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Princeton Athletics is launching a new initiative to boost student attendance at Princeton sporting events: adding study carrels to the stands at its sporting facilities.
The plan involves placing study stations similar to those found at libraries across campus in Princeton’s athletic facilities, starting with a pilot program at Princeton Stadium and Jadwin Gymnasium in Fall 2020.
“We want all of our students to be able to participate in Princeton’s rich athletic tradition, but we realize that taking hours to attend an athletic event can be difficult to balance with academic commitments,” the statement said. “We hope that this bold new initiative will allow students to attend games without sacrificing academic performance.”
The study carrels will be located in the upper decks of Princeton Stadium and Jadwin Gym, areas that are typically sparsely populated with fans.
“We’re proud to be the first university in the country to introduce such a program,” the statement continued. “At many universities, students have to choose between supporting athletics and excelling in academics. Not at Princeton.”
Some students appeared eager about the initiative, praising the creative blend of academics and athletics.
“I love watching football, but Saturday afternoons are prime problem set time,” one junior said. “This way, I can do both. Watch a play, write a line of code; play, line of code.”
Others appear unlikely to attend athletic events anyways.
“It’s a cool idea, but I don’t see myself taking advantage of it,” one student said. “I think the game taking place right below you would be pretty distracting. I have a hard time getting focused unless I’m in the basement of Lewis Library with absolutely no contact with the outside world.”
The introduction of study spaces to sporting arenas would be an unprecedented measure, but some athletes and coaches saw the potential for the proposal to give Princeton a unique competitive advantage.
“I’m excited about this new program,” one football coach said in an email. “The sound of thousands of students furiously typing away before a big third-down play will definitely be intimidating for our opponents.”
Sources told the ‘Prince’ that the University discussed other proposals to boost attendance, including mandating that every first-year join The Daily Princetonian’s Sports section, before settling on this one.
The Department of Athletics is also considering other bold initiatives to merge athletics and academics, like allowing players unlikely to enter the game to edit papers from the bench and encouraging athletes concentrating in the sciences and engineering to run to their labs to check on experiments during halftime.
“We recognize that participating in varsity athletics can place a strain on student-athletes’ busy academic calendars,” the statement said. “Here at Princeton, we’re redefining what it means to be a student and an athlete.”