21 Questions with…William Grear ’20

William “Will” Grear is a freshman from Wakefield, RI who wowed the Jazz Department at Princeton University with his renowned trumpet and piano skills. Will chose to attend Princeton for its academic programs and music department.

Will performed with the Princeton University Creative Large Ensemble on Dec. 6, 2016, where he played solo pieces in front of a large crowd in Richardson Auditorium at Alexander Hall.

University Press Club sat down with Will to learn more about his music, his interests and his guilty pleasures.

  • When did you start playing music?

I started playing when I was 5. I saw my mom playing classical piano and I thought it was pretty cool so I asked her if I could take lessons. I’ve been playing since then. Music has taken me to Nashville and other places to do some pretty cool stuff.

  • How good are you actually?

I’m pretty good..I’m like not bad. There’s no sense in pretending you’re worse than you actually are or in flaunting your skills, but when people ask you, it’s worth telling them. So yeah..I’m pretty good. On a scale of 1 to 22, I’d say I’m a 15. Herbie Hancock is a 23.

  • Best band name of all time?

The World Is A Beautiful Place and I’m No Longer Afraid To Die. Real band, I promise.

  • Who are your musical inspirations?

Herbie Hancock, because he’s my favorite piano player and Ezra Koenig, because he has a lot of respect for artistry and has figured out a way to work within the music industry and also preserves the agency of his band. He’s also maintained his voice while being really successful in reaching a big audience. He’s someone who’s balanced a love for learning and academics with being intellectually and socially conscious while pursuing an artistic career.

  • Who’s the most musically talented person you personally know?

I don’t know if I can answer that really…they’re just random people who are friends of mine. I’ve just met so many young people my age throughout the years who blow my mind.

  • When/where do you usually practice?

I usually practice piano in my room during downtime and I don’t practice trumpet on my own because I rehearse 4 hours a week with the jazz ensemble. Because I play the trumpet in a big band setting, I don’t need to have my chops at a high level so it’s been easier to limit my practice time for that. Piano is something I’ve always been able to practice on my own.

  • Who are your favorite Princetonians?

Cornel West…I was in his seminar and it was sick. Also Norman Thomas,  Sonia Sotomayor and Michelle Obama. I don’t really know any other Princetonians.

  • What music-related item do you find most annoying?

The viola! It sounds horrible.

  • Advice for up and coming musicians?

Place an emphasis on musical theory. You can always learn the technical skills of an instrument but you should learn musical theory while you’re in an academic context. Comprehensive theory is the best way to approach songwriting or rock or jazz. It’s the best way to get out of pop chord progressions and get into creative music.

  • Why did you spend 9 months in Brazil before your freshman year?

For shits and giggles.

  • Favorite pre-concert snack?

Air. No sugar or salt with that.

  • If you could play music with one musician, dead or alive, who would it be?

I’d have to say Miles Davis. He set the standard multiple times for the style of improvisation that’s been prominent in jazz for the past 50 years. It would be pretty cool to play with a guy who invented that. Also, he played jazz like me and is cool.

  • What are the chances I can become a renowned jazz musician?

Quite low. Slim to none. Stick to finding a desk job at McKinsey.

  • In one sentence, what do you usually do all day?

I care about a couple of things and a few people but I lol at most things.

  • What songs make you laugh? Cry?

Cry: Time to Say Goodbye by Andrea Bocelli

Laugh: Any song by The Lonely Island, The Flight of the Conchords, Coldplay’s entire discography and Sorry by Justin Bieber.

  • Guilty music pleasure?

You Found Me – The Fray

  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I can only see 4 years into the future thanks to my 2020 vision.

  • When’s bedtime? When do you get up?

Now. I get up at 10:33 AM usually. Sometimes PM.

  • Princeton bucketlist?

Graduate and make Chris Eisgruber say something thought provoking.

  • Favorite musical note? Why?

A flat. Because it’s God’s key.

  • How did you like this interview?

It was fine. Quite loly. I’m going to go play the piano now.


Check out Will’s high school band, S. Walcott: 



Chan: Changing Theater on Campus

If you don’t have anything to do next weekend–or even if you do–grab some friends and head over to see Charles Francis Chan, Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery for a hilariously surreal play-within-a-play that will shake your conceptions of racial identity in America.

The play is put on by East West Theater and the organization’s founder and president emeritus, Kathy Zhao ‘17, as her senior thesis in theater.

Chan, which follows a college-dropout during the turbulent sixties as he pens a play to combat racism against Asian Americans, debuted last week on Friday the 10th to a standing ovation, according to Zhao. The Saturday performance was preceded by an afternoon symposium featuring conversations on race and representation in theaters both on campus and beyond.

“I’ve only been in one other thesis production, Zoyka’s Apartment, Zhao said of her theater career here at Princeton. “That was the first time I was forced to confront playing race.”

Zhao’s role in Zoyka’s Apartment required her to play yellow face and speak with broken English.

“I found myself, an Asian American, playing a stereotyped caricature of a Chinese person,” Zhao said of her role. “I didn’t quite understand all the feelings and confusion until it finally coalesced into a feeling of shame of having my parents coming to see the show.”

Zhao embarked upon the quest of creating East West Theater last spring to carve out a space for Asian American visibility in the theater community. Having played with the idea of a company since her sophomore year, Zhao states that East West has three goals: “to increase the representation of Asian Americans in theater, to represent the diversity of all experiences on the stage, and to create an inclusive environment to welcome beginners to theater.”

Recently, East West Theater has hosted staged readings of Ching Chong Chinaman by Lauren Yee, held mock auditions to explain the auditioning process to those new to theater, and performed their first show, Untold Stories, in December of last year.

Zhao notes that East West will continue to organize events such as future symposiums. The symposium on Saturday afternoon included reflections on diversity in theater, featuring scholars, performers, and writers such as Erin Quill, Brian Herrera, Christine Mok, Robert Lee, and Lloyd Suh, the playwright himself.

“One thing that heartens me is the fact that we’re sitting here and having this conversation because Kathy created this thing,” Suh said during his panel, followed by a round of applause and cheers. “Power [is talking] about owning your agency, being bold, and taking action.”

