The Hanover Community Kitchen
One of my favorite activities on campus is the Hanover Community Kitchen (HCK). In short, HCK is a club through which student groups volunteer to cook meals for low-income and elderly residents in the Upper Valley. I became involved during my sophomore summer after I volunteered with my Greek house. I volunteered regularly since then, and eventually became Co-President my senior year.
How It Works
Shortly before the start of each academic term, the Co-Presidents reach out to the presidents of student organizations to schedule volunteers. Meals are served once a week on Friday nights, so there are a total of ten slots available per term. Generally, most volunteers are Greek houses and sports teams, but we have had groups from all corners of campus — everyone is welcome! Once a group signs up, they are responsible for providing groceries and volunteers to cook on their assigned date. The event lasts two hours. For the first hour, the volunteers prepare the meals; and for the second, everyone chats and eats together before clean-up.
Volunteers can cook anything they like! In the past, groups have cooked meals like pasta, fried rice, curry, and burgers. There is usually a salad and a side to go with the meal (and, if the volunteers feel inspired, dessert!).
One of the reasons I attend HCK is because it is an incredibly satisfying experience that lets me interact with the local community. As many students might tell you, Dartmouth is a "bubble" — terms are busy and our campus is rural, so it can be difficult to participate in activities outside of campus while classes are in session. For many of our volunteers, HCK is their only opportunity to meet locals and engage with the Upper Valley community. It's a nice change of pace and a great way to take a break from on-campus activities. And, it's a free dinner!