Princeton in New Jersey's Service
"In the nation's service and in the service of all nations"
This informal motto of Princeton University has guided the mission of its students, alumni, faculty and staff since first proposed by then-University President Woodrow Wilson in 1896 and updated in 1986. When President Christopher L. Eisgruber asked all members of the incoming Class of 2017 to read Anthony Appiah’s “The Honor Code,” his intent was for them to think about what it means to live a successful human life, “living a life that makes you happy, and living a life that is of service to others.” From day one on campus, this principle is central to the Princeton experience, and one that begins right here in New Jersey.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” -- The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
As the Princeton University community pauses to reflect on the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a pilot celebratory program is giving select staff the opportunity to bring his words to life with a day of volunteer service in the community.
Two years ago, Reginald Murph was in prison for the second time. Today, he is a sophomore at Rutgers University. He credits Princeton University's Prison Teaching Initiative with helping give him a second chance. The Prison Teaching Initiative (PTI) offers credit-earning college courses to inmates at three New Jersey correctional facilities. More than 70 Princeton faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and alumni volunteer to teach classes in English, mathematics, science and other subjects spanning the liberal arts. Since the program began eight years ago, nearly 500 inmates have earned college credits by taking PTI classes.
During Princeton University's recent Fall Breakout, dozens of students chose to use their free week to explore complex social issues such as supporting our soldiers, immigration, alternatives to incarceration, science education, and disability. Eleven students spent their week in New Jersey, traveling to Trenton, Camden and New Brunswick to speak with stakeholders in health care reform and gain an understanding of the Affordable Care Act. They have created a social media campaign to share what they learned and help educate the public about the social, political and economic challenges facing the U.S. healthcare system.
Princeton sociologist Douglas Massey first learned about the fight over a proposed affordable-housing development in Mount Laurel, N.J., when he was a graduate student at Princeton University in the mid-1970s. The dispute led to landmark New Jersey Supreme Court decisions in 1975 and 1983 that cleared the way for what would become the Ethel Lawrence Homes, a townhome-style neighborhood of 140 units that opened its first phase in 2000. By the time Massey returned to New Jersey to join the University's faculty in 2003, the fight in Mount Laurel was over. But there were still no clear answers to the questions about the development's impact on its residents and the surrounding community. So, he saw an opportunity to answer those questions.
When classes end at John Witherspoon Middle School, sixth-grader Stephanie Ramirez’s day is not over.
Every weekday from Monday to Thursday, she and other middle-schoolers walk to Prospect Street to the Carl Fields Center on the Princeton University campus for an after-school program aimed at decreasing the minority achievement gap in town.
The 2012-2013 academic year marked the fifth year of Weapons of Mass Construction community service initiative spearheaded by Princeton Varsity Club. Princeton student-athletes took on two projects -- helping to build a community garden in Trenton and restoring hurricane-damaged properties at the shore.
In a fast-moving fire, a moment's delay can lead to extensive property damage or even lives lost. To help prevent that, a team of Princeton University students is developing an easy-to-use database that will put information about buildings and fire conditions at fire chiefs' fingertips.
Fifty-nine chairs. Thirty-eight file cabinets. Twenty-four desks. One refrigerator. These are just some of the items Princeton University recently donated to non-profit organizations in communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
Thanks to a number of building rehabilitation and demolition projects currently underway on campus, the University had an unusually large surplus of furniture and equipment. It became clear that this sizable surplus could be used to benefit communities and organizations impacted by Hurricane Sandy whose own furniture and equipment may have been destroyed or damaged in the storm.
Princeton professors have been studying extreme weather, natural disasters, and their impact on people and property for years, but Hurricane Sandy pushed their research to the forefront. No longer was their work theoretical: It now is discussed in front-page newspaper stories and in government offices, particularly in and around New York City.
Some 360 young women from seventh to tenth grade spent the day immersed in science and technology at PPPL’s Young Women’s Conference on March 22 at Princeton University.
The budding scientists, mathematicians, and engineers from 40 schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania took part in hands-on experiments, got a first-hand look at working laboratories at Princeton, and talked to female scientists and engineers from PPPL and across the country at the conference, which was based mostly at the Frick Chemistry Laboratory.
It’s hard to define a “typical day” in the life of Charlie Jacobson ’16. The New Jersey freshman is committed to service in organizations that don’t lend themselves to settling into any kind of a routine, much less a day-to-day. Charlie serves as both the Logistics Coordinator for the ongoing University Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts and as a volunteer firefighter at the Princeton Fire Department.
When the local fire department responded to Princeton University's Frick Chemistry Laboratory last spring, they found Michael Kervan on scene ready to help. Kervan is both a member of the University's volunteer firefighter program and a senior maintenance mechanic in Frick Laboratory.
I was able to help other firefighters quickly navigate the lab's mechanical systems using my knowlege from working inside Frick every day. If I was not part of the Princeton Fire Department, I would have had to evacuate the building with everyone else," said Kervan, who also is chief of his hometown volunteer department in Cranbury, N.J.
The Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad celebrated their volunteer corps at their annual installation and awards dinner on January 19th. This large group of dedicated and selfless volunteers provides the emergency response that the University community relies on in times of medical crisis. The camaraderie and dedication of this group from the newest cadet to the decades-long volunteer was evident to all who attended the dinner. What was most striking was that Princeton University students comprise the majority of the squad membership and are the top responders in the program. They are embraced by their community member counterparts, and the result is a strong partnership between campus and community that provides a reliable volunteer squad that can meet the emergency medical response needs of the Princeton community of nearly 30,000 residents.
In 2006, a group of volunteers from Princeton University began teaching for-credit community college courses in one of the local state prisons, the Garden State Youth Correctional Center, in collaboration with Mercer County Community College and the New Jersey State Department of Corrections. Today Princeton's Prison Teaching Initiative, run out of the Pace Center for Civic Engagement, has grown into a degree-granting program with over 70 volunteers working in as many as five state corrections facilities.
After Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the Northeast this past fall, Princeton University's Pace Center for Civic Engagement organized various efforts to help storm-ravaged communities. The Pace Center's work represents one of the ways Princeton faculty, staff and students assisted individual affected by the hurricane.
The Princeton University Program in Theater, in partnership with Community House and the Community-Based Learning Initiative, is offering the course "Devising Theater With Youth" this semester as part of a continuing effort to expose students to the broadest possible range of performance theory and practice. The class serves as an example of the Lewis Center for the Arts' commitment to encouraging undergraduates to think critically about the role of the arts in community and civic engagement.