CPUC discusses ongoing construction, mental health at first meeting of the fall

CPUC discusses ongoing construction, mental health at first meeting of the fall

At the first Princeton Community Council (CPUC) meeting in the fall, held September 19, university officials provided building updates and addressed concerns about disruptions to campus life due to ongoing projects. Karen Fanning, Director of Project Communications, presented campus route-finding projects such as the Build Princeton campaign, as well as a series of 17 maps that will be placed on the campus to give students detour directions before they reach closure.

In addition, a group of university officials, in conjunction with student leaders, shared the findings of a Mental Health Resource Report created over the summer. This work began with a Senate-sponsored Undergraduate Government (USG) referendum in the spring of 2022.

During the meeting, the Ad Hoc Committee on Nomenclature, recently renamed Marx Hall to Laura Wooten Hall, was recommended to become a permanent committee of the CPUC. The CPUC also approved the 2022-2023 work order, which is a set of rules under which the commission operates that must be re-approved each year.

Construction updates and concerns

Showing maps of the campus dating back to 1756, Dozi Ibe, associate vice president of capital projects, reflected on the building legacy on which capital projects are built today.

“I hear from a lot of people how beautiful the Princeton campus is,” he said. “But this beauty requires construction and design. It is now our turn to contribute to the continued growth and development of the Princeton campus.”

Ibe announced the completion of Drive Garage Stadium, Roberts Stadium, Yeh College and New College West, which opened on September 3 to students despite uncertainty about construction.

The 17-acre site has been vacated from the Environmental Studies and College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (ES & SEAS) campuses, utility lines are now being installed, and foundation construction is underway. The university intends to relocate Building 91 Prospect Ave. Across the street, as well as 110 Prospect Street, to make way for ES & SEAS and preserve the Victorian homes on Prospect Street.

Other current construction projects include the Princeton University Art Museum. The University Health Services Facility, which will provide “outpatient counseling and medical care services;” renovation and expansion of the Dillon gymnasium; the development in the Plains District (formerly known as the Lake Campus Development); and Hobson College, which will be completed with its own dining hall.

Fanning addressed the concerns of commuting on campus when many roads are disrupted by construction. Current measures include an optional text alert system that alerts students to detours and area closures as well as a series of campus paths that will be shown around the campus before major construction begins, allowing students to “choose the direction [they] You might want to go.”

According to Fanning, signs will be placed around the campus starting this week.

Fanning noted that the Princeton Builds campaign, which can be seen around the campus outside of Princeton University’s Campus Center and Museum of Art, for example, was created to inform the public about why the university is undertaking these projects. Outside the Dillon Gym, the Princeton Builds campaign says, “Princeton builds wellness. Wellness builds fitness, strength and flexibility.”

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“It’s really defining what’s behind the fence,” Fanning said.

Ebe addressed Uma Fox ’26’s concern about pedestrian safety and lighting around the campus.

“Many students have told me that they feel as if there is a lack of night vision on campus,” she said.

Ebe responded that a group of representatives participate in safe walking tours of the campus each semester in order to identify areas for improvement. Many of the pathways, particularly in the center of the campus, are slated to undergo improvements to provide wider corridors and additional lighting.

Assistant Professor of Classics Carolyn Cheung inquired about plans to expand classes due to the increasing number of students on campus. Ebe replied that most of the projects that are currently part of the capital plan will expand the classroom inventory.

Discussion about mental health

Campus Life Vice President Rochelle Calhoun, along with Director of Counseling and Psychological Services Dr. Calvin Chen, USA Council President Stephen Daniels ’24, USG Vice President Hannah Kapoor ’23, and USG President Mayu Takeuchi ’23, had a conversation about mental health at Campus.

Over the course of seven meetings this summer, this group has crafted a Report Discuss mental health resources and build a supportive and informed community on campus.

“We believe that being a community focused on prioritizing the well-being of these individuals is all our business,” Calhoun said.

The group sought to examine awareness and resource gaps, learn about issues affecting students of different identities, and explore care and responses to crises.

“We recognize the need to bring together different partners and different people who occupy spaces on campus to have this conversation, a deliberative and constructive discussion, about mental health on campus,” Takeuchi said.

Some of the recommendations outlined in the report that were highlighted at the meeting include 24/7 on-demand counseling through CPS, funding for transportation to off-campus counselors, and funding to expand the number and diversity of CPS staff.

Calhoun acknowledged that conversations about mental health will be ongoing, with quarterly reports to review proposed recommendations, mental health lunches, and a revival of the University Health Advisory Board.

Takeuchi facilitated the CPUC’s discussion on mental health, asking management, faculty, students, and alumni what role they play in promoting mental health on campus.

University President Christopher Isgruber ’83 commented on systemic factors influencing mental health.

“There is a widespread epidemic of mental illness within our society that is not limited to high-aspiration colleges and universities,” he said. “We have to keep that in mind because we may go into diagnoses that are very Princeton-specific for what the causes are. Those diagnoses may be wrong.”

Takeuchi replied that the group’s work is consistent with this thinking.

“Creating a thriving campus means creating people who can thrive outside of Princeton as we graduate and move on,” she said.

The meeting ran from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, September 19 in a multipurpose room at the Center Campus.

Isabel Yip is Associate News Editor who usually covers university and student life. It can be accessed at isabelyip@princeton.edu or on Instagram @isaayip.

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