May 28, 2024
Person holding a framed award inside a colorful room

Jasper Lydon '24 receives the 2024 Priscilla Glickman Memorial Award at the Pace Center for Civic Engagement

Princeton University senior Jasper Lydon '24 believes in the power of community, and has demonstrated a thoughtful and engaged approach to being in community with others, learning from and building up different communities time and again throughout their service and academic pursuits. For Jasper, “community begins with open hands and a good conversation.”

Throughout their time as a Tiger, Jasper has infused this focus on community into their strong policy and advocacy work, particularly related to sustainability, environmental justice, and the LGBTQIA+ community.  In recognition of this work, the John H. Pace Jr. ‘39 Center for Civic Engagement has honored Jasper with the Priscilla Glickman ’92 Memorial Prize.

The Glickman Prize is awarded annually on Class Day to a Princeton University senior who has demonstrated independence and imagination in the area of community service, seeks knowledge and purposeful adventure in unfamiliar cultures, and maintains strong academic work. The prize commends the qualities of curiosity in the world and commitment to the betterment of the world by recognizing outstanding past contributions to community service.

Jasper was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and raised in Bethesda, Maryland.  “I spent my summers in the Laurel Highlands in Pennsylvania, where my family has lived for five generations.  The fresh air and rich mountain spring water there has nourished me as much as any parent,” Jasper shares.  “The lands that raised me were preserved for centuries by the Monongahela, Anacostan, and Leni-Lenape people, among others.”  These summers fostered Jasper’s understanding and appreciation of community.

Group of people indoors posing and smiling for photo

Jasper with staff members of Mitra Wacana Women’s Resource Center, before Jasper’s departure

Jasper is a graduate of Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland. Upon acceptance to Princeton, Jasper applied and was accepted to the Novogratz Bridge Year Program in Indonesia. “Bridge Year was the first step in my dedication towards immersing myself in unfamiliar cultures to gain insights about how we as Americans can more thoughtfully and sustainably live our lives,” Jasper says.  “I was excited by the possibility of taking time off to 'recharge' before attending Princeton while still learning and getting to know other incoming first-years. I was also drawn to the homestay experience and the potential to expand my found family.”  While in Indonesia, they interned at the Mitra Wacana Women’s Resource Center.  

large group of people outside of a building posing for photo

Jasper (back row, fourth from right) at an education workshop hosted by Mitra Wacana Women’s Resource Center

Jasper engaged deeply with the organization by supporting programming, translation of materials, and research on human trafficking of Javanese women.  Asked what they found to be the most compelling part of their experience with Mitra Wacana, Jasper says, “Lunch time. Not for the food - though the food was always good - but rather to sit down and share a home-cooked meal with coworkers, students, and community partners. There, we discussed everything – from American politics, to the forces propelling modern day human trafficking of South-East Asian women, to our favorite soccer teams.” 

Throughout their time at Princeton, Jasper has been intentional about focusing their academic and service pursuits around their passions.  Policy and advocacy work has been foundational to Jasper’s journey, and they sought out opportunities to meaningfully engage in that work while at Princeton.

Jasper completed numerous internships through Pace Center programs. During summer 2021, they interned at the National LGBTQ Task Force through Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS). During this experience, Jasper focused on the creation of a historical archive spanning 50 years of the organization’s history at the forefront of the LGBTQ+ movement. Following this internship, Jasper participated in Service Focus as part of the Civil Society cohort.

The following summer, in 2022, Jasper served as an intern at the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute through Princeton RISE.  During this experience, Jasper surveyed the status of existing federally-qualified health centers across the state, seeking to build connections for the organization and to assess public health equity barriers.

“I’m so grateful to have been supported by PICS and RISE,” Jasper says.  “In my internships with the National LGBTQ+ Task Force and the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, I discovered my passion for locally rooted community organizing work.”

During the summer prior to their senior year, in 2023, Jasper completed a fellowship through the John C. Bogle ‘51 Fellowship program managed by the Pace Center. They proposed to travel to eco-villages across the United States and Canada to conduct ethnographic research in order to understand community living as a key mechanism for the creation of sustainable policy initiatives. Ultimately traveling to a dozen communities, this research was the cornerstone of Jasper’s senior thesis. “In my thesis,” Jasper says, “I sought to further benefit these communities by offering policy recommendations to municipalities and to the communities themselves. This analysis was direly needed – it was perhaps the first ever policy analysis of American Intentional Communities.”

students doing crafts at a table in a living room

A mental health-focused arts and crafts events organized by Jasper at Terrace Club

A SPIA major, Jasper has focused on environmental justice movement analysis and researched community organizers in Trenton, New Jersey, in addition to their senior thesis work. Their senior thesis advisor, Dr. Stacy Mann, Lecturer and Founding Director, SPIA in NJ, describes Jasper’s academic work as “stellar” and specifically notes their senior thesis as “original and compelling…a timely and significant development in the US and Canada.” Dr. Alison Isenberg, Professor of History at Princeton, advised Jasper’s junior paper and notes that “Jasper’s analysis of their interviews was in an exceptional class by itself. This portion of their JP…was one of the most perceptive and sensitive analyses of interview material I have seen in thirty years of teaching. Jasper listened closely, found patterns, and wrote about them beautifully.”

people working at tables separating materials

An okra-shucking study break event organized by Jasper at the Eco-Lounge

Jasper has been involved in building community on campus in a variety of ways as well. They co-founded the Inter-Club Sustainability Council, which coordinates sustainability efforts across Princeton’s Eating Clubs. A member of Terrace Club, Jasper has been particularly involved in the club – they were elected to an officer position and coordinated numerous activities rooted in community-building and sustainability. Jasper also served as a Research Assistant for Dr. Tessa Desmond, during which they assisted the Princeton Seed Farm and organized community events at the Eco-Lounge.  Jasper founded and served as President of Princeton Jam Sessions. Additionally, they were part of the Rock Climbing Team, a member of the Birding Society, and contributed to the Daily Princetonian.

Steve Krebs, general manager of Terrace Club, describes Jasper as “an amazing person” with “an incredible work ethic.”  Classmate Alex Heine ‘24 notes, “Jasper has always been someone who truly cares about people and the spaces around them with an enthusiasm and adventurous spirit.”

Post-graduation, Jasper shares, “I plan to dedicate myself to a number of creative projects in continuation of my senior thesis research.  My goal is to publish a non-fiction book about my travels and the people I met along the way.”

Following that, Jasper plans to pursue environmental justice advocacy work in the Bay Area of California, either at a non-profit or in the public sector.  

Jasper has created a newsletter they will be using to share about their upcoming endeavors and future projects related to environmental justice and sustainability.

“My passions and my post-graduation plans could not be where they are now if not for the incredible mentorship I've received,” says Jasper.  “I can't imagine how I could have arrived where I am today without the encouragement and unflinching support of so many people, particularly Matt Lynn, associate director with the Pace Center and Dr. Stacy Mann. Throughout my Princeton journey, amazing staff, faculty, and community partners offered me different visions of what a successful post-Princeton path can look like and encouraged me to dream big.”