March 7, 2001:
Money, alcohol, food, workers, and enrollment dominate discussions
By Emily Johnson '01
Loans vs. Grants
Princeton vows to replace
student loans with grants and work-study, so new graduates can start
out debt-free. This disgruntles the Class of 2001, which so far
does not benefit; one senior will graduate with $20,000 of debt
and impecunious dreams of working in a museum. Another would like
to spend a year traveling, but must make regular payments.
But for future classes,
situations like these illustrate the benefits of the decision: It
will take pressure off students who end up joining ROTC or the FBI
for the scholarships they offer. It will help reduce the expense
factor in college choice. It will allow or even encourage students
to take low-paying, service-
oriented jobs after graduation.
Still, outright debt
forgiveness may not be the best answer. A third senior debtor points
out that if you pay for something, you are much more likely to use
it and appreciate it. What about an automatic three-year loan deferment?
Or even lower interest rates? Longer payment periods? Project 55
and many other service organizations already include loan deferments,
which seem to work well.
The eating clubs have
tightened up on underage drinking, at least temporarily. In January,
I left the Street with two indelible under-age stamps
on my hand. It took a week of scrubbing to get them off. Door checkers
are looking more closly at IDs, some clubs stamp the hands of all
nonmembers. But while there is a sense of carefulness among club
officers, students dont seem to have trouble getting a Saturday-night
Frist Campus Center
Frist seems to be working
out well except for pricey food and an occasional shortage of pool
tables. A student group puts on recently released movies for two
dollars. There are places to sit and chat with people you dont
normally see in your classes or at meals or in the dorm. During
finals almost every seat was filled in the third-floor study area,
and unlike Firestone, Frist allows you food and drink while you
work. Students still miss the more intimate Chancellor Green, though.
One senior says of Frist, It doesnt feel like my Princeton.
It serves a good purpose, but cinderblock walls with big quotes
doesnt quite do it.
It isnt clear yet
whether the campus center will be a popular alternative to the eating
clubs. Right now it looks as if its main function is to fill gaps
for independent students and missed club meals.
The Workers Rights
Organizing Committee, a recently organized group made up of students,
faculty, and workers, has been trying to force change in the treatment
of Princetons lowest paid workers via petitions, speeches,
and campus advertising. Their protest of minimal health benefits
and wages that dont keep pace with inflation makes one think
twice about the Princeton community as a whole. Tim,
one of Pattons janitors, is friendly, efficient, incredibly
helpful, and absolutely part of our dorm life. Sometimes when I
see overflowing trash cans, toothpaste in the sink, and the occasional
stray beer can (or worse), I wonder why we cant help Tim out
a bit by cleaning up after ourselves. And yet, we dont.
The university plans
to add 150 students to each Princeton class. One letter to PAW from
an alumnus opposed increasing the student body because the
ideal college size is 5,000 students. Well, since we have
4,400 now, the size increase would work out perfectly. The real
problem is where to put extra buildings. Princeton used to fit new
ones in between older ones, but were running out of room.
We could expand outwards, especially into Poe Field, but part of
Princetons charm is its compactness. One student suggests
that the administrators are just trying to fill up all the eating
clubs, since at least one of the 11 usually has low membership.
Somehow, I dont think so.
Emily Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
is a geology major from Williamsburg, Virginia.
Cant get enough
student opinion? Go to our
web exclusives for more.