Service and Civic Engagement Self-Study

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The University has a longstanding commitment to service, and many Princetonians live the motto both during and after their time on campus. A new chapter in the University's service history began in 2001 with the founding of the Pace Center for Civic Engagement, and the establishment of initiatives such as the Bridge Year Program and Breakout trips has provided new opportunities for students to serve the common good. The desire to broaden, emphasize and enhance the University's public service commitment is expressed by one of the four key questions that the Trustees of Princeton University and President Christopher L. Eisgruber have asked to guide the University-wide strategic planning process:

"What must we do to make service central to the mission of Princeton University?"

To answer this question, and its important subsidiaries, this task force is charged with conducting a self-study of service and civic engagement opportunities for students at the University. It is expected that the committee's work will include an analysis of the service and civic engagement initiatives that the University currently supports for students; an exploration of national and international trends, including benchmarking with peer institutions; and the identification of challenges and opportunities to make service central to the University's mission. While the primary focus of the task force will be on non-curricular programs, initiatives, challenges and opportunities, the task force is also asked to explore the extent to which and how our departments, centers and programs provide opportunities for student civic engagement and in what ways such opportunities might connect to the academic programs of those units. 

Informed by its self-study findings, the task force is asked to develop a set of recommendations for how the University can create an environment that will make service and civic engagement central to the Princeton student experience. In particular, the task force is asked to consider the following questions:

  • How best can Princeton cultivate an ethic of civic engagement among its students, both during their time here and after they graduate?
  • Can we make existing service and civic engagement initiatives better and more visible? What new initiatives should we add?
  • How can we best support learning and growth outside of the classroom by providing students with meaningful opportunities to serve and lead others as engaged citizens and developing leaders?
  • To what extent and how should our departments, centers and programs provide opportunities for student civic engagement? In what ways might such opportunities connect to the academic programs of those units?
  • How can we do a better job of helping students translate their education into meaningful lives and careers connected to a larger purpose?
  • How can we help students develop into citizens and leaders who will contribute to the greater good?

The task force is asked to issue an interim progress report in January 2015 and a final report in June 2015.



  • Melissa Lane, Class of 1943 Professor of Politics; Associate Chair, Department of Politics
  • Kimberly de los Santos, John C. Bogle '51 and Burton G. Malkiel *64 Director, Pace Center for Civic Engagement

Faculty members

  • Sandra Bermann, Cotsen Professor of the Humanities; Professor of Comparative Literature; Master, Whitman College
  • João Biehl, Susan Dod Brown Professor of Anthropology; Co-Director, Program in Global Health and Health Policy
  • Emily Carter, Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy and the Environment; Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Applied and Computational Mathematics; Director, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment; Associate Director, Program in Technology and Society
  • Benjamin Morison, Professor of Philosophy; Director, Program in Classical Philosophy

Staff members

  • Kristin Appelget, Director of Community and Regional Affairs (secretary)
  • Pulin Sanghvi, Executive Director of Career Services 
  • Trisha Thorme, Director of the Community-Based Learning Initiative                

Student members

  • Laura Harder, Class of 2015
  • Kelly LaRue, Graduate Student
  • Dallas Nan, Class of 2016