Life at Dartmouth - Data Analysis

I realize that this blog isn't the standard one, where someone would write about how they were feeling, or reblog pictures of cute dogs (that's what I have Instagram for!). So despite the fact that this post is nearly entirely data driven and still relied on CS, it's slightly out of the norm in that it's a look at how I interact with the Dartmouth campus.

This endeavor started when I submitted a FERPA[1] request to be able to view my admissions file to Dartmouth, and the notes that people made in deciding whether or not to admit me. That in itself wasn't that interesting, but it turned me onto the idea of leveraging FERPA requests to get access to other data, namely all records of using my Dartmouth ID card, which is used both for paying for meals, and for scanning into buildings.

I amalgamated all of this data, and rendered it into a map displaying the locations where I purchased food (blue), or scanned into buildings (green for successful, red for failure) for the time that I've been at Dartmouth.

You can see my eating habits change, the very few number of times I actually went to the gym, and where I was roughly living/where my friends were living. Some of the more interesting analysis comes from a finer breakdown of my diet habits.

In the above image, you can see where I've eaten over time. In the beginning of school, I primarily ate at FoCo, due to how the meal plan works in your freshman fall. Over time, I moved more towards eating at the Hop, though FoCo made a brief resurgence over my sophomore summer, when the Hop wasn't open.

You can also see how time plays a role in where I eat (either based on preferences or the actual hours of the establishments).

Meal location by time

You can also see when I primarily eat, in addition to the location breakdown in the following stacked bar chart:

Stacked location and time breakdown

Finally, you can see when I eat broken down just by day of the week and time:

Eating broken down by week/time

This is kind of interesting, because there are times where I just haven't eaten on campus. This includes any meal before 10AM on the weekends, a late night meal on Wednesday, and late Friday/Saturday meals. This is something to work on, to try and fill all the gaps.

All in all, I thought this was an interesting look into my life from a purely data analytics point of view, and I'll probably do an update when I finally graduate and have all of the information.


  • Rachel Trash Chang

    But where are the dogs??

  • Zirui Hao

    Can we still submit a FERPA claim to see admissions files?

  • Alex

    Yup, still totally works.