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Cecile Richards, the former president of Planned Parenthood, recently spoke at the University about her newly published memoir. I, along with hundreds of students and community members, jumped at the opportunity to listen to her speak. At the end of the question and answer portion of the event, a student in the first few rows of Friend 101 raised her hand and asked a question that was markedly different than the previous ones.
The state of New York recently announced that it would investigate and launch a lawsuit against the Sackler family, whose members control Purdue Pharma, the company that produces OxyContin, for manipulating the public’s perception of prescription painkillers and contributing to the hundreds of thousands of deaths that have resulted from opioid addiction. Although the Sackler family, as well as pharmaceutical companies, have played a crucial role in the opioid epidemic, this investigation bypasses another party that is equally to blame: the physicians who have overprescribed addictive painkillers.
This past week, a group of scientists in London announced that, for the second time ever, a patient was cured of HIV. This replicated the same procedure used 12 years ago for the first patient who was cured of HIV, which involves a bone marrow transplant meant to treat both patients for cancer. Thus, both patients are considered to be in “long-term remission” for both their forms of cancer and for HIV. Though this procedure can only be done in patients with both HIV and cancer, it suggests that a more widespread cure of HIV/AIDS is possible. This announcement came decades after HIV/AIDS activism reached a peak in the 1980s with the activity of organizations like Act Up!
I’ve never been lucky with course registration. Most of my experiences have been stressful and chaotic, like when I initially got into zero of four desired classes in my sophomore fall, or when the neuroscience department only offered one class, at one specific time, in one specific semester, to fulfill a requirement.
This past week, many students returned to campus after exciting travels over Intersession. When planning a trip, most people consider budget, location, and the people joining them. One thing, however, is often left off of the list: tourism’s impact on the environment and local communities. Though they may not find it glamorous or exciting to think about, students should attempt to travel sustainably in the various breaks that allow for that opportunity. The effects of not doing so are critically detrimental.
It took me far too long, but I recently acknowledged an experience of sexual assault while at the University. It was a textbook incident: the type that almost every University student hears about in campus-wide trainings or orientation programming. It was “typical” in that way, but I have come to learn that coping with a sexual assault is not nearly as simple as some programming makes it out to be. What they don’t tell you in the trainings is that the processing that has to occur in order to truly heal goes far beyond the moment at which the assault is reported, if it is reported at all.
A recent column, “On #StandUpToHarvard and club purpose,” addresses the recent lawsuit filed by Kappa Alpha Theta and Kappa Kappa Gamma against Harvard, following the University’s ban on single-sex Greek organizations. The column argues that Greek organizations are failing to keep up with the progressive movements in gender and women’s empowerment, and thus need to rebrand themselves to maintain their places on university campuses. The author states, “Greek organizations will have to do better in defining their missions and objectives to the public eye and the schools around which they operate. Simply appealing to concepts of tradition, opportunity, and brother or sisterhood in a more critical and mindful world becomes less effective each day.”
Almost halfway done with my last year at Princeton, I’ve found myself getting more stressed. That’s an unusual statement; most of my friends would likely say that my baseline of self-imposed anxiety is already relatively high. But still, I’ve found my stress levels rising above that baseline, for several reasons. I’ve been stressed about whether I took full advantage of my four years here, stressed about whether I’m doing everything I need to be right now, and stressed about what lies beyond the celebration of Reunions and graduation. I don’t think I’m the only one who has felt this way, particularly among the senior class. Thus, I urge my peers to turn to the same method I have to combat stress: mindfulness, especially surrounding our current environment and all that it has to offer.
In a recent decision by the Supreme Court, our ability as students to call for change and have direct impact on environmental issues was upheld. This past Friday, the Supreme Court denied the Trump administration’s request to dismiss the Juliana vs. United States case. This case, brought by plaintiffs ranging from 10 to 21 years of age, alleges that the federal government has harmed living conditions for the citizens of Oregon by permitting the burning of fossil fuels, despite knowing what the negative effects would be. The plaintiffs have reasonably argued that the government’s prioritization of the fossil fuel industry over the environment is a direct violation of their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as these rights become less accessible in a declining environment. The federal government should respond to these demands by combating climate change through further regulations on the fossil fuel industry.
