History of Wintersession

This winter break, Princeton undergraduates, graduate students, staff, and faculty were invited to participate in the third annual Wintersession program sponsored by the Office of Campus Engagement (OCE).

To commemorate the largest Wintersession ever, which includes more than 500 total offerings and over 4,000 participants, The Daily Princetonian created a project devoted to understanding the history of Wintersession, what Wintersession looks like today, and the value it provides to Princeton’s campus.


‘The Princeton I wanted to join’: The evolution of Wintersession

By Sejal Goud and Gia Musselwhite

In 2014, the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Senate hosted the first-ever Wintersession, where undergraduate students had the opportunity to enroll in informal classes between the end of fall term exams and the beginning of the spring semester.

Over the past nine years, this system has evolved, changed leadership, and expanded, while retaining its original mission of providing free, accessible programming to all students. This winter break, Princeton undergraduates, graduate students, staff, and faculty are invited on campus from Jan. 16 to Jan. 29 to participate in the third annual Wintersession program sponsored by the Office of Campus Engagement (OCE).

“It's very rare that you, as a student at a historic institution, get to create something that becomes lasting way beyond yourself. [Wintersession] could really improve the lives of [our] fellow classmates around [us] for future generations to come,” said Laura Du ’14, one of the USG representatives who proposed the platform.

Creating USG Wintersession

Prior to the restructuring of Princeton’s calendar in the academic year 2020–2021, fall term exams were held at the conclusion of winter break in January. Following exams, students had the option of returning home or remaining on campus during a one-week Intersession break.

Time and financial constraints limited some students’ abilities to return home over break. Du and two other U-Councilors, Katherine Clifton ’15 and Elan Kugelmass ’14, with support from USG President Shawon Jackson ’15 took note of these challenges and set out to create an alternative.

“If you weren’t in a group that was touring — like a performing arts group — or part of a club that had a retreat at that time, there wasn’t much programming happening on campus. It’s kind of crazy to think about, a week that’s quieter that happens to overlap with the week when students have the most time. It seemed like this mismatch that we wanted to address,” Clifton explained.

Inspired by enrichment programming at other institutions such as Williams College, the team of U-Councilors began work on a Princeton-specific model.

“When we did a couple of focus groups with students, they were interested in being able to lead their own as well as take other people’s offerings," Clifton said. “So that’s why we landed on this hodgepodge model,” with students able to enroll in multiple informal sessions led by others on campus.

Clifton also shared that their Wintersession model was in part a product of USG’s budget constraints, though Du noted that the team was able to provide modest compensation to facilitators.

“Our [USG] funding was pretty small. I mean, most of these sessions didn’t require anything but space and people’s time. I remember there was a Magic 101 [offering], and it was ‘bring your own card deck’ — pretty DIY,” Clifton recalled.

Despite Wintersession’s limited budget and advertising at the time, the program with its tagline, “Discover a hobby. Meet other Princetonians. Learn something new,” seemed to resonate with the student body.

The sponsors’ pilot goal was for 200 students to sign up. When they launched it via a school-wide email, Du said, the numbers “were just so immediate and then they kept climbing. We had roughly 20% of the student body sign up to be involved.”

Du shared that the freedom to explore without being assessed on performance was key to the pilot’s success, particularly given the context of grade deflation.

“Everyone who goes to Princeton is so self motivated — that’s part of how everyone got there. You just want to make sure that along the way, you don’t lose that joy of learning as well.”

Following widespread community satisfaction from the first event, Wintersession became an ongoing USG project through 2020.


Continue reading here.


We analyzed Wintersession course offerings. Here's what we found.

By Elaine Huang and Ryan Konarska

With a 35-page Course Catalog and 544 events posted on CampusGroups, Wintersession 2023 offers a wide variety of courses, from “D&D Crash Course” to “Medical Skills 101.” The Daily Princetonian analyzed session dates, times, categories, and topics, revealing trends such as how most sessions are held on weekdays and how “Sustainability” is the category with the least number of offerings.

The ‘Prince’ obtained data on Wintersession courses from the official My PrincetonU events listing and categorized sessions based on the labels from the Wintersession Course Catalog. Using an online software, the ‘Prince’ was able to export and analyze 485 out of the 544 Wintersession courses found on My PrincetonU as of Jan. 2, constituting roughly 90 percent of the sample size.

