On the off chance that you aren't assigned enough work to keep you busy here, several organizations would love to take some time off your hands. These groups don't seem to fit into any general category, so we'll offer you a look at them here.
When campus life starts to feel a little insulated and crowded, it's important to leave the Ivory Tower and trudge into the "real world." But remember — it's a jungle out there. Literally.
Outdoor Action offers plenty of opportunities to leave civilization and explore the great outdoors. Every September, about half of the incoming freshmen trek to Princeton a week early under the mistaken impression that they will be spending a leisurely vacation frolicking around northeastern forests.
The week-long trips before Orientation Week — designed to acquaint first-year students with a group of their classmates — are the annual highlight of the OA program.
One may choose from a variety of trips such as canoeing down the Delaware Water Gap, rock climbing in Pennsylvania's Black Forest or hiking in New York's Catskill Mountains.
OA trips ease the transition to Princeton in several ways. After a week of tramping through the woods, participants begin Orientation Week having met a group of people. Even that top bunk will look comfy after a week of snuggling under a plastic tarp with 11 other people — all of whom have not showered, changed their clothes or enjoyed a decent meal for the last five days. An OA trip is the ultimate in "bonding."
Membership in the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts is not a prerequisite. A good pair of hiking boots and a sense of humor are. Even if your hiking experience is limited to jaunts from the television to the refrigerator, OA trips offer a great introduction to the wilderness — and friendships that often last well beyond the blisters.
OA trips, however, don't stop after September. Throughout the year, OA offers whitewater rafting, rock climbing, sailing, biking, backpacking and cross-country skiing excursions for students in all classes.
Having survived several intermittent controversies in the '70s and '80s, the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps is now more popular than ever at Old Nassau.
ROTC was ordered off the Princeton campus in 1971, allowed to return in 1972 and almost banned again a year later. The program has been criticized in recent years for the defense department's policy against gay and lesbian military recruits.
One of the program's attractions is that it foots part of Princeton's hefty tuition bill for its participants. Juniors and seniors in the program receive an allowance of $150 per month during the school year, in addition to tuition expenses.
Students who complete the program, regardless of scholarship standing, are required to spend either four years on active duty or six months on active duty with eight years in the reserves.
Though Princeton University is nonsectarian, there are many campus organizations devoted to keeping religion in daily college life.
The University Chapel — besides offering gorgeous architecture and stained-glass windows when not shrouded in scaffolding — holds programs every night of the week, including study groups, social groups and ecumenical services.
Denominational services — including those of the Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Baptist churches — are held in the chapel of Murray-Dodge Hall at various times on Sunday and during the week. A nondenominational service is held in the Chapel every Sunday.
Princeton also has an active chapter of Hillel, a national organization of Jewish college students. Hillel caters to all branches of Judaism and provides Sabbath and holiday services for the Reform and Conservative members, as well as a number of social and educational activities, which are usually held at the Center for Jewish Life on Washington Road.
The Pride Alliance, formerly the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Alliance, provides support and community interaction for students at Princeton. Discussion groups, meetings and social events are held frequently, and speakers of interest to the gay community are brought to campus several times a year by the alliance.
The Organization of Women Leaders was founded with help from an anonymous donation of $150,000 last fall. Co-founders Nancy Ippolito '03 and Erin Culbertson '03 said they believe OWL serves as a uniting force among women and provides a support system for women on campus.
Though the group is still in its infancy, it has made a large impact on campus. It has 300 members and has hosted the likes of Kathy Ireland and University history professor Christine Stansell '71 at events.
Besides holding conferences and talks, the group also works to promote female candidates in student government elections and to inform women about sexual harassment and sexual health issues.
"We wanted to get people to start talking about women's issues without doing it in an offensive way," Ippolito said.
Though many extracurricular activities aim to relieve participants' tension, Peer-to-Peer, Sexuality Education Counseling and Health and Student Peer Educators for Alcohol Responsibility help others deal with the pressure of Princeton.
Involving nearly 100 students, Peer-to-Peer trains students to advise other students. To join the program, one must undergo two weekends of intensive training in such areas as "active listening" and "crisis counseling."
"Crises don't happen during regular business hours," said one PTP member, referring to the times when McCosh Counseling Center is open. "They happen at two in the morning in the dorms."
SECH advising offers similar help and education in the areas of sex and contraception. Students are trained during an intensive weekend in the middle of the year and continue training through the following semester. Advisers give talks on contraception to RA groups and are available to talk to students. SECH is located at McCosh Health Center.
Princeton Environmental Action
Concern for environmental issues led to the creation of Princeton Environmental Action, a student group that concerns itself with global, regional and campus ecological issues.
PEA also conducts letter-writing campaigns in support of environmental issues, leads community cleanup projects and invites speakers to campus from organizations such as Earth First and the National Wildlife Federation.
Student Volunteers Council
For those with a social conscience and a desire to extend their Princeton experience into the community, the Student Volunteers Council and Community House offer numerous social service projects in the Princeton area.
The SVC sponsors at least four types of community work: person-to-person counseling, tutoring, work in correctional institutions and volunteering in psychiatric institutions.
Princeton's campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity finished its first complete renovation five years ago. After nearly three years of continuous effort, the house — which is located in Trenton — was dedicated, and a family moved in.
One of the SVC's more popular programs is University Big Brothers and Sisters. Each volunteer works with one child, offering companionship and help with school work.
Tutoring programs include the Mentor Program for Gifted and Talented Children in local elementary and junior high schools and teaching reading to illiterate adults in Trenton.
For those whose goal in life is to someday win at "Jeopardy!" College Bowl provides an outlet for cerebral frustrations.
College Bowl tests the wits of two opposing teams of four students each. Questions cover general knowledge, sports, history, science and trivia. Winning requires speed, accuracy and occasionally, dumb luck.
Princeton's debate team is one of the University's trophy-case fillers. The team routinely finishes at the top at national competitions and wins several invitational tournaments. The debate team is affiliated with the Whig-Clio society, a group that calls the University's two matching Greek buildings home.
The number of agencies has increased rapidly over the years, but opportunity still exists for enterprising students with fresh ideas. Current agencies offer services ranging from building lofts to providing computer equipment and VCR rental.