Princeton University


Here are some frequently asked questions the committee receives.

Everyday Life and Community

I lost an item! Or, I found a lost item! What should I do?

If you’ve lost something or find something that is apparently lost, turn the item in to Public Safety.

Does my dog need to be leashed?

Yes! Even outside, your dogs need to be leashed at all times at Lawrence.

What is the code to the computer room in building 14?

The code is 5827 — but you can also just use your H1 key to unlock all the computer rooms at Lawrence!

Is smoking allowed?

In short, smoking — including e-cigarette usage — is banned in all indoor spaces on campus, including private rooms. Smoking is permitted outside as long as the smoker is more than 25 feet from the nearest building.

In the event that you’re being bothered by someone who’s smoking, please try to approach them directly. Another solution is to contact EHS at: 609-258-5294.

For more detailed information, see Princeton EHS’s smoking FAQ.

Why am I not receiving emergency notifications?

Emergency contact information for students is entered through TigerHub. First, please ensure that your contact info, as well as the contact info of anyone else who you’d like to receive messages, is up-to-date in TigerHub.

TigerAlert is the system the university uses to send emergency alerts. You should be able to manage your TigerAlert preferences through the links here, indicating what sorts of alerts you want and who they should be delivered to.

Where can I donate gently-used clothing?

The building one laundry room at Lawrence has “Helpsy bins” that can be used for clothing donations. You can additionally reach out to any of the thrift and consignment stores in town — including Greene Street, Princeton Consignment, and the Nearly New Shop on Olden.

What permissions do guests need to stay in my apartment?

Due to current COVID-19 policies, any campus visitors must be approved prior to entering campus buildings. With few exceptions, visitors must be fully vaccinated to be allowed inside buildings that are occupied by Princeton University. All visitors must comply with the current requirements for face coverings.

Space in University housing is made available to regularly enrolled graduate students of Princeton for their personal use, and use of such space cannot be transferred to any other individual.  Visitors are allowed in housing throughout the 24-hour day, yet the presence of guests or visitors must not interfere with other residents’ normal activities.  Roommates are expected to be sensitive to each other’s need for privacy as well as reasonable about the need for occasional guests or visitors to the unit.  The University strongly encourages that residents get 48-hours advance consent from and give advance notice to all other roommates before having guests or visitors.  In the case of overnight guests or visitors, 48 hour advance consent from all roommates is required.  Extended visits of more than three days and two nights are not permitted.

Parking is for resident use and only those guests with a valid visitors parking permit may park at or in housing unit lots or parking areas.  Overnight sleeping in common areas of the building is prohibited.  Disputes or concerns surrounding guests should be brought to the attention of the Manager for Graduate Housing for resolution.  The University may deny guest privileges and impose disciplinary action if this policy is abused.

Where is the grocery store?

Princeton unfortunately has no grocery stores within a walking distance of campus. There are a handful of grocery stores within a short driving distance of campus, many of them along route 1:

  • Whole Foods (South on Route 1, Windsor Green Shopping Center)
  • Wegman’s (South on Route 1, Nassau Park Pavilion)
  • Target (South on Route 1, Nassau Park Pavilion)
  • McCaffrey’s (North of Campus, Princeton Shopping Center)
  • ShopRite (South on Route 1, exit Province Line)
  • Trader Joe’s (South on Route 1, exit Meadow road)
  • Asian Food Market (North on Route 1, exit Scudder’s Mill, in Plainsboro)

Residents with cars will find that while these aren’t walkable places, they are very easily drivable (and in some cases bikeable). Residents without cars have a couple options:

  • Use a delivery service like Instacart or Amazon Prime to get groceries delivered
  • Utilize the Weekend Shopper shuttle provided by the university. This stops at Whole Foods, Wegman’s, Target, and Trader Joe’s.

What are the transit options in Princeton? How do I get to campus? Do I need a car?

The university operates several free shuttle lines, including lines from Lawrence to the academic portions of campus, other graduate housing complexes, and even some local shopping centers. For more information, consult the Tiger Transit website.

Walking to the Dinky Station on campus takes between 10 and 20 minutes for most people. Walking to the academic portion of campus takes between 20 and 45 minutes, depending on where you are going. Be sure to study a map first — cutting diagonally across campus can save a lot of time and is much prettier than walking along the major streets! During the week, students going to campus use the Lawrence-Lakeside shuttle, which operates at least every half hour and every 10-20 minutes during peak times (the morning and evening).

Many people in Lawrence have a bike. There are several cycling stores in town where you can get a decent bike for around $300. (Most services in Princeton are expensive, and bike repairs are no exception. Consider this before getting a flimsy bike from Wal-Mart for $100.) You can also purchase used bikes on TigerTrade. Every fall and spring, the university has a bike giveaway. The bikes are those found abandoned on the racks around campus, so they are of varying quality–if you want a decent bike, make sure to get there early!

