December 14, 2005: On the Campus
Snack to the future
By P.G. Sittenfeld ’07
For those not focused on the war in Iraq or the spiraling federal deficit, real quandaries confront Princeton students:
A sacred ritual after a late night of Prospect Street partying is swinging through Frist Campus Center to meet friends and scarf down some pizza. “That’s definitely when the pizza tastes best,” said Christina Martinez ’08.
At the start of this school year, however, students found their hunger-satisfying routine had been slightly altered. Pizza was no longer being sold in Frist’s large food gallery but had been relocated to the much smaller Café Vivian on the first floor.
Changing the site of pizza sales didn’t sit well with students, who bemoaned longer lines, less variety, and a change of ambience.
Dining Services took student angst to heart and, in mid-November, re-opened the food gallery on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays for late-night excursions. With that reopening came the return of another favorite, often booze-boosted, practice: sliding down the long banister leading to the food gallery — a feat attempted by many and gracefully accomplished by few.
A Daily Princetonian editorial thanked Dining Services and added: “We look forward to the return of Saturday nights spent eating greasy pizza and watching our drunk friends stumble down the Frist staircase.”
Managing the stress of midterms week is no easy task — and it’s even tougher to do with a rumbling stomach. So for students furiously cramming for tests and cranking out papers, Frist Campus Center provides complimentary late-night nourishment and caffeine jolts.
Every night during midterms, Dining Services delivered to Frist hot fresh muffins, banana bread, and chocolate cake, along with coffee, hot chocolate and lemonade to wash the sugar-high down.
“I was delirious from work and needed to refuel,” said Parker Sutton ’07, who happened upon the food at 4 a.m. while taking a break from his politics paper. “More than the food itself, I think the idea of two tables of hot, free sweets brought me back to life.”
The sun was barely on the ascent when the aroma of football fare began to swirl through the air the day of the Princeton-Yale game. Students, alumni, and friends fired up their grills for what was the University’s biggest tailgating event in recent memory.
“I’ve come to almost every tailgate since I’ve been here, and this one was definitely the best,” said Grant Gittlin ’08. “There was so much energy.” The festive atmosphere included a moonwalk, a live band, and a lot of throwing of footballs.
While some alumni from Texas got showy with imported steaks from San Antonio, for most tailgating groups the food was nothing fancy — quantity over quality. Based on a three-quarters-full stadium, this columnist estimates that somewhere in the neighborhood of 37,432 hot dogs and hamburgers — give or take a few thousand — were demolished during the pregame feeding frenzy. One fraternity even staged an eat-your-height-in-hot-dogs contest.
While being on the losing end of the 21–14 final score left a bitter taste, fans were happy to have something to salivate over.
Did anyone leave tailgating hungry? “Only for a win,” groused Gittlin.
When trying to draw a crowd, the rule for any on-campus event is: If you feed them, they will come. In trying to get the word out about its fall information session, Princeton-in-Asia took that approach one step further: providing room service.
The second weekend in October, students in upperclass dorms opened their doors to find that some 1,500 fortune cookies had been left for their consumption, courtesy of PiA. The fortunes were PiA-tailored, including one that read: “Those glamorous entry-level jobs can wait a year.”
“The fortune cookies were PiA’s way of reminding seniors to ‘think outside the box,’” said PiA director Anastasia Vrachnos. “We had to think of a way to reach students that was in keeping with PiA’s creative, resourceful, and shoestring approach.”
For their part, students aren’t particularly discriminating about food when it’s free. “Only after I’d eaten my fortune cookie did it occur to me it’s probably not a great idea to eat something left on the floor outside your room,” said Becca Ivey ’08. “But it tasted good.”
Appealing to students’ appetites was PiA’s good fortune: The info session drew a packed house.
P.G. Sittenfeld ’07 is an English major from Cincinnati, Ohio.
MORE ON THE CAMPUS Online: Click here for “Sobering thoughts” by Christian R. Burset ’07