February 14, 2007: On the Campus
Building a college; raising a Ruckus
By Adam Gottesfeld ’07
Students received their first glimpse inside Whitman College last month after the facilities office invited student leaders and journalists to tour the construction site. With work on schedule for a fall opening, the 255,000-square-foot residential college left the undergraduates impressed.
“I was just amazed by the scale and progress of the construction itself,” said Caitlin Sullivan ’07, who toured the complex with a group of Undergraduate Student Government officers. “Whitman will have a lot to offer students: a theater, the Writing Center, awesome private dining spaces, and what will most likely be the standard-setting dining hall on campus.”
It is easy to see why Whitman is the University’s largest construction project to date. From what was the site of asphalt tennis courts have risen eight major structures, built in gothic style using 6,000 tons of stone — five different types of bluestone, to be exact. Shading one courtyard are newly planted 55-foot cedar trees. In addition to these giants, the University plans to reforest the area surrounding the buildings with more than 200 trees. There’s even a moat on one side, albeit without water, and a bluestone bridge with a six-foot arch that stretches over it and leads toward the Dinky.
Hargadon Hall, a large limestone structure, towers over the bridge, creating an imposing western entrance to the campus. John Ziegler, the project’s director, called it the “Gate House,” a fitting term for a building named in honor of Princeton’s former gatekeeper, retired dean of admission Fred Hargadon.
Inside, the majority of the dorm rooms, which will house 500 students from all four classes, are similar to other campus offerings. Sixty percent are small singles that average about 120 square feet, while the rest are mostly three-room quads. However, Whitman offers a chic two-story double and a few gargantuan five-room quads that are sure to be among the most sought-after rooms on campus.
Whitman also boasts a theater with dressing rooms and seating that wraps around the stage, as well as a 170-seat dining hall that will be called Community Hall. Most of the food will be cooked at stations out in the open, and the touring students were thrilled at the sight of a pizza oven.
At least one reservation was voiced, however. “Standing in the Whitman courtyard felt like you were closed off from the rest of the campus, very much like the Yale residential college feel,” said Sarah Breslow ’08. “I hope that the building of four-year colleges, and Whitman specifically, won’t ruin the small-time campus, community feel that we have today in our open courtyards and small-scale residences.”
Rohan Joshi ’08 never imagined his peers would disapprove of his successful efforts to bring a free music-downloading service to campus. But he underestimated the loyalty of Macintosh users to their machines.
Joshi first got the idea when he learned that friends at Cornell were using such a service. After approaching two companies, the Undergraduate Student Government invited the Virginia-based Ruckus Network to come to Princeton — without requiring students or the University to pay anything. Ruckus generates revenue through streaming ads on its Web site and music player.
“I don’t intend for a program like this to cut all illegal downloading, but I just don’t think students were being provided with enough options in terms of listening to music,” Joshi said. “They could only listen to music by illegally downloading or by paying iTunes.”
There are a couple of catches. The service does not allow music to be burned to a CD or put on an MP3 player without paying a fee. And Ruckus does not work with Macs, which, according to a recent survey, are used by 40 percent of undergraduates. And that group is not happy.
“It seems the University is endorsing Windows and not Apple,” Brian Kirk ’07 said. “It seems very nearsighted to do something that the whole University can’t enjoy.”
No current downloading service offering free music is compatible with Macs, Joshi said. “That left me with the option of helping half of the student body, as opposed to no students at all.”
The University will bring a comparable service for Macs to campus only if students don’t have to pay. “We don’t see it as a core need for the students of Princeton to have this,” said Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students Thomas Dunne.
Adam Gottesfeld ’07, a Woodrow Wilson School major, is from Los Angeles.
MORE ON THE CAMPUS online, click here: “Valentines and homemade cookies,” by Bridget Durkin ’07