This Wintersession, the first conducted with a majority of events in-person, is being held between Jan. 16 and Jan. 29, 2023. Courses are available to all undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, and faculty. Wintersession is run by the University’s Office of Campus Engagement (OCE).

“The Office of Campus Engagement relies a lot on individual groups, faculty, staff, and student organizations to really think through what they want to do, and what type of workshop they want to offer,” explained Gil Joseph ’25, one of five OCE Student Fellows who help lead Wintersession.

According to the course catalog, sessions listed under “How-to” and “Professional Growth” were most common, with 84 and 72 sessions of each category, respectively. The next most common category was “Evening Events,” with 52, followed by 44 listed under “Arts” and 42 each for both “Wellness and Community” and “Trips.” Each section of an event with multiple sections was counted as an individual session. The catalog does not include events like sports games and some trips, which are a part of the Campus Groups page.

“There’s just such a diversity of course offerings, which allows you to do things that you never thought that you were going to do if you did not have the opportunity,” said Ryan Champeau ’23, a Whitman RCA and co-host of “Sushi, Ice Cream, and More: NYC Food Tour”.

Analysis of the additional labels listed on sessions beyond their overarching categories shows that “Fitness and Strength” listed under “How-to” was the most common type of Wintersession course, with 34 sessions offered. Close behind were “101” events and “Careers and Professional Development,” both of which had 27 sessions. In contrast, “Sustainability” and “Rejuvenation and Relaxation,” both listed under “Wellness and Community,” only had three and seven sessions, respectively.

Organization partnerships with OCE may be a reason for the discrepancy between the number of courses offered in each category.

Regarding the high number of “Fitness and Strength” offerings, Joseph shared that “Campus Rec has a lot to do with that, because that is what they do. I think they have a very solid partnership with OCE, because they understand that Wintersession is an opportunity for them to have more events surrounding exercising and athletics.”

“The Office of Sustainability on campus is still up and coming,” Joseph continued, “so I’d be interested to see how that will change over the next few years. But I think that might be a reason [for the fewer courses offered,] as it depends on the strength of the department.”

Fifty-eight events were scheduled on Thursday, Jan. 19, making it the Wintersession day with the most events held. Close behind was the previous day, Wednesday, Jan. 18, with 55 events. Very few sessions were scheduled over the weekend; only three percent of all offerings were held on Saturday, Jan. 21 and Sunday, Jan. 22. Towards the end of the second week of Wintersession, the number of events scheduled gradually decreased, falling from 54 sessions on Tuesday, Jan. 24 to just 9 on Sunday, Jan. 29.

Overall, most sessions were scheduled on weekdays, peaking near the middle of the week and waning towards the weekends. “Wintersession actually fixes the date, but you can request a change,” explained Austen Mazenko ’24, Whitman RCA and co-host of “Sushi, Ice Cream, and More: NYC Food Tour.”

Scheduled session start times varied less than scheduled start dates. The most common start time was 1 p.m. with 136 sessions followed by 10 a.m. with 117; together, these 253 sessions comprised roughly 52 percent of the dataset. Wintersession scheduled fewer events for early risers, with just 39 out of 485 events starting before 10 a.m.. The third most common start time for sessions was 7 p.m., with 41 sessions.

The scheduled time may play a role in which members of the community attend: athletes, who often have practices during the day, may benefit from evening events. Joseph highlighted Laser Tag as an “event where [athletes] could all go as a team to bond, as it was in the evening so they did not have practice.”

When asked about potential future Wintersession course offerings, Champeau said she would like to see more day-to-day events within the residential colleges. “People might just want to stay within their own college and do something like Wii, sushi, or something more low-key,” Champeau said.

Mazenko spoke about the value of Wintersession. “Generally speaking,” he said, “there is a want to be engaged.”

Elaine Huang is a head Data editor for The Daily Princetonian. She is a sophomore majoring in operations research and financial engineering (ORFE) and can be reached at

Ryan Konarska is an assistant Data editor for The Daily Princetonian. He is a sophomore majoring in public and international affairs and can be reached at

Please direct any corrections requests to corrections[at]


Dallas mayor discusses public service at SPIA event

By Abby Leibowitz

As discussions continue on public service and the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), Eric Johnson GS ’03, mayor of Dallas, TX, discussed the virtues of serving in public office, the benefits of a SPIA education, and the challenges faced by local and state governments at an event held at Richardson Auditorium and moderated by Dean Amaney A. Jamal.

The event was the third-ever Life and Leadership keynote, held annually during Wintersession to feature distinguished Princeton alumni.

