Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Late Meal - 05/07

Last Friday, Team Rocky-Mathey battled Team Frist in the first ever Iron Tiger cooking championship. After a heated contest lasting more than two hours, Team Rocky-Mathey ultimately prevailed over Team Frist. Their secret to culinary success? Not poisoning the judges with salmonella.

From the Senior Survey at the Annual Check-Out Fair: (this is no joke, btw)
Mark one for each item using the following scale:
A: Strongly Disagree, B: Disagree, C: Agree, D: Strongly Agree, E: Not Applicable

39. Alcohol is a significant part of Princeton's student social culture
40. My academic work has suffered as a result of my alcohol use
41. I did not take full advantage of University resources and opportunities because of my alcohol use
42. I have missed classes as a result of my alcohol use.
43. I have interrupted others who were studying as a result of my alcohol use.
44. I have interrupted the sleep of others as result of my alcohol use.
45. I have mistreated or destroyed others' property/belongings as results of my alcohol use.
51. Think back over the last two weeks. How many times, if any, have you had five or more alcoholic drinks at a sitting?
a. 0 Times
b. 1 Time
c. 2 Times
d. 3 Times
e. 4 Times
f. 5 or more Times
For a University which prides itself in scholarly research and the virtue of backing evidence with sound methodology, I find this survey laughable for a few reasons. Firstly, is this the best that the Administration can do to monitor and combat high-risk drinking on campus? Secondly, could the Administration even trust the results of this survey?
I mean, what's the difference between 'strongly agreeing' and 'agreeing' to whether you "mistreated or destroyed others' property/belongings"? And if you've had more than 5 alcoholic drinks in more than 5 sittings over the last two weeks, how on earth are you supposed to remember performing any of those actions, or do this survey? Also, keep in mind that the 'last two weeks' includes Newman's Day and Houseparties Weekend, so the results are likely to reflect the most extreme cases.

As the first and last class to go through the infamous before coming on campus, the Class of 2008 must truly find this survey to be a fitting bookend to our Princeton education.

In the recent Class of 2009 election, incumbent Grant Bermann defeated challenger Alec Williams by 11 votes. This is not unprecedented. In the 2004 USG Presidential Elections, outsider Leslie Bernard Joseph '06 defeated sitting VP Shaun Callaghan '06 by only 11 votes as well (Perhaps Nassau Hall was involved?). There are a few lessons from this current election that can be learned by future campaigners:

(1) Sometimes, having more Facebook friends matters. I'm Facebook friends with neither Bermann or Williams, but I'm sure Bermann wins the Facebook popularity contest as well. (And wouldn't it be funny if Grant had 11 more Facebook friends than Alec?)

(2) 'Change' may be the buzzword of the 2008 election season in America, but change (at least in terms of 'departure from tradition') isn't always welcomed at Princeton. One can argue that the Administration has already introduced a number of 'changes' over the years - from grade deflation and the four-year residential college system to the new alcohol policy and the rezoning of Spelman - all 'changes for change sake' that have yet to be explained rationally to, or enthusiastically embraced by, students. For Williams to use the bland (and blind) 'Change is Good' mantra as his campaign slogan is an unfortunate reading of the campus climate.

(3) Stay on campus. According to my Junior friends, Williams spent the fall studying abroad in Oxford. While I do not dispute the value of studying abroad (I went off twice) or gathering new ideas from other universities as to how to improve student life, it may be counterintuitive to say: "I love Princeton so much and I love my class so much, that I spent the last four months away from both of them."


Lillian Zhou said...

We had AlcoholEdu too!

Martha Vega said...

As did we...