Dear campus women: Do you already feel like you constantly see the same faces around campus? Or perhaps you’re just looking to branch out and make new friends across class years. If so, you’re in luck!Clockwise: Thea Stutsman, Kate Burns, Jill Dunne, Bridget Golob, Maria-Cristina Gallagher, Hannah Levinson, Caitlin Martin, Kelsey Stimson, & Lexi Campbell. (Courtesy of Stephanie Chestnut).
Link Up was founded in 2007 as an on-campus organization aimed to strengthen the community of women at Dartmouth through mentoring, a termly dinner and other programs throughout the year.
“The overarching goal of Link Up is to unite and strengthen the connections between women in the Dartmouth community,” Thea Stutsman ’13, current president of Link Up, said.
The mentoring program* is aimed at smoothing the not-always-peachy transition for first-year women as they arrive on campus. This program is one of the primary ways Link Up tries to connect younger women with the upperclassmen involved, and many participants say they find it valuable.
“When I was a freshman, I felt like I had no access to older woman,” said Elizabeth Hoffman ’15, a past mentee and current mentor in the program. “We all find our own friends and mentors, so Link Up isn’t the only way to do that, but it helps people start that process and bridge the divide between younger and older women. There’s no downside to having a contact if the person wants to help you and is excited about that relationship. It’s really a gift for both people.”
The other main program Link Up holds is the “Proud to Be a Woman” dinner**, which occur once every term. On Wednesday, Oct. 17, the ninth termly dinner will be held. This dinner will feature food catered by the Hanover Inn (quite the treat!), a speech by philosophy professor Susan Brison and – what some believe to be the best part – facilitated table-wide discussions.
“My expectations and hopes every term are that people have a discussion that’s meaningful to them,” said Stutsman.
Kelsey Stimson ’15, a member of Link Up’s Leadership Board, agreed and said she hopes the dinner is a pleasant surprise for the women who attend.
“I like seeing women who don’t necessarily expect to get the experience that they end up leaving with,” Stimson said. “You enter thinking you know where it’ll go, but you’re speaking with upperclasswomen and professors who have had remarkable experiences. They give you advice that you may not think is significant at the time but you remember it.”
For those who are even the slightest bit interested in joining, members say this is the time to do it. According to Stimson and Stutsman, Link Up has experienced a huge amount of growth within the mentoring program. During Spring term of this past school year, about 200 women were involved. This term there are 305 women total, with 160 mentors and 130 mentees combined in groups of two or more and 15 upperclassmen still available to be paired with mentees.
“Link Up is getting so much stronger,” Stimson said. “We have all these new programs and our mentoring program is growing really quickly… It’s an excellent time to get involved.”
This year, Link Up will give eight students the opportunity to have dinner with a professor three times per term, starting Oct. 24. And a pilot mentoring program in collaboration with the Upper Valley Women’s Business Owners, a regional association of female entrepreneurs, is also in the works, according to members.
Stutsman says being able to meet upperclassmen through the program significantly helped her during her freshman year.
“The program provides a support that you don’t even know you need or want as a first-year,” Stutsman said. “When it comes down to it, it’s the idea of a safety line to someone who’s there for you.”
*If you’re interested in having a mentor (there’s no deadline!) simply blitz Link Up.
**Tickets are $10 to attend the “Proud to Be a Woman” dinner, so send them a blitz with your DA$H number if you’re interested. If this price poses a problem for you, you can also contact Jessica Jennrich at the Center for Women and Gender anonymously.
Link Up holds weekly meetings on Sundays at 8 p.m. in Collis 212.
Tags: Jessica Zischke, link up