Johnson, a graduate of the Master of Public Policy program at SPIA, is the 60th mayor of Dallas and served in the Texas House of Representatives from 2010–2019.

Johnson explained that his path to politics was atypical, as he grew up in a “pretty rough neighborhood.” He said that his goals were to fulfill the aspirations of his parents and grandparents, which involved him attending college and becoming self-sufficient.

He ultimately ran for state representative because he was “unhappy” with the situation with his local representative at the time, who was facing allegations of corruption during the election and was later found guilty by the federal government for misrepresenting her tax return. However, as Johnson described, he received limited support during his campaign and was discouraged from running, as some party leaders declined to support a primary challenge before the incumbent resigned or was found guilty.

Johnson said he shared this anecdote to emphasize that “we can do a better job across the board in identifying talented people with a good heart to serve the public.”

Johnson’s visit comes as survey data shows only 7 percent of 2022 graduates went on to work in the public sector. Both Jamal’s and audience members’ questions highlighted the deterrents to current SPIA students seeking to run a campaign — the influence of money in politics, the rigors of public life, political gridlock, and the desire to make change through other avenues.

“People are taking their talents into business, higher education, when I could use them in my city council, in the city manager’s office, in state legislatures and governors’ mansions,” Johnson said.

The necessity of more talent in public office was a consistent theme emphasized by Johnson, who said that America’s “body politic is suffering from talent on the input side, and it is affecting the output side.”

“People with low integrity and people who see the job as a hustle or do it for some notoriety to gain attention have always been prevalent — Donald Trump wasn’t first — but we have now reached stage-four cancer. We don’t have enough people with the training or integrity, and it really scares and concerns me,” he said.

Johnson said that fewer individuals today view public service as honorable work and as their life’s calling than they did in the past.

“I never needed convincing that public service was worth my time. People in public service overall were noble and doing a good thing, so I may be out of step generationally because I didn’t need to be convinced of it,” he said.

He further stressed the importance of participating in local politics.

“If you’re thinking about public office, go into local politics. That is where change is made. Federal government has stopped making policy. Congress is in perpetual campaign commercial mode. But we still have to address homelessness, make sure people have parks and places to live. We are taking care of the nuts and bolts of what makes [these] places function.”

According to Johnson, however, even local politics aren’t immune to partisan gridlock. After nine years as a Democrat in the Republican-dominated Texas House, Johnson was exhausted by the polarization that had “gripped” his colleagues — “to the point where a good idea couldn’t be recognized as a good idea if it was coming out of the wrong mouth.”

Johnson is the second Black mayor of Dallas, and though he joked that “no one cares about the second,” he explained that his election meant something personally, because he is a product of Dallas’s Black community, whereas the first Black mayor was raised in Austin, not Dallas. He also said that there is something special in being second — it gives the impression that it isn’t out of the norm to have a Black mayor and that it should be ordinary.

Johnson said that what he loved most about his time at SPIA was the people he met.

“There were no barriers between students, professors, and administrators,” he said. He told the audience about his frequent Hoagie Haven visits with (former) admissions officer John Templeton during his time at SPIA.

Johnson was attracted to SPIA because of the quantitative aspect of the program, and it set the basis for how he approached his job — in a “technocratic instead of political way.”

He continued that it was because of this approach that he “assesses overall outcomes in order to maximize the public benefit,” instead of typical considerations made by politicians, such as which district the issue is in and whether addressing it will help them in reelection.

Johnson said he used the quantitative approach that he learned at SPIA in his policy solutions as a Texas House Representative regarding education and police-community relations.

“In order to move a problem forward, we need to actually convince people there is a problem, which means we need to actually collect the data,” he explained.

Johnson closed by reflecting on an important quality he observes in successful politicians.

“Deep down inside, no one really likes a coward, and sadly, to a certain degree, Trump tapped into that natural affinity people have towards a confidence and strength and belief in something. So if you have something you really want to get done, just be strong and go for it.”

Johnson’s office did not respond to The Daily Princetonian’s request for comment.

Abby Leibowitz is a News contributor for the 'Prince.'

Please direct any corrections requests to corrections[at]


Prospect 11: Wintersession Issue

By Claire Shin


Fall 2022 Media Arts Show - Program in Visual Arts

Jan. 23 – Feb. 3, 2023, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Lucas Gallery, 185 Nassau St.

