March Meeting Minutes


  • Lauren Anllo
  • Burcin Cakir
  • Xiaoyu Tang
  • Julia Wittes
  • Sarah James
  • Allison Chaney
  • Joey Vella
  • Olivia Martel

Discussed Items

  1. Instagram: The Graduate School is on Instagram. You can check out pictures of the Lawrence Committee meeting on the Grad School Instagram.
  1. LawrenceChat Listserv: We discussed the status of this new listserv that we have been piloting this month. The purpose of the listserv is to allow residents to connect via e-mail to build community. Potential uses of the listserv include organizing small social events with neighbors, asking to borrow an item, or asking a question about Lawrence in a social setting.
  1. Time required: Setting up the listserv took a lot of time, but maintenance requires less of a time commitment.
  2. Usefulness: Currently, about 20 people are on the listserv, and 5 messages have been sent this month. These messages have concerned a question about insects outside of the buildings, borrowing a car jack, and similar issues.
  3. Policies and Conclusions: The committee will not intervene with issues discussed on the listserv unless they are of a serious nature. The listserv seems like it is useful right now, and we will allow it to continue without considering its continuation a “trial” period. If the listserv maintenance becomes a burden, or if the discussions become inappropriate or not useful, the Committee reserves the right to shut down the listserv.
  1. Laundry:
    1. Building 10: This laundry facility is only open for certain hours during the day, and shuts down at night. The hours of use that are posted in the Laundry room conflict with the hours that are posted on our website. We are looking into what the actual hours of this laundry facility are so that the correct hours are posted.
    2. Building 1: Often, the back door to this laundry room is found propped open. Residents often close the door if they see it propped, only to return to the laundry room to find the door again propped open. Propping the door causes the room to become uncomfortably cold, and also allows people who do not live in Lawrence Apartments to have access to our laundry facilities. We are looking into whether it would be possible to install an alarm on this back door to prevent it from being propped open inappropriately.
  1. Garden: Since the Spring weather is approaching, residents are interested in starting use of the garden facilities for the 2016 season. Our garden coordinator is going to find out when the garden will be tilled so that use can begin.
    1. Lakeside gardeners: It is currently unclear when the Lakeside garden will open for residents to use. Lakeside gardeners would like to be offered the option of using garden plots at Lawrence. Our garden coordinator will give priority of plots to Lawrence residents, and if there are remaining plots, Lakeside residents will be offered the option of using these.
    2. Plot applications: Within the next couple of weeks, our garden coordinator, Sarah, will send out instructions for how to apply for use of a garden plot. Claiming a plot will involve an online, and an in-person procedure, to ensure that potential gardeners actually use the plots that are given to them. Plots that are not used create a problem of weeds, so we would like to ensure as much use of the garden as possible.
    3. Tilling: Sarah will mark off the perennial corner of the garden to avoid tilling of this region. 
  1. Events and Budgeting: Our hot cocoa event was well attended and enjoyed! We consider the execution of this event a success.
    1. BBQ: Our next event is likely to be our annual community BBQ in the Spring. We are in the process of finding an appropriate time to have the Lawrence BBQ.
    2. Budget planning: If our budget allows after the BBQ, we would like to have our community piano tuned, and/or check the status of any needed garden supplies.
  1. Lawrence Yoga: We have external funds, secured by our President, allowing us to have community yoga classes. All Lawrence residents are welcome to participate in yoga. Since this class is meant to be a community-building club, we are restricting participation to Lawrence residents only. In the near future, we will send a survey asking for times that are best for residents interested in participating in Lawrence Yoga.
  1. External Events News: Our GSG representative has presented news from the GSG meeting and the GHAB (Graduate Housing Advisory Board) meeting.
  1. GSG News: This month, Dale Trevino spoke about diversity in the Graduate School. Also, the GSG is in the process of drafting a survey about Princeton graduate housing in general to ask about its use. The survey is designed to be a short, branching survey, and is expected to be informative concerning all graduate housing.
  2. GHAB News: This month, hardship housing applications were reviewed.

February Meeting Minutes

Lawrence Committee Meeting

February 9, 2016

  • Mauricio Loyola
  • Lauren Anllo
  • Allison Chaney
  • Olivia Martel
  • Julia Wittes
  • Xiaoyu Tang
  • Joey Vella
  • Sarah James

Discussed Items:

1) Shopping Cart loss and tracking: The shopping carts in our apartment complex are often missing, and unable to be located. Our Vice President, Burcin, met with OIT to discuss technological ways to put tracking devices on the shopping carts. Tracking the carts could be a way to prevent losing them. OIT is not able to monitor the carts, but they are open to other suggestions. Burcin is going to do a little bit more research about how to keep track of the carts in our complex in another way.

2) Shovels: In past years, there have been problems with the community shovels disappearing. Fortunately, during the past blizzard, the new shovels were very well labeled and all of them were recovered. Two shovels are hanging in the central garbage area for use. There are 5 remaining shovels that the committee is storing until in the next storm, when we will again disperse them for use.

3) Water: Some residents have noted recently that the water running from their faucets was brown. The cause of this was a water main break. Facilities has said that there will some particles in the water due to the break, but they are safe. The water will eventually run clear, and is probably running clear now.

4) Propped doors for common rooms: A resident has recently noted that the door to Building 14, which has one of our common rooms, was propped open. We discussed that doors should not be propped for social events. Propped doors should be closed, due to safety reasons to protect residents living in the building. The committee will continue to monitor any door propping, and will contact the community about the safety risks if door propping continues. For now, we will not e-mail the community to avoid spamming residents, since students already receive a lot of e-mail.

5) Yoga Class: A previous monthly poll revealed that the community was interested in starting a Yoga Class. Allison, our President, put together a proposal and was able to secure a small amount of funds from the University for the purpose of having a yoga instructor come to our community rooms. There are some yoga instructors that have already been associated with the University through Campus Recreation. We will contact these instructors to get a few quotes for the class. Since the class has a small budget, residents will have to bring their own mats. The class is likely to be taught in the Building 14 common room, which has a space that is more amenable to a group activity since it does not have a large pillar in the center of it. We will soon poll residents regarding a time to run the yoga class.

