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As a member of Quipfire!, an improv comedy group on campus, I know the elements of a comedic performance when I see one. Donald Trump’s words and actions on stage at CPAC 2019, the annual gathering of conservative activists, held this year in National Harbor, Maryland, proved more similar to an absurdist one-man improv show than a direct address by the president of the United States. He began the two-and-a-half-hour speech by hugging the American flag and declaring, “You know I’m totally off-script right now.” The improv performance was filled with voices, impressions, expletives, and absurd untruths.
Today, March 15, young people around the world are participating in strikes for climate action. We, along with others in the Princeton community, will be joining them. Princeton students have a determined history of environmental and energy action, working with the University to lead by example as a sustainability-oriented campus, and independently advocating for action beyond our campus. Students have worked at the town and state level on solutions aligned with the global goal of keeping temperature rise below 2º Celsius. Students have also sought to foster conversation across a range of environmental perspectives, giving rise to a range of green groups on campus such as the Princeton Student Climate Initiative, the Princeton Conservation Society, and the newly formed Princeton Environmental Activism Coalition.
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!
We can and should do more when it comes to offering our students research opportunities. The cutting edge of research shouldn’t just be available to Ph.D.s, graduate students, and faculty. Rather, there should be more of an active effort to recruit undergraduates into these positions. I don’t say this because I am envious of research in higher education — it’s a well-known fact that undergraduates have access to as many, or even more resources, than grad students here — but because I see a waste of resources in putting the majority of our students in nonacademic campus jobs.
The rise of Tiger Confessions since last October has generated plenty of discussion around campus, as the Facebook page’s popularity seemingly exploded over winter break with no signs of letting up. Many have contributed to the important conversation of how this page, which now boasts over 6,000 posts, is affecting Princeton’s culture and how we should respond. These discussions have included an interview with the founder, known by the pseudonym Ty Ger, in The Daily Princetonian, and a recent op-ed by Managing Editor Samuel Aftel.
Around a month ago, a Duke University professor sent out an email to her graduate students warning them not to speak Chinese on campus. In her email, she cautions that her colleagues were “disappointed that [the students] were not taking the opportunity to improve their English” and “being so impolite,” even though the conversations took place in the student lounge/study areas. Furthermore, she states that students who continued to do so would, as a result, receive fewer opportunities for internships and projects.
On Feb. 19, Hayden Williams — a representative of a group that provides training for conservative campus groups — was assaulted by Zachary Greenberg, an Oakland resident, at the University of California, Berkeley. Though, according to the New York Times, neither man was a student at the university, free speech on college campuses is often a popular topic in the news, and the recent event that unfolded at the U.C. Berkeley has once again brought it to the attention of the American media.
Compared to other universities, Princeton takes a unique approach toward student alcohol consumption. Although “Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities” makes clear that underage drinking is illegal, the University does not penalize inebriated students who are checked into McCosh Health Center. Instead, the University reserves disciplinary action against students who fail to “McCosh” one of their very drunk peers.
When “Green Book” was selected as Best Picture at the 2019 Oscars, many viewers were outraged. Observers criticized the film for its simplistic depiction of race relations in America and disputed its portrayal of the real-life relationship between Tony Vallelonga and Don Shirley.
A liberal arts education obligates students to examine a wide range of geographic areas and appraise a broad expanse of ideas. As A.B. departments’ course offerings reveal, however, students can easily skirt around studying areas other than Europe and the United States. History, Politics, the Wilson School, and Philosophy, to name but a few departments, privilege scholarship on Europe and the United States.
Since the anti-apartheid movement began in the 1960s, dozens of divestment campaigns have swept through Princeton’s campus. Yet more often than not, the University has chosen to deny student demands, including the push to divest from fossil fuels in 2015. It’s not like choosing to divest is an uncommon decision, either, especially with regard to climate change. Across the country, 48 U.S. universities have either partially or fully divested from fossil fuels. So why does Princeton consistently avoid shifting its investments?
Loneliness is an inevitable feeling. No matter how many people you may surround yourself with, you’re going to feel lonely at some point. It may sneak up on you during a quiet moment in the day walking between classes, or when you’re pulling an all-nighter and find yourself alone in a group study space. While it may not be fun to be lonely, it’s incredibly important.
This past February, it seemed like every day some new story of racism appeared in my news feed. Blackface controversies spread from the leadership of Virginia’s state government to the fashion industry. At the same time, oversight of persistent racial discrimination in favor of feel-good stories about a post-racial society influenced both Howard Schultz’s claim “I don’t see color” and the triumph of “Green Book” at the Academy Awards. And that’s just to name a few incidents.
Courtesy of Sascha Kohlmann / Wikimedia Commons
I joined the Army directly out of high school. I spent four years as a medic, including a deployment to Afghanistan. Afterwards, I attended two different community colleges and graduated with an associate degree.
A couple of weeks ago, I received a startling email in the Forbes listserv from a student claiming that he had ruined his eyes by overusing electronic screens. Maybe you remember seeing the email, too, with its foreboding title: “Don’t Be Me. Graduate on Time!” Later that day, I brought the email up with some friends, and we reflected on its urgency, half shrugging it off but half wondering whether such a thing could really happen to us — would we wake up one morning, suddenly unable to look at a phone or computer, like the email’s author said happened to him?