The Program in Visual Arts presents new work by students in fall photography and graphic design courses, including photography courses taught by Jeff Whetstone, James Welling, and Anne Eder, as well as graphic design courses taught by David Reinfurt and Laura Coombs. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

A Night with Magician and Hypnotist Noah Sonie

Jan. 28, 2023, 9–10:30 p.m., Richardson Auditorium

Prepare to be entertained and mystified as magician and hypnotist Noah Sonie performs his show "HYPE," which blends the art of Mentalism with the fascinating and bizarre world of hypnosis. Noah Sonie is a magician based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. His performance style combines numerous mediums including magic, mind reading, and hypnosis to create an abstract and engaging show that will leave an audience laughing and astonished. In 2021, Sonie made his national television debut on Penn & Teller’s “Fool Us” and has since made numerous appearances on WCCO news, Kare 11 News, and in the Minneapolis StarTribune.


Princeton Sound Kitchen: Yarn/Wire - Princeton Sound Kitchen

Jan. 29, 2023, 8–10 p.m. in Lee Rehearsal Room, Lewis Arts Complex

The Yarn/Wire quartet performs works by Princeton University graduate student composers including Francisco del Pino, Hope Littwin, Lucy McKnight, Tom Morrison, Christian Quiñones, Elijah Daniel Smith, Max Vinetz, and Connor Elias Way. This event is free and unticketed.

Wintersession Course Offerings

Beyond the Resume with Michaela Coel

Jan. 28, 2023, 5:30–6:30 p.m. Sign up for location.

Wintersession’s third annual Beyond the Resume keynote event will feature actress, screenwriter, director, producer, and singer Michaela Coel! Coel will be interviewed by undergrad student Mutemwa Masheke ’23 about her accomplishments, her activism, and who she is beyond her credentials. The event will also include time for Q&A from participants.

Going Behind the Scenes & Getting into the Industry at McCarter

Jan. 25, 2023, 5:30–7:30 p.m. EST. Sign up for location.

Join for a unique, participatory round table with McCarter Theater staff and leading entertainment professionals. This low-key, high inspiration, conversation-based evening event will be “Ted Talk” meets “Shark Tank” meets “PU’s Got Talent!” Participants will hear from pros working in stage and screen AND participants will get the chance to pitch their ideas to the staff and panelists.

A New Museum for a New Age

Jan. 26, 2023, 4:30–6:30 p.m., Frist Campus Center, Room 302

Princeton University is one of the oldest collecting institutions in North America. Now, as it builds a new Art Museum, it is undertaking one of the most comprehensive re-shapings of the way in which a museum presents and interprets its collections and understands its purpose. Join Museum Director James Steward h’67 h’70 for a presentation and interactive discussion about the ideas and possibilities underpinning the new Museum.

Plans A, B, C, and D: The Artist’s Paths

Jan. 25, 2023, 1–4 p.m. Sign up for location.

This workshop invites members of the Artists Group of the Princeton Women’s Network of New York to explore how they have lived out their Plans A, B, C, and D to share the essential habits, life skills, and hacks that allow them to make their art, whether it is their full-time gig or simmering on a back burner while other responsibilities predominate. Most importantly, it’s about acknowledging their identity as writers or artists and finding ways to feed that passion. All participants will have the opportunity to discuss their own projects, struggles, and questions and engage in a series of focused writing exercises.

The Princeton Greek Dance Odyssey

Jan. 26, 2023, 8–10 p.m. EST, Wallace Dance Building and Theatre, Murphy Dance Studio

This workshop’s goal is to introduce the Princeton University community to the basics of the dance form, teaching the most fundamental dances across both the Greek mainland and Greek island regions. Whether you are a pro dancer or someone with no dancing experience, come join us for an evening of Greek dance and music. No dance experience is needed to attend.

Multiculturalism in Indian Dance through History: An audio-visual demonstration

Jan. 27, 2023, 5–7 p.m. Sign up for location.

A brief review of the origins and evolution of Indian Dance from the pre-Vedic period to post-Independence India till the present time with a focus on how diverse cultures have influenced the evolution of Indian Dance. Traditional Indian Classical Dance forms of Bharatanatyam and Kathak will be used as examples along with more contemporary creative expressions of Indian dance originating from Uday Shankar and Rabindranath Tagore through Tagore’s creation of the Dance Drama.