6) Opt-in mailing list for community: A resident from our community has proposed that we start a “Lawrence Chat” e-mail listserv. The listserv would be an “opt-in” situation, meaning that residents would have to ask to subscribe to it. The purpose of the listserv would be a space for residents to informally connect with one another, and to increase community. For example, if a resident needed to borrow a cup of sugar or an egg, the resident could ask his or her neighbors on this listserv.

  1. Opinions: The committee members noted that additional email from this listserv might be unwelcome for many residents, since they already receive so much e-mail. Moreover, there are many other ways in which residents can connect with one another, such as through the Lawrence Committee events, the Lawrence Facebook group, and other social graduate student groups. There are also many support groups open to graduate students, including Tigers with Cubs. Committee members felt that since there was little interest in the Facebook group already, there is not likely to be much interest in the Lawrence Chat listserv. One committee member did note that with a listserv, residents may not be able to see the few number of members (which they can see on Facebook) and so maybe more residents are likely to join a listserv if they don’t know that it is not popular, which could be a way for the listserv to gain popularity.
  2. One-month Trial: The committee has agreed to do a one-month trial run of the Lawrence Chat listserv. The listserv will be run by our committee Webmaster, since the purpose is to increase community in Lawrence and those goals are aligned with the committee purpose. Once the listserv is created, all residents will be e-mailed about how to join the listserv. During the trial month, our webmaster will monitor how many people join the listserv, and how active the listserv is. If the listserv is a success, it will persist. If the listserv has very few members with little chatting, it will be disbanded at the end of the month.
  3. General Communication: We discussed the issue that spouses of students might feel isolated from the campus community, and so the committee will send an e-mail to residents reminding them of the various ways that they can connect to their neighbors in addition to the new listserv, including but not limited to our Facebook group, our Lawrence Residents listserv, PTENS emergency alert systems, and groups such as Tigers with Cubs. As a general note, the Lawrence Committee will never forward e-mails from the University. These e-mails are sent by organizations that are outside of us, and those organizations should be responsible for distributing their own e-mails. Also, residents receive so much e-mail that it is best to not overcrowd inboxes.

7) Social Event: On February 16th at 8pm, the Lawrence Committee will host a hot chocolate event. The event will involve drinking hot chocolate provided by the committee, along with a “bar” with treats to add to your hot chocolate, such as whipped cream, shaved chocolate, marshmallows, etc. There will also be puzzles and other games to play at the event. The Lawrence 14 Common room will be reserved from 7-10pm for the event. We will check the budget for the event, but will try to keep the event within $100 cost.

8) Monthly Poll: We will send a poll to help schedule yoga later in the month.

January Meeting Minutes

Lawrence Election Meeting Minutes

January 12, 2016


  • Burcin Cakir
  • James Park
  • Ariane Ducellier
  • Nathaniel Chaney
  • Allison Chaney
  • Julia Wittes
  • A.J. Riggs
  • Clelia Pozzi
  • Sarah James
  • Mai Yamaguchi
  • Joseph Vella
  • Olivia Martel
  • Xiaoyu Tang
  • Sema Berkiten
  • Lauren Anllo
  • Katie Riggs

Part I: Election:

Throughout the election, a strong effort was made on all parts to conduct the meeting according to the Lawrence Committee Constitution with the goal of being fair and transparent.

Statements were given by each candidate in the following order:


  • Julia Wittes: Julia emphasized her previous involvement with the GSG as the facilities chair, with housing policy work at Princeton, with the Housing Advisory Board, and with the Lakeside and Butler committees. Julia has built the Lakeside and GSG websites. She plans to put pictures of individual apartments on the housing websites. Julia also claims to be organized and tenacious, and she wants to meet people.
  • Mai Yamaguchi: Mai said that she has not had much previous committee experience, but that she would be excited to participate in the Lawrence committee. She has had many blogs, and has previous experience with wordpress. Mai wants to put more information on the website and on facebook to communicate with residents, and she considers herself a good communicator in general. 

Garden Coordinator:

  • James Park: James has lived in Lawrence for 1 year, and has attended most meetings while living here. He raised the issue of the Saturday Shopper bus being too crowded, and he is happy with how well the committee resolved this issue. James has many plants that he cares for in his office, some of which he inherited, and some which he grew from seed. James has also grown avocado from seed. He showed pictures of his office garden during his statement. James wants to have an open house for the garden to make the garden more accessible, and he wants to prevent theft in the garden. James also wants to express the opinions of his peers who cannot attend our meetings.
  • Sarah James: Sarah has lived in Lawrence since 2012. She had a garden plot this past summer, and she is aware of the benefits of gardening in New Jersey soil. Sarah believes she can adequately maintain the plots in the garden. She wants to have info sessions about gardening so new gardeners can learn how to garden. Sarah has been on many boards and committees previously, and she wants to give back to the Lawrence community by serving on the Lawrence Committee now.


Allison Chaney: Allison has lived in Lawrence since 2010, in both Old and New Lawrence. She has served on the Lawrence committee for the past 3 years as either Garden Coordinator or Social Chair. Since Allison has experience in different roles on the committee, she believes that she can help other committee members to learn how to be effective in their new positions. Allison also has a lot of experience dealing with the issues that come up with the committee, and she can use this experience to run the committee well.

Vice President:

Burcin Cakir: Burcin has served as Secretary and Vice President on the Lawrence Committee in previous years. She has helped with various community discussions, and with social events, and she has found this experience to be very rewarding for her. She wants to continue to contribute to discussion on the committee, and to use her experience with the Committee as an asset. 