Whether you should buy a car depends on your habits and budget. Single students with little grocery shopping to do usually manage to get by without a car (with occasional help from others, e.g. when transporting furniture). If you are from outside the US, make sure that you want to pay the cost of insurance and repairs before buying a car. If you have a driver’s license, you can also rent a car for occasional trips.

NJTransit is another option for students to get around. Students who would like to get to NYC or Newark often take the Dinky to Princeton Junction and then the NEC North to Penn Station. For those with cars, it can be much more efficient to drive directly to Princeton Junction, park there (the cost is a bit over $6), and take the trains from there. To get to Philadelphia, students take the NEC south to Trenton, where they can transfer to SEPTA.

Please note that while trains to NYC and sometimes to Trenton are synced with the Dinky, transportation from Trenton to Philadelphia is usually not synced up. Keep this in mind, as this will usually add a significant bit of transit time.

Students can also take NJ Transit buses to get around. The 605 runs along Alexander Road, and is one of the only options to get to Quaker Bridge Mall without a car.

If you’re coming back to campus late at night, the Dinky runs less frequently. Keep this in mind — you may need to Uber back if you get to Princeton Junction sufficiently late at night.

Where can I buy furniture and other household items?

If you want to buy new furniture, there are few options immediately in Princeton other than Skillman’s on Alexander Road, which tends to be outside of the typical graduate student budget. If you have access to a car, there are three IKEA stores about an hour away in Philadelphia, PA, Conshohocken, PA, and Elizabeth, NJ. (New Jersey has lower sales tax than Pennsylvania.) IKEA should also deliver, although there have lately been supply chain issues with many retailers. There are a few options for furniture and houseware nearby in Marketfair and other strip malls on Route 1 (e.g. Homegoods, Home Sense, Target). Buying from Amazon, Wayfair, and other online retailers is another popular option.

Many graduate students choose to purchase these things used. Unfortunately most students sell their furniture at the beginning of the summer, so students arriving in August or September won’t always have the best selection. The best options for finding used items are the GSG slack, Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, and Princeton’s TigerTrade. Sellers on Buy Nothing groups on Facebook often give away things for free (there are a couple groups for the Princeton area).

Can I use the community room?

Of course! The community room and kitchen are unlocked and available for all residents. If you would like to host an activity or event in either community room (building 1 or building 14), please contact your Community Programs Coordinator, Kevin Fleming for room availability, information, and room policies & procedures.

If you have a larger event planned, you must contact Kevin and fill out an Events Registration Form.

Grounds and Facilities

I got locked out! What do I do?

The housing website provides details on lockouts and key replacement here. If you misplace or accidentally lock yourself out of your room, you have several options to regain access:

  • During business hours: contact The Service Point at (609) 258-8300
  • Outside of business hours:
    • Call Public Safety (609) 258-1000 to have them perform a lockout service (there is a fee)
    • (Not listed officially, but without a fee and generally what they will recommend if you call them): walk over to Public Safety and pick up a replacement key yourself

Can I store my stuff at Lawrence?

Yes! Though it depends on what apartment you live in.

Residents of building 1 have storage bins on the ground floor. Residents of buildings 2-7 have a storage area in the basement of building 2. One-bedroom apartments in buildings 8-14 have an associated storage area in building 12 (which can be unlocked with your room key). The University does not assume responsibility for any items stored in these locations. Depending on your policy, renter’s insurance might cover items in the storage areas.

Please note, the University does not assume responsibility for any items stored in these locations.

Important storage restrictions: Storage areas are checked and emptied when the apartment is vacated. Residents are charged for the labor to remove and discard any/all items left behind. Items may not be stored in the hallways, lobbies, walkways, or the grounds of the buildings.

What’s in the de-icer?

As of March 2022, grounds has informed us that the following three de-icers are in use. Information has been taken from de-icers’ respective websites.

  • ClearLane De-Icer:  “Made using a patented liquid magnesium chloride formula and mixing process, ClearLane enhanced deicer is a pre-wet sodium chloride product. The formula contains a PNS-approved corrosion inhibitor, a coloring agent, and a leaching inhibitor.”
  • Emperor Melt:  “Dyed blue, an advance ice melt formula enhanced with corrosion inhibitors. The salt is sprayed with liquid magnesium chloride and calcium chloride for fast acting, environmentally friendly ice control.”
  • Ultrapro Ice Melt:  “This Ice Melt is environmentally formulated and made with CMA, which generates heat to quickly melt ice and snow. . . This ice melt also has calcium chloride pellets in it which help melt to lower temperatures and prevent refreezing. It is colored green so you can see where you put it down to reduce over application.”

What is wrong with the elevator?

The elevators in buildings 10 and 12 are equipped with an unusual safety feature. If the door tries to close and it is forced open three (3) times, the elevator will shut off. The elevator can only be restarted by a qualified person. To avoid this occurrence, please use the Door Open button rather than just holding the door.