And that is exactly what Zhao did.

“It’s not a popular thing for people of my generation to say,” Suh continued, “but millennials are pretty amazing.”

Chan will have another set of performances this week on February 16th, 17th, and 18th at 8:00 p.m. in the Marie and Edward Matthews ’53 Acting Studio at 185 Nassau Street. Tickets purchased in advance are $12 for general admission and $11 for senior citizens and students; tickets purchased at the door are $17 and $15.

So much head: tour of campus art

Princeton University’s campus art collection features over 60 works scattered around the residential colleges, academic buildings, and graduate college housing. As with most aspects of Princeton, this collection has a strange fixation on brainpower / symbolism of the head. Here are three pieces that reinterpret this central body part.

Head of a Woman

Executed by Carl Nesjar (1971), designed by Pablo Picasso (1962)

Across the street from McCarter Theater


Pablo Picasso designed a miniature model of this cast concrete, granite, and quartzite sculpture in 1962. After meeting with Picasso in 1969 and receiving his approval, Norwegian artist Carl Nesjar began building the full-size sculpture on-site. The geometric, segmented Head of a Woman provides a foil to Picasso’s other pieces of the same name. For example, Picasso’s bronze Head of a Woman (on display at the Met) uses curvier, rounder features and looks a lot more like an anatomically correct human. The sculpture at Princeton, with its exposed rock colors and shallow texturing, stands in stark contrast to I.M. Pei’s minimalist Spelman apartments.

Horse-Head Conference Room

Frank Gehry, installed in 2002

Icahn Laboratory


Renowned contemporary architect Frank Gehry designed the Horse-Head Conference Room as part of a project for Peter B. Lewis, whose $101 million gift helps fund the Lewis Center for the Arts. The room’s expressive shape marks a formative period in Gehry’s experimental architecture, and the fluidity of Horse-Head Conference Room has parallels to Gehry’s later designs for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Guggenheim Museum at Bilbao. The Horse-Head Conference Room currently stands in Icahn Laboratory.

Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads

Ai Weiwei, installed in 2012

In front of the Woodrow Wilson School


The bronze version of Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads is making a stop in front of the Woodrow Wilson School until August 2017, as part of the series’ world tour. The piece represents the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac and taps into a tense history of repatriation, elitism, and cultural exchange. Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads draws inspiration from a fountain depicting zodiac animal heads in Yuanming Yuan, a center of imperial gardens and palaces in Beijing. The original zodiac heads were commissioned by Emperor Qianlong in the 18th century, designed by European Jesuits, and then pillaged by French and British troops in 1860. Weiwei’s interpretation of the heads is seen as a statement on the democratization of art.

Princeton students start new music publication

The Princeton LP is basically the garage band of the Princeton writing world–it’s new, it’s growing, and it covers everything from A$AP Mob’s flowing rap to Tor Miller’s soul-infused rock.

Princeton University’s newest student publication, the LP, is also its first to be dedicated entirely to music. The online-only magazine has features and reviews about most genres of music, written entirely by University students.

The LP was born out of a perceived hole in Princeton’s array of newspapers and magazines. Will Rivitz ‘18 was excited to write about his passion for music when he arrived on campus three years ago, but none of the existing publications had a department specifically for music.

Last spring, Paul Schorin ‘19 suggested to Rivitz that they start an entirely new publication dedicated to music.

“He said ‘let’s do this,’ and I was like ‘absolutely,’” Rivitz said. “We’ve been planning it since the summer, and we finally got it launched in October. It’s been good so far.”

The LP publishes a couple articles per week, written by a growing staff of contributors. Its main feature, The 45, draws from the entire writing staff and reviews newly-released singles.

“We’ll send out a single that came out recently, and people will write a paragraph-long review,” Rivitz said. The collaborative column featured singles from the Weeknd, Brad Paisley, the xx, and others during the fall.

The individual reviews in each edition of The 45 range in tone from deliberate criticism to sophomoric humor. When discussing the Weeknd’s October single “Starboy,” one contributor wondered how the singer was trying to continuously shape his image, while another yearned for the Weeknd’s “early-career crotch pumps.”

In addition to the usual reviews and playlists, Rivitz likes joke around sometimes.

“I wrote a really fun, ridiculous piece about the great-great-granddaughter in the Jonas Brothers’ ‘Year 3000.’” he said. “She’s still doing fine in the year 3000, even though she probably should have lived from about 2250 to 2350.”

For the piece, Rivitz did a back-of-the-envelope calculation and found that, absent magical medical advances, Nick Jonas’ descendant in the song would not have lived anytime near the year 3000. He concluded that Jonas must have been deceived by the time-traveling friend he mentions in the song.

Rivitz wants to preserve the excited, playful feeling the LP currently has and expand it. He believes that a partnership with WPRB, Princeton’s on-campus radio station, would benefit both organizations.

“I would like to use their studios and would like to use their blog too,” he said. “I’d want to invite artists in and record live sessions in their studios.”

If you want to read some of the great articles that the Princeton LP is putting out, head over to lp.princeton.edu. If you would like to join Rivitz, Schorin, and crew at their Wednesday afternoon meetings, email wrivitz@princeton.edu or info@princetonlp.com.

Gas Leak Reported At Frist

Emergency services responded to a reported gas leak at the Frist Campus Center at 12:10 p.m. Wednesday, said Robert Gregory, the Princeton Fire Department Director of Emergency Services.

People were allowed to re-enter the building around 12:50, once the fire department determined that the smell came from a dry sewer trap. PSE&G, the state utility company is still checking the building for the source of the problem.

“We are still investigating, and trying to figure out exactly what is going on,” Gregory said.

No injuries were reported in the incident, Princeton University spokesperson John Cramer wrote in an email.

About a dozen emergency vehicles responded to the call, temporarily slowing traffic at Washington Road and Ivy Lane.


LIVEBLOG: Dean’s Date, Fall 2017

4:57 – Dickinson Hall


Chad Kanoff ’17 turns in his term paper for HIS383. Happy Dean’s Date.

4:35 PM – Outside Campus Club


This is the line outside, waiting for those beanies.


