Author Archives: David Walter

Tilghman on tour: A postcard from Hong Kong

A view of the Hong Kong skyline. (Photo: iStockPhoto)

Former On the Campus columnist David Walter ’11, a Princeton-in-Asia fellow at the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong, sent this dispatch to PAW after attending an alumni gathering last week.

HONG KONG — The Feb. 1 event was billed as a celebration of the Aspire campaign, a chance for Shirley Tilghman and trustees to thank Asia alums for contributing to Princeton’s most recent endowment drive.

But in light of Tilghman’s September decision to step down as president, the reception at Hong Kong’s JW Marriott Hotel couldn’t help but feel like the first stop in a season-long farewell tour.

“I’m doing nothing else all spring, practically,” Tilghman has told the Daily Princetonian, speaking of the Aspire parties planned for Hong Kong, London, and seven U.S. cities.

It’s easy to see why Tilghman made the trek out East. Hong Kong is Asia’s financial hub, and Asia — if you haven’t heard — is the future. Even today, contributions from the Asia-Pacific region made up $49 million of Aspire’s $1.88 billion fundraising total.

In typical Hong Kong fashion, when alums on Friday weren’t reminiscing about the good old days or pulling Tilghman aside to express thanks, they were talking shop:

“Exit price is not the same as entry price…”

“What happens in China is what everyone wants to know…”

“And, eventually, I went into finance…”

Money is global nowadays, and so too are universities. In addition to boosting Princeton’s capabilities in neuroscience and environmental studies through Aspire, Tilghman also increased the school’s engagement with Asia through programs like the Bridge Year, which sends students abroad for service projects in four locations, including one in India and one in China.

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Bugging out: Students dine on insect delicacies

The facts are these: Insects are one of the world’s most environmentally sustainable sources of edible protein, and are enjoyed as such by many cultures as part of a nutritious meal. One hundred grams of silkworm larvae, for example, provides 100 percent of a person’s daily zinc and iron requirements.

Environmental Discourses on the Ingestion of Bugs League

But for most Americans, when push comes to shove – when those silkworms are staring out from a plateful of worm-and-mushroom risotto – facts fly out the window to make room for baser revulsion and fear.

Members of Environmental Discourses on the Ingestion of Bugs League (EDIBL), a new student group on campus, argue that this fear stems from nothing more than irrational social conditioning (crustaceans are basically the insects of the sea, right?). They argue that this conditioning can, and should, be reversed.

And so on Nov. 13, EDIBL prepared a special bug-tasting dinner for 25 brave and lucky Princeton students (the author included) in the hopes of winning converts to its cause.

The aforementioned risotto didn’t appear until more than halfway through the seven-course meal, served small-plate-style in the Campus Club dining room. First up from EDIBL head chef (and president) Rena Chen ’11 were less threatening warm-up dishes like mealworm-sprinkled bruschetta.
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