Art that Moves: The Care and Conservation of Kinetic Art

Jan. 26, 2023, 12:40–2:50 p.m., Princeton University Art Museum Offsite Room

For nearly a century, artists have been making works that move and change, often through the incorporation of light or mechanical elements. Join conservators and curators from the Museum for a behind-the-scenes look at pieces in Princeton’s collections and a discussion of the practical and philosophical questions that arise as the Museum works to preserve kinetic art for future generations.

Character Design (Section D)

Jan. 25, 2023, 1–4 p.m., Frist Campus Center, Room 207

Calling all artists, writers, and comic book fans! This workshop will be an exploration of the comic book storytelling genre led by award-winning author/illustrator Rashad Malik Davis. You’ll work with a group of other brilliant artists and writers to design your own characters. Gain an overview of character design, color theory, inking techniques, and visual storytelling in the exciting three-hour workshop.


From New York to Washington, D.C.: A Wintersession Photo Essay

By Guanyi Cao

With such a fast-paced semester, it’s hard to get out of town and sightsee, or even just learn a new hobby. Luckily, Wintersession can be a remedy to that. While there are plenty of on-campus activities to do during the two-week program, some students take advantage of the trips that go to the cities nearby. Take a look to see one photographer’s trip to New York City and Washington, D.C.

Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art Day Trip

The walk to the Smithsonian also included some architectural sightseeing, introducing students to the Neoclassical style of Washington D.C., a far cry from Princeton’s gothic structures.
Guanyi Cao / The Daily Princetonian

Students walk towards Smithsonian museums with the iconic Capitol Building in the background.
Guanyi Cao / The Daily Princetonian

Curator Debra Diamond of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art leads a group of students on a journey of discovery through the museum's latest exhibition.
Guanyi Cao / The Daily Princetonian

At less than a mile away, students had the chance to pass by the Washington Monument on their trip to the Smithsonian.
Guanyi Cao / The Daily Princetonian

Museum of Modern Art Day Trip

Despite looking like a typical Manhattan streetside, the Museum of Modern Art contains 6 floors of one of the most comprehensive collections of modern and contemporary art in the world.
Guanyi Cao / The Daily Princetonian

AI is constantly painting a new piece at this exhibit on the Museum of Modern Art’s first floor.
Guanyi Cao / The Daily Princetonian

Exploring the boundaries of contemporary art at the Museum of Modern Art's latest exhibit.
Guanyi Cao / The Daily Princetonian


Triangle on Tour

By Daybreak Staff

From Jan. 21 to 28, Triangle is taking its tour on the road to six different states. Daybreak visited them in the D.C. metro area on their second stop of tour to watch them in action and learn how they do it.


Cold Cuts

By Simon Marotte

Try the Crossword


HumOrpinion: University should divert all funding to Wintersession

By Liana Slomka and Spencer Bauman

The following content is purely satirical and entirely fictional.

With spring semester fast approaching, it is important that we take the time to appreciate the most beneficial part of our Princeton undergraduate experience. It’s not the research experience, the elite degree, or the student-to-faculty ratio.

The best thing the University offers us is this two-week period in January where we learn skills that one would never think to seek out themselves and hear from speakers who were easily booked: Wintersession.

Let’s break down the word.

Winter: It is cold. And it is cold in Princeton.

Session: Classes. That don’t even count towards graduating.

What’s not to love? Where else am I able to watch a movie from the early 2000s on a large blow-up screen on the cold, wet ground outside the building where I failed my math exam?

Unlike our stressful academic classes, Wintersession courses allow us to learn for the sake of learning. Not for the sake of developing skills, accumulating knowledge, or making ourselves better people, students, or citizens in any way. We should embrace the opportunity to learn things so obscure and irrelevant that letting on that you remember them three weeks from now will make you look like a total dork.

Thanks to Wintersession, you can spend the next few months passing people you met in your courses on your way to class, not knowing if you should wave or say hi. You know they remember you, and you definitely remember them. (Uh oh, how long have we been making eye contact? Maybe I should just say “hi” and get it over with. Oh no, they have their Airpods in. Now everyone around me just watched me yell, “Hi!” to this random stranger, and they didn’t even say “hi” back.)

You just don’t get that same thrill from twelve-week-long classes.

Unfortunately, some students have to spend their Wintersession traveling to far-off places for free with their sports teams or performance groups. Those unlucky few miss out on the chance to attend all 70 knitting courses being offered or get mediocre career advice from people in fields they don’t really want to pursue.