4:26 PM – Campus Club, obviously

If you’re wondering how long it’ll take you to get a beanie, the answer is forever.


No one cares about the doughnuts.



4:10 PM – Chancellor Green rotunda

A collection of out-of-context quotes heard during Dean’s Date that make no sense, but that’s okay because none of our papers do anymore:

“I’ll teleport there because I’m amazing.”

“I think I got…three hours of sleep?”

“Ruin the reputation of all your other classmates so you’re going to be the only one the professor loves.”

“My paper is about memes.”

“Are these thoughts even my own at this point or…?”

“Oh, you’ve got SCHEMES up your sleeve.”

“There was a piñata!”

“Give them presents from your home country.”

“I have only two drinks in my fridge: vodka and sparkling water.”

“Havana has no snow angels, silly…only tourists, rum, and prostitutes.”

Fifty minutes left!!


4:00 PM – a better place


Here are the results from the poll we sent out last night:

Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 3.53.57 PM

Looks like a surprising number of you have it together!! See you on the other side in t-60 minutes.


3:44 PM – 1080 Princeton Advert

This Thursday 1080 Princeton, a group of student video journalists, are screening the work that they’ve done this semester. The screening will take place at 8:30 in McCormick 101, and I was told that there was going to be free bubble tea and snacks.

One of the films features Head of Rocky College Jeff Nunokawa as he goes through a workout session in Dillon Gym.



3:40 PM – Couch in my dorm (J Chillin)

Update on the Whiteboard Wars: Dr. Justine Levine has heard us!


Screenshot 2017-01-17 at 3.36.22 PM

Dr. Justine Levine, the dean of memes.


3:21 – Tartarus (J Street)

Email a little while ago from USG said that a Dean’s Date event will begin in Campus Club at 4:30 (half an hour before papers are due?). There will be free Princeton beanies, which is honestly the only reason I’m going.


3:14 PM – The Abyss

They say that the selfie is the window to the soul. Here is the downfall of one young soul known as BP’19, seen through a series of selfies over the past 24 hours:

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2:50 PM – Office of Finance and Treasury

Dean’s Date might be worse for Suzanne Bellan than for any of us:



But at least it’s making for some great #content:










-JCW (Sent from my iPhone)

2:16 PM – Still in Firestone Reading Room

Since I’m graduating this year, I should probably plug my Instagram on the liveblog at least once. Follow me: @kchengs

Here are some selections if you’re not convinced:

Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 2.20.23 PM


Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 2.20.35 PM

-Guess who?

2:12 PM – Firestone Reading Room 

I’ve been told that listening to white noise can help with writing papers.

In preparation for what looks to be a rainy afternoon: https://rainymood.com/

Also, I remember posting this last year about this game, but in case you live under the rock burn through the rest of your hours today with slither! http://slither.io/ 


1:41 PM – Frist

I talked today with Helen Lin ’18, who made the cheerful little notebooks that appeared in Frist yesterday.

“As a visual arts major, my academic schedule looks a little different,” she said. “Since I see that everyone else is stressed, I thought it would be nice if I could remind them that there are other things, and that everything will be okay.

She makes “zines” regularly. First, she draws them in pen on standard computer paper, then she scans it to a computer and adds color in Photoshop. When she is done, she prints the zines onto a single sheet of paper and folds them into a notebook form.

When she gives the zines to people who are studying, “most of them are surprised and confused,” Helen said. “A couple people think they are advertisements.

More of Helen’s art can be found at http://facebook.com/helenlinart.


1:22 PM – The farthest corners of the wiki-verse

While searching the interweb to learn whether Al Gore really claimed to invent the internet, I came across a list of misquotations, which led me to a list of misconceptions, which taught me that George Washington Carver in fact did not invent peanut butter, which taught me that peanuts are also called “goobers.”

Wikipedia chains can grow particularly long on Dean’s Date.

For more a more competitive dose of Wikipedia-related fun, check out “The Wiki Game.” The objective is to travel from one obscure Wikipedia page to another in the shortest amount of time/clicks using only embedded links.

Not bragging, but I got from “Ad Hominem” to “Disability” in 6 clicks.


1:31 PM – Mathey Dining Hall (switching it up)

The average Princeton student uses energy sourced from food, warmth, and the occasional entreatment of Satan. As we approach 5pm on Dean’s Date, check out how the University sources / expends its energy, through this LIVE app (like this LIVE blog) created by Savraj Singh ’03.

Currently, about 42% of campus electricity demand comes from academic buildings, while libraries only account for 4.32%.

Screenshot 2017-01-17 at 1.33.06 PM

So many pie charts!


1:10 PM – Where do you think? 

Have you ever wondered how I am able to do all my work in such a timely and efficient manner? Are you slowly beginning to feel like Andre Iguodala and Dean’s Date’s 5 PM deadline is LeBron James in this legendary moment of NBA history?


Well, here’s my secret (note: this is not for the faint of heart):


Yes, I listen to that tone on repeat for hours on end. AMA.

Anyway, if you’re searching for something, anything to get you through these last hours, maybe that will help.

Just remember, don’t let yourself blow a 3-1 lead.


12:35 PM – Back in the Red Chair in the Architecture Library

According to my super rigorous historical research, I am confident that today marks the 138th straight year of winter Dean’s Date being gloomy and gray AF:


On a semi-related note, the “Princeton Weather Machine” is total bullshit.


11:59 AM – My Safari Thru Campus 3.0 

Good research is important. I asked students around campus to check their phones for their most recent Google search on Safari. Here’s what students are frantically researching nearly 5 hours from Dean’s Date, this time featuring links so you too can get educated.

“Morningstar chickn nuggets”

Safe sex knee pad song

Waka Flocka vegan

“Lie in bed v lay in bed”

“Juicy J Talk That Talk”

“Disney Word Resort” (student: “I’m planning a fake vacation”)

“Lack of appetite anxiety symptoms”

“Can you wash icebreaker merino wool?”

Buzzfeed article about stress poop

Isitdeansdate.com” (spoiler: yes)

Stay studious, Pton.


