Eating Lunch Is Too Stressful For Dartmouth Students

Perhaps worried about being the Ivy League school that had to increase their acceptance rate this year, some Dartmouth students are trying to make their school a nicer, more inviting place. The Dartmouth reports that a group of students have recently introduced $100 worth of red cups to the college’s eating halls in some bizarre social experiment to actually have students talk to each other. If a student uses a red cup during a meal, it is now known to all that they are lonely and willing to eat with total strangers. According to The Dartmouth, “The project, launched Tuesday, is a reaction to the dining hall’s propensity to give students unnecessary stress.”

In order to alleviate the paralyzing stress of eating a meal, some students have introduced “friendship competitions” to the program. As this cheery anecdote describes it:

“Today at lunch, some of the men’s heavyweight rowing team will sit alone at opposite ends of the Class of 1953 Commons. Each solely armed with his meal and a red cup, the team members will compete to attract the most dining companions. Whoever ends his meal with the most new friends will be declared the winner of the team’s unofficial ‘popularity contest.’”

Despite it’s good intentions, this daring new initiative does not seem to be working. In fact, it’s actually causing more stress for Dartmouth’s seemingly self-conscious student body:

“Nobody said ‘hi’ to me all evening,” Jon Vandermause ’16 said. “I don’t know if I’m ugly or if the cups aren’t working.”

Jon, it’s not you, it’s them. We promise. They just don’t understand the power of the red cups yet.

  • ’16

    As a Dartmouth student, this program is awesome. It’s just about making new connections and meeting people you wouldn’t have met otherwise. Also, as Jon’s friend, he’s just ugly.

  • D’14

    The author’s implication that social anxiety is unique to Dartmouth, as if anyone who feels it is unusual and should avoid dealing with it, is offensively unhelpful. Students at every college feel awkward about eating meals which they haven’t scheduled with friends, and while it’d be great if every campus had a sense of community that allowed those students to comfortably introduce themselves at random, most don’t. Most college cultures are cliquey and judgmental and divided, and giving students the opportunity to reject that, especially in light of the many scandals and controversies plaguing Dartmouth recently, is creative and noble. Also, despite the author’s intention to marginalize the supporters of this program as “lonely and willing to eat with total strangers,” as if that requires some sort of desperation, most Social Cup users can be seen sitting with their friends, and are merely welcoming others to join them. Jon’s mistake was choosing this passive role instead of introducing himself to other users: you obviously can’t have everyone sit alone and wait for the cups to “work.”

  • Social Cup Supporter

    A better description, from the founder’s facebook:

    When I think about the few buildings that I’ve spent a majority of my time in over the last four years, I realize that in addition to there being far too many classmates whom I’ve never met, there are far too many whom I may have never had a real chance to meet. I probably passed them on the sidewalk, or ate at a table near them, but sidewalks and dining areas haven’t been social spaces since our freshman orientation, before we learned that it’s only socially acceptable to introduce ourselves in seminars and basements. But it’s senior spring, and there are too many people I’ve never been in a class, club, team, or house with, and I’ve realized that it’s too late to care about what’s socially acceptable here.

    I want to meet anyone who’s open to meeting anyone, and that’s what the new community-improvement initiative Dartmouth Social Cups is about. Beginning tomorrow in Foco, red Social Cups (an alternative to the usual clear cups, and identical in all but color) will serve to identify individuals open to meeting new people. Anyone can use them at any meal, at any table, alone or with any number of friends, and everyone is encouraged to join others using them when looking for a place to sit. That’s all there is to it. This is not about blind dating, or an anti-greek social scene — this is about my belief that our community withers in the places it should thrive, based on a campus culture which needs to evolve. It’s about a place to meet anyone who’s open to meeting anyone.

    Many students and DDS staff contributed their time and thoughts to this project’s development, and in doing so stood for a change they wanted to see in our community. Anyone reading this can do the same by sharing this post, blitzing your friends and listserves with your support of this initiative, and by using Social Cups next time you eat at Foco.

    For dear old Dartmouth,
    Chris

  • http://www.presstitutes.org/ Mike Conrad

    Author needs to learn when to use an apostrophe in the word ‘its’ … hint: it’s not all the time.

  • D Alum

    As a Dartmouth alum, this is absolutely something I would expect a student to start. The kids there are mad socially awkward, judgmental, and just unfriendly. It’s a misconception that Dartmouth students are nice and happy. We just seem that way for campus tour and admitted students’ weekends. Misery loves company. DON’T GO TO DARTMOUTH.

  • Cornell MILR/MBA ’14

    I recently found the red cups “work” on foreign students that love American party movies. A French girl at a party once told me these red cups are “mythical” to the American experience-I hope this helps Jon.

    • EngeldinckHumperbert

      The red Solo cup doesn’t have that status at Dartmouth, however. Clear cups are the rule because you have to be able to see the beer level to keep score in a game of pong.

  • ProperBostonian

    Breathtaking article. I devoured it with interest from beginning to end. Keep up the hard-hitting journalism, IvyGate.

  • http://www.mystatementofpurpose.com/ James Everhart
  • B’ 09

    Sounds like a good idea in theory, but I can see where the backlash is coming from. Having attended both a UC and an Ivy, I found social cohesion to be greatly decreased in the Ivy dining halls. I always thought it was a matter of choice, but I imagine it could be a source of frustration as well.

  • ivy_man

    When are we throwing Dartmouth, Cornell and Penn out of the league?

    • nice try brownie

      After we get rid of Brown.