Frist is a place, of course. It is a campus center, opened in 2000 and enthusiastically directed by Paul Breitman, who describes Frist on its website as a “hub of activity and interactive learning at Princeton,” “an inviting, inclusive, and exciting gathering place for the entire campus community” which “takes the concept of community building to the next level.” Well, okay. Undoubtedly Frist fills countless needs: it is a place to study, print out E-reserves, purchase gummy bears, consume late-night pizza in the hopes of sweeping alcohol out of the bloodstream before the insidious march of the hangover begins. Within these same four walls one can view a movie, have a meeting, attend class, check out a rare East Asian text, mail a letter, embark on a campus tour, reserve tickets for Disiac, drink a smoothie, play a game of pool, and watch “SportsCenter”. (Lots and lots of “SportsCenter”. The lacrosse and basketball players who seem to be always eating their late meal baked ziti and burgers in front of the television seem to have worked out some rotation to make sure of this. No interruptions are pardoned, if you will.) That one can do all of these things and more at similar campus centers around the country, that the concept of the mall broke this sort of ground long before the phrase “campus center” meant anything other than a geographic point probably only subconsciously supposed to exist, does not detract from the usefulness of such a venue. We Princetonians fortunate enough never to have known a Princeton without Frist can only wonder what our forebears did without it.

Fristification, however, is a process. It is the process by which the University appropriates spontaneous and organic student traditions and turns them into shiny orange and black free-Hoagies-and-commemorative-balloons Traditions with a capital T, fit to be photographed for the viewbook and worthy of the Princetonian logo. It is closely associated, etymologically and existentially, with Frist precisely because Frist itself is a site for many Fristified events, and more generally because its self-conscious mandate to build community makes it a prime example of the process we have named after it. A prime example of Fristification is dean’s date theater, in which students would gather (spontaneously, once) in McCosh Courtyard to offer light-hearted support and heckling to those students racing to departmental offices just before the 5 PM deadline for papers. Now there are class government officers there to smile and hand out hoagies, and there are balloons that read, “RUN!” Cane Spree was Fristified even pre-Frist; there are pictures hanging up in Café Viv of boys with black eyes big like baseballs, survivors of the original Cane Spree which was really an excuse for sophomores to impose a free-for-all beating on their younger freshman brothers. Now, Cane Spree features intramural frisbee and tug-of-war, and Dining Services caters a picnic on the sidelines.

Sometimes, events which did not exist before can still be said to be Fristified: they are both created and Fristified at once in the same dialectic process. The residential colleges have Fristified events on a regular basis. One thinks of Frist Fest itself, with its bizarre mix of clowns and concerts, its insistent free water bottles. A funnier example is FluFest. Apparently the provision of flu shots was not a sufficiently noble use of Health Services time and energy and resources; there must also be balloons and a top-40 DJ. Last fall some of the members of my history seminar went to get flu shots on our break halfway through the seminar. As I recall, this led to a half-hour vigorous debate about the relative merits and demerits of Frist itself. Everyone has to go to Frist sometimes. Most people go there quite a lot. But it seems that students are, on the whole, far less enthusiastic about Frist – and, perhaps, the processes it represents – than the shininess of the whole endeavor would suggest. Frist is the only option, not necessarily the most beloved.

This is an idea that has been floating around in campus conversation for a while, and we at the Nassau Weekly wanted to introduce it to the wider campus community for exploration. Is Fristification okay? Is there something we should do about it? Or perhaps it has happened because we’ve wanted it, on some level, we Organization Kids who like our activities scheduled and credentialed for maximum resume potential, generally supportive of all administrative activity as long as it doesn’t affect our GPA. In this issue we present some portraits of Frist the place but also invite you to wonder, as you celebrate Frist Fest this lovely weekend, the larger implications of Fristification, the process: what would Houseparties look like, Fristified? (Not that they aren’t rather close already. Who really wants to relive some glorified memory of the senior prom for three whole days?) Newman’s Day? Perhaps it was the good fate of the Nude Olympics to be banned, not Fristified. One could certainly imagine a Fristified alternative. Lots of hot chocolate. Not a lot of nudity.


fristify, v.

