Empathy, Empowerment, and Equity
Our 20th anniversary in 2021 is an occasion to celebrate the value of service to students’ learning. We are rewarded in witnessing how students learn more about themselves, their own communities, as well as communities different from their own. We are inspired by the critical questions students ask when they examine how best to respond to the needs of the world, to the needs of others, and to meet their own needs.
Unprepared volunteers and sporadic engagement have, at times, been more of a hindrance than a help to communities; and as we approach our 20th, it is imperative that we address the harm that can be done through service. In our work together, undergraduate students, graduate students, community partners, and campus partners have taught us that the service we engage in together, when at its best, is value-driven, relationship-based, and a social responsibility. We aspire to embrace these teachings in our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan for the Pace Center.
Since Princeton University’s Orientation program began in 2016, we have significantly expanded first-year students’ awareness of service and leadership, and, following the University’s strategic priorities, we have begun a new program to connect sophomore students’ service experiences to their academic pathways. These efforts have called on us to develop partnership principles and student learning outcomes, two frameworks that articulate our understanding of how to do service well, so that we can responsibly increase students’ engagement with communities.
In this strategic plan, we will continue to support students’ learning from service, by supporting the role of community partners as educators, by putting more focus on the historical and social context of students’ service, by providing more opportunities in advocacy and activism, and by developing a broader reflection framework. These goals center our concern for racial injustice and foster a civic culture of engagement.
As a part of Princeton University, we know that how we relate to one another is as important as the knowledge we hold. We aspire to use our power at Princeton to build a responsive community from understanding and acceptance rather than exclusion. We aspire to contribute to the greater good and to value the dignity of all.
We are grateful for your support of the Pace Center and we look forward to continuing our learning with you.