Lauren Anllo: Lauren has lived in Lawrence for the past year, and served on the committee as secretary during this year. She has worked to increase communication with residents regarding committee meetings and social events. Lauren has also played a large role in communicating with individual residents that contact the committee with concerns or ideas. In addition, Lauren has kept detailed records of meeting minutes in order to maintain the committee’s records. She wishes to continue to serve in this role in the coming year.

GSG Representative:

Xiaoyu Tang: Xiaoyu has served as the GSG Representative this past year. She has promoted the smoking ban at Housing Board meetings at the request of Lawrence residents. She has acted as a liaison between residents and administrators on the Housing Board, and she has helped the Social Chair with events.

Social Chair:

Joseph Vella: Joseph has lived in Lawrence the past 3 years. He has organized many BBQs and social hours within his department, as well as organizing research symposia. Joseph would like to use this previous experience to organize events at Lawrence. Joseph is responsive to e-mail, and he wants to organize fun events to create a sense of community in Lawrence.

After statements were given, the voting was carried out. Ballots were distributed to all meeting attendees. Each voter could only vote once for each position, but could choose to abstain from voting for individual positions. Ballots were then handed to the election committee, and the results were counted for each candidate. Absentee ballots sent via e-mail, totaling 17 votes, were also included in the final counts. Vote counts were reported for the contested positions to ensure transparency.


  • Webmaster: Julia Wittes with 19 votes (Mai received 13)
  • Garden Coordinator: Sarah James with 22 votes (James received 11)
  • President: Allison Chaney
  • Vice President: Burcin Cakir
  • Secretary: Lauren Anllo
  • GSG Representative: Xiaoyu Tang
  • Social Chair: Joseph Vella

All candidates for uncontested positions received at least 13 votes. All voting ballots will be saved for 10 days in case they are questioned, as per our constitution.

Part II: Committee Meeting:

Discussed Items:

  • New Committee Members: The former committee members must speak with new members about their new roles, if the new members have not previously served with the committee. All committee members must assist the Social Chair with social events, including purchasing items, planning, and inviting friends. The former committee is going to work on adding new committee members to the internal Lawrence Committee mailing list, so they can receive e-mails that are sent to the committee.
  • Shopping Carts: There is a problem that has come up many times recently, in which the communal shopping carts are disappearing, and possibly being used by individual Lawrence Residents in their apartments. The committee is discussing many possible solutions to this problem. We are also investigating the rumor that Lawrence shopping carts are being taken by Lakeside residents, who may not have shopping carts.
    1. GPS tracking of carts: Electronically tracking carts was discussed as an option to prevent carts from being lost. This tracking could be done using the wireless routers, but could get complicated and expensive. There are also trackers that can be put on the carts, which people usually use to locate their keys, but these trackers generally only function when a locating device is within 20 ft, and so would not be effective for our apartment complex.
    2. Alternative cart loss protection: The idea of swiping one’s ID to borrow a cart was discussed, but the prox system is expensive ($500 per prox location). We also discussed adding a device to carts that beeps every few minutes, so that residents are annoyed by the sound and do not want to hide carts in their apartments. Since the committee frequently cycles, and this cart problem often comes up, we are interested in discussing solutions such as these to create permanent solutions to cart loss.
    3. Plan: Committee members will have a meeting with OIT to discuss our ideas regarding cart loss prevention. In the meantime, all carts are in the process of being labeled as belonging to Lawrence (as soon as they are located), and locations throughout Lawrence (dumpsters and the G level of Building 1) are labeled as being “return locations” for carts.
    4. Request for additional carts and dollies: People are often using carts for moving, which is damaging the carts. We are going to ask Dave Young about getting some additional carts, and also about getting dollies to assist with moving so that carts are not damaged during moving season.
  • Social Event: We typically budget for 2 social events per semester, and we have had 1 last semester. We are talking about having another social event in January or February.
    1. Ideas for event: Ideas discussed include study breaks with hot chocolate and donuts, award watching parties, superbowl parties, etc. We discussed that the events should have either an event or activity to focus on, to facilitate interactions between residents who have not met previously. We discussed that it might be interesting to hold “American culture” events such as awards-watching, or the superbowl, to give international students exposure to some of the fun American culture in our community.
    2. Budget: Our committee’s budget is $1000 for the year, and is reserved for social events. We must use this budget before we apply for additional funds, although we have applied for a large supplement to host classes such as yoga or art classes in our community rooms. Any money that is leftover from our social events can be used for infrastructure that would mutually benefit the community. We discussed the idea of having our piano in the community room tuned at the end of the year.
  • Monthly Poll of Residents: We are trying to send residents a 1-question poll each month, to help with transparency and also to ensure that all resident needs are represented. The poll question is based on the most pressing issue at the committee meetings. This month, we discussed either polling residents to ask which social event they would prefer, or to ask them for their ideas on how to prevent loss of our shopping carts. The poll will be sent out to residents shortly.



Candidacy Statements for 2016 Lawrence Committee Elections

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1. Allison Chaney:
My name is Allison Chaney and I am running for the position of President.  I have served on the Lawrence Committee for three years: two years as Garden Coordinator, and one year as Social Chair.  In these positions, I have advocated for new methods of communicating with residents, including creating a garden mailing list and initiating monthly single-question polls.   With the help of the current committee, I have drafted and submitted a proposal for funds for regular classes (e.g., yoga) to be taught at Lawrence.  I have also occasionally led our committee meetings in the absence of our current President, who is graduating.  If elected, I would do my best to understand the needs of Lawrence residents and communicate them to the administration.  I will also work with the other committee members to assist them in their roles.

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Vice President

1. Burcin Cakir:
My name is Burcin Cakir and I am running for the Vice President position. I really enjoy being a part of the Lawrence community and serve the residents as a member of the committee. I am the current Vice President, and in the past, I had a chance to serve in both the Secretary and the Vice President positions. Being on the committee has been a very enjoyable and rewarding experience for me. It helped me to involve with the community and contribute to the decisions/discussions that have been brought up in our monthly meeting. I hope to continue as Vice-President next year too, and use the experience I have had so far to improve our community. Thank you for your consideration and support.

