Week (and a half) in Review 11/13-22/16

I have not posted in a while because I ran into some technical difficulties. When I tried to upload pictures onto the website last week, WordPress notified me that I had exceeded my data limit. As a result, my posts will no longer feature pictures on WordPress; instead, I will include a link to a photo album on Google Drive. If the pictures appear blurry or grainy, try to make them smaller. A title for each picture will either appear in the bottom or top left of the screen.

Photo Album

Sunday— For brunch, I traveled to the Graduate School. Several people had told me that it was very good, so I decided to investigate. I thought that the food lived up to its reputation. Although it did not have Forbes’ chocolate fountain, the overall quality of the food was much better than that of the residential colleges’. The magnificent ambiance of Proctor Hall only augmented the experience.

I went on a scavenger hunt to find all of the spires and gargoyles of Princeton around noon.

Monday— I decided that I would run for the position of Class Senator for the Undergraduate Student Government (USG).

Tuesday— As usual, I went to the Geosciences Department’s lecture. The room was packed. This time, they invited Peter Singer, a world renowned philosopher from Princeton. He is perhaps best known for his controversial opinions on abortion and infanticide. Today, he spoke about the suffering of wild animals and why humans should care about issues such as deforestation. It was an excellent lecture in which he outlined his belief that humans should mitigate the pain of other sentient beings. Full Lecture

Wednesday— In the evening, I returned to the Mafia Villa, Prospect House, for a James Madison Program dinner with political scientist Dr. Dan DiSalvo of the City College of New York. We talked for several hours about the politics of Medicaid across the country. His research focused on the influence of interest groups, like unions, on policymaking. Dinner was excellent. Princeton students should always take advantage of Prospect House dinners whenever the opportunity is presented.

Thursday— My roommate helped me take pictures around Princeton for my USG election posters. The pictures are in the album.

During the late afternoon, I went to a Physics Department lecture by Professor Duncan Haldane, one of three 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics winners. He discussed his research in the field of topological matter for an hour. I barely understood a word of what he said. From what I could deduce, I believe that his work involves quantum mechanics and the studying of matter’s properties at an atomic/subatomic level.

Whitman College had a Thanksgiving dinner for everyone. The dining hall was decorated with white lights for the occasion.

Friday— I went to several shows and the Orange and Black Ball. More on that in a later post.

Saturday— The day began when I attended a USG open house that provided information on running for office.

Earlier in the week, I was selected to be one of the primary debaters for the Whig-Clio debate of the month. This debate would focus on the notion that the Electoral should be abolished. There were posters for it around campus.

My roommate took me to a Korean culture event. I enjoyed the free food.

As I mentioned previously, I was accepted by “The Prince” to become an opinion writer. Saturday was “promos,” one of their two biggest days of the year. It is the time when writers and workers are promoted to the next level. As a writer who joined two weeks ago, I knew that I was not going to be promoted, but I decided to attend regardless. It started with the Opinion section going out to dinner at Hunan, a local Chinese restaurant. An hour later, there was an Opinion party in a staff room. It was merely a gathering of the campus’ writers to drink and discuss campus issues in a manner that one would expect writers to do. I could imagine F. Scott Fitzgerald himself at a gathering like this a hundred years ago, discussing the challenges of his generation with fellow Princetonians.

Around midnight, it began to snow. I have never before, in my entire life, seen it snow in November.

Sunday— I went to New York City, through Whitman College, on an art trip. First, we went to the Met Breuer museum. It had mostly modern art. Then, the group split and everyone went on their separate ways. I stayed with three other students and walked around The Met. My favorite part was the American art section. I geeked out on the famous portraits of Washington, Hamilton, Franklin, and other Founding Fathers. We traveled both ways by train. It is about a two hour trip into New York City. Art Trip Photo Album

Monday— I was the closing speaker for the Clios in the monthly Whig-Clio debate. This time they debated the motion “This House would abolish the Electoral College.” Debates follow this format:

  1. The Whigs (liberals) deliver a 7-minute opening statement in favor of the motion.
  2. The Clios (conservatives) give a 7-minute speech in opposition of the motion.
  3. The President of the Senate allows people to deliver 2-minute speeches from the floor. He alternates between Whigs and Clios. This continues for an hour. People bang their chairs when they agree with a statement and hiss when they disagree.
  4. The Clios give a 5-minute closing statement. This was my part.
  5. The Whigs give a 5-minute closing statement.
  6. Everyone signs their name in an old book under “Whig” or “Clio” to vote for who “won”the argument; people usually vote their own opinion on the motion. The book contains signatures of students from decades ago, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz ’92.

Going into the debate, I already knew that the Clios were going to lose the vote. Everyone already had their opinion determined. But, I was surprised at the number of people who actually wanted to preserve the Electoral College. By the time I had to speak, the room seemed to favor the Whigs. I delivered a powerful closing statement. A few students came to me afterwards and said that it was, “spectacular” (not to brag too much). I thought that my opponent’s closing statement was also very thorough and thoughtful. Ultimately, as expected, the Clios lost the vote, though not by much. I very much enjoyed this experience, and it cemented my desire to try out for the debate team again in the spring.

Listen to the full debate. My speech begins at 57 minutes. My voting record.

Tuesday— Last week, I went to a dinner by Dr. Jose Colen for the James Madison Program. He gave a talk on political theory. A few days later, he offered to talk to me further at Bobst Hall, the headquarters for the Program. He asked me about a few of my responses to his questions at the dinner. When he learned that I was a geosciences major, he asked me why I was at a political discussion. I receive this question often at Whig-Clio, James Madison, guest lectures, and other politics related events.

Photo Album

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