At the Pace Center, we believe that service is most powerful when viewed less as an activity or box to check, and more as a guiding lens to shape decision-making and pursue a meaningful life. We believe that learning and service go hand-in-hand. That supporting student ideas leads to self-discovery. That students can make an intentional difference at Princeton and beyond when they explore their relationship to the world. We believe in humility and accountability. We believe in community partnerships that are respectful and purposeful. And we believe in the multidimensional nature of student leadership. These beliefs serve as the foundation for our four core values and put us on a path to realize our mission and vision.
Students will use service as a guiding lens for their educational experience and beyond.
The Pace Center makes service and civic engagement part of the Princeton student experience.
Students can learn how to serve, why to serve and from service. Students explore the context and complexity of societal issues and use that knowledge to inform their discussions in the classroom, their experiences outside the classroom and their own research. By doing so, students make an intentional difference at Princeton and beyond as they explore their relationship to the world.
Service is a powerful exchange where students have as much to learn as they have to give. Partnerships with communities should be respectful and purposeful. Students’ humility and accountability yield equality, inclusion and understanding. Students learn to listen to communities, understand community needs and build community on campus and beyond.
Service is meaningful when students both grow as individuals and respond to the needs of the world. Done well, service makes measurable contributions toward communities’ long-term goals. When students plan, prepare and engage thoughtfully with issues that matter, they learn how to effect change with others and within themselves.
Students doing service lead in ways that go beyond position, title or role. When engaging in service with communities, students have many opportunities to lead. Whether interacting with the community, modeling behavior for other students or adapting to change, students learn that leadership is multidimensional, iterative and collaborative.
As Princeton University celebrated its 250th Anniversary on Charter Day in 1996, economics professor Burton G. Malkiel *64 announced plans to form a new center for community service at Princeton University—an endeavor that would not only pay homage to the University’s informal motto at the time “Princeton in the nation’s service and the service of all nations” but strengthen and expand upon the University’s longstanding tradition of service and civic engagement.
Fueled by this call to action, John Pace Jr. ’39, John C. Bogle ’51, Carl Ferenbach ’64, Peter Ochs ’65 and many other supporters joined the movement, forging a path to create the Pace Center in 2001. In its early years, the center evolved into a hub of service activity with the addition of programs from other units on campus and the development of new service opportunities. Today, the Pace Center focuses on helping students learn to do service well and have a positive impact in the community.
Learn more with our 15th Anniversary Timeline.