Application and audition deadlines come and go, and two weeks into the start of classes, it can feel like all extra-curricular opportunities are exclusive and out of reach forever. In order to dispel this mindset, the Street has compiled blurbs of unique student groups that are engaged in a range of different compelling activities, and which promote open events or membership.
Academics (by Zachary Bampton)
Envision: Have you ever wondered about how discovering extraterrestrial life could change life on earth? How virtual reality works? Or what the dangers of nanotechnology are? Princeton’s resident futurist club invites you to join the discussion on cutting edge technologies and their ethical implications. Activities include campus lectures by eminent scholars, faculty, and professionals; discussions on nanotechnology; and a national conference in early December.
3D Printing Club: Between three different printers, for one of which they actually built some of the parts, the 3D Printing Club has a lot to offer. From open “Printing Parties” to collaborations with the Princeton Rocketry Club, students have several opportunities to witness the practical, and extraordinary, applications of the newest generative technology. Training for individual use of the printers is provided, and leadership opportunities are available.
Speak with Style: If you're looking for some tips and tricks to dominate that afternoon precept or have some built-up oratory passion in you just waiting to be unleashed, you might want to consider Speak with Style: Princeton’s group dedicated to “exploring the art and science of effective communication." You and your friends can practice better body language, develop effective cadence, and avoid the dreaded monotone voice.
Leadership for Change: According to Leadership for Change, leadership is not simply just having authority; it is a litmus test of character. The group holds lectures, in-services, and dinner discussions for students to fulfill their responsibilities of leadership, to grow with similarly positioned people, and to begin their journey towards acting in the nation’s service (and in the service of all humanity).
American Sign Language Club: The Princeton University American Sign Language Club seeks to promote a greater understanding and awareness for the Deaf community, here on campus and nationally. Events have included picnics, educational sessions, and ASL poetry. You’ll never have to wonder what to do with your hands during these social gatherings!
Art (by Mikaela Symanovich)
Comic Club: Comic club meets weekly to discuss comics and watch the CW’s superhero shows. In October they will organize a trip to New York City Comic Con, and in November they will host an opening night screening of the new Marvel movie Doctor Strange. According to co-founders Eitan Sapiro-Gheiler '19 and Chloe Coronado Winn '19, their favorite comics are Black Widow and Batgirl respectively. However, they urge the Princeton community to be aware that Comics Club is not just for those who read comics, but is open to anyone with an interest in comic-related TV shows or movies.
OpenART: OpenART aims to create a supportive atmosphere for students who love to make artwork and want to develop their artistic potential outside of the formal art classes offered by Princeton. In previous years they have offered fine metal sculpture workshops and open studio sessions in the Lewis Center Sculpture Studio.
Figure Drawing Club: Similarly, Figure Drawing Club creates a casual environment for students looking to improve their drawing skills. The club was founded when President Hudson Cooke '19 noticed a lack of serious art clubs on campus and wanted to create a relaxed environment for students to pursue figure drawing.
1080Princeton: A name that refers to HD video resolution, 1080P is a visual journalism club that aims to shed light on various issues on campus. For example, last spring, the group released a video entitled “Being Lesbian in PFA: Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin,” which received a lot of engagement from students. The video explored the prejudices felt by a Princeton Faith and Action leader who was also lesbian. Co-President Nick Sexton ’17 said the film, “[felt] particularly relevant in light of last year's protests and conversations about what it means to be truly inclusive.” Later this fall, 1080P will host a public screening party showcasing their new content. In a talk to newcomers, Sexton commented, “documentary work can come off as especially intimidating, but [we are] a group that welcomes students who do not have prior experience with video or photography.”
Magician’s Club: Magician’s Club is a space where members of all skill levels can learn and practice magic. President Luis Cardenas-Osorio ’18 started practicing magic when he was eight years old, sparking a curiosity and love for magic that lasted through Princeton. Cardenas-Osorio says of magic, “Magic is not just fun and games. Magic is in itself an art. It wasn't meant for just one person, the magician: it was meant [to give wonder to people]. It takes years of refinement to perfect the craft, but in the end it pays off being able to inspire. The world is magical in itself, and we are merely instruments.” Magician’s Club hosts creative workshops and puts on a show at the end of the semester. The club’s first meeting is this week and open to all skill levels.
Lobster Club: The first no-audition improvisation comedy group on campus, Lobster Club hosts open workshops every Monday, from 10 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. in the Butler Innovation Space. In addition, they put on shows each semester such as their most recent performance, “Frosh out of Water.” They emphasize teaching the skill of improv so that new participants can learn while more experienced performers can develop their talent.
