Flash Features: April

Princeton Public Library reveals new second floor:

By Jonathan Lin and Ben Quainton

On March 25, the Princeton Public Library unveiled their newly-renovated second floor complete with brand-new study rooms, a “Technology Commons” for desktop use, and a “Discovery Center” for visitors to get directly in touch with library staff.

The initiative was primarily paid for through the 2Reimagine campaign and community donations.

photo by <span class="credit credit- "><a href="/credit/"Anya/" title="View all of this person's work">"Anya</a></span> Princeton residents use the resources of the newly renovated second floor at the Princeton Public Library to complete work in a studious atmosphere.

photo by Anya Sachdev
Princeton residents use the resources of the newly renovated second floor at the Princeton Public Library to complete work in a studious atmosphere.

[The renovation] was funded primarily through private donations. 92 percent … was funded by people who chose to fund the second floor renovation … the other eight percent is municipal funding. We got permission from the municipality [of Princeton] to spend money that was going towards carpeting the second floor,” said Brett Bonfield, the Executive Director of Princeton Public Library.

According to PPL, the 2Reimagine plan seeks to support the educational needs of all generations by adapting the second floor through the implementation of balancing books and quiet areas that will foster collaboration, learning, critical thinking, and creativity.  

The library hopes the money utilized to provide new services to the second floor will ultimately aid students in their coursework.

“We now have nine study rooms that students can book for small group collaborative sessions. If you have a paper to write and you want a place conducive to study, there [are] four study [cubicles] which are getting used all the time,” Bonfield said.

Additionally, the second floor uses a new system of organizing books.

“We’ve created what we call ‘neighborhoods.’ They’re bookstore-like categories, but within those categories it’s organized with the Dewey Decimal System. So, when you’re doing research, you’re more likely to find books that compliment the books you’ve already found on the subject,” Bonfield said.  

Christian Choi ’19 echoed the sentiments expressed by the PPL.

“The second floor of the library was very organized. The books — fiction and mystery — were very nicely organized. There’s more private space for study and concentration. If you have a lot of work to do, it’s a great atmosphere to concentrate.”


PHS Science Olympiad Team receives $10,000 grant

By Jonathan Lin and Ben Quainton

The PHS Science Olympiad team recently received a $10,000 grant from the Institute of Advanced Study, a Princeton based research center. The grant was accepted by the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education at the March 28 Board meeting.

The Science Olympiad team believes that a grant would be beneficial, as it would contribute towards buying materials and machines for competitions and allow for easier access to study materials.

photo by <span class="credit credit- "><a href="/credit/"Brian/" title="View all of this person's work">"Brian</a></span> Physics teacher Mark Higgins and Eddie Cai ’17 work on a tower constructed with balsa wood at the NJ Science Olympiad Union County College Regional Event.

photo by Brian Li
Physics teacher Mark Higgins and Eddie Cai ’17 work on a tower constructed with balsa wood at the NJ Science Olympiad Union County College Regional Event.

“The Science Olympiad team has not received funding for the last few years, and we’ve been largely dependent on our own ability to fundraise and other contributions from faculty and students, so we wanted to take the opportunity this year to step up our fundraising efforts so we would be free to pursue our activities,” said Science Olympiad Engineering Captain Brian Li ’17.

According to Li, the funds will be allocated towards the purchase of more expensive tools, like computer numerical control mills and laser cutters, along with motors, chemistry kits, textbooks, and other resources. Li believes that many of the materials and pieces of machinery purchased using this money would be able to be used by future PHS Science Olympiad teams in the years to come.

The club began the process of receiving the grant in January with the drafting of a proposal.

“A couple of us drafted a document that listed key costs associated with the activities that we do and the reasons that we would like to obtain additional funding. This was forwarded to the superintendent, as well to the director of the Institute for Advanced Study. There were discussions between the school district and the institute. It was ultimately decided that they would give us a $10,000 grant to support our team,” Li said.

The IAS’s choice to give this grant was motivated by their purpose to promote higher learning and development in the community, as the institute aims to encourage independent inquiry.

Likewise, the Science Olympiad team feels their goals are very similar to the goals of the IAS in terms of promoting extracurricular educational opportunities.

“They have goals to increase scientific curiosity and research. As a result of that, when we presented our grant request, we introduced a lot of information that demonstrated that our goals aligned strongly with theirs,” Li said. “The purpose of them giving us this money is to support STEM education and the pursuit of scientific knowledge, and to encourage students to continue expanding into these fields.”


Local Princeton organization seeks to combat racial prejudice

By Amy Huang and James Muir

Not in Our Town is a group of Princeton residents representing different races and religions who aim to promote racial equality and acceptance in Princeton. The organization works to address modern forms of intolerance towards various groups of people and provide inclusive communities for all.

NiOT looks to solve deep-rooted problems with race with honest and open discussions. Ultimately, NiOT hopes that their cause nurtures and develops a Princeton where everyone, no matter their race or religion is accepted and tolerated.

graphic by <span class="credit credit- "><a href="/credit/"Laura/" title="View all of this person's work">"Laura</a></span>

graphic by Laura Bussemaker

“Although we don’t like to admit it, racism exists in Princeton. There are students who experience it on a daily basis. Helping people become aware of their implicit bias which can be expressed unconsciously in microaggressions can be more difficult than confronting more explicit acts of racism,” said PHS Special Education teacher, Joyce Turner.

Due to their location, NiOT has access to resources like Princeton University professors, who are able to give knowledge on various components of issues concerning race and religion.

“We are working on [communicating with] leaders of all civic organizations in the area.  We are urging them to examine the racial diversity of their group,” said Turner. “The tools and resources discussed by Dr. Ruha Benjamin and Dr. Howard Stevenson during the racial literacy program [are] available to leaders for their group’s education.”

The Stand Against Racism rally is a national effort affiliated with YMCA, with the goal of eradicating racism in the US. In Princeton, the Stand Against Racism rally was organized by students, who are hoping to meaningfully impact their community.

This year’s annual NiOT Stand Against Racism rally will be held on April 28, from 4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m at Hinds Plaza, located in front of the Princeton Public Library.

At this event, NiOT aims to send the message that racism will not be tolerated and Princeton and that it is the duty of all Princeton residents to confront modern forms of racial prejudice and discrimination.

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