Telling people that you live in Butler inevitably leads to the follow-up question: “New or Old?” Butler used to have a reputation for being the worst res college to live in, with legendarily horrible waffle ceilings, a long trek to central campus and only meh-worthy food. But all that changed in 2009, when Princeton introduced shiny new, well, New Butler.
Bedecked in wavy red brick walls, bright interiors, modern lines and a trendy sustainable green roof, New Butler is not your typical Gothic, ivy-covered Princeton building. Before you waste any time feeling disappointed, though (“Nooo I wanted to live in a castle!” It’s okay, I thought that way too, until I moved in and saw the light), realize what it means to reside in the newest college: air conditioning. No bugs. Leather couches. Flat screen TVs. Many a mirthful moment has been given to us Butlerites, chuckling at our friends in Rocky as they traverse four flights of stairs to get to the bathroom, with nothing but a meager fan waiting in their circulation-void rooms.
“What? No, I’ve never seen a spider or ladybug or ant in my room before! That’s gross… okay sure you can come hide out in our basement, the A/C is super cool and yeah Studio ’34 is still open.”
Bloomberg is similarly cushy. Of course, 1915 is a different story. But we’ll get to that as you read on…
Laundry: There are ample washers and dryers in Bloomberg and New Butler. They’re all as new as the building, so everything runs oh so smoothly. Check out the map here for specific locations.
Kitchens: In the New Butler buildings, there are kitchens around almost every corner. They’re small but effective, with a big fridge, stove, oven, microwave and sink. There’s also a huge dining room with attached kitchen on the ground floor of Bloomberg, which is great if you want to cook a larger meal with a bunch of friends.
Computers: The main computer cluster is in the New Butler basement. There are about ten computers including a media Mac if you’re looking to do anything digital artsy, plus a scanner and a printer.
There’s also a computer cluster on the third floor of Bloomberg. And the printer in Wu Library is convenient when you’re on your way to class and don’t want to go to the basement. But remember to set up your laptop’s printer connection first, because it’s just a printing station, not a full cluster (although you can easily go to the Wilcox side and use J-Street).
What’s in the neighborhood: Butler is especially great for athletes, since we’re right above Poe Field, with the tennis courts, softball, soccer and hockey fields all within 5 minutes’ walk. Jadwin and DeNunzio (the gym and pool for varsity athletes) are also easily accessible, and for those of us who are less hardcore, the tow path and Lake Carnegie (aka access to beautiful runs!) are really easy to get to as well.
Math and science kids will also love how close we are to Fine Hall (math), McDonnell (physics), Lewis (science library/pretty place to study even if you’re a humanities student just pretending to belong) and Icahn (integrated science). Oh, and the fancy new chemistry building too! Unfortunately, this mostly benefits the pure science kids. Engineers, have fun journeying to the E-Quad.
Bugs and pests: What are those? You live in a bubble of freshly remodeled cleanliness.
Oh, unless you’re in 1915, in which case you might encounter a spider or two. 1915 is the one part of Old Butler that didn’t get remodeled. It also features gender segregation, as in your entryways will be made up entirely of guys or girls. But hey, you’re farther up campus than the rest of Butler! And that five minutes’ of saved walking time does make a difference. Really. Ask anyone in Bloomberg.
Library: Wu Library is a little enclave above the dining hall, silent, slightly stuffy, and outfitted with those booth-desks that make you feel like you are in a cave of total isolation. Depending on your study style, this can be great or horribly depressing. But the location is undeniably good, considering that there’s a bathroom right down the hall and sustenance directly downstairs.
Another popular study space is the New Butler basement, which can be classified into two sections: the tables right outside of Studio ’34 are usually for more serious studying. Everyone is quiet and concentrated, aka they will glare and probably yell at you if you are loudly Skyping about your relationship problems (true story, I once saw the whole room turn on this one excessively emotional girl. It wasn’t pretty).
The other half is James S. Hall ’34 Memorial Gallery (more often referred to as “the pool room”), which is more of a lounge, complete with piano, pool table and more leather couches. A lot of group studying takes place there, because there are bigger tables and it’s fine to make a lot of noise. After all, people are playing pool and piano on the side.
Noise levels/partying: New Butler’s huge corner rooms and relative closeness to the Street make for excellent pregaming. Which is great unless you’re not going out, because the walls are pretty thin and you can always hear everyone’s parties from upstairs, downstairs and next door. And on Thursday and Saturday nights, post-Street crowds love trooping into Studio ’34 around 3 a.m. So if you’re ever planning to study on those nights, avoid the basement. Get thee to Wu, and stay there til the sun rises…
What’s on the floor: Shiny hardwood floors.
Other amenity perks: Studio ’34 is the convenience store in Butler basement – it’s open from 7 pm to 3 am every night. They sell toiletries, medicine, candy, snacks and many caffeinated beverages. You will love it. We also have flat screen TVs in all the lounges, big classrooms downstairs, lots of study rooms, oh and the aforementioned piano/pool lounge. That’s nice too.
Every few weeks, Butler also plays host to Open Mic Night in Wu Café. There’s usually Old World Pizza, sushi, semi-awkward emceeing, and all kinds of poetry, music and generally snapsworthy performance. You should go. Better yet, you should perform. Free t-shirts!
Bathrooms: New Butler = all private bathrooms. Bloomberg and 1915, not so.
What it’ll look like on move-in day:
Like it doesn’t fit in with the rest of campus, but you’ll soon be glad. Hoorah especially for elevators!
The salad bar at Wu is legendary, with a stunning rainbow selection of vegan toppings. The regular entrees are quite good too, especially this magical Caesar salad pizza that appears once in a while (you have to be alert at all times, because it always disappears within ten minutes). There are the most gargantuan muffins on campus every morning, and excellent weekend brunches, always with fresh shrimp, smoked salmon, and all the omelette, waffle, fruit and pastry staples. The only downside is that Wu is athlete central. If you can help it, don’t go on weekdays at 6:30. Eat dinner earlier or later, because at that time you will have to battle all kinds of physically superior beings for food and space.
Also, Studio ’34 has free soda on Tuesday nights, a cute Twitter account that’s updated whenever they have fresh pizza, coffee until 3 a.m. to sustain your all-nighter, and FRENCH. BREAD. PIZZA. This is the true gem of Butler living. It beats 2 a.m. Frist pizza. It beats everything. Just try it. You will see.