students play in the snow on campus

Planning for Princeton’s new Wintersession will involve campus community

Oct. 14, 2019 1:30 p.m.

Princeton will launch a two-week Wintersession in January 2021 and students, faculty and staff are invited to help shape plans for the new program. The first Wintersession is scheduled for Jan. 11-24, 2021, as part of the University’s new academic calendar

Students, faculty and staff may participate in a range of optional, non-credit activities during Wintersession. Undergraduates, graduate students, staff and faculty can be teachers, learners or both.

Judy Jarvis

Director of Wintersession and Campus Engagement Judy Jarvis

Plans for Wintersession will be led by Director of Wintersession and Campus Engagement Judy Jarvis, former director of Princeton’s LGBT Center. A new Wintersession Advisory Committee of administrators, faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students will work with Jarvis to brainstorm activities and raise awareness about the new program.  

“Launching Wintersession is exciting because it’s an initiative that will allow for a different kind of community-building on campus,” Jarvis said. “My guiding words for Wintersession are ‘unusual, active and exciting.’ Undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and staff can all teach and all take courses and attend evening events.”

While the Wintersession term will not be graded, Jarvis said there will be “active learning, exploration and incredible offerings across interest areas and disciplines.” She said Wintersession will allow students to explore subjects, learn skills and participate in activities they may not have time for during the academic year.  

Jarvis said she’s open to considering any and all ideas. She encourages students, staff and faculty to submit event ideas and session proposals to the advisory committee. Wintersession‘s broad focus areas will be practicing and enjoying the arts, professional development and careers, wellness and community, diversity and inclusion, and public service. 

“We encourage people to show the University community a different side of themselves,” Jarvis said. “For example, an economics professor may be a semi-professional salsa dancer outside of work and wants to teach an intro salsa class. A graduate student may want to offer a Korean cooking class. An undergraduate may want to lead a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and talk about medieval games of thrones and the artifacts of those wars.”

Jarvis envisions Wintersession to include classes and activities during the day that people would sign up for in advance, followed by central programming at night open to everyone on campus. 

During the coming year, Jarvis will continue to work closely with the Undergraduate Student Government, Graduate Student Government and other student groups to develop ideas for Wintersession. She will continue to hold planning and brainstorming meetings with administrative and academic offices across campus as well as hold focus groups in spring 2020 with students, faculty and staff to further hone the content of Wintersession 2021.

Proposals for Wintersession events will be due in summer and fall 2020, with the slate of official activities announced later that fall. A Wintersession website will launch in January 2020, and will include space for Princeton community members to submit ideas and questions.