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GSG representative

1. Xiaoyu Tang:
I’m Xiaoyu Tang, the current GSG representative of the Lawrence Committee and would like to continue to serve on this position. For the past year of being GSG representative, I have promoted the smoking ban in all Lawrence buildings upon requests by some of the residents. As the nature of the GSG representative, I acted as a liaison between the residents and relative bodies in the school to communicate opinions back and forth: brought up the smoking issues reported by residents, brought back administraters’ need to make a decision, did the poll to see what’s the opinion of the broader residents community, reflected the situation to both GSG and the housing advisory board. The university is finally convinced to have smoking ban being the interest of the community and the residents will enjoy a smoke-free home. I attended GSG and housing advisory board meetings every month to convey new plans discussed to the residents and brought the requests of the residents to the university. In the meanwhile, I also helped the social chair to organize events throughout the year to bring residents together and to build a community sense. Serving one year on this position helps me gain enough experience to communicate between different bodies in the university and serve the community well. I would like to continue the service and I believe I can do a better job! Thanks for your consideration!

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1. Lauren Anllo:
My name is Lauren, and I running for the position of Secretary. I am a graduate student resident of Lawrence, and I have served as the Secretary for the Lawrence Committee for the past year. During my time as Secretary, I have increased the efficiency of e-mail communications between the Committee and residents: providing reminders about meetings, notifications of social events, information about community resources such as snow shovels and our parking lot, and individual communications with residents who have concerns. I think the interaction that I have maintained with the Lawrence residents has helped to create community by making our social events more widely publicized, and by keeping residents informed about issues concerning our apartment complex. I also have kept very detailed minutes from our committee meetings, which concisely but clearly describe any issue that was discussed to keep track of committee records, and to inform residents who are not able to attend the meetings.

If re-elected for the coming year, I intend to continue to tailor communications between the committee and residents as the community desires; the goal is to maximize communication in an honest and efficient way that does not burden e-mail readers. I also plan to continue to keep informative meeting minutes, which will maintain our committee’s records and thus inform us when addressing common or continuing issues.

I look forward to the possibility of working with the Lawrence Committee again in the coming year, and I greatly appreciate your consideration of my candidacy.

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Social Chair

1. Joseph Vella:
My name is Joseph Vella and I’m currently a 4th year graduate student in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. I am currently running for Social Chair for the Lawrence Committee. I’ve lived in Lawrence apartments for the past 3 years and would love to become more involved in the community. I already have experience in servicing my department as a class representative since September 2012. With this role, I’ve held many leadership responsibilities such as setting up department BBQs and social hours, meeting with faculty candidates, and organizing our annual Graduate Student Symposium. I’m eager to extend my service to the housing community I’m a part of. I believe that Social Chair would be an appropriate position for me because it would allow me to learn more about the Lawrence community government and bring together members of the Lawrence community. If elected, I promise to organize fun events to foster a strong sense of community.
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Web Master

1. Julia Wittes:
My name is Julia Wittes and I am running for Lawrence committee webmaster. I have lived in Lawrence since June. I love living here and look forward to helping the committee to be even more effective at communicating information to residents. I also look forward to advocating for residents and helping to plan events as a member of the Lawrence committee. I have a good deal of experience doing student advocacy work from serving three terms on the Princeton Graduate Student Government (GSG) Executive Board, as Secretary and then as Facilities Chair. As a member of student government, I successfully wrote a proposal and advocated for Weekend Circulator bus service, Chaired the Provisional Lakeside Committee, helped in the development of the Frist Summer Cookout Series, and advocated for the creation of the Lakeside Hardship fund to compensate some Lakeside residents whose moves were delayed last year due to construction delays.

I have built and maintained two websites using WordPress, the platform used to build the Lawrence committee website, and am confident that I can continue to maintain the site and make upgrades to make it more informative to residents. In particular, I would like to take new photos of empty and/or furnished examples of apartments on the website, so that new and prospective residents can have more information about what the apartments will look like and how they can be furnished. Thank you for considering my candidacy and I hope that I can earn your vote.

2. Mai Yamaguchi:
My name is Mai Yamaguchi, and I would like to contribute to the Lawrence community by taking part in the Committee as Webmaster. I am currently a third year in the Art History Department, and this is my second year living in Lawrence. If elected, I will make sure to keep the website up-to-date and easy to use. In addition to posting Meeting Minutes, I will post information circulated through email on the website so that you don’t have to go rummaging through your email inboxes. I have written and maintained several blogs before, and am confident that I will be able to keep the WordPress site looking nice. As a member of the Lawrence Committee, I look forward to helping out other members in organizing events as well. Thank you for your consideration.

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Garden Coordinator

1. James Park:
My name is James Park, and I am running for garden coordinator of Lawrence apartments. I am a third year graduate student in the Chemistry department and have been a Lawrence resident since the summer of 2015. I have been having a great time living here so far, and it is clear that the Lawrence Committee has been making changes to improve the community. I would like to be a part of that committee to further assist in the changes to help the residents. I have attended most of the monthly committee meetings since I moved here. I have expressed my concern of the overly crowded Saturday Shopper line since the merging of two lines with Lakeside opening. This issue was later resolved that year by increasing the number of buses. I noticed how every opinion from the resident was well-incorporated for any changes and improvement for the community, and I would like to be part of that committee.

I have recently taken an increased interest in gardening. In my office, I have been planting and growing various plants adopted from previous members of the group or started from seeds. I would like to apply my love of gardening to maintaining the garden in Lawrence apartments. I am planning on making the garden more accessible to those who are interested while ensuring that the plants will not be stolen or damaged. By serving as the garden coordinator, I hope to continue improving the garden and promoting it as a proud property of the Lawrence community. Thank you for considering me as a garden coordinator.

