This article appears in the Winter 2016 edition of Hop Live, the annual newsletter of the Hop’s Membership Program.
Arts Ambassadors is a performance-going club for first-year Dartmouth students co-led by Hop staff and two student “alums” from last year who volunteered to help shape the program in its second iteration. The program is funded by the Hop’s grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and forms the center of the Hop’s first-year student outreach efforts. This program builds on a national and college-wide “First Six Weeks” strategy, which targets a critical period of transition for new students at a time when they are most receptive to exploring new activities and passions. According to David Pack, Collis Center Assistant Director, “During this time, students cultivate relationships and develop strategies for success that they will use in the next four years.”
The Arts Ambassadors–who this year number about 20–attend a broad range of performances, including theater, dance, classical, jazz and world music. By attending frequently as a core group, the participants develop a social context for Hop events that’s consistent enough have a real impact. Through pre- and post-show events, the ambassadors are given context for the performance and a chance to ask questions and share feedback. When visiting artists join the group, our students get an insider’s view of the artistic process, creating personal connections to the performers.
Based on our evaluation and feedback from last year’s pilot program, Arts Ambassadors is successful at providing social fulfillment, offering multiple programmatic entry points and removing common barriers to student attendance like the cost of tickets and the challenge of a busy schedule. Wrote one participant, Irene Lee ‘19, “Arts Ambassadors has been awesome! I LOVED meeting all the artists and being introduced to new genres. It’s eye-opening and the highlight of my freshman experience so far! I’m inspired to play more music.”
Three Fun Facts about this year’s Arts Ambassadors
• Participants hail from New York, Montana, Alaska, Washington, Maryland and California.
• Intended majors include Music, Theater, Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science and English.
• Before arriving at Dartmouth, Arts Ambassadors interned at the Caramoor Summer Music Festival, directed musical theater orchestras, performed in the CSUN Symphony Orchestra, danced ballet, designed sets and played cello, piano, drums and saxophone.
By Kate Adams
Kate Adams is the Hop student relations advisor. When she’s not at the Hop organizing student-related events, she’s outside hiking, breathing deep in a yoga class or headed towards her home, the ocean.