Masses of eager admitted students roamed the aisles of the April 21 Activities Fair, searching for clubs to join when they arrive on campus in the fall. A total of 181 clubs and organizations vied for their attention, varying from the 252-year-old American Whig-Cliosophic Society, which provides students with a place to discuss politics, to the brand-new Arch and Arrow Club which was founded earlier this year to provide students with a group where they can workshop writing together.
There were many clubs at the fair that many current University students may not even be familiar with. The Latter-Day Saints Student Association, for example, is just a few years old. Its membership is comprised of the University’s Mormon undergraduates, which amounts to just under 20 students. The group, in collaboration with the church, hosts classes on Tuesday nights to discuss topics pertaining to Mormon faith. Every six months, they meet up to watch the General Conference of the Church on television.
Kevin Wadman ’20 and Riley Owen ’20 say the club is thinking of putting together an event at the end of this year that is open and well-advertised to the public “to help people get a better understanding of how Mormons relate to the Christian community,” said Wadman.
Princeton 3D Printing, on the other hand, is not a new club, but membership has started to pick up in the past year. The organization facilitates 3D printing projects on campus, teaches classes, and has materials available for anyone in the University community to use. Whitney Huang ’19, who is concentrating in mechanical and aerospace engineering, had never used a 3D printer before arriving at the University. She says she was inspired to get involved with the club and take advantage of this “incredible piece of technology” after an internship after her freshman year.
Kirit Limperis ’19 founded Arch and Arrow this year because she “wanted to have a place on campus for students to get together and share their writing.” Originally, the group just focused on poetry, but Limperis is thinking about opening it up to all types of creative writing in the future. Limperis hopes to hold workshops structured similarly to creative writing class workshops, utilize writing prompts, and have guest writers come in from off campus. “Our meetings take place in the writers’ studio in Blair Arch, which is this super-sick room covered with all of these different poetry books and prose writing,” said Limperis. “Our goal for next year is to make a poetry anthology that publishes everyone’s work,” she continued, “and create a space on campus for people to share their work.”
Young Democratic Socialists of Princeton was founded last fall after the election. “It was a small group of students at first,” said Cole Diehl ’19, “But now I’d say there is a regular fifteen who show up to meetings.” “Right now we’re focusing on creating a coalition of workers on campus, particularly those affected by the snowstorm in March,” Annabelle Tseng ’19 explained, “I feel like as students, we have a certain power that workers may not necessarily have. As democratic socialists, we have a responsibility to participate and take action.”
Tseng said, “I’ve been involved in some organizations on campus that are for social justice or involve political advocacy, but I’ve always found that they weren’t necessarily the best fit for me. I couldn’t figure out why until I joined YDS, and realized that the reason is that I needed a more radical perspective and more radical politics.” With a number of different political groups on campus, the University offers everyone a space where they can discuss their political beliefs with others who think similarly.
Princeton Garden Project has been around for eight or nine years. It has a small, one-acre plot of land near Forbes College. Five to 10 members do regular maintenance for the plot, and another 30 to 50 members volunteer occasionally. They plant the vegetables in the spring, and hire two people over the summer to take care of the garden. “It’s a great way to get outside and spend some energy doing non-mental things at Princeton,” said Nick Nelsonwood ’18. “I worked at a farm the summer before I came to Princeton, and when I came here I was eager to do some more work like that.”
“Last year we got a ton of apples from our apple trees,” recalled Nelsonwood, “We baked three apple pies and made really good apple sauce.”
The University’s Activities Fair provides admitted students with a glimpse at the different communities that exist on campus, giving them the opportunity to clearly envision what campus life could be like. Whether they decide to engage in political debates, critique creative writing, or pick apples from trees, there is a club for every admitted student to belong to.