2. Sarah James:
My name is Sarah James, and I am running for the position of Garden Coordinator. I am a fourth year Ph.D. student in Sociology and Social Policy and have lived in Lawrence since the summer of 2012. As your garden coordinator, I would work to ensure that all residents have the opportunity to garden in a protected space with ample supplies. Having a plot in the Lawrence garden was a highlight of my summer last year, and I hope to spread this enthusiasm (and the chance to grow so many tasty things!) to others in our community. In addition, as a member of the Lawrence Committee I would collaborate with other members to facilitate the events and services most beneficial to our residents. I am excited about this opportunity to serve the community that I have very much enjoy being a member of for these last few years.

December Meeting Minutes

Open forum:
● Progress of painting of lane lines in Lawrence parking lots? Olivia will touch base with Chris Warkala.
● There was a Safety Walk earlier this month at Graduate Housing locations. Sema, Julia and Olivia were at the walk. We passed along our concerns about the path along Alexander Road to Lawrence south of Faculty Road being very dark, and that there is no walking path from Lawrence 1 to Alexander Road. Facilities is now aware of the problem. We heard Karin Court was dark but did not look at this area because it is not under the University’s purview.
● Removing of Piano from Lawrence 14 – done
● Unmarked dumpster behind Lawrence 1 – Chris Warkala is looking into having it labeled
● Labeling the shopping carts – We can look into it. Residents have gotten better about returning the carts.
● TigerTransit skipping some stops along the shuttle route – this is part of the schedule and is intended.
● Progress on the EPA cleanup behind Lawrence – everything seems to be proceeding according to schedule.
● Garden lock has been put in place!
● Sending out email about GCHC looking for members – only 2 Lawrence Committee members want to send the email; the motion is denied.

● Elections will be held on January 12 at 6 pm – AJ, Sema and Dima will serve on the election committee. We will hold elections and then the new committee will meet. All positions are open, but the VP or President must have been on the committee for at least one term — unless no one else is running for one of these positions. You are required to attend two meetings, including the election meeting, to run for a position on Lawrence committee. The President, VP, and GSG rep must be current PU graduate students.
● Residents will be able to vote by email. Domestic partners who live at Lawrence can vote.

Responsibilities of Committee members (for a more complete description, see the Lawrence Committee constitution here
● President – runs the committee meetings
● VP – access to the budget, approving expenses, assisting with social events
● Webmaster – maintenance of Lawrence website, posting the minutes, keeping the website up to date and maintaining the Facebook page. Website is hosted by Princeton; it is a WordPress site.
● Social Chair – plans 2 social events per semester
● Garden Coordinator – most of the work is April – September. Work involves garden maintenance, making sure things are accessible. Contact University if things are needed. Getting garden tilled; dividing up garden and assigning plots; keep weeds out; patching fence to keep rabbits out.
● GSG representative – communicate between Lawrence residents and outside bodies – GSG meeting every month, GHAB (Graduate Housing Advisory Board) every month.
● Secretary – responding to Lawrence Committee emails, taking the minutes at the monthly meeting.
● Also, everyone assists with social events. Committee distributes the shovels during the snow.

Polling the residents – to address idea of asking Graduate School for additional funds for the committee. In future, committee aims to be more transparent and involve community members more.

Dima Goreshteyn – President
Burcin Cakir – Vice President
Sema Berkiten – Webmaster
James Park
Xiaoyu Tang – GSG representative
Olivia Martel – Graduate School
Nathaniel Chaney – proxy for Alison Chaney, Social Chair
A.J. Riggs – Garden Coordinator
Carol Ponce
Mai Yamaguchi
Sarah James
Julia Wittes – proxy for Lauren Anllo, Secretary

November Meeting Minutes

Topics of Discussion:

