Summer at Charter – Meet Conor O’Brien ’19

Ever wonder what happens at Charter over the Summer? Undergraduate President Conor O’Brien ’19 shares his experience and introduces himself .

Taken during a 4th of July celebration at Charter. Steve – we solemnly swear that we were careful not to damage the grass.

Living in Charter is an incredible experience. From the minute you walk through that front door, you feel yourself to be part of something larger, and far more grand than anything you could ever imagine. To quote the inimitable Elizabeth Stanley ’18 in a moment of great exuberance, “I’m a princess and I live in a party mansion”. This is an interesting assertion, and one that resonates deeply with me. I am a princess, that much is obvious, and Charter is a mansion, complete with beautiful and historically important Georgian architecture and a totally functioning front door handle (that we would never ever dream of replacing, even if it takes several years of apprenticeship and an inter-dimensional portal making device to relock). We also throw parties. Oh boy, do we throw parties. Even over the summer, amidst the tumbleweeds of failed Dean’s Date papers and the general dearth of people staying on campus, the cry of “Every Friday” has graced this club that we all love, allowing the cluster to become resplendent with the sounds of merriment and mayhem. Being here over the summer means innumerable game nights (video or board, pick your poison), movie nights, generally hanging out with friends, and many many runs to Hoagie (given that we no longer have access to Steve, which is sad, but as Hoagie Haven has mozzarella stick stuffed hoagies, all is still well with the world). In all seriousness though, it’s really fantastic to live in Charter over the summer, because you get to spend it living with friends in a beautiful building, playing games and hanging out, which is pretty damn special.

In as far as what it is that I’m doing for the summer, aside from the obvious “as little as humanly possible”, I’m here working on thesis research, or at least that’s what I’ve been telling my primary investigator (professor I’m working for). So what I work on is, on the largest scale possible, trying to save the world. Delving into specifics just a little bit, I work on reducing CO2 electrochemically to fuels/other useful chemicals using a number of alloy catalysts. What’s kind of fun about this research is that you can just kind of try things, throw them onto a support, and hope that they work, which is how I like to live my life in general, so it was a pretty good fit in terms of research project for me. Of late, I have also been working with big microscopes, which is very appealing to the young child in me, because they look big and science-y, and there’s something oddly satisfying about that. Also they produce pretty pictures, so #scienceisart. All in all, though, it’s been really fun to carry out research this summer, especially because it meant that I got to spend my summer here at Charter!

Conor O’Brien ’19

Yo fellow Chartans!

So my name is Conor, and I’m the current undergraduate president of the Princeton Charter Club. I’m from Dublin, Ireland, however, as my word program is not, and in order to avoid squiggly red lines underneath the words I’m writing, I will persist with US spelling, which goes against my better judgment, but there you are (color, recognize, fetus, etc.). I am a chemistry major, and am currently pursuing certificates in both French and Linguistics because, while I recognize that chemistry is more likely to lead to employment, I lack the capacity to leave better alone, and have persisted with languages because I think they’re cool. I am also a strongly mediocre saxophone player in the Band (which I joined because I’ve been told, mostly by bandies, that plaid is the new black…and orange, and as a result of my penchant for straw hats and white plastic dress shoes), as well as an intermittent member of the club squash team and a washed up former member of the lightweight crew team, now blissfully enjoying the NARP (non-athletic regular person) life. I love the outdoors (I’m an Outdoor Action (OA) leader and spent the better part of my childhood hiking/on water/generally outside somewhere, often up a tree), greatly enjoy reading when I get the chance, and will stop in the middle of the road if I notice any sort of dog walking by anywhere in the general vicinity. The only other thing that you should really know about me is that I LOVE Charter. Charter is where I feel most at home on campus – it’s a place where I know that I’ll be welcomed no matter what, because I know that the people here are just built that way. The friends I have made at Charter are brilliant, funny, outrageous at times, but, more importantly than any of that, they are unerringly kind and compassionate, and, for me at least, that’s what I’ve always liked best about this club. No matter who you are, or what you want to be, there will always be a seat for you at the table if you want it, where you can talk about everything from what constitutes a sandwich, which I maintain is most everything, to the meaning of life and COS, and feel truly happy doing so with a great group of friends. I don’t really know what else is supposed to go in a bio, so I think I’ll leave it at this, but if ever you want to talk, I’d really love that! (You can reach me by email – click the button below – and by carrier pigeon, depending on how well you’ve trained it, pretty much anywhere)

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