Given the changing conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic and our responsibility to adhere to University, local, state, and federal health guidelines, the following information is subject to change. Contact Program Coordinators Evan Schneider at [email protected] or Geralyn Williams at [email protected] with questions. 

Just like when we engage and serve in communities local to the greater Princeton area, we can also engage and serve in our home communities. As we deal with the community health crisis of a pandemic and the push for racial equity, it is more important than ever to support our communities, wherever they may be, through service. The information provided here provides best practices and other resources to prepare, plan and continue to engage in service in your own “backyard." 

For students new to service: Email Geralyn Williams, [email protected], or Evan Schneider, [email protected], to set up an appointment to discuss your idea for engaging in service at home. 

For students who have participated in service through the Pace Center: Consult with your Pace Center staff adviser before starting any service or engagement activity in their home community.

Getting Started

Step 1:

Take time to reflect on your areas of interest, your skills, what the needs are in your local or virtual community, and how you may be able to engage and/or serve. The Pace Center’s Field Guide to Service is a great resource to help you plot a course of action and move your plan into action. 

Step 2:

Do some research on the topic or service you are interested in pursuing. Look for virtual events or workshops that connect to it. (You can find some great virtual events and workshops at Princeton, including with the Pace Center. Reach out to people in your community to talk about your idea. Do your homework. Social media sites like Instagram and Facebook are great places to find informational events on topics or your local area as well as connections to virtual or local community members or organizations.

Step 3:

Look into virtual/remote/socially distant volunteer opportunities that already exist in your home community. The following are a few sites that provide a list of pre-identified volunteer opportunities:

Step 4:

Take the time to learn how to do service well. A critical component to doing service well is being well-planned and well-prepared. The Pace Center offers interactive workshops to prepare students for particular roles in service through an exploration of their values, best practices in entering and working with communities, and learning how to process service experiences. Visit the Pace Center events calendar to see when trainings are offered.

Engaging Safely

The cornerstone of engaging and serving is showing care. Wherever home may be for you -  your hometown, a new city, or near Princeton - the safety and support of the community is paramount. At this time, opting into remote/virtual/and socially distant engagement or service should be considered first. 

If there is a need for you to serve in person, please email Geralyn Williams, [email protected], or Evan Schneider, [email protected], to discuss the need for serving in person. Also, review the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) best ways to keep yourself and others safe as well as University guidelines and resources. We have the responsibility and power to keep our communities safe, so let's do no harm. 

Activism, Protests, Demonstrations

The Pace Center recognizes and supports student direct action in the form of activism as an important form of civic engagement. Refer to the How to Plan Your Event to review the practices, policies and other information on Activism, Protests and Demonstrations. If you are  considering planning or taking part in local demonstrations, marches or protests, it is important that you plan carefully with safety a priority.  Vision Change Win has a great resource kit for how to engage in safe community-centric ways.