  1. Safety Concerns: There will be a formal safety meeting this coming Thursday with representatives from the Housing Committees, and University officials. The Lawrence Committee will have a representative attending this meeting. The meeting will involve a tour of the housing grounds and discussion of safety concerns. The committee discussed safety issues to mention at this meeting:
    1. Lighting in our complex: It is dark near Karin Court, and difficult to avoid hitting pedestrians. It is also dark on Alexander Rd when walking home. We want to find out if we can get more lighting.
    2. Pedestrian Cross Walks: There is a small area at the entrance of our complex where there is no sidewalk. We want to find out if it would be possible to paint pedestrian cross walk signs on the road, or instead, to simply increase signage reminding drivers of pedestrians.
    3. Bike Thefts: Many reports of bike thefts have occurred campus wide, including at our complex. Police have caught some people taking bikes on the train to Trenton. We asked about whether it would be possible to install either real or fake “decoy” security cameras near the bike rack to discourage theft. Public Safety has indicated that this solution is not possible, but that they have made a large arrest in recent months which has decreased the frequency of bike thefts.
    4. Golf Balls by Lawrence 12-14: There is a small part of the net for the golf course that dips down near building 14. As a result, sometimes golf balls come over the net and into Lawrence. This could be a problem for children playing outside. We have been in touch with Olivia Martel regarding this issue, who has informed us that the University is already aware and is looking into how to solve this problem with the golf course.
    5. Garden lock: Vegetables have been stolen and damaged throughout the gardening season. We have been in touch with Chris Warkala recently, who is making it a priority to have a combination lock put on the garden as soon as possible.
  2. Policy for Lost Items: Recently, there have been multiple incidents of residents losing valuable items in the parking lot, such as car keys and wedding bands. The committee has discussed a uniform “policy” that we intend to follow for lost items in the future.
    1. The policy: we will take any items of value to Public Safety at 100 Elm St, and then we will communicate with residents that the item has been found and is at Public Safety. Communication will most likely be via email or our website if we have a high volume of these scenarios. Most of the time, however, we will indicate lost items that are found with “tags” on the Lawrence Apartments website. We intend to have a 24 hour turn-around time for this entire process.
    2. Lost and Found boxes: There is a lost and found box in the Lawrence Building 14 computer cluster room. Residents should look for lost items that are not of particular value in these boxes.
  3. Information about our meeting times: Residents should note that the committee meets on the second Tuesday of every month at 6pm in the Lawrence 1 community room. This information is on our homepage in the right hand column, and also on our website under “basic information”:
    1. Electronic communication of meeting times: The committee usually reminds residents of meeting times 1-2 days in advance via email. We will be sure to send all future reminders of regular meetings a full 2 days in advance of the meeting.
    2. Election meeting: The committee will have its annual election meeting in January, during normal monthly meeting time (The second Tuesday at 6pm in Lawrence Building 1). Residents will receive an e-mail shortly reminding them of the upcoming election meeting. In order to run for office, residents must have attended 2 committee meetings, including the election meeting. This information will be included in the reminder e-mail.
  4. Communication of Important Issues to Residents: The committee wants to insure that the concerns we address are concerns held by the majority of residents, and not by a vocal minority. In addition to voting on issues within the committee, the committee will send monthly polls to residents asking opinions on the biggest issue discussed at the committee meeting.
    1. Monthly Opinion Poll: After the meeting, the committee will pick the biggest discussed issue requiring action, and will send a poll to residents asking their opinion on the matter. The poll will be sent out with a link to the monthly minutes. Residents should note that while the Lawrence Committee can and does raise Lawrence resident concerns to the University administration, Princeton is still a very complex place and sometimes change takes longer than we would like. This month’s poll will concern a proposal for activities or infrastructure to increase a sense of community among residents.
    2. Transparency: The committee wants to increase communication regarding why the University makes certain decisions to either act on, or not act on, our express concerns. This transparency will help residents to understand why some requests are answered and others denied. We hope that if this transparency is clearly recorded in the minutes, the committee of future years will not have to continually revisit the same concerns on which progress is not likely to be made, and can instead focus on areas in which change is possible.
  5. Dumpsters: The recycling dumpster by Lawrence 1 tends to be overflowing on the weekend. Chris Warkala has asked Building Services to put a recycling sticker on the “extra” dumpster in this trash area, in hopes of fixing this issue.
  6. Shopping Carts: The shopping carts are often not returned to their proper locations. The committee has e-mailed residents reminding them to return carts, and indicating the locations in which carts should be stored. Since this action has not helped the cart situation much, we have asked Chris Warkala to have the carts labeled with signs indicating they belong to Lawrence Apartments, and should be returned to designated locations.
  7. EPA Clean up on Basin Street: This cleanup is proceeding on schedule, and is intended to be completed by the end of December.

A.J. Riggs
Allison Chaney
Lauren Anllo
Dima Gorenshteyn
Sema Berkiten
Burcin Cakir
Xiaoyu Tang

October Lawrence Committee Meeting Minutes

  1. October social events:
    Pumpkin carving, which has been popular in the past. Alison will organize the event, and other committee members will assist. Also, there will be trick-or-treating at Lawrence in apartments that display orange pumpkin signs on their doors.
  2. A ping pong table for one of the community rooms has been requested. A few issues with this request were discussed. A table is expensive but breakable. The community rooms are small and a ping pong table occupies a large portion of the room, unless it is foldable. Noise from ping pong may disturb residents living near the community rooms. Everyone at the meeting does not think it is a good idea to purchase a table at this time.
  3. Update from Olivia Martel: Lane lines in the parking lots are being repainted in sections. An unclothed person who was spotted in a in Lawrence lobby has been banned from campus. A garden lock should be added this week.
  4. Laundry lines at Lawrence were requested. One issue is that there will not be enough space for all residents to use the lines if they were installed. It may be possible for residents to purchase and string their own portable lines. Vote on laundry lines at Lawrence: 1 for, 3 against.
  5. A listing of committee members on the Lawrence committee website was requested.
  6. AJ attended an event where he learned about SAFE (the Student Activities Funding Engine), a new funding system. You must log in as the organization (rather than with your personal account) so that you see the appropriate funding sources.
  7. Smoking policy change:
    1. Background: Smoking is already banned indoors everywhere else on Princeton’s campus and Lawrence building 1 is already non-smoking. The policy change would take place in July when new housing contracts are issued.
    2. Arguments raised for banning smoking: Low-rise Lawrence apartments are least expensive apartments for families. Joshua Wallace brought this up as a concern to the Graduate Housing Advisory Board (GHAB) and asked the Lawrence committee for its input. Going smoking-free would be more friendly to families, given the health risks to children of second hand smoke exposure. The layout of the low-rise apartments is such that smoke makes its way into other units. New Lawrence apartments may not have as severe a problem, however, Sema did sometimes smell smoke in New Lawrence when she lived there, suggesting that smoke travels in those buildings as well. Joshua knows a student who has asthma and couldn’t live in Lawrence because she can’t tolerate any smoke exposure. It is odd that smoking is permitted given that lighting candles is not permitted in any buildings at Lawrence.
    3. Other thoughts: There are smokers at Lawrence. What percentage of residents of Lawrence are smokers? And how many residents of Lawrence smoke in their apartments? No Lawrence residents who smoke and are against the policy change have contacted the committee, at least yet.
    4. The committee decides to perform a poll. The email will have a title something like, “Smoking ban in Lawrence”. The poll will close on Friday.
      1. Question 1: Are you in favor of a smoking ban?
        1. I’m in favor of a smoking ban
        2. I’m against a smoking ban
        3. I don’t care
      2. Question 2: Do you or someone in your household smoke inside?
        1. I smoke
        2. I don’t smoke
        3. I have someone in my household who smokes
      3. Question 3: free response
    5. Committee members vote whether they are in favor of or against banning smoking. 6 in favor of the ban, 0 against, 0 abstain

In attendance:
Julia Wittes – proxy for Lauren Anllo
Alison Cheney
Joshua Wallace
Olivia Martel
Burcin Cakir
AJ Riggs
Xiaoyu Tong
Sema Berkiten
James Park

September Lawrence Committee Meeting Minutes

Discussion Topics:
1. Lawrence Listserv
The Listserv has not yet been updated, so some new residents have not been added and some former residents have not yet been removed. Olivia is waiting for the correct information, and is in the process of making the update happen.

