Housing for student performance groups remains uncertain as Reunions 2022 nears
In an email sent to student leaders of performing arts groups on Thursday, March 17, the Princeton Alumni Association announced that the University expects “an unprecedented number of alumni and their guests”. [to] back to campus” this summer for Meetings, suggesting that the first in-person Meetings since 2019 will require more on-campus housing to be available than in previous years.
The email stated that “essential groups of students who are operationally vital to Meetings” will be given priority for housing and “students who commit to work for Campus Dining are assured of a housing” throughout the Meeting, which will take place from May 19 to 22.
However, the email stated that students from artist groups who in the past “have been automatically offered on-campus accommodation at meetings” in previous years are not guaranteed accommodation this year. . Alumni Engagement also said they need to “significantly reduce the number of beds allocated to [student performers]and, in fact… cannot confirm if accommodations will be available.
Finally, Alumni Engagement said it “hopes to have an update on the number of on-campus beds available for performance/entertainment student groups in mid-April.”
On Wednesday, March 30, the Princeton Reunions team provided an email update to performing arts student groups.
In this update, the Meetings team affirmed its “commitment[ment] to ensure that our student workers and performers receive housing for each group,” but did not provide details on the amount allocated to each group or the methodology for making this decision. They have provided an application form for student groups to complete in order to apply for accommodation, which asks respondents to provide information about which group members need accommodation and which shows they have planned.
In an email to the Daily Princetonian, the University’s deputy spokesman, Michael Hotchkiss, noted that over the past few years the University has not “provided housing for every member of every group of ‘students participating in Reunion events’. Hotchkiss added that for this year’s meetings, the University has “arranged beds at the Rider, Westminster Choir College and Princeton Theological Seminary campuses to increase our available accommodations (on campus and near campus)” to welcome the former students present.
Referring to the March 17 email guaranteeing housing to students who “commit to work for Campus Dining”, Hotchkiss explained that “[d]Catering jobs may not be suitable for all students in performing groups, as the highest need for catering jobs is during lunch and dinner hours, which is often when bands students perform.
While “students who receive free on-campus interim housing must complete designated duties to support meetings,” Hotchkiss added that Princeton’s meetings team is “working to determine what additional meeting duties might be appropriate. [for students in performing groups] and will work closely with students to communicate their options.
Groups of performing arts students are now working independently to secure accommodation for their performers. Julia Elman, 23, president of the Princeton University Players (PUP), told the ‘Prince’ that she thinks “there’s no way the whole cast and crew, as well as the necessary production people from both [Theatre-]Intimate and PUP can get guaranteed accommodation.
According to Elman, PUP tried to find alternative accommodations and asked for donations for hotel rooms, “but because these are the first Meetings in … years, all of the hotel rooms are either full or [are very expensive].” She also noted that “Meetings relies on com[ing] return to connect with [alumni] bands and see current bands play.
Elman described that she was overall “angry and frustrated” with the current situation.
Maya Jaaskelainen ’24, drum major and president of the Princeton University Band, an organization she described as “operationally vital” to Reunions, said she expects the 20 to 30 students in the band “to have enough accommodation for [they] everyone can stay. Jaaskelainen said the group is “hired every year by the Council of Elders to lead the P-Rade”, and this year was no exception.
Student groups looked forward to continuing the tradition of performing for their alumni. Sloan Huebner ’23, president of the Glee Club at Princeton University, is “really excited… for all the people who are currently on Glee to see how strong the bond and the traditions are between the people who have come here he 50 years ago and the people who are still here today.” Although she thinks that “this whole situation has been a problem”, she is convinced that the Glee Club “is going to do the best with what we have , and we will do [our Reunions performance] to arrive.”
In an email to the ‘Prince’, Chuck Rozakis ’03, a former member of performing arts groups including the band, PUP, Theatre-Intime and the Jewish a cappella group Koleinu, commented on the importance of Meetings for both groups of alumni and students.
“Reunion events are really important for the long life and health of student groups,” he said. “[They] keep alumni connected to the group, which means alumni are more aware and willing to provide support like donations and hiring the group[s] for concerts.
Student groups performing at this year’s reunions who intend to apply for accommodation must complete the application form by April 10. Results and accommodation confirmation will be emailed the week of April 11.
Madeleine LeBeau is editor-in-chief for the “Prince”. She can be reached at [email protected]on Instagram @madeleinelebeau, or on Twitter @MadeleineLeBeau.