Growing up in Florida, hurricanes were just a part of life. There were usually one or two hurricanes or tropical storms a year, and some years saw even greater numbers. In 2004, there were four hurricanes: Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. Though each of these hurricanes caused significant damage, my memories are rosy: having hurricane days off from school, spending the day building forts with flashlights, and even a trip to the beach in Tampa when we had to evacuate from hurricane-stricken Orlando.
Like many students, I spent Sept. 27, the day of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the U.S. Senate, on edge. I checked my phone at every break between classes, opened my laptop at every chance, and tried to decipher which professors would let me watch the hearing while sitting in seminar. At the end of the day, despite the evidence that Kavanaugh was not fit to be a Supreme Court justice, the national conversations surrounding both of the Kavanaugh hearings were not as punishing as one might have expected.
When I arrived at Princeton as a wide-eyed freshman, joining a sorority was the last thing on my mind. This was especially true given the broad negative stereotypes that surround Greek life organizations, including that they are entirely focused on social life or that their membership is based on superficial characteristics. During freshman year, however, I realized that many of the upperclassmen whom I most admired were all a part of Greek life, so I decided to go through recruitment on a whim — despite some of those negative stereotypes. Little did I know that joining a sorority would be one of the most integral of my experiences at Princeton.
In every University graduating class, there are hundreds of students who plan to pursue a career in medicine. Medical schools have tough enrollment requirements such as organic chemistry, molecular biology, and physics to start, on top of a wide range of electives and extracurriculars. The work of students who successfully complete all of the requirements should be commended, given the difficulty of these classes on top of the time commitment required for clinical experience and studying for the MCAT. These classes and experiences are integral to a future career as a doctor — biochemistry, for example, provides a foundation for learning how certain drugs affect metabolism and cell function, which is undoubtedly necessary for doctors. Yet as comprehensive as pre-medical requirements are in some areas, they are lacking in others that are critical to an effective career in medicine.
In early January, Asifa Bano, an 8-year-old girl in Northern India, was repeatedly raped and then murdered after being taken from a meadow where her cows were grazing. Bano was a member of the Bakarwals, a tribe of nomads who wander Northern India and purchase leases on land for their herds. In recent years, there has been a rise of anti-Bakarwal sentiment among the Hindu people in the Northern Kathua region. Police believe that the crime against Bano was perpetrated by at least three men in a nearby temple owned by an anti-Bakarwal leader. As a result, many sources have called Bano’s rape a hate crime against the Muslim Bakarwal people, meant to drive them out of their land. However, this label of a religious hate crime shifts focus from what the crime actually was: the rape of a young girl, in a country where this is far too common.
The feeling that nothing has been accomplished over the weekend haunts much of Princeton’s campus each Sunday night. There are endless declarations of “I didn’t do anything this weekend” or “I was so unproductive.” But if you ask almost any of the people making these declarations what they did that weekend, they will describe a weekend that is actually far from unproductive. Most people spend their down time attending talks, dance and theatre performances, or sports games. These events, though a distraction from schoolwork, add many important experiences to students’ time at Princeton, and allow students to form connections that cannot be found inside in a lecture hall. Perhaps it’s time for us to recognize that time spent building friendships and building community is just as productive as time spent working on schoolwork.
In recent months, the University has implemented major reforms in student health care for Counseling and Psychological Services. These reforms include reducing wait times from three weeks to six days and employing a team of professionals trained to handle eating disorders. These actions are major steps forward in making the environment of the University more inclusive and helpful to students struggling with their mental health, but there are other aspects of the student health care system that need to be reformed. Specifically, the sexual health department at McCosh Health Center desperately needs to improve its accessibility and breadth of services.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Utah throughout my life, including this most recent spring break. I’ve gone back to visit family and hit the slopes of Park City every year for as long as I could remember. Though this tradition has fallen to the wayside since coming to Princeton, it only took a few days in the mountains to remind me of Utah’s unique value, with all of its wild and natural spaces.
I attended a small preparatory high school, the Episcopal School of Jacksonville, known colloquially as Episcopal. For about 890 students, ranging from sixth to 12th grade, the school provides a sense of home, safety, and possibility. It’s the type of school generations of families attend with its manicured courtyards and stately brick buildings.