Dartmouth’s been having a rough couple of months. Amidst the turmoil of Parker Gilbert’s sexual assault trial, student protests over the Freedom Budget, concerned alumni airing discriminatory grievances, and slipping application rates, it makes sense that the college’s students need a bit of a pick-me-up. However, this attempt to document “the positive side of Dartmouth” may come across as ironic to some — or maybe it’s just the song choice.
“Dartmouth College – Happy,” uploaded Monday night to YouTube and already boasting 35,000 views, shows over 100 students dancing around campus to Pharrell’s “Happy.” We’re not making this up; take a look for yourself below.
The video features students, professors, one administrator (props to her), and a horse named Brutus. There is also Keggy the Keg and a young child who almost certainly does not attend Dartmouth. While some of that dancing is seriously impressive, we can’t help but notice the carefully curated ratio of women/minorities/potentially disadvantaged groups to white men. However, this could also be a natural correlation to the fact that white men can’t move. (Except for the guy who did that hand thing. You go, groovy hand guy.)
Unlike administration-backed school spirit efforts (we’re thinking Columbia’s ill-fated #ourblue mission), the video was independently conceived and created by students. Jake Gaba, D’16, one of the producers, shared with IvyGate that the makers “wanted to spread cheer and positivity through Dartmouth.” He and Yesuto Shaw, D’15, produced the video with videographer Jeremy Thibodeau, D’14. What you see before you is the result of two and a half weeks of filming and a week of editing.
It’s admirable that students want to make the effort to spread good cheer, especially during finals season. We’re wondering, though, if this isn’t somewhat naive and escapist, given the far greater changes needed at Dartmouth that will be a little harder to accomplish than dancing to Pharrell. But that’s probably just finals bitterness talking: in a rare break from usual YouTube comment culture, comments on the video are almost universally positive and thankful. Dance on, Dartmouth.