Category Archives: Campus News

Zhang ’16 Explores Street Art for Summer Dale Project

Hosier Lane is a popular locale in Melbourne’s street-art scene. (Courtesy Maggie Zhang ’16)

Hosier Lane is a popular locale in Melbourne’s street-art scene. (Courtesy Maggie Zhang ’16)

Maggie Zhang ’16 at 5 Pointz in New York. (Courtesy Maggie Zhang)

Maggie Zhang ’16 at 5 Pointz in New York. (Courtesy Maggie Zhang)

As a high-school student in Syracuse, N.Y., photographer Maggie Zhang ’16 found art in unlikely places, including the walls of abandoned buildings in her hometown. She became fascinated with street art and began to seek it out, visiting New York City’s 5 Pointz, a now-defunct graffiti mecca, during her freshman year at Princeton. In August, with the help a Martin A. Dale ’53 Summer Award, Zhang explored one of the world’s great street-art centers: Melbourne, Australia.

Zhang spent part of her time photographing favorite murals and ephemera, but her primary goal was to learn more about the people behind the thriving street-art scene. Through interviews with artists, she found that the community covers a broad spectrum. Some are consultants by day, others paint as a form of political activism, and a few aspire to turn their street art into gallery exhibitions. Continue reading

‘Excellent Sheep’ Author Deresiewicz Discusses Admissions, Career Paths at Whig-Clio

William Deresiewicz’s New Republic article, “Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League,” an inflammatory critique of the Ivy League, went viral this summer and sparked national debate about the nation’s top schools and the culture they create.

Princeton students had a chance to fire back at Deresiewicz, who came to Whig Hall Sept. 25 after visiting several other Ivy League schools to promote his book, Excellent Sheep. The book, which expands on the article, argues that elite universities train students to become “excellent sheep” — individuals who excel at completing tasks for their own sake, at the expense of self-discovery and direction.

After a talk by Deresiewicz, who attended Columbia and taught at Yale for a decade, students criticized the author’s proposals for reforming the college admission process, which include reducing applications to timed essays and evaluating applicants solely by their GPA. Continue reading

Krugman Examines Lessons of European Economic Crisis

“Nobody actually successfully predicted this crisis,” Paul Krugman said in an Oct. 6 campus lecture about Europe’s recent economic crisis. “There were a few people who did predict it, but they also predicted 10 other crises that didn’t happen.”

Krugman, a Nobel laureate in economics and New York Times columnist, opened this year’s Walter E. Edge Lecture Series, drawing a full house at McCosh 50 and two additional rooms, where the audience watched on closed-circuit TV. The renowned economist will be retiring from Princeton and joining the faculty of the City University of New York at the end of the academic year.

Krugman shared “three real lessons” to learn from Europe. Lesson number one: “Not having a currency of your own is a very dangerous thing.” He explained the benefits of having a national currency by comparing Spain and Florida. Comparing the two real-estate busts, Krugman pointed out that “without anyone saying let’s bail out Florida, Florida received what amounted to insurance against the downturn,” thanks to federal safety nets. Spain had none of those and its large budget deficits engendered concerns about the country running out of money. In contrast, the United States cannot run out of money, “at least in the normal stage of events,” since it has its own currency. Continue reading

Will *68: Campus Culture Needs ‘Small Groups With Good Arguments’

College campuses, with their homogeneous culture, “are in danger of becoming boring,” Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will ’68 warned at a talk in McCosh Hall Sept. 29.

Will, speaking at an event sponsored by the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, touted Princeton as an institution where the freedom of exchange of ideas is not an ideal but a reality.

Professor Robert George, director of the Madison Program, reflecting on his experiences teaching on other campuses, said he noticed that at Princeton “we don’t shut people down. Our students feel comfortable expressing their opinions on term papers, junior papers, senior thesis, even if they dissent from campus orthodoxies, in most cases even if they deviate from the point of view from the professors who will be grading the exams or papers.”

