Photo of students in the field

In Service of Humanity

“Princeton University has a longstanding commitment to service, reflected in Princeton’s informal motto — Princeton in the nation’s service and the service of humanity — and exemplified by the extraordinary contributions that Princetonians make to society.”

Christopher L. Eisgruber
President of Princeton University, Class of 1983

Students in van
child and Princeton tutor

Connecting Learning & Service

The value of service is central to the mission of Princeton as a liberal arts university. It infuses the passions and pursuits of our students, faculty, staff and alumni, and is essential to how Princetonians serve the public good.

The University has reinforced its commitment to helping students and alumni use their educations to not only benefit themselves but also society more broadly. We push students, faculty and alumni to think about how their research, education and lives will benefit the nation, the world and humanity, and give them the support and resources to make it happen.

Sonia Sotomayor addressing audience in Richardson Auditorium

Leading Lives of Purpose

Princetonians pursue service in many ways, such as through a profession, vocation or role.

With innovation and purpose, our students work with each other to propose and pursue civic engagement projects throughout their time at Princeton. Ideas for engagement arise through classes and research, student organizations and campus activities, and many have a home in the Pace Center for Civic Engagement

Our alumni engage in service across the world, participating in civic society and leading meaningful lives connected to a larger purpose and impact. Every year, more than 15,000 alumni volunteer to serve Princeton and University-sponsored projects. Alumni can serve with their class, regional associations, affiliated groups, the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni and more. Annually at Alumni Day, top honors go to an undergraduate alumnus and a graduate alumnus for their service to society.

Students gardening

Building Community Connections

Princeton-sponsored service programs offer positive ways for students, faculty and staff to engage with the larger community.

Among many initiatives supported by the University community are opportunities to serve as firefighters; donate bikes, food and clothing for charities; promote sustainability and environmental stewardship; and host educational and commemorative events, such as for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Sonte on the front campus crossroads

Emphasizing Commitment to Service

In 2016, Princeton's informal motto was revised to "In the Nation's Service and the Service of Humanity," bridging phrases from Woodrow Wilson, Class of 1879, who served as president of Princeton before becoming president of the United States, and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Class of 1976.

A medallion with the informal motto is set in the crossroads of the walkways on the front lawn of Nassau Hall.