“A Blueprint to Make the Residential Colleges ‘Feel like Home’” (On the Campus, April 6) was a headshaker. I then read (with really strong coffee) the Report of the Task Force on the Residential College Model. The University laments that the immense sums spent to create the residential colleges have not solved purported student isolation, and much (expensive) work lies ahead.
How sad. We have accepted brilliant, inquisitive, intellectually curious students, but the administration thinks that 500-person residential colleges are still too large for students to feel at home, and they are just not up to the task of making friends, so the University must arrange, manage, and even order appropriate student interaction. Everyone between 18 and 22 with a pulse experiences occasional confusion, discomfort, and even isolation. That’s not bad; it’s valuable.
May I suggest a cheaper alternative? Hire a motivational speaker with comedic chops to deliver during the first week a message to all incoming students (Jimmy Fallon or Seth Myers might do it gratis to develop monologue ideas): “Hey, newbies! We admitted you to this idyllic place because you are brilliant, inquisitive, intellectually curious, have a lot to offer to others, and are open to learning from them! So do it! Not just in classes. Make eye contact when you walk around campus! Sit down with new people in the dining hall! Invite people to your room for late-night arguments!”
If 21st-century Princetonians can’t do this for themselves, can anyone do it for them?