A University report shows that the two-billion-dollar fall in the endowment is likely due “in large part” to Wintersession aprons and mugs. We think it would be worth another couple billion to bring in just a few more TikTok celebrities to show us how to cook meals in the residential college kitchens overrun by crusty dishes.

University Student Government (USG) has recently put out a referendum to make the semester two weeks in January and make the rest of the year even more Wintersession. We hope that this referendum passes so that we can spend all year learning anything and everything that has nothing to do with our majors.

Spencer Bauman and Liana Slomka are co-head Humor editors, and signed up for one Wintersession course between the two of them. It was a movie marathon.


Expand and invest in Wintersession

By Tara Shukla

Since January of 2021, the University has reserved two weeks in January for Wintersession, a program that offers free classes, workshops, trips, and events to students, faculty, and staff.

I have attended Wintersession for the past two years, and it has been a special and positive contribution to my Princeton experience. It is an opportunity that deserves to expand in the coming years.

Wintersession’s primary objective is to “promote connection and growth beyond the resume.” In other words, it offers students and faculty the chance to learn for the sake of learning itself. During the school year, the constraint of deadlines and career and academic stressors can cause the Princeton community to work itself to the bone. However, Wintersession has offered me an invaluable opportunity to reflect on why I came to Princeton in the first place: to broaden my horizons, to connect with others, and to enjoy learning.

It is a liberating and enriching experience to attend classes with a range of ages and majors; it reminds me that I am surrounded by a supportive and curious community. Another unique strength of Wintersession is its involvement of faculty, staff, and graduate students.

“I liked how Wintersession was open to all of the Princeton community,” read one testimonial from a staff member. “It was great to teach a range of expertise and people who just wanted to learn more, particularly faculty.” Wintersession’s zero-stakes focus on education is a celebration of learning for all Princetonians.

Wintersession’s course and activity offerings provide students with the chance to explore new activities and delve into academic subjects outside of their major. It also allows students to discover interests that aren’t otherwise financially accessible to them.

“I would not get to do these things (go snowboarding, go to DC) without support from Wintersession,” read another testimonial from a graduate student.

Highlights from this year’s offerings include skiing trips and classes from blacksmithing to woodworking, to medical skills development — all activities that many college students haven’t had the chance to explore. Other courses, such as How to Have a Hobby, Adulting 101, and Financial Literacy, focus on life skills that help prepare students for their post-university lives. Some are dedicated to thesis prep and research support or even to teaching the basics of academic subjects — the latter of which is a great way for underclassmen to explore different majors or academic paths.

This year, I personally found Introduction to Machine Learning to be a comprehensive but accessible introduction to data science. As a computer science major considering data science courses in upcoming semesters, this workshop solidified my decision to delve deeper and gave me a working foundation upon which to build more understanding.

Importantly, Wintersession offers a low-stakes way for students to ease into a new semester without the added pressure of adjusting to their classes. During winter break, students can feel disconnected from the Princeton community and might find it difficult to transition back into college life.

However, this two-week experience provides students fun opportunities to reconnect with college friends and readjust to a learning environment. Locals can commute, while students from further places can take advantage of the open housing and dining halls to settle into campus early. Reacclimation to Princeton is made easier by Wintersession’s relaxed social and educational engagements, rather than the usual rush back into classes.

With this being said, Wintersession does have room for improvement. Its primary issue is that the opportunity for students to participate in its unique and fun activities is limited by event resources and space.

In my experience, popular activities and trips fill up minutes after registration opens. I have seen waitlists stretch over 250 people long for novelty offerings like ski trips, New York City visits, or crafting activities. The University should invest in opening additional sections for sought-after courses and increase event capacities to make Wintersession more accessible to all students. Furthermore, it should make online resources for classes available to students who cannot attend due to enrollment capacity or travel constraints, where possible.

Wintersession is a unique way that the University embodies its commitment to fostering lifelong learning in its community members. For me, it has been a chance to reconnect with old friends, appreciate my community, and take interesting classes. Despite issues with high demand and low-capacity activities, this two-week event is a great opportunity for students to explore new hobbies, learn new skills, and transition back into a new semester.

Tara Shukla is a sophomore from Highland Park, N.J., studying computer science and economics. Tara can be reached at


Seven football seniors represent Princeton at Japan-U.S. Dream Bowl in Tokyo

By Brian Mhando

When people around the world hear the term “football,” they usually think about the sport that involves midfielders and strikers, not the one that involves quarterbacks and wide receivers.