11:05 AM – Spelman Hall

For those of you who ended up in one of Princeton’s, let’s say, cozier rooms, this might be why the living space seemed so much larger in print than in person: your closet features an “open concept design.” (Bed, Bath and Beyond uses this term to help students find what they need for specific dormitories.) A Google search might lead you to expect this:


Closet Design 1

Open Closet 2


In college, it’s this:


And that open closet space counts toward your square-footage. Yet another reason to destroy Dean’s Date: R.A.G.E. at Princeton’s craftiness.


10:35 AM – that back table in the Wilcox dining hall where people go to avoid other people

Good morning lost and broken souls who still have four pages to go! If this was you last night…


Or if this is how you feel after hammering out 4000 words until 5 AM and subsequently losing ten years off your life span…


Or if you have an entire folder of John Mulaney gifs and would rather use them to liveblog instead of print out your last paper…


…then hurry to regular morning breakfast in the Butler/Wilson dining hall!! It’s not late night breakfast, but it’s breakfast, and I love breakfast so that’s good enough for me. (I’m overenthusiastic about the amount of breakfast mentions in this liveblog.)


9:27 AM – Frist Center

Here’s a Dean’s Date Horror Story: writing 7 times over the word count. An anonymous junior shares his plight:

It all started out as a pretty standard Polstats final assignment. Write some code, debug when necessary (sometimes using heavy duty pesticides, if you know what I mean), type up some analysis, and hope your partner knows what she’s talking about as you nod in agreement. We worked together for a grand total of  ten hours or so over the last week, making sure to pack in as many statistical acrobatics as we could to impress the graders.

Finally, after great toil, the deed was done; our project was complete, graphs, legends, regression lines (in different colors!), conjectures, and all. Simply as a matter of course, we chose to briefly look back at the assignment guidelines to make sure every ‘t’ had been crossed.

And then, doom. Not only had we crossed every ‘t’, we crossed thousands too many. Our magnificent, 3700 word masterpiece was apparently meant to be no more than 750. What was the great artifice of our Polstats glory, the beauty that was our attempt to convince the professors yet again (and yet again falsely) that we knew how confidence intervals work, had been torn asunder.

We first tried cutting out superfluous words, but we were still at 3300. Phrases turned into abbreviations, numbers were moved to tables, and now 3000. More and more squeezing, dropping gems of analysis into the great abyss of the backspace, and we’re at 1492, just over twice the maximum. A brief and courteous email to the professor about the situation, telling our tale of woe. “Please continue slimming down,” I receive as my reply. A moan emits from my throat as I read her note in the middle of the dining hall. Must this be my fate? What more can be asked of me?

More deleting, slashing off a whole section, and the words start to lose their meaning. As my partner continues to erase our progeny, I stand up to protect it from that horrid ‘delete’ button, but to no avail. And finally, it was done, and the last remains were submitted.

This is the tragedy of dean’s date. (If you must know, we submitted it with 884 words. Unless you, the reader, are my instructor, in which case our project came out to exactly 750.)


9:15 AM – Firestone 3rd Floor



Which will be great-er this weekend: the Bikers for Trump in DC, or my Physics 103 final?




8:46 AM – Why didn’t I finish this essay last night?



Awaken and fear 5pm!


8:19 AM – Firestone Library (apparently, also known as f-shack)

Did you know that the Dinky used to be down as the PJ&B, as in Princeton Junction and Back?

That’s according to this story in the latest issue of Princeton Alumni Weekly on how Princeton slang has developed and endured through the years.

The article goes on to explain that the word softie  was supposedly used to describe “one who lets his studies interfere with his education.”

And apparently –– though I have been completely oblivious to this –– we students now refer to Firestone as the f-shack. As in, “Let’s meet at the f-shack.” According to research carried out for last spring’s LIN 220: Language at Princeton, the term can be traced to a single source. As the PAW article explains:

“It stems from a mass email sent to the senior class by one student, who lifted the term from a friend, who heard it from a 2010 film called The Other Guys. The term combines insouciance and convenience with a dash of humor that eases the hours of studying.” 

[caption id="attachment_18810" align="alignleft" width="744"]Photo credit, left: Kah-Wai Lin (https://www.flickr.com/photos/linkahwai/) Photo credit, left: Kah-Wai Lin (https://www.flickr.com/photos/linkahwai/)[/caption]


6:21 AM – a dark Spelman apartment

Thanks to jet-lag, I’ve been waking up at around 4 or 5am most mornings since arriving back from Hong Kong (13 hours ahead of us). My favourite thing about being up before the sun: having a big, leisurely breakfast super early to kick off the day.

And on the topic of breakfasts…check out what breakfast looks like in 22 countries around the world.

Also, attention seniors: our beloved class government is serving breakfast from 7 to 9am on McCosh Courtyard. Go get that nourishment and keep on writing.



4:51 AM – that place between dreams and consciousness

If you’re sick of writing papers and want to read a brilliant piece of journalism, check out this incredible New York Times story on B.J. Miller ’93, who’s on a quest to change the way we die.

“Miller was a sophomore at Princeton when, one Monday night in November 1990, he and two friends went out for drinks and, at around 4 a.m., found themselves ambling toward a convenience store for sandwiches. They decided to climb a commuter train parked at the adjacent rail station, for fun. Miller scaled it first. When he got to the top, electrical current arced out of a piece of equipment into the watch on his wrist. Eleven-thousand volts shot through his left arm and down his legs. When his friends reached him on the roof of the train, smoke was rising from his feet.”


3:45 AM – U-Store, Washington Place

‘Twas the morning of Dean’s Date, and not a soul was stirring

Not even, apparently, the cashiers at the U-Store


3:15 AM – Holder Hall

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
However, the ERASURE of my words is sure to break all of the little bones inside of my heart.
Last week, someone in my hall started to erase the cute + friendly + bubbly + intensely personal messages that my roommates and I transcribe so painstakingly onto the little whiteboard outside of our door.
Over the past two days, the conflict has intensified. We would slap on a message and, at best, our words would stay up for 4 or 5 hours. At worst, less than 2 minutes.
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The stress of Dean’s Date has infiltrated these Whiteboard Wars, but has NOT softened the hearts of our enemies. The conflict is ongoing. Here are its major developments so far.
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2:47 AM – Women*s Center

In the words of Michelle Obama ’85: [incredulously] “Finals after winter break? They’re still doing that?” (Wednesday, 14 December 2016)


I’m just chilling here basking in the glow of her First Ladyship. If you want some comfy beanbag chairs and intersectional feminism, stop by and say hi. We’re on the second floor of frist.

women*s center


2:22 AM – an eerily quiet 1901 Hall (the only night the slums aren’t ~lit~)

When even ODUS sympathizes with you:

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Princeton, I love you.