Both Will and George lauded Princeton for its intellectually heterogeneous culture, not allowing one point of view to dominate the intellectual discourse. George cited John Stuart Mill’s philosophy of seriously considering opposing points of view to enhance one’s understanding of the subject matter and one’s own position. Continue reading

Tiger of the Week: Roger Nierenberg ’69, a Maestro of Organizational Dynamics

Roger Nierenberg ’69, left. (Courtesy Portfolio Publishing)

Roger Nierenberg ’69, left. (Courtesy Portfolio Publishing)

For nearly two decades, conductor Roger Nierenberg ’69 has used examples from orchestral music to illustrate principles of organizational dynamics that apply in other contexts. Hundreds of companies, in industries ranging from health care to finance, have invited him to conduct his interactive Music Paradigm seminars, which feature live orchestra rehearsals. And Nierenberg continues to find new fans — including music critic James R. Oestreich, who recently reviewed a Music Paradigm session in The New York Times.

Nierenberg, meeting with nursing directors at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, “was making real music and making good sense,” Oestreich wrote, when the conductor began his rehearsal with string players from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He also modeled dysfunctional dynamics, acting aloof or micromanaging, before finishing with a performance that illustrated best practices. A conversation with the nursing directors followed.

Nierenberg, who outlined his program in the 2009 book Maestro, was deeply engaged in music by the time he began his undergraduate years at Princeton, and during his time on campus, he was active in the University Orchestra, the Glee Club, the Opera Club, and the Princeton Chamber Singers. He served as music director of the Stamford (Conn.) Symphony and the Jacksonville Symphony in the 1980s and ’90s before turning his attention to the Music Paradigm program. “I found, somewhat to my astonishment, that it was a very potent business tool,” Nierenberg told PAW in 2002. “It grew slowly, by tiny increments. I, and others, began to discover the power of music as metaphor.” Continue reading

For Engineers, A Hands-On Chance to Design, Serve

Kasturi Shah ’16, center, and Amanda Li ’16 talk with one of EWB’s community partners in La Pitajaya, Peru. (Courtesy Joshua Umansky-Castro ’17)

Kasturi Shah ’16, center, and Amanda Li ’16 talk with one of EWB’s community partners in La Pitajaya, Peru. (Courtesy Joshua Umansky-Castro ’17)

In the summer of 2013, Amanda Li ’16 and Kasturi Shah ’16 walked the hillside path of what would be phase two of a new gravity-fed potable water system for La Pitajaya, a community in the Andean foothills of Peru. The path wasn’t really a path, Li said, and their tools were pretty basic — a 60-meter measuring tape and a handheld GPS device. But Li and Shah, project managers for Princeton’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), got the information they needed to begin their designs.

A year later, after months of planning and more than three weeks of exhausting labor, Shah was racing down the same mountain, doing her best to run faster than the water in the pipes so that she could be at the bottom when it reached the tap stand below. Seeing the project’s completion was cause for cheers and celebration from the Princeton team — six undergraduates and two traveling mentors — as well as the community partners who helped bring the system to life, Shah said.

The Princeton EWB group, founded in 2004, had two summer projects this year: one in Peru and one in Kenya. A third trip, to Sierra Leone, was canceled due to the Ebola outbreak. About 50 students are involved in various phases of the EWB work, but only a handful travel to implement the systems that the teams design. The projects are community-initiated, Li said, and community members play key roles in construction and implementation.

Corrie Kavanaugh ’17, a civil engineering major on the La Pitajaya team, said this summer’s trip — her first with EWB — was a remarkable service experience and an education in practical engineering. “It’s very difficult to actually design something in real life,” Kavanaugh said. “Being part of EWB has given me technical experience that you don’t normally get [in the classroom].”

Below, view photos of the La Pitajaya team, courtesy of Joshua Umansky-Castro ’17. Continue reading