Work progresses for groups focusing on campus pub and student life issues

The steering committee that will develop a proposal to reinstate a campus pub at Princeton University has established its membership and will begin meeting this spring. At the same time, the five other groups created this fall to enhance the undergraduate experience have been working to address student life and leadership issues.

The steering committee is charged with establishing policies that would need to be in place for an existing campus location to also serve as a pub. The goal is for the venue to be a welcoming space for all undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and staff that would help model the responsible use of alcohol. Café Vivian in the Frist Campus Center is being evaluated as the most likely location, with preliminary discussions focused on retaining the café's sustainable food offerings during the day and expanding its menu to support a pub in the evenings.

The committee's responsibilities will encompass the following issues: beverage, food and entertainment options; serving policies and practices to ensure compliance with state and local laws; and general policies governing pub use, including hours of operations. The group will identify renovations needed for Café Vivian, as well as assist in requesting a state license to operate the venue as a nonprofit club that would be governed by a faculty, staff and student board.

Amy Campbell, executive director for administration and planning in the Office of the Vice President for Campus Life, is chairing the steering committee. She said Café Vivian is being evaluated because it has a central campus location, it already serves as a dining venue and only modest renovations are anticipated to be required.

While the group plans to work through next fall, the exact timeline for opening a pub would depend on a number of factors, including completion of local and state processes for licensing.

The other steering committee members are: Kristin Appelget, director of community and regional affairs; Brendan Bertagnoll, member of the Class of 2013; Eric Hamblin, director of Conference and Events Services; Duncan Harrison, associate director of support services for public safety; Tori Jueds, associate dean of undergraduate students; Tom Myers, director of Frist Campus Center, Richardson Auditorium and University Scheduling; Paul Ominsky, executive director of public safety; Stuart Orefice, director of Dining Services; Hannah Ross, university counsel; Daniell Rowles, graduate student in the Department of Molecular Biology; Lisa Schreyer, Graduate School assistant dean for residential life; and Dianne Spatafore, director of Campus Club. Members will be assigned to working groups to complete many of the committee's tasks and the working groups plan to engage further participation from undergraduate and graduate students.

The committee is one of six groups established this fall to implement recommendations to enhance the undergraduate experience that were made to President Shirley M. Tilghman by students, faculty and staff who participated in two initiatives during spring 2011: the Working Group on Campus Social and Residential Life and the Steering Committee on Undergraduate Women's Leadership.

Four of the newly established groups — campus social events, leadership, orientation and residential life — have begun to address some of the key themes shared in the reports of the campus life working group and leadership steering committee. This fall, the student, faculty and staff groups kicked off their efforts, which will continue for two to three years. Some of the groups' work so far has included:

Campus social events (co-led by Joseph Ramirez, program coordinator in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, and junior Zachary Beecher): As a way to create a greater sense of community among all four undergraduate classes, the group helped organize the Orange and Black Ball held in Dillon Gymnasium during Homecoming weekend in November. Nearly 3,000 students enjoyed dancing and live entertainment. Student government leaders developed the idea of bringing back the traditional all-campus dance, formerly known as the Prince-Tiger Dance, which had not been held since the 1960s. The group is considering hosting other signature events.

Leadership (co-led by Rebecca Graves-Bayazitoglu, dean of Whitman College, and junior Catherine Ettman): A variety of pilot programs were established by the group to engage students in leadership activities. A daylong "reorientation" event was held in February for freshmen to reflect on their first semester at Princeton, meet new people and talk with student leaders in other classes. The Women’s Mentorship Program, established through the Women's Center, sponsors activities for groups of four women — one from each undergraduate year — to bring together women from different walks of campus life. A similar group, the Women of Mathey Advising Network (WoMAN), was founded by and for Mathey College residents.

Orientation (co-led by Thomas Dunne, associate dean of undergraduate students, and junior Bruce Easop): The group has been examining ways to better engage incoming students before they arrive on campus and throughout their freshman year. This will include supporting the Office of the Dean of the College's effort to revamp the website for incoming freshmen with more robust information and interactive features, such as blogs by current students. The group also is reviewing the schedule of pre-orientation and orientation week programs.

Residential life (co-led by Cole Crittenden, associate dean of undergraduate students, and junior Christina Laurenzi): The group's efforts have focused on creating more informal opportunities to connect undergraduates in all four classes, with the residential colleges serving as a hub for activities. One pilot program would link sophomores and upperclass students with the freshmen living in their old dorm rooms or suites. The older students could serve as mentors to freshmen and the program also would be another way for juniors and seniors to stay connected to their residential colleges. The group's members also worked with the colleges to host a study break for seniors next week while the dining halls and eating clubs are closed for spring break.

In addition to these groups, another committee is completing its work to implement the new University policy that will prohibit freshmen from affiliating with a fraternity or sorority or engaging in any form of "rush" during freshman year. The committee plans to issue its recommendations in a separate report released later this month.