1:48 AM – Sleepy Wilson Dorm

Being the zero-Dean’s-Date-assignments anomaly that I am, I was fast asleep until my wonderful RCA graciously put out a box of snacks to comfort and nourish the souls of my studious neighbors. She neglected to predict the ensuing study break that took place right outside my door. Thank you, Wilson, for the thin walls.

At least I don’t live in Holder.

Speaking of important annual traditions taking place in Holder Courtyard, let’s not forget the Nude Olympics.

If you don’t know what they are, that’s because the University banned them in 1999. Strange – I can’t imagine why the administration would want to stop a bunch of inebriated Princeton students from streaking across campus, especially when the New York Times starts taking interest.

According to most sources, the tradition was put to bed because it encouraged excessive drinking. But you can always count on the odd English professor to blame feminism:

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Thank you, Daily Princetonian, for the food for thought. And thanks to my RCA for the literal food.



1:40 AM – Holder Dining Hall

Here’s a quick poll to help you figure out when you started (or when you should start) your Dean’s Date assignments:

Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 1.40.49 AM
s/o to Julian ’20 for helping to put this together.


1:31 AM – Wilcox Hall dorms (yes, these exist)

Tried and true background music for when you can’t seem to write more than three sentences in a row and you’ve exhausted your Facebook feed seven times:







12:55 AM – Press Club Headquarters

Exactly an hour ago, a hundred or so students gathered in the Holder Courtyard to partake in the “Holder Howl.” At the same time, some students were also reported to have been screaming annoyingly in the vicinity of the Whitman and Wilson Residential Colleges, respectively.

That is unfortunate.

Recently, Whitman began what they called “The Whitman Wail.” That is a good name since I believe Whitman’s mascot is the whale, but as a thing that people do on Dean’s Date it is a stupid non-tradition.

Today, I learned that members of Wilson were planning on holding a “Wilson Whimper.” I don’t know if this happened, but I hope it didn’t because that is stupid.

The Holder Howl is a tradition. It isn’t even a very good tradition if you ask me—one can definitely come up with more exciting events that should be traditions—but it is still a tradition as far as traditions are defined.

So, to summarize, The Holder Howl is a thing. The Whitman Wail is not a thing. The Wilson Whimper just sucks.

Thank you for hearing me out on this lukewarm take.


12:45 AM – Holder Courtyard

And the hallmark moment of Dean’s Date has come to pass. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting this semester’s Holder Howl:


Afterwards, Sofie ’20 had choice words for her first Holder Howl.

“The men should not have worn underwear. It was a half-ass effort,” she said.

More to come regarding the event…

– MG

12:42 AM – Holder Kitchen

I walked into a full but almost silent Holder Kitchen and saw this.


Who? Why?

I think you’re the missing piece in my life.


12:32 AM – The zone

Here are a few dogs who have written more than you today. And they’re dogs. Get to work.

dgwr3 dgwr2 dgwr1


11:35 pm – The LGBT Center


“That’s cool Grandma thanks for letting me know”

S/O to all the grandmas out there who are in touch with their sexuality and comfortable sharing. Stay tuned for more on my grandparents later tonight.


11:21 pm – The Wa

Almost time for your well-deserved midnight snack. As a junk food connoisseur, I recommend glazed doughnuts from the Wa. They are by far the best doughnuts Princeton has to offer – better than Dunkin’, better than Halo Pub, better than House of Cupcakes. (Yes, House of Cupcakes sells doughnuts. Only a true connoisseur would know this.) And they’re only $3.99 for a box of six. When in your life will this price to calorie ratio be as tempting as it is now?? Pro tip: wash down with sparkling water.



11:14 – Baker Hall

I’ve finally found it: the musical representation of that feeling you get when it’s late at night on Dean’s Date and you’re dying inside and all hope is lost but you also simultaneously feel like turning up and the result is utter emotional instability. Or maybe that just happens to me…



10:55 – Butler/Wilson Dining Hall

Put down those pens, pencils, laptops, and 5-hour energies…it’s late night breakfast in the Butler/Wilson dining hall until 11:30! I’ve always considered myself a fan of breakfast food, free things, and procrastination, so a more perfect study break has never existed.

“Breakfast is cool because it’s like breakfast…but at night,” Clare ’20 said.

“I’ve eaten worse things,” Scooter ’20 said.


“I think it’s really great. This also serves as my dinner, so I really appreciate the food, and breakfast for dinner is great,” Eric ’17 said.

“It’s kind of regular breakfast-y? Also the options are like what we usually have, which isn’t usually great to begin with. No offense to Wilson,” Tajreen ’20 said. I’ve elected to ignore that last part because I’m in Wilson and we won Clash of the Colleges this year. When asked about how much work she had left, she said, “I’m pretty much done.”

Meanwhile, I have thirty papers to write, but at least I have a plate of eggs…right?


TLDR; hurry over and come get waffles instead of a sense of productivity and fulfillment!!


10:41 PM – Forbes

Looking for some neat study music? Why not pop into Spotify’s “Focus” category and check out the “White Noise” soundtrack!

There’s apparently such thing as “blue noise,” which is news to me. But there’s also such thing as pink noise, brown noise, even violet noise. In fact, “colors of noise” is a real thing, a real thing I learned after a quick google search.

Anyway, check it out for 20+ hours of noise all over the color spectrum.


10:20 PM – Firestone Library


The marching band played in the lobby of Firestone about half an hour ago, continuing its Dean’s Date tradition, which charms some students and pesters others.

This was the fourth time that Danielle Coates, ’18, had played the snare drum in the Dean’s Date procession.

