These past few weeks have been a crunch. Every class seemed to have a quiz or major assignment due. In spite of the busy schedule, I took some time to attend a few interesting events.
Tuesday (4/18)— Whitman College hosted another roundtable luncheon with President Eisgruber. Much of the discussions centered around the freedom of speech. President Eisgruber (correctly) defended students’ rights to voice controversial and unpopular opinions on campus. Most, but not all, of the students seemed to agree with this. At the end, he told us about the new names for West College and Robertson Hall’s auditorium 15 minutes before they were publicly announced. Before leaving he said, “sorry to those of you who wanted it named Cornel West College.”
In the afternoon, I went to a lecture titled “The Degradation of Traditional American Values” by former Senator Rick Santorum. No sweater vest this time. I was quite surprised that the room was packed. Although I didn’t agree with most of what he said, it was a fascinating talk. Santorum speaks like a preacher. But he had one line where I thought he was absolutely right:
“You [the top 20% of income earners] are going to practice what you don’t preach. You overwhelmingly are going to be married and in stable relationships. You overwhelmingly are not going to have children out of wedlock. You overwhelmingly are going to go to church…And you look the same as the group coming out of here 40 years ago…All of the sociological factors have not changed. Why? Because it works and you’re not stupid.”
Students at Princeton talk as if all of these issues aren’t important, and that people are free to do whatever they want. But I am certain that the vast majority will follow the same general path that Santorum outlines. This is part of an ongoing debate that was sparked by alumnae Susan Patton in 2013.
Afterwards, I went to a training session where some of the dining staff taught us manners for business dinners. The food was excellent!
Friday— Princeton Preview is an event where the University invites admitted high schoolers to spend a night a Princeton. Each one stays in the dorm with a current student. I met up with a CR admittee the previous night and then picked up student from Indiana. He was choosing between Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and MIT. I gave Princeton the best possible pitch, but I later found out that he picked the HVAC school down the street from Cambridge Community College (those are our nicknames for MIT and Harvard, respectively).
In the evening, I went to a Whig-Clio debate on “selling out.” This is a term used at Princeton to denote seniors who work in consulting. Usually they are studying politics, engineering, or some other subject and go to Wall Street because of the lucrative starting salaries (+$100,000 per year). There are tons of firms that descend on the campus every year to recruit students. Quite frankly, they don’t care what your grade is as long as you have an Ivy League degree. It is a very hot subject at Princeton. While I don’t have anything against people who work for the banks, I voted against selling out. For the first time in almost a year, the Clios won.
Wednesday— I woke up to a strange sight in the morning. When I went into the bathroom, there was a guy walking into the shower. He was covered in oatmeal. The room smelled like rotten milk. I have no idea what was going on with him.
Thursday— I went to the graduate school for dinner. They had nachos.
I didn’t have to host a student for the second Princeton Preview, but I went to the Whig-Clio debate for it anyways. This was about punishing private speech. Originally, the argument focused on the recent punishments for the Harvard men’s soccer team, Princeton men’s diving team, and Columbia men’s wrestling team. Then, the conversation diverted to other topics. We weren’t really sure what we were debating because the topic was very open. Ultimately, I decided to err on the side of free speech and voted with the Clios. The Whigs overwhelmingly won.
While I was walking back to my dorm near midnight, I ran into an arch sing near Blair Arch. Several acapella groups were trading off to sing late into the night.
Friday— Martin Shkreli was invited to campus by the Princeton Corporate Finance Club. I know that I wrote against him in The Daily Princetonian, but I decided to listen anyways. Shkreli can’t give a coherent lecture. He began by giving everyone a logic problem and promised to pay all of the college expenses for the first person who solved it. I doubt that anyone did. Then he talked about the chemistry of drugs and how they are priced. Throughout it all, he maintained that he was not guilty, and that everyone was out to get him. I don’t believe it. There’s something slimy about him.
Sunday— A bunch of Texans had a party in the Whitman Courtyard. I never thought that I would see a bunch of cowboy hats and boots at Princeton.
Monday— The infamous fences have returned to Princeton. They go up in the spring of every year in preparation for alumni Reunions. New Jersey alcohol laws require that establishments serve alcohol indoors. To meet this requirement, Princeton puts up a bunch of fences and tents over the course of a month.
I competed in the Rusher Debate that is part of the Woodrow Wilson Honorary Debate Panel. Going in, I knew that I would not win but chose to do so anyways to gain experience.
Next, I went to a James Madison Program concert that featured Professor Robert George as a singer for his college bluegrass band.
Wednesday— I finished my Outdoor Action training.
Thursday— Whig-Clio has an annual tradition where senior members are roasted by classmates during a dinner where everyone eats Chinese food. It was pretty funny to hear a bunch of jokes about the next class of high level politicos.
Friday— I watched Hasan Minhaj do a comedy routine in Richardson Auditorium. Minhaj hosted the recent White House Correspondents Dinner. He read a bit from two alternate scripts that he had prepared in case the President or Ben Carson had decided to attend.
Only three weeks left, and then I will go to the Bahamas!