The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Strengthening the Dartmouth Outing Club

Alex Lochoff '17 climbing a wall during a conference at the University of Minnesota. 

Alex Lochoff '17 participates in a group workshop on inclusivity for outdoor programs. 

Alex Lochoff '17 attends a workshop on outreach strategies for outing groups. 

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I had two major takeaways from this conference. First was a deeper appreciation for the resources, excitement, and student engagement that the Dartmouth Outing Club has. The second takeaway was key ideas on how the DOC can take tangible steps forwards to engaging more cultures on campus in the outdoors.

The first takeaway came over the course of the conference. I attended a total of 12 or so workshops. During these, I slowly came to appreciate how privileged the DOC is. Having administrative support, and student enthusiasm, as well as the long and rich history of the DOC has allowed us to excel past most other programs in terms of our abilities to organizing and implement orientation programs for freshman, introduce novice’s to the outdoors, and create campus buy-in to the values of an outdoor experience. This newfound perspective helped me reflect more on the relationship that the DOC has with Dartmouth. I think often students crave more; More resources for trips, more facilities and gear, but don’t stop and appreciate what we already have.

The other takeaway from this conference was how the DOC can do better to outreach to those from other cultures and backgrounds, that are historically under-represented in the outdoors community. Perhaps the most impactful session was a workshop about allyship. This was presented by the diversity and inclusion department from the University of Minnesota, and was a powerful combination of poignant videos and active group discussion. I think I left this workshop with a greater knowledge of what it means to be an ally to someone, and how and why it is so important to pass on this message to other people. Over the course of the conference, I attended many other sessions that helped me craft ideas for building a more deliberate and personal outreach strategy for DOC students to take towards incoming students, as well as ideas for trying to inspire those who have never considered the outdoors something they are interested in to give it a shot.

Overall this conference was a wonderful chance to connect with, learn from, and share with a large swath of the outdoor industry. I think that it will perhaps pave a path for future DOC leaders to attend this conference and attempt to present our own workshops, so that we can pass on the knowledge from the DOC to outdoor organizations around the country. 

- Submitted by Alex Lochoff '17, Rockefeller Mini-Grant Recipient 

The Rockefeller Center's Mini-Grants program funds registration fees for students attending conferences, as well as the costs of bringing guest speakers to Dartmouth. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the Rockefeller Center or constitute an endorsement by the Center.

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