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Wintersession garners increasing demand as initiative enters fourth year

Lucey Campus Club

Wintersession, which is set to begin this year on Monday, Jan. 14, is offering more workshops than ever. Its increased popularity has led to issues with the registration website crashing at opening and the addition of last-minute course offerings to meet the record demand. Additionally, participants this year have access to a new “Wintersession Planner” app.

Wintersession is an initiative out of the Office of Campus Engagement (OCE). The OCE is a part of the Office of the Vice President for Campus Life and coordinates several community-building projects across campus, including this fall’s Community Care Day pilot. OCE held Wintersession, as it exists now, for the first time in 2021.


Registration for the fourth campus-wide Wintersession opened Dec. 11 with at least 525 offerings for students, faculty, and staff to choose from including highlights such as an “Introduction to Programming Using Python” workshop, “Congress from the Inside” with former Congressman and Princeton faculty member Mickey Edwards, and a “Beyond the Resume” keynote with actor Nick Offerman. Programs range from categories such as “academic growth” and “fitness and strength.”

According to the OCE, as of Jan. 5, there were 3,807 registrants who had signed up for one or more Wintersession offerings. On average, registrants have signed up for 5.7 offerings each with 21,570 total registrations.

There has been a noticeable increase each year in both attendees and workshop facilitators. While Wintersession 2023 had 407 unique on-campus facilitators leading programs, Wintersession 2024 will have 476. Additionally, there has been an increase in offerings over the years, from 483 offerings in 2023, 414 in 2022, and 316 in 2021.

As Wintersession’s popularity increases, many students have had difficulty registering for the sessions they were interested in, especially those of high interest. 

Edalix Marin ’27 was able to sign up for the sessions she was interested in when registration opened but noted delays in the process including a site crash. 

Because of these delays and high demand, on Jan. 4, OCE announced on Instagram and via email that it had “recently added more spots and duplicated some of the high-demand Wintersession offerings.”


OCE Executive Director Judy Jarvis is greatly encouraged by the strong interest in Wintersession 2024. “It’s exciting that so many people on campus — undergrads, grad students, faculty, and staff — have so many talents and passions that they want to share with the community via Wintersession,” she told the ‘Prince.’ “The OCE team and the Wintersession Advisory Committee (which reviews the proposals) have been thrilled and delighted by the creativity and range of what people have submitted this year.”

Some of the key players behind Wintersession are the OCE student fellows. These students act as a “liaison between facilitators and OCE,” according to OCE fellow Lauren Malek ’26. 

Jarvis noted that the OCE continues to build Wintersession based on community feedback. For example, in past years, there was increased interest for additional off-campus trips, so over 85 trips were offered this year as compared to last year’s 50.   

One addition to the initiative this year was a student-created “Wintersession Planner” app. This launch came in response to student and staff feedback on difficulty navigating the numerous Wintersession offerings on the MyPrincetonU software.

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In the summer of 2022, Jarvis contacted Professor Robert Dondero to inquire into the possibility of a Wintersession bookmarking app that could be a project idea for students in his COS 333 class. Lauren Okamoto ’24, Alina Chen ’24, Emily Kang ’24, Erica Hsueh ’24, and Aria Nagai ’24 coordinated to create this software. Okamoto continued work on the app through fall of 2023 before its launch.

The Wintersession Planner allows users to favorite sessions and plan their Wintersession experience on a calendar interface. On Dec. 11, the planner averaged 3,500 users per hour.

Registration will remain open throughout Wintersession, with a ‘spots open’ feature on the planner app allowing participants to sort by sessions with spots still available. There are currently still over 100 sessions with openings.

Isabel Connolly is a Staff News Writer for the ‘Prince.’

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