University remembers Sept. 11 by helping with recovery
By Jennifer Greenstein Altmann
Last December, Princeton announced a set of programs designed to
help people affected by Sept. 11 and to support New York City's
renewal and recovery.
As the one-year anniversary of the tragedy approaches,
those initiatives have resulted in the awarding of 10 scholarships
at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, grants for Princeton faculty
and students to study issues related to the events of Sept. 11,
a program this fall at Blairstown for the families of victims and
a project that has exposed more than 10,000 youngsters to the arts.
The University committed a total of $1 million to the programs.
John Jay scholarships
Princeton founded a scholarship program at John Jay
College of Criminal Justice in New York City to honor the memory
of the 67 public service heroes of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World
Trade Center who received academic training at the college. Ten
students were selected during the summer as the first recipients
of the Justice Scholarship.
Each scholarship winner will enroll in two courses
specifically designed to prepare them for an independent research
study related to the criminal justice/public service field. Student
research will be published in a journal produced by John Jay College.
Winners were selected for their academic achievement
and their documented interest in public service. They will receive
a $2,000 scholarship annually that is renewable each academic year.
The funds are to be applied to educational expenses and to support
undergraduate research. In addition, students who complete independent
research that is approved by the faculty during their senior year
will be awarded an additional $1,000 toward graduate school.
John Jay offers baccalaureate degrees in fields ranging
from criminal justice, international criminal justice and police
studies to fire science, forensic science and security management.
It also offers several master's programs and a doctoral program
in criminal justice. Undergraduate tuition for in-state students
is $1,600 per semester. While its students may qualify for federal
and state aid programs, John Jay has very few scholarship funds
of its own.
Five scholarships were awarded to members of the incoming
class and another five to currently enrolled students. The recipients
were selected by a committee made up of John Jay College faculty
members and administrators. (For a complete list of recipients,
see the news
Support for expertise and research
A second program was set up to provide funds to support
faculty and staff who can contribute special expertise to New York's
renewal, rebuilding and recovery, and to support graduate and undergraduate
research related to the attacks.
Two faculty members Erik VanMarcke, professor of civil
and environmental engineering, and Guy Nordenson, associate professor
of architecture have received funds to undertake a study of design
concepts and parameters affecting the resistance of tall structures
to extreme conditions such as wind storms, earthquakes, fires and
accidental or terrorist blasts. Assisting them is Mark Dobossy,
a graduate student in the civil and environmental engineering department,
who is helping create the computer models being used in the study.
"After the attacks of Sept. 11, the question of buildings'
resistance to extreme natural, accidental and other hazards is of
increased importance," the two faculty members wrote in their research
proposal. "Though it is clear that no building can be expected to
withstand the magnitude of the attacks on the World Trade Center
towers, there are important lessons to be learned from both their
resistance to the enormous impact loads they were subjected to,
and their collapse due to fire damage to the structure."
The team is studying the Deutsche Bank building, located
near the World Trade Center, which was damaged but not destroyed
by the terrorist attack. Explained Nordenson, "Working from my experience
at the World Trade Center site looking at damaged buildings and
VanMarcke's work with probability and statistics, we are trying
to find a way of generalizing about structural loading on buildings."
The research will be completed in the fall of 2002,
and the faculty members will produce a report on their findings
Laura Kurgan, assistant professor of architecture,
received a contribution from the University last winter to help
fund the production of a memorial map for the area around Ground
Zero. The map, created with the help of two recent graduates and
a current student in conjunction with several community groups in
lower Manhattan, was designed to orient visitors and to provide
basic information about the site to facilitate reflection and remembrance.
More than 10,000 youngsters from schools affected
by the attacks attended Broadway shows such as "The Phantom of the
Opera," "Aida" and "The Lion King," took in performances by the
American Ballet Theatre and Blue Man Group, and visited museums
that included the Rose Center Planetarium, The Museum for African
Art and The American Museum of the Moving Image as part of the Arts
In all, students from 82 schools in every borough
of New York City took part in nearly 200 live arts and cultural
experiences last spring, along with Princeton students who volunteered
to join the youngsters.
Kate Schlesinger '04, who helped organize the volunteers,
said the students that she met were thrilled because many had never
seen a performance on Broadway before. "It was really rewarding
to know that you were doing something that got them so excited,"
Schlesinger was one of the nearly 200 Princeton students
who accompanied the school children. Student participation was coordinated
through the class of 2004 and the student Performing Arts Council,
which represents a broad range of student performing groups at Princeton.
Before attending Broadway shows or other live performances,
the students went to one of the 32 educational workshops developed
by the Princeton students to get them acquainted with the themes
of the pieces they were seeing. Students with tickets for the opera
"Carmen," which was sung in French, talked about how to appreciate
an artistic performance in another language. The youngsters were
given the assignment of acting out a scene without using language,
and their peers had to guess what was going on by reading their
body language and facial expressions.
Those students seeing "Into the Woods," a re-interpretation
of traditional fairy tales, had to create their own fairy tales
from a unique perspective, such as retelling the story of Goldilocks
from the perspective of one of the bears.
"The students loved interacting with the Princeton
students," said Laura Tichler, program coordinator for HAI, a New
York City-based not-for-profit organization that implemented the
Arts Alive program with Princeton. "The workshops really served
to enhance their experience of the performance itself."
Enough funds remain from the University's $1 million
commitment to permit continuation of the Arts Alive program during
the upcoming fall semester. This year's program will involve students
from schools in New Jersey as well as New York City, and New Jersey
performing arts venues such as the Newark Museum, Liberty Science
Center and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center are likely to be
included. Student volunteering will continue to be coordinated by
the class of 2004, which will make a strong effort to involve members
of the freshman class.
The University is sponsoring a program at the Princeton-Blairstown
Center this fall for families directly affected by the Sept. 11
attacks. The program, to be held Sept. 12 and 13, will work with
family members on coping techniques and family communication skills
as well as offering grief and trauma counseling.
Between 10 and 15 families will be invited to stay
overnight at the center, where they will participate in hiking excursions,
canoeing and wilderness challenges. "We teach through experiential
learning," explained Angelique Grant, director of development at
the center. "For instance, if there's something you're afraid of,
maybe you'll talk about it in a group setting or during a high ropes
The outdoor experiences help participants figure out
their skills and abilities and teach them to work with a group,
said Hendricks Davis, the center's executive director. "If you take
people out of their urban environment and put them in a natural
setting in the wilderness, they strip away the routines of life
and get to the essential things," he said. "I've seen a lot of healing
and transformation occur in young people and adults when they come
out here and tap into something that's very natural."
The program also will set aside part of the time as
a period of remembrance. And the families will be invited to return
in the spring for another two-day program so counselors can follow
up with them and provide additional support.