The reaction is often “very mixed,” she said. “Usually people in Frist are a little more chill, but people in the libraries are happy if we give them candy.”

Alex Cox ’20, had heard that people can be “hostile” toward the band. He was happy to play his clarinet anyway, for the first time that he has participated in the tradition.

“I finished all my Dean’s Date stuff, so I’m going to take great pride in annoying people who haven’t finished theirs yet,” he said.

Jackson Caputo, ’20, was studying on the second floor of Firestone Library when the band came into the lobby. Hearing the musicians, he ran downstairs to listen.
Although he enjoyed the study break, he wasn’t in love with the idea of blaring brass instruments in a library. “It was cute,” he said.


20170116-Marching Band-0015

10:09 PM – Anywhere but J-Street 

What do you get when you put together Dean’s Date and Starbucks? A coffee date of course! I lingered around the USG Class of 2019 study break and asked a great 1st date ice breaker question: If your drink order was a Dean’s Date assignment, what would it be?

Here’s what I got:

Mocha with an extra shot – “It’s like when you get a Dean’s Date assignment and an exam, and the assignment isn’t really that bad but the exam is killer.”

Cascara latte #1 – “A 19th Century feminist paper.”

Cascara latte #2* –“It’s a four-page paper assigned by a crappy professor and he tells you you can do anything with it, and at first you’re very unsure about it and very apprehensive about it, but then you write it and it actually turns out alright.”

Hot chocolate – “No work, in bed, laughing at everyone else.”

English Breakfast tea – “An intro philosophy paper that you taught your friends about to make you feel smarter.”

Vanilla bean frappuccino – “A fluffy creative writing assignment.”

Venti blonde roast, 2 extra shots – “I’m fucked.”

*This seems to be a very popular drink with two very different personalities.

Thanks to USG and the friendly Starbucks baristas for setting the stage for this exposé. Bottoms up.


9:50 PM – Same Red Chair


My 29-year-old brother who didn’t even go to Princeton is currently walking around campus with a red wagon.

*Freeze Frame*

You may be wondering how that is even possible.

Well, let me give you a brief personal history. See, after my sophomore year my brother, six years my elder, accepted a position to work as a rabbi at the CJL.

Suddenly, come junior year, I had a sibling on campus (and a sister-in-law and a nephew and, seemingly every other day, both of my parents…)

One of my brother’s job requirements is to go around campus on Dean’s Date eve and hand out snacks to students who post their location on this strange Facebook group. It’s cleverly called a Traveling Study Break.

Anyway, if you happen to see a red headed rabbi walking around campus with a strange wagon, feel free to ask him for a cookie or a brownie (homemade!) and tell him not to forget to call mom and dad.

Here’s a picture of my embarrassing brother for reference:



9:45 PM – Trustee Reading Room, Firestone Library

I got bored of doing things so I started wandering around the stacks. Found this gem on the third floor:


Hopefully none of us will contribute anything of note to this book anytime soon.-


9:29 PM – Joline Hall Basement via Leawood, Kansas

If you are beginning to think life is meaningless, turn on The Bachelor. Then you will know it is. RM ’20 used a fellow Mathey resident’s cable password to make sure she would not miss a minute of this quality entertainment Dean’s Date Eve. It will be on until 10. Turn it on to kill some brain cells and be thankful for your future career outside of reality television.



9:15 PM – 1879 Hall

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The philosophy department has even more time on their hands than we previously knew.

Philosodogs is a blog maintained by Princeton philosophy grad students that chronicles the adventures of dogs and their philosophers. It consists of blog posts interviewing philosophy professors about their pet dogs, their dogs’ philosophical worldviews, and how their dogs have changed their philosophical worldviews.

My person favorite is an entry about Harvey Rosen, Gideon Rosen’s fox terrier.

Harvey Rosen

Here are some of the questions and answers about Harvey, including contrasting him with Gideon Rosen’s previous dog, Fred:

Q&A with Gideon Rosen

Fun fact: Princeton Econ Professor Harvey Rosen has a pet dog named Gideon. True friendship.

To submit a philosodog, contact the grad students here.

Again, h/t to EMS ’17 for his detective work in discovering this gem.

Dog out,


9:09 PM – The Same Red Chair Next to the Big Window Towards the Front of the Architecture Library

This Dean’s Date Liveblog marks the last Dean’s Date Liveblog of the Obama Presidency.

(Fun fact: the Dean’s Date Liveblog has only existed during the Obama years. As far as I can tell, the first Liveblog was in January of 2010—check it out here for some throwback Dean’s Date #content).

Seeing as this week marks the end of the Obama presidency and you’re also probably looking for ways to procrastinate without feeling bad about yourself like that time you just watched lots of Vines for a good half hour because they’re really fun and kind of addicting to look at in repeat, here’s a link to pretty neat interactive that the New York Times recently published that lets you learn about the Obama presidency: You’ll be surprised by the results, I guarantee it.

On a related note, best of luck to everyone in finishing up their Dean’s Date assignments and best of luck to everyone else in the world with the next four years!


8:52 PM – a Cozy Spelman Apartment

Alright, it’s the post-dinner slump, so you might as well stop writing and do this crossword.

Crossword Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 10.29.51 AM



8:42 PM – still in the Chamber of Secrets between Lewis and Jadwin


“I’ve spent more time on this than my three p-sets,” said McKenna Judge ’20 (artist pictured). “That’s a total of five minutes.”


8:27 PM – 1879 Hall

The philosophy department has way too much free time on their hands. Check out this actual day-long event, which has been on the university calendar for the past few months and happened one week ago:Professor Procrastinate Day

They’ve got everything from customized waterbottles


to posed contemplation


to full on presentations

what could this even be about

h/t to EMS ’17, a PHI major who definitely doesn’t have free time on his hands, for discovering this. I’m going to go stalk the Princeton philosophy department some more and see what else I find. Meanwhile, if anyone has any paper topic suggestions for a metaphysics paper about personal identity, hit me up. My snapchat is ricklen95.

Think on,


8:08 PM – Holder Hall

“David Foster Wallace – The Problem With Irony” + other responses to: What’s on your YouTube Recommended right now?