2. Parking lot lines
Some of the lines in the parking lot near New Lawrence are not clearly visible. Olivia is talking to Chris Warkala about having the lines re-painted, but there is no date about when this will happen yet.

3. Security concerns
A) Garden lock: During the summer, there were some thefts in which produce was stolen from gardeners’ plots. Olivia is now aware of this situation and she will talk to the University about getting a lock on the garden.

B) Bicycle Thefts: Some bikes are missing and have been stolen. Residents should note that these thefts should be reported to public safety so the bikes can be recovered. The University also encourages U locks instead of chain locks.

C) Building 1 Foyer: There have been some trespassing issues of individuals from outside of the University utilizing the unlocked space in the foyer of Building 1. Some people have suggested added either a lock or a code to the foyer in building 1 door to prevent trespassing. Olivia is following up with public safety to see if this is a possibility.

4. Shopping carts
Some of the shopping carts are missing from the communal locations. If this situation persists, the committee might contact residents about returning any carts they may have accidentally adopted into their own space. Someone suggested hanging a nice sign encouraging residents to return carts and snow shovels to communal spaces.

5. EPA site on Basin Street
The issue:
There is a fenced off site on Basin street. There was a recycling facility there that closed in 2003. Serious soil contaminants were detected (lead, flame retardants, etc) in this area from the time during which this space was used as a recycling facility. The EPA is working on removing contaminants. It will take the rest of the calendar year to remove contaminants in the soil.

Note: There is a meeting at 7pm in the Lawrence 14 common room on Wednesday September 9th to address concerns.

A member of the Lawrence Committee plans to attend this meeting to learn about the situation and ask questions.

A resident, Julia Wittes, who is also the GSG Facilities Chair, plans to attend the meeting and is willing to compile list of questions from any residents who wish to contact her at

Some additional notes:
The work itself is an EPA initiative, not a University one. However, the EPA contacts Lawrence residents through the University (specifically Housing Operations). Also, Princeton’s office of EHS (Environmental Health and Safety) will be present at the meeting on 9/9.
This contamination issue was discovered very recently, and the clean up began immediately, hence the short notice given to residents.

6. Crowding on the Saturday Shopper
Two lines used to run for the Saturday Shopper, but these lines have recently been combined into 1 with the opening of Lakeside and the closing of Stanworth and Butler. The bus thus becomes very crowded, so riders have to stand while carrying groceries. This situation can become dangerous because the bus has to drive quickly on Rt 1.

It is possible that the bus is very crowded now because people are doing move-in shopping. Crowds may dissipate. In the meantime, Olivia ( offered to email her colleague about issues regarding the bus safety.

7. Social community-building
The Lawrence Committee is discussing whether it would be feasible to have individual committee members lead some social efforts to build community in Lawrence. Examples of ideas that are being brainstormed for community building include organizing a trip to Broadway, community game nights, or movie screenings in the common rooms.

In the past, the committee has hosted BBQs, an Oscar’s party, pumpkin carving, etc. Constraints on events have included space during the winter when events must be indoors, and funding. We are brainstorming new ideas and calculating potential budgets to determine if it is feasible to sponsor new additional events.

Suggestions for how to develop ideas were discussed, including:
sending out an open ended poll to residents
sending a structured poll to residents
viewing a list of Undergraduate social events and using these as inspiration

Sema Berkiten
Lauren Anllo
Katie Riggs
Olivia Martel
Allison Chaney
Burcin Cakir
Nareman Amin
Brian Jo (proxy for Dima)
Julia Wittes
Alice Christensen
Russell Weiss-Irwin
Shekeima Dockery
James Park
Lin Fei
Vladimir Kirilon

May Lawrence Committee Meeting Minutes

Discussion Topics:
Lawrence BBQ Event: The barbecue is scheduled for Wednesday, May 20th at 5:30pm
The rain date will be May 21st. We will contact facilities about having access to the grill rental for the rain date if necessary.
Flyers will be posted at the bus stop, and e-mailed to residents
Residents will be able to sign up for grilling slots through an e-mailed Doodle poll
The event has been approved, and no GSG funding request is necessary

Laundry: New washing machines will be installed May 19th
Tuesday, May 19th, Laundry rooms in Building 1 and 10 will close completely for the day
5 new machines will be installed in Lawrence 1, 4 new machines will be installed in Lawrence 10

Garden: Lock and hose issues discussed
A lock with a numerical code has been ordered, and we are waiting for it to be received by the lock shop.
The hose by the far shed is slit, and will be repaired

Bike Clean up:
The clean-up is complete
Another clean up will happen in the Fall
Remember to park bikes in designated bike racks only

Parking Lots:
Residents should be sure to park in designated parking spots only
The University is aware that parking spots need to be repainted

Piano in Lawrence 14: This piano needs to be tuned and repaired
This summer, will look into scheduling a piano tuning
We will look into the cost of disposing of old pianos and moving in a new donated piano if a free donated piano becomes available in Lawrence by residents leaving the complex. If we do have a piano donated, we will not be tuning the current piano.

