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Third annual Wintersession to offer 525 courses

Snow falls in front of a red brick arch on campus.
The most recent snowstorm turned campus into a short-lived winter wonderland. 
Julian Gottfried / The Daily Princetonian

The Office of Campus Engagement (OCE) will host Princeton’s third annual Wintersession on Jan. 16-29, offering 525 free courses taught by administrators, faculty members, students, and community members. 

The 525 courses offered this January will be led by 389 on-campus facilitators. Additionally, 15 facilitators were hired from the Princeton, Trenton, and Philadelphia area to lead sessions on topics as diverse as knitting, ceramics, and figure drawing. Offerings include courses from “A Drum Machine in Your Mouth: The Art of Beatboxing” to “How to Beat Your Grandma at Scrabble” to “Organic Chemistry for Anyone!”


OCE recently hosted four “Registration Fairs,” at which they handed students free tote bags with a course catalog. With additional giveaways, including nail polish and T-shirts, OCE is heavily advertising Wintersession’s first non-COVID-afflicted year.

Judy Jarvis, OCE’s founding director, outlined her goals for Wintersession, which included “support and promote students’ mental health, wellbeing and resilience,” “[encouraging] imperfection and risk-taking,” and “[encouraging] students, faculty, and staff to connect in new and different ways,” in an email to The Daily Princetonian. 

Nemo Newman ’23, a senior in the Art and Archaeology department, was OCE’s first student worker. 

“The idea behind Wintersession has remained consistent throughout its three years, we have just changed the form and the phrasing of what we do,” Newman said in an interview with the ‘Prince.’

Proposals for workshops and trips can be submitted by any of the groups or individuals listed above, including alumni and outside speakers. Proposals for this year’s trips and day events were invited in October, and those for evening events were welcomed in November.  

Lecturer in Spanish and Portuguese Amina Shabani is hosting two sessions this year: “Homegrown Produce and Flowers” and “Travel through Cookbooks and Your Senses.” In line with the goals of Wintersession, Shabani hopes to share her rest- and relaxation-focused hobbies with others through these courses. 


“Cooking and gardening allow me to unwind, relax and take care of myself especially during stressful times,” she wrote.

Wintersession is completely separate from Princeton’s academic year and normal academic standards. 

“Wintersession emphasizes nongraded, no perfection required,” Shabani wrote.

Shabani also spoke to the community-building aspects of Wintersession, saying “​​As a new faculty member, I love that I am able to get to know and learn from students, faculty and staff that I would have never met if it wasn’t for Wintersession.”

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Wintersession 2023 registration opened on Dec. 1. 

“We had a number of offerings that filled up within hours of registration opening on December 1st — especially trips, hands-on arts sessions and coding sessions,” Jarvis wrote. 

Students who wanted to sign up to an already fully enrolled event were put on a waitlist. OCE is trying to work with facilitators to meet some of this excess demand, asking them to open additional sections. 

“50 have already agreed to do so,” Jarvis wrote. “The people who were on the waitlist of the original section will get first dibs at the spots in the new section, and then after that, any additional spots will be open to all.”

Jarvis recommends joining waitlists for offerings community members are interested in. 

“Our experience from the last two years has been that the offering rosters move around a lot — people drop out, some facilitators increase the number of spots, and we duplicate any we can,” she wrote.

Wintersession is entirely free for all students, including housing and meals. Undergraduates can return to campus as early as Jan. 13.

Chas Brown is a news contributor for thePrince.Please direct any corrections to corrections[at]