The transition to student government as a method of
control came about in 1909-1910. In 1917 a student
council of eight members was elected semiannually
by the boarding school. This organization was known
as the Student Council of the State Normal School
Trenton. With some minor changes the government remained
the same until 1928 when the increase in commuting
students made evident the need for a supplementary
plan. At that time the Student Cooperative Association
By 1955 its purpose was to "act as a clearing
house for all problems affecting the social welfare
of the students, to unify the student activities in
The College, and to foster and promote all those interests
which contribute to the well-rounded life of the individual."
The Association was directed by the Student Executive
Board of fourteen members elected by the classes.
Today, the Student Government Association has approximately
sixty members, elected by the student body. Each academic
department, as well as each class, is represented.
In addition to the basic duty of protecting student
rights, the SGA addresses student grievances, provides
legal assistance to students, sponsors campus-wide
activities, and monitors the constitutions of all
other student organizations.
Dean of Women
In September 1924 the office of Dean of Women was
created, and was "designed to promote the ideals
of right living." Dr. Don Bliss, principal, thought
this was an important innovation and said, "More
time is spent by students at the hall than in the
classroom, and here is the opportunity for the most
effective work in character building. It is of little
use to care for the scholastic training of prospective
teachers and ignore the more important phase of the
work-the wise use of leisure."
Sororities and Fraternities
Sororities reach far back into the history of The
College. Until 1929, debating was an important activity
of student life, and between 1908 and 1929, a yearly
contest in debating was held by the Literary Societies
for the Championship. By 1955, the focus had shifted
from dramatics and debating to programs concerning
the social life of The College and the promotion of
service. In addition to sponsoring parties and dances
the sororities conducted special service projects.
Men's fraternities were also active in the social
and scholastic life of The College, and by 1955 there
were four fraternities. Today The College has twelve
fraternities and thirteen sororities that serve as
both service and social organizations.
The College moved to Hillwood Lakes it encouraged
students to give voluntary leadership in various community
groups, such as the Y.M.C.A., 4-H Club, and Boy Scouts.
Beginning in the fall of 1942, a special orientation
course without credit was required of each freshman.
The first semester was to orient students to college
life and the second to the community and to groups
interrelated to the school. Beginning in 1995, The
College expanded its commitment to service by implementing
a comprehensive service learning initiative as part
of the First-Year Experience (FYE) program and the
general education curriculum. Each first-year student
is required to complete a project connecting service
to the community with the traditional classroom experience.
Beginning in 1947-48, the first foreign students lived
and studied on campus. By 1955 there had been twenty-five
exchange students from a total of twenty-one countries.
The visiting students were future teachers who came
to learn American educational methods and organization.
Around this same time The College sent its first two
students for a full school year to Scotland and England.
Since 1978, the School of Education has provided its
students with the opportunity to student teach overseas.
More than 400 student teachers have participated in
the eight-week student teaching program. Today The
College offers more than 150 exchange and study abroad
programs in over forty-five countries.
By the 1950s The College had established many traditions.
At Christmas, traditions included caroling by the
men of the music department and a Christmas concert
by the choir in Kendall Hall the Sunday before the
holidays. Thanksgiving had its traditional customs
as well, including the Theta Phi Sorority's annual
Thanksgiving offering, which was the culmination of
its drive on campus to provide a fund for the benefit
of the children at Lanning School.
Early in the fall the Social Board sponsored an all-college
party on campus. This featured a program in Kendall,
group singing in the dormitories, and a dance in the
gymnasium. All students were invited and the occasion
provided an opportunity for the freshmen to become
better acquainted with the upperclassmen.
The last week of the school year was known as Senior
Week, and was marked by many ceremonies. One custom
was step singing, and was observed as the junior class
took possession of the steps at Kendall Hall from
the seniors. The week concluded with a picnic, an
informal dinner at the Inn at which humorous skits
were presented, and the senior dinner-dance.
Today's students are looking to the past to continue
traditions of yesterday. In 1996, students reestablished
the tradition of a college formal by instituting the
Annual TCNJ Formal. In addition, the Class of 1999
re-instituted the tradition of Senior Week. Activities
included a trip to Atlantic City, white water rafting,
and a Spirit of New York dinner cruise.