Pace Center Welcomes Community Partner-in-Residence

Monday, Aug 7, 2017
by David Brown, Assistant Director


On Tuesday, August 1, the Pace Center for Civic Engagement welcomed the Rev. Karen Hernandez-Granzen as its first Community Partner-in-Residence. From August through October 2017, Pastor Karen will work with the Pace Center to strengthen the intersection of the wider campus and community.
“Relationships are an integral part of doing service well,” said Kimberly de los Santos, the John C. Bogle ’51 and Burton G. Malkiel *64 Executive Director at the Pace Center. “When we connect with others in a meaningful way we can understand what they need, and listen to and learn from others. We look forward to working with Pastor Karen to understand more about what makes community partnerships rewarding and successful and build on her experience and expertise to think about new ways we can all work better together.” 

The Pace Center for Civic Engagement makes service and civic engagement part of the Princeton student experience. With staff advisement, students propose, lead and direct a broad range of service efforts. Through sustained volunteering, community immersion, student advocacy and activism, summer internships and post-graduate fellowships, students learn how to do service well and have a positive impact in the community. 

The new Community Partner-in-Residence role was shaped by the Pace Center’s 2016-2019 Strategic Plan, which calls attention to four key areas for the center’s future: Ensuring that learning is an integral part of service; providing the greater campus community with the resources needed to do service well; facilitating inclusivity in service; and developing purposeful community partnerships. 

As the Community Partner-in-Residence, Pastor Karen will focus on developing programs, projects and resources to ensure mutually purposeful partnerships where the strengths of campus and community come together to effect meaningful change in the community and in students.
“Throughout my life and in all the cities in which I have served, I’ve experienced first-hand the positive and multiplied results of collaborations between local communities, and faith-based, political, and educational institutions,” said Pastor Karen. “I feel honored and enthusiastic to be the first of many future Community Partner-in-Residence staff members.”

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Pastor Karen is entering her third decade with the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Trenton, NJ. Westminster Presbyterian Church is an urban, multicultural, multiracial and More Light congregation. Pastor Karen has dedicated herself to bringing people and institutions together to organize around service and justice work. 
Pastor Karen is an experienced organizer for systemic change. She is an active member of several boards, commissions and councils in Trenton and Princeton including the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF), the Princeton Civil Rights Commission, and the Trenton Latino Advisory Council. She is a former board member of Isles, Inc.
She and Westminster Presbyterian Church are both longtime community partners with the Pace Center and Princeton University. For more than 13 years, she and Westminster Presbyterian Church have helped introduce first-year Princeton students to meaningful service as a host site for Community Action during the University’s orientation week. In addition, Princeton students continue to volunteer weekly at Westminster Presbyterian Church’s GetSET academic enrichment program for Trenton youth.