Winter Break

December 21, 2020

Dear Graduate Students,

 In the spirit of the holidays, I’d like to begin by expressing my gratitude for all that you have done to make this fall semester as safe and productive as possible. You have been at the forefront of living, learning and leading through so much change. My colleagues and I have been inspired by the many ways the graduate student community has pulled together during these challenging times. We at the Graduate School hope that you will find time during the holiday break to rest, recharge, and reconnect with the important people in your lives.  So that we can all begin 2021 with renewed energy, the Graduate School staff will also be taking time off to do the same. 

 The University recently announced a campus closure for the days between the Christmas and New Year holidays. Accordingly, outside of some essential admission operations and staffing of the Porter’s Lodge for mail and package delivery at the Graduate College, our staff will be off for the full holiday break. As is always the case, Public Safety is available to students around the clock for emergencies, and Public Safety is able to reach a member of our staff through the dean-on-call operation if necessary.  Normal operations for our office will end at noon on December 23 and will resume the morning of January 4.

 We created a “Holiday Break Information for Graduate Students” web page with detailed information about campus facilities and resources available to you during the holidays and winter break. Please also consult the microsite for information regarding the spring 2021 semester and FAQs tailored specifically for graduate students.

 As we head into the new year, we want to remind you of just a few of the many ways the Graduate School will continue to support your endeavors and success here at Princeton.

 Supporting your health and well-being -- and that of the entire graduate student community:

 Our community’s health and safety depend on all of us complying with testing and quarantine protocols. For students who will be on campus during the next two weeks, please review the schedule for asymptomatic testing found here. Students who normally submit two tests per week only need to submit one test per week over the holiday break.

 If you are experiencing unexpected financial hardship related to COVID-19 (including but not limited to relocation/travel costs, storage fees, technology needs, and food insecurity), you may be eligible to receive hardship funds through the Graduate School. For additional information and to apply for assistance, please review the hardship request form

 Building virtual community and creating meaningful opportunities for you to connect with fellow graduate students, alumni, and others:

 Health and well-being are integrally linked to social connection. Many thanks to the Graduate Student Government (GSG) and all of the graduate student organizations for their outstanding efforts to build virtual community and forge connections among and between graduate students -- and for their ongoing partnership with the Graduate School to help support the unique needs of students in this moment.

 For an easy and fun way to approach self-care and build connections, the Student Life team created the “#PrincetonGradLife 31-Day Connection Challenge.” For more information and to register, please use this form. Sign up by 8:00 a.m. on December 23rd, and you will begin receiving a list of daily, optional challenges to complete throughout the month of January. 

To help with “Zoom-fatigue,” we encourage you to also take time away from your computer when possible for safe, socially distanced activities. This website lists a few local activities you may want to consider over the break if you will be in the Princeton area, including ice-skating, hiking, and other activities.

 Advocating for your success as scholars, researchers, educators, and professionals: 

 We recently announced the possibility of graduate students’ increased access to departmental spaces for study and work purposes.  The process for return to such spaces differs a bit depending on whether a student is in the humanities and social sciences or in the natural sciences and engineeringGraduate students (and postdocs) will have priority access to these spaces.  

 As a portion of the undergraduate student body begins returning to campus this spring, some limited in-person teaching opportunities may be possible. We remind you that in-person teaching by graduate students is completely voluntary. In January, the Academic Affairs staff will check in with each graduate student listed as an Assistant in Instruction for a course with any registered in-person component.  We continue to make available a form and process for the review of any in-person research or teaching activities for which a graduate student may require our assistance.

 Co-creating an inclusive and forward-thinking campus community: 

 These times require us all to be forward-thinking, to embrace challenges, and to imagine possibilities for the future of our campus and our world. The University created Forward Fest: A Year of Forward Thinking to spark dialogue among the entire campus community to advance bold ideas. The next event on January 14 will focus on equity in education. We hope you will join the conversation and contribute your perspective.

 As we look ahead to the promise and hope of a new year, I encourage you to approach 2021 and the spring semester with enthusiasm and the knowledge that the Graduate School staff and the entire University community are here to help you learn and thrive at Princeton and beyond. 

 Wishing you all the best,

 Cole M. Crittenden

Deputy Dean and Acting Dean of the Graduate School