College Night at Whitman will now take place every three weeks instead of each Tuesday in response to cumulative student feedback, the Whitman College Council announced in an email to Whitman College this week. Aimed at fostering residential college camaraderie and team spirit, these themed dinners are restricted to Whitmanites only and feature festive decorations as well as specialty meals.
After the College Council kicked off the year with two College Nights in September, “Under the Sea” and “Meatball Night," only three more are planned for this semester according to College Council Chair Kristin Wilson ’14.
The change was largely initiated by undergraduate representatives Sing Sing Ma ’14 and Sarah Grond ’16, who aim to be “more intentional” about the dinners by allowing for extra planning time and a presumably higher budget for each event, the email explained.
The change has been motivated by student response and student reaction, according to Whitman Director of Student Life Devon Moore ’05.
Students in Whitman praised the revision for its logistical merits.
“I actually feel like that gives them time to make each College Night more special and put more effort into it,” Chloe Song ’17 said over a bowl of noodle soup. “It’s kind of hard to get to know people when you’re all in singles,” she added, referring to Whitman’s unique layout, which features interconnected buildings, but has fewer shared rooms than other colleges.
However, members of other residential colleges have said Whitman’s tradition is exclusive and unfair. The mystery of what goes on behind the tall, wooden doors of the dining hall on Tuesday nights has left some feeling slighted.
“I would like to go to a College Night and see what they eat,” Forbesian Kathy Yuen ’16 said. “Forbes has a special dinner once a week, and if Whitman does that too, then I think everyone should be able to go.”
Other students said that the event is not meant to exclude, but reflects Whitman’s desire to remain connected as a residential college, a concept that is already emphasized at Princeton through intramural sports, restrictive ticket sales and the introduction of Clash of the Colleges.
Rather than focusing on the college's exclusivity, Whitman students discussed the sense of community and the peacefulness they experienced through College Night.
“It’s great. You don’t have all the lines that every other night has,” said Sebastian Marotta ’16, who said he supported the change. “There are fewer of them, but that means they’ll be better.”The college announcement promised a “more high-end” atmosphere and better food.