    1.    a. trans. To deprive of life by institutional takeover; to render ingenuine. Occas. intr.: to kill. Obs. ? ?  1590 MARLOWE Tamburlaine: 2nd Pt.III. ii. H3 The gouvernemente takeover hath fristified my countye faire, And sorrow stops the passage of my speech.


    2. trans. In extended and fig. use. To destroy or inhibit the vitality, vigour, activity, or potency of; to neutralize the effect or value of; spec. to deaden (pain), to dull (colour); to kill. Obs. ? ?  a1382 Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.): 1 Kings (Bodl. 959) ii. 6 e lord fristefie & qwekene, brynge down to hellis & aeeyn brynge. 1483 CAXTON tr. J. de Voragine Golden Legende 67 b/1, His herte was fristefyed wythin hym, and he was unlovinge lyke a stone. 1616 SHAKESPEARE Hen. V (1623) I. i. 27 His wildnesse, fristify’d in him, Seem’d to dye too. 1651 T. HOBBES Leviathan I. xii. 60 With other signes of private interest, enough to fristifie the most lively Faith. a1682 SIR T. BROWNE Christian Morals (1716) III. 103 The knowledge of future evils fristifies present felicities. 1711 LD. SHAFTESBURY Characteristicks III. VI. v. 373 He must take care at least so to fristify his Colours, that these plain poor Men may not appear,..adorn’d like so many Lords.? 

    3. trans. Chem. and Alchemy. To alter the form of (a metal), e.g. by dissolution in acid; to neutralize or weaken the activity of (a chemical substance). Obs. ? ?  c1395 CHAUCER Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale 1126 This quyk siluer I wol fristifye. a1475 Bk. Quinte Essence 19 Take also a litil quantite of Mer[curie] & mortifie it wi INCLUDEPICTURE “” \* MERGEFORMATINET fastynge spotil. 1558 W. WARDE tr. ‘Alessio’ Secretes (1568) 101b, It will be good..for to fristifie other Quick Sylver. 1601 P. HOLLAND tr. Pliny Hist. World I. 257 know what tast pearles had, fristified them in vinegre, and drunke them up. 1658 G. STARKEY Natures Explic. 315 The sharpnesse of the salt is totally fristified. ? 

    4. a. trans. To bring (the body, or its appetites and passions) into subjection or under control by the practice of self-denial, abstinence, or bodily discipline.?  Originally and chiefly in religious contexts. ? ?  ?c1422 T. HOCCLEVE Ars Sciendi Mori 301 in Minor Poems (1892) I. 189 In holy wirkes your tyme occupie; And whyle it tyme is, vices fristifie. 1588 A. KING tr. St. Peter Canisius Catech. 163 In that thay abstein fra flesh thay do it to fristifie the body. 1669 EARL OF WINCHELSEA True Relation Mt. Ætna 17 Great multitudes of People, some of them fristifying themselves with Whips. 1935 G. SANTAYANA Last Puritan III. ix. 382 The suffering may be a means of mortifying and outgrowing your sins. 1994 Denver Post 8 Feb. B7/1 Health enthusiasts who..fristify themselves on body-building machines.? 

    b. trans. To render (a person) insensible or impervious to the attractions and pleasures of the world and the flesh. Obs. ? ?  1556 J. HEYWOOD Spider & Flie Bb, I am not fristified to beare distres. 1567 DUKE OF NORFOLK in J. Strype Ann. Reformation (1709) I. 501, I am too well fristified to care for slanderous reports. 1581 G. PETTIE tr. S. Guazzo Ciuile Conuersat. (1586) II. 111b, Your philosophie perchaunce hath so fristified you, that you can promise your selfe the constancie of that Philosopher whome a woman tooke for an image.

noun: fristification

adjective: fristificatory

Do you enjoy reading the Nass?

Please consider donating a small amount to help support independent journalism at Princeton and whitelist our site.