Music (by Sadie Henderson)
La Vie en Cello: You've probably heard of the famed Princeton arch sings, but what about a cello arch? La Vie en Cello is Princeton’s only classical cello ensemble. Imagine: the sweet melody of cellos filling Blair Arch, watching the sunset, as fireworks emerge from the background (this is not a cinematic dream; it actually happened). The talent of the group is obvious, but the diversity of the the ensemble’s repertoire is even more impressive. In the words of DG Kim ’18, the founder of the group, “[La Vie] creates nontraditional music from traditional instruments.” Currently, the group is working on an arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody, so get ready to mark that cello arch down on your calendars.
Princeton University Band: Who are those people in those bold orange and black plaid jackets? The PUB is one of less than twelve “scramble” bands in the country, meaning that instead of marching like high school bands typically do, they 'scramble' into formation. Entertaining spectators since 1919, the band plays for football games, basketball games, hockey matches, and many other sporting events, although their biggest event each year is Princeton’s Reunions. See them at the next football game or just wait until the night before dean’s date, while you're busily working on a paper, they'll promise to be making as much ruckus as possible.
Rise Up: Every Wednesday night at 10:30 p.m. this group of students gathers in the newly renovated Murray Dodge Cafe, where there are always warm cookies and coffee, to sing traditional folk songs, ballads, and blues from the Rise Up Singing bible. Hold off on that 100 pages of reading due tomorrow (that you really should have been doing yesterday) and drop by for ten, fifteen, sixty minutes to belt your heart out.
Composers Collective: Creating music for all different genres, instruments, and skill levels, the Princeton Composers Collective is for beginners and Beethovens alike. They prove that to be involved in music on campus, you don't have to have played the violin since the age of 4 and competed in international competitions. Music at Princeton is for anyone and everyone, and the options are limitless, literally, because anyone can create a new group on campus at any time.
Culture (by Annalena Wolcke)
Akwaaba — Princeton African Students Association (PASA): What does traditional African dance look like? And what does “diaspora” mean? Or Akwaaba for that matter? Fortunately, PASA is a non-exclusive group that celebrates African culture and conversation, and which hosts many public events throughout the year. Follow what they are doing on Facebook or their webpage if you’re interested in joining or simply in learning more about African culture.
Seniors and Youth (SAY): SAY is a cross-generational language program that has become a global community. It connects retired seniors in Korea with students who are learning Korean to become “language partners and cultural ambassadors.” During weekly Skype meetings the students have conversations with the Korean seniors, where they talk about culture and acquire a deeper understanding of the Korean language. If you are learning Korean then SAY is definitely something you want to check out!
Princeton University Latinx Perspectives Organization: More than just a Latin cultural group, PULPO is a group that encourages discussions about discrimination, the differences of specific Latin-American cultures, and what it means to be Latinx. You don't need to be Latinx to have this be a relevant topic in your life. In fact, you can join them this Thursday in a discussion with trans activist and model Carmen Carrera.
Environment (by Cathleen Kong)
Greening Dining: The mission of Greening Dining is to foster more sustainable practices in the campus dining halls. Since 2002, the organization has collaborated with Campus Dining to increase the amount of locally grown and organic food available. Club president Shun Yamaya '19 commented, “What we say can very much influence what and how students are served.” There will be a Greening Dining study break later this semester.
Princeton Garden Project: Forbes College is home to the Princeton Garden Project, an organic garden run by students. The organization aims to teach people about sustainability and food politics in a welcoming environment. Members learn about local crops and appreciate the resources and effort involved in gardening. The key to the project is modeling sustainable food production through supporting local vendors, hosting a farmers’ market, having special dinners, and holding study breaks and student events.
Sustainable Software Initiative: A recently founded project-based group, Sustainable Software Initiative (SSI) is committed to fostering sustainability practices through software based applications. The club will hold workshops in the fall with tutorials on how to build web and mobile applications. SSI aims to help students become more cognizant of their energy-consumption habits. Graham Turk '17, SSI’s president, said, “Software applications have a huge potential to help people visualize their energy consumption and to make this information readily available.”
Princeton Racing Electric: Princeton Racing Electric is a student-run organization focused on sustainability in automotive design. After the process of building an electric vehicle from idea to production, the club competes in activities such as the International Formula Hybrid competition, sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers. A major part of the project is its interdisciplinary nature, involving students from a variety of fields. With electric cars emerging as a crucial alternative-energy solution in the transportation industry, the club displays its creativity in the question of sustainable energy.