[gallery ids="18694,18695,18693,18692,18691,18690,18689,18688,18687"]


7:51 PM – Frist


A student handed out “happiness books” earlier today in Frist to cheer up stressed students. My personal favorite:

IMG_2058 IMG_2059


7:33 PM – Architecture Library 


True love is possible.


7:29 PM – 1901 Hall, or in the armpit of the junior slums

Throwback to a classic in case you live under a rock:



7:25 PM – Berlin, DEU

The Press Pug sends you her best wishes!



7:12 PM – the Chamber of Secrets

It’s Dean’s Date, my dudes. Excited to jump into the fray of the LiveBlog as a Press Club noob, I ventured into the depths of that weird basement tunnel thing between Lewis Library and Jadwin, ready to get some quotes from students who are 3000 words from sleep and peace. I spotted my first victims—two girls in ponytails, sweatpants, and fuzzy socks with MacBooks displaying half-written essays. Naturally, I assumed they were Princeton students. After all, this is a Princeton University library on the Princeton University campus during the Princeton University holiday of Dean’s Date. Not a wild guess, right? I didn’t think the idea was that far-fetched until I got all of the way through my questions and they said, “Oh, wait, we don’t go here. We’re in high school.”

I didn’t know what do, so I just sort of walked away and reconsidered everything I thought I knew about myself. This is the first mistake of many. In the wise words of John Mulaney:



7:05 PM—The Vine Archives

Tomorrow, January 17th, marks the end of an era. Vine, the beautiful looping video app, is shutting its doors.

Tomorrow, January 17th, is also Dean’s Date (Surprise!)

What better way to commemorate the death of Vine than by filling the Dean’s Date Liveblog with our most beloved Vines?

Here is an incredibly weird Vine, meant to be watched over and over and over again:


More to come!


7:00 PM – Frist Campus Center (Near Vivian Cafe)

Frist has been turned upside down as students are rushing to grab free cacti being handed out by the Princeton Conservation Society.

As of 7 PM, the line for the cacti is nearly out the door.


Will everyone get a cactus? Does everyone even know what they’re standing in line for?? Stay tuned to find out.

Update at 7:17 PM:

Every didn’t get a cactus. Those who did were very happy.

“I got a sunflower at the last botany club but it died soon after,” Evan Wood ’18 said.

“I’m planning on keeping this warm and safe,” he added.

Evan’s Dean Date was made just a bit better with a new cactus.

– MG

6:30 PM – Rocky Dining Hall



Earthy, moist, a complex mixture of half-baked arguments and generous helpings of pseudo-intellectual grease. You probably overdid it, but it’s okay, it’s not your problem anymore.


[caption id="attachment_18655" align="alignnone" width="744"]Recycle Bin Recycle Bin[/caption]

Eclectic mash of hard-hitting cliches, repackaged common knowledge / direct quotes from the lecture notes, overly complex derivatives of simple material. Repetitive with limited innovation.



Crazed word-vomit. You don’t really know what’s in there, you don’t really care. Your paper has probably developed a life of its own and turned into a dangerous monster verging on the foul and offensive, reflecting few to none of your actual beliefs (but maybe reflecting more than you’d like). Harbors government secrets.


6:18 PM – Starbucks, Nassau St.

Let’s play a game called How Many Sophomores Can You Fit in One Starbucks.

WhatsApp Image 2017-01-16 at 18.10.37 (2)

Guess how many ordered decaf.



6:11 PM – Floating on a small, habitable space rock

Wait! Before you begin to wallow in hopelessness, put down that gallon-sized Wa coffee and put Dean’s Date into perspective with this nifty little projection of how the next 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 years of earth’s life will go.



The good news? Apparently, most of the words in your constitutional interpretation paper won’t even exist in 1,000 years. The bad news? Niagara Falls won’t exist only 40,000 years after that, and in another 3,500,000,000 years the earth’s surface will have become similar to that of Venus.



6:07pm—International Food Co-op, in the bowels of Laughlin Hall:


[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640"] Results of Google search: how many cups of coffee would it take to kill you[/caption]

lol at “Thankfully you’d have to be drinking around 3 cups every hour of the day and night to reach the lethal limit” as if that sounds ridiculous. Apparently they’ve never encountered Princeton students on Dean’s Date?


5:45pm—Architecture Library:

I’m just popping in here to briefly point out something strange I realized.

Princeton’s premier “Journal of Conservative and Moderate Thought” (The Tory that is, not The Prince) is obsessed with sex.

Peep this, from the most recent issue:
























Slow down there, Tory! 


5:20pm — Chancellor Green Library:

If you’re starting to question why you decided to attend this school in the first place (why is Dean’s Date even a thing?!), you may reconsider when you find out that PRINCETON’S FLAG HAS BEEN FLOWN ON THE MOON. Well, kind of.

In 1969, Charles Conrad, Jr. ’53 went on a mission to the moon to collect rock samples, making him part of the SECOND MISSION EVER to bring humans to the moon. Conrad took four Princeton’s flags with him the entire 240,000 miles because, let’s be honest, every Princeton alum (save maybe Michelle Obama) is wayyyy too enthusiastic about the ol’ orange and black.

While at Princeton, Conrad was also the vice president of the Flying Club (please tell me that still exists) and a member of the American Institute of Aeronautical Engineers.  To read more about him and his love of Princeton in space, read the original Prince article about him or this short write-up.


5:00pm — Firestone Library:

And we back.

It’s that time of year again– that time in which we all come together as a campus to get zero sleep, cry, and ultimately find comfort in each other’s misery. As you embark on your journey to write anywhere from 5 to 50 pages at the last minute, remember: Press Club will be there to report on your pain for the next 24 hours, while also providing you with distractions that will either give you joy or end up derailing your productivity, forcing you to rethink your life. Either way, tune in and everything will be fine.


With love,


We’re All Living With a PlyLok

What can carry the weight of a truck but should not be stood on, moves without changing location, and falls if you drape a heavy coat over it?

Princeton’s dorm room desk chair.

The University purchased 6,126 PlyLok models from Sauder Education since 2000, according to a company spokesperson. The chair’s price depends on how many are purchased in bulk. Princeton’s rate is confidential.

