Be in the Service of Humanity is part of the Field Guide to Service.


In the Preparation section we talked about identifying your values. It’s important to not only be aware of your own values, but also those of the community you are a part of and serving in. Do the values align or is there opposition? When we examine how values intersect, we gain insight into how we can use commonalities or differences to deepen our service experience and move forward.


At Princeton, service is central to the mission of the University and is embodied by our informal motto “In the nation’s service and the service of humanity.” How does this align with your values? How are you serving “in the nation’s service”? Depending on where you are serving, the values of your community could be quite different. No matter the values, what’s important is to take the time to identify what they are and how they align or differ from your own.

Things to Consider

There is no one way to be “in the nation’s service and the service of humanity.” For example, what do you think about the list to the right? Do all these types of service “count”? Why or why not? 

  • Public service
  • Military service
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Regular volunteerism
  • Community organizing & advocacy
  • Small acts of kindness
  • Donating resources

What if Princeton’s informal motto was personalized to “what do you do in service?” What would you say?


Values Intersection

  • How will you use the commonalities between your values and the community's values to move your work forward?
  • Based on your values and the experiences you have had doing this work, what would your motto for service be?