Games (by Cathleen Kong)
PUZZLES: The name “PUZZLES” is a code itself, serving as an acronym for the “Princeton University Zealously Zany Logical Enigma Solvers.” Each year, the club holds a large puzzle hunt open to everyone on campus. Students submit their own puzzles to the competition or form teams to solve them. The club also sends riddles through email every few weeks. According to the club’s current president, Teresa Tang '18, “It’s an avenue through which people who are very mentally active can channel their energy.”
Video Game Society: Traditionally, the Video Game Society gathered to play video games, but more recently, the club has transitioned to creating them as well. As a result, the Society has created a community centered upon game development. For example, they hold tutorials and workshops for beginners, and allow experienced developers more access to creative spaces. Meetings for the club occur on Friday nights at 8 p.m. in the Butler College Gordon Wu Hall basement.
Poker Club: With a successful opening tournament this past weekend, the Poker Club looks forward to eight more poker tournaments this year, entitled the Princeton Series of Poker. The winners of each competition earn various prizes, and the tournaments are open to everyone. The president of the club, Bradley Snider '17, describes the atmosphere as being casual. As he states, “Even in competitions, poker is still a stress reliever and a good way to socialize and relax.”
eSports: eSports does not involve exercise in the traditional sense, but rather combines the principles of planning, training, and teamwork in the arena of competitive computer gaming. Examples of games that the club plays include League of Legends, DOTA 2, Archstone, and Overwatch. The club meets on Fridays with “Bring Your Own Computer” events in the Butler College Seminar room. They also hold LAN parties every week in which other schools are invited to compete.
Juggling Club: Walking past Cannon Green on Sundays, you may run into the Juggling Club, a welcoming group that is open to everyone in the Princeton community. Members have a range of juggling experience, and previous knowledge is not necessary. The club provides equipment, and teaches unique skills such as juggling on a unicycle or tricks on a Chinese yoyo. The club also holds shows annually.
Cube Club: Although “cubing” is usually associated with the three-by-three Rubik's cube, Cube Club provides a social atmosphere for playing with assorted puzzles. Sam Cheng '18, the club’s president, noted, “People are most familiar with the standard cube, but more events include solving it one-handed, blindfolded, solving with your feet, four by four cubes, five by five cubes, and much more.” The club meets every other weekend at noon in the Whitman dining hall, and is open to all levels of experience and people outside of the University as well. In February, the club holds its flagship cubing event sponsored by the World Cubing Association.
Politics (by Sarah Hirschfield and Brillian Bao)
Princeton US-China Coalition: Founded last spring, Princeton US-China Coalition promises an exciting future for its members, who join to learn more about the country and U.S.-China policy and relations. The organization works to bring a holistic and informed perspective to the discourse by enabling students to connect with Chinese delegates at its conferences, work with Chinese NGOs, and even teach at a Chinese university.
Eric Wang ’18, director of Operations, tells us of an “innovative culture” within the organization, wherein members’ ideas are not only highly valued but also put into action through the "PUCC pitch." Following such a strong start last year, the club continues to make connections and bring speakers onto campus. Wang hopes PUCC will help students “see perspectives of Chinese culture, civil society, and education” that they seldom find in the classroom.
Princeton for Women in Politics: Even newer to campus is Princeton for Women in Politics, a club founded this year in order to expose the challenges women face in politics and help aspiring female candidates enter the field. The club is not affiliated with a certain party and recognizes the barriers to success across the spectrum. Moreover, the club encourages students to join regardless of gender.
Co-President Jack Lohmann ’19 explained he felt guilty “taking part in institutions made up disproportionately of people who look like me” and finds it rewarding to help “overturn those institutions” through his involvement with the club. Members seeking to join Princeton for Women in Politics have the unique opportunity to help shape its development. Despite just starting, the club has speakers and role models lined up for this year and hopes to make an impact on the community.
J Street U Princeton: With the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory fast-approaching, J Street U Princeton Co-President Iris Samuels ’17 remarks that it has become “more important than ever” to keep the Israeli-Palestine conflict relevant to the student body and the world in general. J Street U Princeton is one of over sixty political chapters dedicated to doing so, and its members hope that its efforts will help bring about long-lasting peace in the Middle East.
According to J Street, the key to peace lies in a two-state solution; J Street works to achieve this solution through the educational activities and speakers it hosts on-campus and the annual weekend conference it attends off-campus. Samuels hopes that the culmination of J Street U Princeton’s efforts on campus will dispel the “misconception that any solution to the current conflict must be solely pro-Israel or pro-Palestine” and fulfill for everyone their “right to a dignified life.”
