked about everything from amazing professors and an engaged student body, to being able to live in the Upper Valley and learn with a liberal arts focus as reasons for why I wanted to attend the College. Things like lecture series or department-sponsored speakers outside of class weren't necessarily things that were on my radar. But now, I would definitely add "speakers" to my essay!

During my time at Dartmouth, I've had the opportunity to attend many events in different disciplines both in-person before COVID and on Zoom since March of 2020. There are three major categories of speakers that I will highlight below so that you can get a glimpse of what there is for you to partake in.

1. School or department-sponsored events.

These are lecture series that are sponsored by the school, and you will often hear of them through the daily newsletter that goes out to all students or see flyers advertising them around campus. Some of the talks that I've been to have been sponsored by the Dickey Center for International Understanding, Rockefeller Center for Public Policy (often referred to as "Rocky" by students), the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact (the DCSI), the Center for Professional Development (the CPD), the department for Race and Migration studies (RMS) the biology, math, or anthropology department, and the Geisel School of Medicine.

Calendar of events held by Rockefeller Center of Public Policy
This is a screenshot of a calendar of events pulled from Rocky's website. As a prospective public policy minor, I love going to these talks and think that these are amazing opportunities to hear from a wide range of speakers on many different topics. If you aren't interested in public policy, don't fret! Simply go to the department website and click on "Events", which should bring up a list of upcoming talks if they aren't already highlighted on the home page.

Most lectures focus on a specific topic either relevant to current events or the speaker's research / career and last one hour long. Additionally, some speakers may also be alumni of the school, and it is always fun to ask them questions about how the school has changed since they were students or ask for some advice. I recently attended a DCSI event where Rev. Leah Daughtry ('84) came in to talk about her career, insights, and experiences and I left totally inspired and invigorated!

2. Student organization sponsored events.

Many student organizations also invite speakers with their COSO funds. Sometimes, they are faculty members. Other times, they are alumni or people connected to organizations that students have worked for during internships. And still other times, they may be completely new or unrelated to the club. This type of talk is often more intimate (think around 30 students at most during attendance) and gives you an amazing opportunity to ask more questions and hear more personal stories.

For example, I am an executive member of the Nathan Smith Society. We host talks called "Dinner with a Doc" throughout the term and invite doctors at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) to come in and talk about their life to students over food (usually Thai!) during pre-COVID times. I actually started becoming more interested in certain types of work and research through these talks!

Many times, you will hear about events through listservs or already being a member of the club yourself, so you will find talks that really interest you. Student clubs like the Political Economy Project, Dartmouth Apologia, Dartmouth Democrats / Republicans, Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering, and GlobeMed invite speakers quite often and give students a great chance to talk about their interests in a broader setting with perspectives from beyond Dartmouth. Even if you are not part of the club, meetings are often open to campus and anyone can come. And once you are part of a club, you can have the opportunity to plan talks and decide who comes in to speak to your group.

3. Other.

Some talks that happen at Dartmouth are completely unrelated to the school. One prime example of this is political talks! During presidential elections especially, many candidates come to Hanover because of New Hampshire's status as the first state to hold their primaries and set the tone for the rest of the election. During the 2020 election cycle, Hanover saw basically every single candidate, many times more than once. Many students were in attendance at these talks and there is a huge surge in political interest during these times so it feels like campus is brimming with activity. I actually attended an event held by Andrew Yang with some friends my freshman winter on a whim! It was my first time going to a political rally and I had a lot of fun and met some really interesting people.

A histogram showing a list of 2020 presidential election candidates and their number of visits to NH
Here is a screenshot of a graph I pulled from nhpr.org, which is a "2020 N.H. primary candidate tracker" and is essentially a histogram showing each Democratic primary candidate during the 2020 presidential election and how many times they visited New Hampshire. Look at all those long bars!

Those are the three categories of speakers that you can see as a Dartmouth student. I love attending talks because I can learn about new things, get outside of the "Dartmouth bubble," and develop my interests in topics such as medicine, policy, religion, anthropology / sociology, and social impact. Oftentimes I even leave space in my week just in case an interesting talk comes up! I highly encourage people to take the time to attend these and learn something new—with everything online now, many talks sponsored by the College are open to the public and you can login from home. If you're interested, you can see talks from category one (school-sponsored events) at this link.

So, what speaker are you going to hear from next?

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