Dima Gorenshteyn
Xiaoyu Tang
Burcin Cakir
AJ Riggs
Olivia Martel
Lauren Anllo

Posted in Uncategorized

April Committee Meeting Minutes

Discussion Topics:

  1. Summer BBQ Planning: The BBQ will take place Tuesday, May 19th at 6pm. Set-up will begin at 5:30pm.
    1. Proposal: Xiaoyu will contact Rachael Barry from the GSG to obtain a copy of the BBQ proposal from 2013 to use as a guide for an ordering menu and budget.
    2. Budget: Burcin will check our committee’s budget, so that we can determine if we have the amount of money in our budget that was used for the BBQ in 2013. This information will help us determine whether we have the funding resources, or whether we need to request funding from the GSG. Lily Secora may be consulted for help with checking the budget.
    3. Equipment Rental: The committee will check previous committee e-mails, and will consult Princeton equipment rental resources to gather information to guide rental of the grills, i.e. where to get the grills, how many grills to order, and how to schedule rental. When contacting the equipment rental company, the committee should be advised to keep confirmation numbers and contact the rental company frequently to ensure that the request is processed appropriately.
    4. Menu: The menu will be guided by the past menu listed in the proposal that Xiaoyu will obtain from 2013. Allison will send out the menu ahead of time, and the committee will ensure that all dietary restrictions are covered. Someone suggested having Hoagie Haven sandwiches instead of a BBQ for convenience of preparation and to avoid potential problems with a grill rental, but the committee as a whole decided the BBQ would be nicer for the beginning of the summer.
    5. Grilling sign up: A sign-up sheet will be sent out to the entire Lawrence Community for anyone who wants to volunteer to take a shift at the grill.
  2. Piano in Lawrence 14 Community Room: A resident who is a pianist has suggested that the piano is internally damaged and may not be able to be properly tuned. Allison suggested asking the University piano tuner to take a look at the piano to give a professional opinion about whether tuning is possible. The University piano tuner charges $100 to charge the pianos. Lauren will also contact individuals within the music department to get other opinions about the piano scenario.
  3. Internet Speed in Lawrence Apartments:
    1. Problem: Residents have noticed that the internet has been incredibly slow lately. This causes problems for residents who are recreationally streaming movies from the internet, and it also causes problems for students who are trying to work from home using the internet in Lawrence. Olivia brought up the point that there are approximately 50 rogue internet routers in Lawrence that could be contributing to the slower internet speed. Dima brought up the point that in the past, OIT has been able to fix the internet speed to make the internet incredibly fast. Dima has suggested asking for this fix again.
    2. Potential Solution Ideas: Olivia is going to contact the University’s head of OIT regarding this issue. Residents are also advised to report all internet problems. Dima and Lauren will begin by reporting issues they have had.
  4. The Garden is open! The garden is open, the soil has been tilled, and plots have been assigned and marked. A.J. plans to purchase some new needed supplies for the garden shed. Olivia has reported that a combination lock has been ordered to lock the garden. Anyone who has the code (including Butler residents who are gardening in Lawrence) will be able to access the garden.
  5. Laundry Room: Some residents have reported that there are two new washing machines that are now in Lawrence Building 1, and that these machines have a smaller loading capacity and tend to trap items of clothing and debris in the rubber surrounding the machine door. Olivia has reported this issue and it is currently under investigation.
  6. Bicycle Clean Up: The bike clean up has begun and is underway. Not all of the areas in Lawrence have undergone the bike clean up, so it is wise to leave tags on bikes. Olivia will obtain more information about the bike clean up schedule. The cause of the initial clean up delay was problems with snow removal. Individuals who are conducting the bike clean up are aware of the fact that some of the bike tags may fall off the bikes, and so they are trying to avoid removing bikes that look new, or that look like they have new locks on them.
  7. Seating in the rear of Building 1: A student requested a bench to be placed behind Lawrence Building 1. This request was investigated, but it has been denied and it will not be further pursued.
  8. Parking Lot Lines: In certain areas of the parking lot, in particular closer to the bus stop, the lines indicating parking spots have worn away and can no longer be seen. As a consequence, some residents are occupying multiple spots with one car. Last year, a request was made to re-paint the parking lines. This request has been re-initiated.
  9. Mentorship for Graduate Students: Administration has realized the large wealth of resources that the University has for older graduate students to mentor younger graduate students. Conversations have begun to help to define what mentorship is, what the demand is, and how mentorship can be organized so that it is useful to students.
    1. Supporters: GSG agrees that graduate student mentoring is a good idea, and supports it.
    2. Model: One current model for mentoring structure is the Undergraduate McGraw Center Learning Consultants. These consultants are undergraduates who are mentoring younger undergraduates.
    3. Possible benefits: Mentorship can help with graduate student life, i.e. helping students to locate the gym, healthcare, the supermarket, and other resources. Mentorship can also or alternatively help with academics, i.e. helping graduate students to realize what research is, how to schedule meetings with an adviser, what to discuss at a meeting with an adviser or with a committee, etc.
    4. Past Efforts: Prior to 2007, a “buddy system” of older and younger graduate students was employed for this purpose, and was successful at first. As proponents of the initial plan graduated, the success of this plan was dampened.
    5. Ideas: The role of this type of mentorship could be viewed as an enabling model, not a facilitator model. The model for mentorship could be less of a one-on-one structure, and more about gathering resources for experiences that happen at different times (for example, Generals). We could revise our Grad College document that is a “survival guide,” and circulate this document as a resource. A workshop model could be utilized to organize the mentorship, with mentoring sessions focused on various topics that younger graduate students can RSVP to attend. With the workshop model, students would have the option to access only relevant topics, while avoiding superfluous advice. It might be possible to involve the McGraw Center in this mentoring effort, because learning how to be a mentor is an important part of teaching, and the McGraw Center could help training people how to mentor.
    6. Opinions: Graduate students who have lived on their own prior to attending graduate school may not feel a need for mentorship regarding living on one’s own for the first time. These graduate students might prefer academic advice, including how to talk to an adviser. In response to this issue, a “workshop model” was proposed (see above). A mentorship design in which students and “pick and choose” what mentorship they receive might be most favorable. Some graduate students feel that academic advice about graduate school is department specific, and that it might be better to fund individual departments to organize mentorship activities than it would be to involve the whole graduate school. It has been suggested that graduate students from different departments could get together for an initial focus group to discuss what issues would be relevant to them, to determine if there is any departmental overlap that would be relevant to all or many graduate students.

Dima Gorenshteyn
Xiaoyu Tang
Burcin Cakir
AJ Riggs
Allison Chaney
Olivia Martel
Lauren Anllo
Ohad Fried (on behalf of Sema)