Women’s Political Caucus: Established last year, the Princeton Women’s Political Caucus encourages the empowerment of women to leadership roles both on-campus and in the public sphere. Among WPC’s upcoming events is its newly created speaker series, entitled “Paths to Political Office;” this series is designed to provide WPC members with strong role models by inviting female leaders to campus to speak about their various experiences with political leadership.
Though WPC is still working to overcome the challenges that being a new organization on campus presents, President Jenny El-Fakir ’18 hopes that this year’s election will help open up new discussions about the implications for women in politics, especially regarding female representation and the “empowerment of women leaders to the forefront.” One of the primary goals of expanding WPC’s presence on campus, she adds, is to help “bring the female voice into Princeton political life.”
Princeton Equality Project: Yet another activist group on campus, the Princeton Equality Project (PEP) was founded in 2010 to bring focus to LGBTQIA issues. PEP’s work centers around social and political advocacy: PEP members engage in weekly discussions, workshops, and a variety of student-led projects. Current PEP projects include the Gender-Neutral Housing Initiative, which advocates the expansion of gender-neutral housing options on-campus; the LGBT Faith Project, which explores the experiences of LGBT students within various campus religious groups; and the LGBT Youth Homelessness Project, which raises awareness about and helps local organizations reduce homelessness among at-risk LGBT youth. Through these projects and the dialogues they have begun, the group hopes that their efforts will help bring about “full LGBT equality.”
Society (by Cathleen Kong)
The Princeton Muse: Think of a restaurant menu. But now, in place tasty dishes, there is a list of juicy conversation topics. Inspired by the Oxford Muse Society, the Princeton Muse Society provides opportunities for strangers to interact, connect, and make meaningful conversation. Pairs are seated and given a menu of questions that are thought-provoking and interesting, leaning away from superficial small-talk and delving into deeper issues, so people can reveal more about themselves.
Princeton Canadians: As Princeton’s largest group of international students, the Princeton Canadian club celebrates its culture through campus events, movie screenings, barbecues, and talks. The club strengthens social ties between the Canadian community and other members of Princeton while also discussing Canadian issues within a broader North American context. It is a way for the club to share the Canadian experience with others around campus.
United World Colleges of Princeton: Inspired by the global branch of United World Colleges, the organization aims to unite cultures and nations through the celebration of differences. The focus of the club is to garner support for a global education movement of students as to facilitate international and intercultural understanding. Anyone with an interest in sustainability, peace, compassion, and service can attend the talks with guest speakers, community service activities, and mentoring sessions.
Special Interests (by Emily Spalding)
Institute for Chocolate Studies: Located in the Princeton University Bake Shop, the Institute for Chocolate Studies is a haven for any student with a sweet tooth and/or a passion for chocolate and how it is made. ICS produces and sells an array of chocolate, holding sales throughout the year in Frist Campus Center. ICS is “essentially a mini-company where we are able to support ourselves,” explained Kate Letai ’17, the president of ICS. “We are really proud of that as a club that we’ve been able to get this point,” Letai added when discussing how ICS is entirely self-sustaining. ICS is currently taking new members and asks that anyone interested email them.
Yoga Club: Whether you are a professional yogi or just want an excuse to wear comfortable clothes, Princeton Yoga Club caters to students of all abilities interested the practice of yoga. In order to promote the claim found on their website that “yoga contributes to a more diverse, healthy student body and community,” PYC hosts free yoga sessions and workshops open to students throughout the year.
Aikido Club: For those interested in learning self-defense while engaging both the mental and physical parts of the body, the Aikido Club has a spot for any student, faculty, or community member in their classes, which are held every Tuesday in Dillon Gymnasium from 7:30-9PM. According to the club’s website, Aikido works toward promoting “a different concept of strength which results when mind and body work together in a relaxed way,” through the practice of Kokikai Aikido, an “effective form of self-defense.”
Cheese and Bad Movies Club: A club whose activities are self-evident in its name, The Cheese and Bad Movies Club’s Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies description puts it best: “We eat cheese and watch bad movies. Seriously.” The group, which hosts monthly movie nights in Frist Campus Center, has its first event — a viewing of John Travolta’s Battlefield Earth — Saturday, Oct. 1 at 10 p.m. in Frist 302.Stella Art Club: Artistic interest rather than talent is all that is necessary to join Stella Art Club, a group aimed at “Strengthening the presence and support for the visual arts at Princeton,” explains their mission statement. Members are invited to demonstrate their artistic inclinations in way of a variety of activities, including art workshops, community service opportunities, and study breaks.