What’s wrong with the traffic light?

The traffic light that leads to Alexander Road is activated by a sensor. In the past, residents have experienced problems with the light not changing to green. These problems were reported to the university and the township and we believe the sensor is working properly at this point. If you experience problems, please contact Olivia Martel.

Is it necessary to reserve a grill in advance?

There are several grilling areas in the Lawrence complex. There is no process for reserving the grills. They are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

PSE&G can’t locate me in their database. Is my address correct?

Sometimes PSE&G will not recognize the address associated with your meter when they try to enable service. Contact graduate housing to give you the necessary information so that PSE&G can change the account to your name. The address listed on the mail page is correct for mail purposes, according to USPS standards.

Note: If you live in buildings: 8 – 14, all utilities are included. You don’t have to contact PSE&G at all.

Something broke in my apartment. How can I get it fixed?

Consult the maintenance page.

Mail and Packages

Where’s my package?

Unfortunately many residents have experienced misdelivered packages, most typically when packages are delivered to the wrong building in Lawrence Apartments. Join the Lawrence Slack channels here for noting any missing packages and notifying the community if you find a package that isn’t where it’s supposed to be.

A few tips:

  • Give the package a day or two — sometimes packages listed as “delivered” are just placed on the truck, but the carrier isn’t able to deliver it for the next few days.
  • Sometimes carriers — for the most part Amazon — are instructed to take pictures of delivered packages. Contact your carrier to see if they have a physical record of when/where the package was delivered, as this might help track it down.
  • You can file a missing mail report with USPS, but it’s not always the most efficient system.
  • To keep tabs on your packages, consider signing up for USPS Informed Delivery or UPS My Choice. These free services allow you to view all the packages (and, in the case of USPS, scans of all your mail) that are scheduled to be delivered to your address — sometimes even before the retailer ships them out!
  • If you contact the retailer you got the package from to report it as lost, you can sometimes receive a refund. Undelivered items are also something your credit card company and PayPal will compensate you for.

How can I receive large parcels?

The Lawrence Apartments do not have a central mail room where you can receive packages without having to sign for them yourself (like in the Graduate College).

USPS will deliver small or foldable items (letters, junk mail, small packages) to your mailbox. If the parcel does not fit into your mailbox, USPS will usually place it before the mailboxes in the lobby. Generally this has not caused any problems, but some packages left in this manner have occasionally gone missing.

If you are using expedited services which require a signature, the carrier won’t be able to deliver the package unless you are there to sign for it. UPS and FedEx usually try to leave the package with your neighbor and leave a notice on your door. Please don’t rely on this regularly, unless you check with your neighbor beforehand–especially if the package is large or you can only pick it up at odd hours or with a large delay. If you are not at home, most carriers attempt delivery another time.

The committee examined the idea of providing a central receiving service in 2007, but was told by the university that it was not possible. Redirecting packages to the Porter’s Lodge at the GC is not permitted–they are already at capacity and cannot receive additional packages.

As a possible solution, many students can receive mail at their department. Please contact your department about their mail policy.

For select high-value shipments, residents have the option to ship their packages to Frist. Please note the following guidelines:

  • Due to capacity constraints residents are requested to only use this service for high-value shipments. Residents will be assigned a temporary box # which will be good only for that single package and subject to change for any future shipments they might receive.
  • To use this service, residents should email Aaron Sked ( prior to placing any orders.
  • Aaron will reply with a box number # which should be used as the ship-to address.
  • When the item is delivered, the recipient will receive an automated email instructing them to pick up the item at Frist Campus Center.
  • Should residents have any subsequent orders, they will need to speak to Aaron again to get a new box assignment.
  • Print and Mail services will monitor the volume of package delivery at Frist to ensure there is sufficient space for Frist to receive packages.

Can I send furniture to myself before my arrival?

No. Even if your package doesn’t not require a signature, there is no place to leave it if it is very large. Hallways serve as escape routes in case of an emergency, and fire safety regulations demand that they not be obstructed. You cannot send yourself furniture or other large items before your arrival unless you arrange with somebody to pick it up. Sometimes you can ask the carrier to hold your package until you arrive.

What should I do about my mail when I leave for a longer period?

The small mailboxes for the apartments fill up if you don’t empty them at least every one or two weeks. Once the mailbox is full, USPS will not deliver any more mail to your mailbox. To avoid this, you can have the post office hold your mail (officially, mail be held for a maximum of 30 days, but if you ask nicely at the Palmer Square post office they usually allow a few extra days) or request that the post office forwards your mail to another address (eg your department, but please check with them first). You can find more information about delivery options at the post office website. Please note that Princeton University has a unique zip code, so if you want to forward mail to your department address, the post office will only accept paper forms, thus you won’t be able to set up forwarding online.

What is my mailing address?

Consult the mail page.

How do I send mail?

Consult the mail page.