The University will allow student-organized plans for informal overnight hosting to continue in order to supplement the shortened Princeton Preview for the Class of 2018, but it will not endorse these plans.
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students Michael Olin said that while the University recognizes that the informal hosting program is well-intentioned, the formal hosting program was nevertheless cancelled for well-considered reasons. He said that the University, while not banning the informal hosting plans, is discouraging them.
The University modified this year’s Princeton Preview the same day it released admissions decisions for the Class of 2018 to a one-day event in light of the recent death from meningitis of a Drexel University student who had contact with University students. A group of students reacted to the change by organizing an informal overnight hosting system through a Facebook group called “Informal Hosting for Prospective Princeton Students.”
Preview in the past years was planned as a two-night overnight program and took place on two separate occasions.
In response to the creation of the Facebook group, Olin said that he and Dean of Undergraduate Students Kathleen Deignan asked a couple of directors of student life to reach out to and meet informally with the students who had organized the informal hosting program.
“They’re not sanctioning the plans necessarily, but they’re not trying to get us to cancel them either,” Lorena Grundy ’17, one of three administrators of the Facebook group who met with a director of student life, said.
Grundy explained that the director of student life had advised her that the hosts be extra careful in this unofficial arrangement and that visiting prospective students avoid high-risk behaviors.
“They were concerned about the meningitis issue, as we all are,” Grundy explained. “We talked about how important it was for us to make sure that the prefrosh stayed safe, like not sharing water bottles. We did specifically talk about the Street and how important it was not to go there.”
She added that the University also wanted people to know that staying at hotels was an available option.
“I know that the Admissions Office is offering to help students who need assistance to stay in a hotel or make room arrangements,” Olin said.
In an interview in late March, Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye said that admitted students would be put in hotels in Philadelphia or Newark if necessary.
Loren Reinoso ’16, who has signed up as one of the potential hosts, said that he understood why the administration was skeptical, but said that he was happy and grateful that the plans were not stricken down.
Grundy recounted her positive Preview experience in explaining why she started the plans. She also said that in putting the plans into action she was not trying to circumvent the University’s decision to alter Preview.
“I think Princeton understands that they made the announcement at a very late time, at a time when most people had already booked flights for overnight stays,” Richard Peay ’17, another potential host, said. “If I were in that position, I would want to take advantage of the unofficial housing.”
Forty-three University students, including Peay and Reinoso, have currently expressed interest in being hosts, and 18 prospective students have signed up in search of hosts.
Preview is scheduled to take place on April 10 and 28.
The members of the incoming Class of 2018 will be vaccinated against meningitis B upon their arrival on campus.