You probably never saw one before freshman move-in, but have since noticed this curious piece of furniture in dingy dorm rooms everywhere. At least ten other schools across the country – including the University of California at Berkeley, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Chicago and Yale University – equip their dorm rooms with a version of the three-position chair.

Princeton’s model is made of beech wood, upholstered in either dark red or grey fabric, and can adopt three different seating positions. Although the positions are distinguished through slight angles in the chair’s curved base, it can easily tip from one position to another.

(Hence its name: the “three-position chair.” Yes, it does sound vaguely sexual.)


Four of them can carry a truck:

[caption id="attachment_18539" align="aligncenter" width="744"]OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA – Courtesy of Sauder Education[/caption]

And the chair can also be tossed out of a three-story building:

[video width="480" height="352" mp4="http://www.universitypressclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/The-Legend-of-PlyLok-1.mp4"][/video]

Courtesy of Sauder Education

Sauder Education, New England Woodcraft and University Loft Co. produce models of the chair with slight variations. At Yale, the chair only has two positions. At the University of Chicago, it does not have upholstery.

Student complaints about the chair’s sudden tipping, however, are largely uniform. Posts on the subject garnered thousands of views and hundreds of comments on Quora and Reddit.

Sauder is one of the chair’s pioneers. Founded in 1934, the company began rebuilding the woodwork of a recently burned church in Northwest Ohio, and went national in 1940. Sauder aimed to “stay at the forefront of changing church trends” according to its website, and launched Sauder Education a few years later to serve colleges and universities across the country.

The three-position PlyLok chair was born in 1989. Wood scraps from the chair’s production are either ground into sawdust and used as animal bedding for local farmers, or burned to power Sauder’s factories – producing zero wood waste, according to a Sauder spokesperson.

Princeton senior Nicole Marvin said she was confused by the chair’s rocking property.

“It very much unsettled me freshman year,” Marvin said on a sofa in her Spelman Hall living room. “It’s not a very attractive piece of furniture, but I’m not going to bash a chair that’s given to me for free. I guess it probably looks good on paper.”

According to Sauder, the chair has a “waterfall contoured seat and contoured back” offering “exceptional sitting comfort and support,” as well as “plybent hardwood frame components with mortise and tenon joint construction” for “superior stability and durability.” Sounds like a pretty good deal.

Jin Chow, also a senior, said she likes to work with her legs crossed, causing the chair to rock forward unexpectedly.

“I always get these mini heart attacks when I shift my weight,” Chow said, adding that she routinely stomps on her own foot with the curved base. She is also puzzled by the rocking function.

“Why pretend to be relaxed when we go to one of the most stressful schools in the world?”

Anne Kelley, a freshman at UChicago, wrote that her three-position chair is sturdy and relatively comfortable.

“The chair rocks. Don’t stand on the chair. Many people fall off the chair when standing atop it…The chair is, in fact, a nice chair.”

“It’s like a rite of passage for all freshmen to almost die on them,” Lisa Wong, a senior at North Carolina State University, wrote in a Facebook message.

While the chair’s popularity on college campuses may stem from its durability, 2016 Brown University graduate Henry Chaisson said he thinks the chair was made for tippers.

“I don’t think they’re designed to be comfortable,” the music major said in a phone call from his Lower East Side office. “I think they’re designed to remove liability for colleges.”

Chaisson said that he has always been a tipper – he enjoys leaning back in chairs.

“There’s kind of a stigma to it, which is understandable because it’s dangerous.”

Tired of constantly being rebuked for his behavior in high school, he was “elated” when he discovered the three-position chair at Brown.

“I think these chairs are basically genius.”

Whatever your thoughts about it, the three-position PlyLok has rocked many a student through their Princeton career. I think it deserves its own legend.


It’s Been Over 24 Hours and the Prince Still Hasn’t Reported on Their Own Election [Update]

The EIC's office.

Sarah Sakha ’18 is the new Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Princetonian. She was elected yesterday evening in a meeting of the paper’s staff.

You wouldn’t know it from their Facebook page. Or their newspaper website. The paper has not reported on the election.

Last we heard, the paper was “in the midst” of making the decision.


Sakha, of Scottsdale, AZ, is an Opinion editor at the paper. She succeeds Do-Hyeong Myeong ’17 as the head of the paper. Sakha is currently listed as a Senior Editor for the Princeton Progressive, the left-leaning magazine on campus. She wrote for the magazine most recently in July. Historically, newspaper editors are careful to be neutral on political affairs.

Sakha campaigned initially on opposition to the current direction of the paper’s Editorial Board, former News Editor Jacob Donnelly ’17 said. The Board took heat this year for increasingly conservative positions, most notably for an October editorial that criticized Women’s Center’s programming.

Donnelly, a former News Editor, said he was in and out of the election meeting, which took place from 9 am to 6 pm this past Saturday, as seniors are not able to vote. He said that some members of the paper took issue with Sakha’s stance against the Editorial Board.

He also said that the election “wasn’t conducted properly.” He told me the final vote was 29-28 in favor of Sakha and that Editor-in-Chief Myeong chose to not count a late vote that would have made the election a tie.

He said that one News Editor has quit following the election. He said that a recount wouldn’t be worthwhile.

Donnelly shared an email with me from that editor to the paper’s grad board. The former editor criticized the paper’s low productivity for the past year and said leadership was weak.

“I ask that you take an extra step to hold the EIC accountable for her actions,” she told the grad board in the email.

Donnelly said that no one was seriously advocating a recount in the election. He said that Sarah is respected at the paper.

“One of the things that’s kind of diffusing this situation is that no one has anything against Sarah,” Donnelly said.

Myeong did not respond to a request for comment. Sakha said that she was not allowed to speak to the Press Club, per Daily Princetonian policy.

Update (10:30 p.m. ET): In what may only be a coincidence of timing, the Daily Princetonian tweeted out an announcement of Sakha’s election forty-five minutes after The Ink story was published:


It is anybody’s guess what The Prince means by “75% voter turnout” or why they may have felt the need to include that fact in the tweet.