Zach Beecher '13
Randolph, New Jersey
High up on Zach Beecher’s wish list are the twin desires of leading and serving. Beecher is wasting no time honing the skills necessary for both in his academic and social pursuits.
As a ROTC cadet, Beecher can expect to graduate as a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army. With it will come the responsibility of leading a platoon of young soldiers who will rely on his judgment to keep them out of harm’s way, possibly in combat.
At the same time, he is polishing his leadership skills in class government. In his freshman and sophomore years, he was elected class president. In this role, he had opportunities to meet students of different interests and backgrounds, and then to engage them in what he believes is meaningful work for the community. For example, he helped mobilize his classmates in a campaign to bag more than 200 lunches for the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. He also was instrumental in organizing the annual Support the Troops Week, which distributes care packages and letters to troops abroad, while also hosting diverse panels on the military. The venture was supported by student government funds.
Beecher serves on the Pace Council for Civic Values, a student group affiliated with the Pace Center for Civic Engagement, which promotes civic action throughout the university community. As the religious life liaison on the civic values council, Beecher is preparing a report with the Office of Religious Life on how students can apply their faith to service opportunities.
In his capacity as head delegate, Beecher has helped reinvigorate Princeton’s Ivy Council, which for a number of years had seen declining membership. The Ivy Council, consisting of student government representatives of the Ivy League schools, has been instrumental in researching issues common to all the Ivies, such as grade inflation and gender-neutral housing. That information is then fed back to student government and the administration for consideration.
During Beecher’s tenure, he and a colleague organized the planning and financing for the Ivy Council’s 2010 annual leadership summit, which convened at Princeton. The summit heard from a diverse group of speakers on the importance of public service. They included the mayor of Los Angeles, the head of the largest community service organization in Philadelphia and a local congressman.
Beecher says he hopes to parlay what he learns in these various roles into a career of service.
“I’ve always wanted to be in a position where I could make a difference and to have the agency to make things better,” he says. “Columnist George Will (Class of 1968 and a University trustee) once said politics is nothing less than a discussion about determining the future of the nation. I want to be a part of that conversation and to have a hand in making sure that when we really think about how things are going, that we will always think that tomorrow will be better than today. And as long as we can truly believe that, then we’re heading in the right direction.”