Japan, however, was the world’s best country for men’s tackle football outside of the United States this past year, and the Ivy League has taken notice. In partnership with the Japan’s National Football Association (NFA), players from all eight Ivy League institutions competed against Japanese football players from the country’s X-League in the first-ever Japan-U.S. Dream Bowl.

Seven seniors represented Princeton in the game, including defensive linemen Michael Azevedo and James Stagg, defensive backs Dawson De Iuliis and CJ Wall, linebacker Ike Hall, punter Will Powers, and offensive lineman Connor Scaglione.

On Saturday, Jan. 21 at 11 p.m. EST, the Dream Bowl began in Tokyo’s National Stadium, which was previously used for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games. This was the first football event between the Ivy League and Japan since the Ivy Epson Bowl in 1996.

For everyone involved, the Dream Bowl represented not only a game, but also progress for Japanese sports.

“It is important for us to invite an American team to Japan each year,” explained Riichiro Fukahori, commissioner of the NFA, in an interview with the Japan Times. “I think it is important to take this kind of challenge each year to see where your level is, or at least where you stand.”

The players who were invited viewed their selection as a huge privilege.

“It was an honor to be chosen to represent the Ivy League and the U.S. and certainly something that I will remember forever,” De Iulis told The Daily Princetonian.

Hall, a late addition to the team, shared similar sentiments.

“They let me know just a week before the trip, so I was ecstatic to get that news,” said Hall. “I felt honored and blessed to get this opportunity with the Ivy League to play football internationally.”

For the participating Ivy League players, the Dream Bowl also gave them a chance to explore Japan. In between practices, players explored the city of Kamakura and met U.S. officials at the United States Embassy.

“Visiting Japan can leave you speechless,” Hall added. “The people have such strong spirits, and their creativity is boundless. They’re amazingly gracious and kind to foreigners who can be rather clueless.”

Led by Columbia head coach Al Bagnoli, the representing Tigers were challenged by new coaches as well as entirely new teammates, but, according to De Iuliis, adapting was not difficult.

“I feel like we developed some lifelong friendships [with other Ivy league players],” said De Iuliis. “I also really enjoyed working with the Columbia coaching staff. It was tough to bring a team together with only four practices, but they did an outstanding job.”

The Dream Bowl itself was a close game, but the Ivy League prevailed over the X-League in a 24–20 victory.

Following a 30-yard field goal by the X-League’s Saeki Shintaro to open the scoring, Brown running back Allen Smith gave the Ivy League the 7–3 lead with a one-yard touchdown. The Ivy League would hold on to the lead thanks to a three-yard touchdown by Penn running back Isaiah Malcome, and a 26-yard field goal by Columbia kicker Alex Felkins.

However, the X-League proved to be a tough opponent, managing to take a lead late in the third quarter from a one-yard run by Trashaun Nixon and a successful two-point conversion.

“The Japanese team played with relentless vigor and intensity every play,” Hall said. “I was impressed with not only their heart, but their precision.”

With four minutes to spare in the fourth quarter, Penn quarterback Ryan Glover scored the winning touchdown, giving the Ivy squad the victory. Though the X-League lost, the future looks bright for Japanese football.

“The close score of our game says a lot about the progress that has been made over the years, especially in a country where football is far from the top sport like it is in the U.S.,” said De Iuliis. “I think football will continue to improve [in Japan] as time goes on.”

Brian Mhando is an associate editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’ Please direct any corrections requests to corrections[at]


Why do students skip their Wintersession events?

By Anna Ferris

The air is cold, the holiday decorations are coming down, and TigerHub has (finally) been updated with last semester’s final grades. It’s Wintersession, and we have a variety of events to choose from. Take a class on dog training! Go skiing! Despite the copious options, I’ve noticed that many of my classmates skip the Wintersession events that they signed up for. The freedom for exploration that Wintersession offers is poisoned by our tendency to overcommit — we feel the pressure to sign up for many events, yet skip them due to the stress generated by our tightly packed schedules.

Wintersession has a problem: Wintersession events are very hard to get into, yet few students show up. The fact that many people don’t attend the classes for which they registered makes the program a less effective learning tool than it could be.

When sign-ups open, anyone can enroll in an unlimited number of first come, first serve classes. This openness, Mira Eashwaran ’26 noted, causes many Wintersession activities to fill up quickly.

