Along with a group of male friends, I cut school for the first time to see the Mets battle the St. Louis Cardinals on opening day, 1986. After arriving home from the extra-inning game, I found in the mail my acceptance letter from Dartmouth College (along with terse rejections from Harvard and Yale).
That day set me on the path that my life has taken to this point, just as Dartmouth President Jim Wright's recent decision to revolutionize the Greek system at Dartmouth will also impact the future experiences of Dartmouth students and non-Dartmouth students alike.
The current media coverage testifies to why I had hoped to attend Harvard or Yale 13 years ago. One cannot scan a Dartmouth story without the inevitable reference to "Animal House" (a wonderful movie, incidentally) since one of its writers based the script on his own tenure as a fraternity brother.
After years of trying to burnish its academic reputation, Dartmouth today still suffers from its association with a movie that portrayed its Greek system (and, by extension, the college) as a bastion of rampant alcoholism.
Like most compelling movies based however loosely on actual situations, "Animal House" succeeds as a work of art because it captures the essence of a reality that many shared. Although not in a fraternity myself, I had to confront aspects of this reality during my own four years in Hanover. I could cite any number of incidents from my Dartmouth days to demonstrate this point.
Take the guy who lived next door to me freshman year who spent seemingly half of his weekends drying out in the infirmary due to alcohol poisoning.