Clip art of a megaphone


“WANTED: woman who can sing and play flute, recorder or other instruments to join two acoustic guitarists in developing something new, something good, something to kill the ghost of Princeton apathy.”

A 1972 classified advertisement in The Daily Princetonian seemingly uncovered the long lost key to the timeless question of apathy at Princeton — the power of friendship and music. After three consecutive listings in the pages of the ‘Prince,’ and the five decades of Princeton activism that have transpired since, it’s possible to imagine they never found their flutist.

Today, there’s a prevailing narrative that Princeton is an inactive, apathetic campus — the events of the last year may support that frame. While peer institutions have observed large-scale, instantaneous demonstrations in response to global events, Princeton has struggled to match the same strength in numbers and urgency.

Students are often simply unaware of when protests take place — it only takes walking slightly down-campus for the noise of chanting to be drowned out by the sound of heavy machinery constructing, or destroying, a building. This lack of awareness is not isolated to our current day — for decades, Princeton community members have been reporting and opining about the apathy of campus.

Yet, to say that this is the full picture of activism at Princeton would be markedly untrue. Princeton’s history is filled with impassioned activist movements.

During South African apartheid, students spent 16 years protesting and calling for divestment from associated companies until they won selective divestment. Many of Princeton’s ethnic studies departments would not exist today without the relentless advocacy of students in 1995. The Black Justice League took to Nassau Hall and occupied President Christopher Eisgruber’s office with demands in hand, staying for 33 hours. Stemming from their negotiations, today, Woodrow Wilson’s name is no longer associated with departments and University buildings.

Princeton’s history with activism is rich — both from the lack thereof at times and the eras marked by its all-consuming presence. Activism on this campus cannot be distilled to a monolith.

This supplement from the ‘Prince’ aims to look at the full spread of assumptions about activism on Princeton’s campus. Together, these stories explain how Princeton has blended these two identities — of apathy and of energy.

As Princeton teeters on the edge of entering a new era of activism, join us in reflecting on what has come before.

Eden Teshome

April 26, 2024

Eden Teshome is the 148th Editor-in-Chief of the ‘Prince.’


Yacoub Kahkajian

Patrick Chen


Luiza Chevres

Malia Gaviola