“There were definitely more than a couple that I wanted to do, but couldn’t because they were full,” she said. The passion for signing up doesn’t always transfer to showing up, though. Eashwaran discussed Paint Your Emotions, a class she went to this year, saying that when it came time for the activity to start, “very few people actually attended.”

The Executive Director of the Office of Campus Engagement, Judy Jarvis, confirmed that there are inconsistencies between sign-up and attendance numbers, ones that are widespread enough to be covered in Wintersession facilitator training. “We say, ‘if you want to have 15 people attend, we suggest making your cap around 20-22,’” she explained.

Poor attendance in Wintersession events devalues the effort put in by facilitators. Undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty spend significant amounts of time and energy dreaming up innovative Wintersession classes on niche subjects. Many instructors I had this year mentioned that they chose their Wintersession topic because it had a deeply personal connection to their lives outside of Princeton. If students aren’t planning to attend, the option to cancel their registration is always on the table — a much preferable alternative to simply no-showing. But, more importantly, students shouldn’t sign up for classes that they’re not genuinely interested in.

Nobody forced us to sign up for these classes. Gina Holland, the Undergraduate Program Manager for the Department of Economics, taught a Wintersession course this year called The (Queer?) Life and Poetry of Emily Dickinson. She confirmed that facilitators must be prepared for “a certain percentage of attrition.” Despite knowing that no-shows frequently occur, instructors are still affected by the sight of a sparsely populated classroom. “If it was an arts and crafts session, or something with limited spots,” Holland said, “I can see how an instructor would be a little disappointed.”

Signing up for classes and then skipping them is not just unfair to instructors; it is similarly disrespectful to fellow students. I, like Eashwaran, missed out on several exciting opportunities because they filled up on the website immediately after sign-ups opened. The fact that many seats presumably went empty heightens the disappointment for those who didn’t get into certain courses themselves.

Finally, it’s disrespectful to ourselves. The purpose of Wintersession is joyful learning, unencumbered by grades, distribution requirements, or exams. We won’t reach this goal until we limit ourselves to signing up for classes we will actually go to and enjoy.

Why is this skipping phenomenon so widespread? Why do so many Princeton students book a far greater number of classes than they will ever reasonably attend? The answer lies in the culture of (over-)productivity that runs rampant through campus. It seems that when students see the huge list of classes, they feel the pressure to take advantage of free hours during Wintersession, and proceed to sign up for too many classes. Students may feel they should always be productive at the expense of free time and their mental health. Wintersession is meant to be a time to rest and recharge by exercising our intellectual curiosity without the stress of a real class. Instead, we consider an hour set aside for no particular purpose to be an hour wasted, and so we keep signing up, even for classes we’re not interested in.

By overpopulating our Google Calendars, even during a break, we imply that a fully booked schedule is more valuable than one that leaves space for relaxation. That kind of lifestyle isn’t sustainable. I believe that the stress of overcommitting is why so many people skip their Wintersession undertakings. With such a full schedule, driven by productivity culture, students that may have gone to three Wintersession events otherwise may go to none in the face of the 17 they’ve signed up for.

Ironically, ditching our pursuits doesn’t alleviate the stress of a packed schedule. In fact, it just multiplies it. We feel even worse once we’ve skipped a class, vow to do better, and add yet more to our planners. Rinse, repeat. It’s a vicious cycle that feels inescapable. Accepting that we need to cut back on anything — from extracurriculars, to jobs, to Wintersession offerings — feels tantamount to admitting defeat. Many of us secretly fear that nobody else has the same struggle and that paring down our schedules will mean falling behind our fellow students. Yet, comparing ourselves to others steals our opportunity for joy. How can we find happiness in the incredible opportunities offered during Wintersession if we are unable to separate our desire to learn from our desire to outperform everyone around us?

Holland champions the original idea of Wintersession classes: education for education’s sake. “Whether that’s learning about Emily Dickinson, or about learning to beatbox, it’s just about learning something new,” she argues. “We get so stressed about achieving the grade and achieving the status and the outcome, that we forget about what it should take to get to the outcome, which is the love of learning.”

When the next Wintersession rolls around, we should focus on only signing up for classes we will realistically attend — and ones we are compelled to take by our love of learning. It will benefit everyone, instructors and students alike. If we give ourselves the grace of rest, we may find that the burden of work is lighter and the reward, greater.

Anna Ferris is a freshman from Pittsburgh, PA who intends to concentrate in English. She can be reached at

Web Design

Ananya Grover
Brett Zeligson