At the first meeting of the Princeton Community Council (CPUC) of the fall semester, held September 19, University officials provided an update on construction and addressed concerns about the disruptions to campus life due to ongoing projects. Project communications manager Karen Fanning introduced campus wayfinding projects like the Build Princeton campaign, as well as a series of 17 maps that will be placed on campus to give students detour directions before they leave. they reach a closure.
Additionally, a group of university administrators, in conjunction with student leaders, shared findings from a report on mental health resources created over the summer. This work began with a referendum sponsored by the Senate of Undergraduate Student Government (USG) in the spring of 2022.
During the meeting, the Ad Hoc Committee on Naming, which recently renamed Marx Hall to Laura Wooten Hall, was recommended to become a standing committee of the CPUC. The CPUC also approved the Order of Business for 2022-2023, which is a set of rules by which the committee operates and which must be reapproved annually.
Construction Updates and Concerns
While displaying maps of the campus dating back to 1756, Associate Vice President of Capital Projects Dozi Ibeh reflected on the building heritage upon which today’s capital projects are based.
“A lot of people tell me how beautiful the Princeton campus is,” he said. “But that beauty took construction, design. Now it’s our turn to contribute to the continued growth and evolution of the Princeton University campus.
Ibeh announced the completion of Stadium Drive Garage, Roberts Stadium, Yeh College and New College West, which opened Sept. 3 to students despite construction uncertainty.
The 17-acre site of the Environmental Studies and School of Engineering and Applied Science (ES&SEAS) campus has been cleared, utility lines are being installed, and the start of the foundation is under construction. The University intends to move the building from 91 Prospect Ave. across the street, as well as 110 Prospect Ave., to make room for ES&SEAS and preserve the Victorian homes of Prospect Avenue.
Other ongoing construction projects include the Princeton University Museum of Art; the establishment of University Health Services, which will provide “ambulatory medical care and counseling services”; renovation and expansion of the Dillon Gymnasium; development in the Meadows neighborhood (formerly called Lake Campus Development); and Hobson College, which will have its own dining hall.
Fanning responded to the concern of getting around campus when many routes are disrupted due to construction. Current measures include an opt-in text alert system that alerts students to detours and area closures, as well as a series of campus trails that will be posted on campus before major construction begins, allowing students to “choose in which direction [they] might want to go.
Signage will be placed around campus starting this week, according to Fanning.
Fanning noted that the Princeton Builds campaign, visible around campus outside the Frist Campus Center and the Princeton University Art Museum, for example, was created to educate the public about why the University is undertaking these projects. Outside the Dillon Gym, the Princeton Builds campaign reads: ‘Princeton builds well-being. Wellness builds fitness, strength and flexibility.
“It’s really about identifying what’s behind the fence,” Fanning said.
Ibeh responded to a concern from Uma Fox ’26 regarding pedestrian safety and lighting around campus.
“Several students told me that they felt there was a lack of visibility on campus at night,” she said.
Ibeh responded that a group of representatives participate in campus safety walks every semester to identify areas for improvement. Several walkways, particularly in the center of campus, should undergo upgrades to provide wider walkways and additional lighting.
Assistant Professor of Classics Caroline Cheung inquired about plans to expand classrooms given the growing student population on campus. Ibeh responded that most of the projects that are currently part of the capital plan will expand the classroom inventory.
Mental Health Discussion
Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun, alongside Director of Counseling and Psychology Services Dr. Calvin Chin, USG U-Council President Stephen Daniels ’24, USG Vice President Hannah Kapoor ’23 and USG President Mayu Takeuchi ’23 led a conversation about mental health on campus.
During seven meetings this summer, this group formulated a report discuss mental health resources and building a supportive and informed community on campus.
“We believe that being a community that is focused on prioritizing the well-being of these people is our whole job,” Calhoun said.
The group sought to examine gaps in awareness and resources, recognize issues affecting students of diverse identities, and explore care and crisis responses.
“We recognize the need to bring together different partners and different people who occupy spaces on campus to have this deliberative and constructive conversation about mental health on campus,” Takeuchi said.
Some recommendations outlined in the report and highlighted at the meeting include 24/7 on-demand counseling through the CPS, funding for transportation to off-campus counselors, and funding to increase the quantity and diversity of CPS staff.
Calhoun acknowledged that mental health conversations will continue, through quarterly reports examining suggested recommendations, mental health luncheons and the relaunch of the University Health Advisory Council.
Takeuchi moderated the CPUC discussion on mental health, asking the administration, faculty, students and alumni what role they play in promoting mental health on campus.
University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 commented on systemic factors that affect mental health.
“There is a widespread epidemic of mental illness in our society that is not limited to top colleges and universities,” he said. “We have to be aware of this because we could make very specific diagnoses at Princeton about the causes. These diagnoses could be wrong.
Takeuchi responded that the group’s work is consistent with this thinking.
“Creating a thriving campus means creating people who can thrive beyond Princeton as we graduate and go beyond,” she said.
The meeting took place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Monday, September 19 in the multipurpose room of the Frist Campus Center.
Isabel Yip is an associate editor who usually covers university affairs and student life. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram at @isaayip.