Service and Civic Engagement Update for Spring 2021

Monday, Dec 7, 2020

In light of Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber’s recent announcement about spring 2021, we would like to share what we have learned from fall 2020 and what is guiding our planning and preparations for the coming semester. 

Leading into and throughout the fall semester we have listened to our partners and our students to better understand the needs of the greater Princeton community. Together, our staff and students have adapted many of our existing programs to offer virtual internships, campus blood drives, online volunteering, and opportunities to learn, reflect, and converse. We have developed workshops and resources for students to engage at home -- wherever home may be. We have also collaborated with others to create new opportunities for the campus community. Efforts like the Summer Food and Nutrition Program, Princeton Online Tutoring Network, and Princeton RISE (Recognizing Inequities and Standing for Equality), an anti-racist grant initiative, have all enabled the campus community to address current challenges in a virtual environment.

This spring, life on campus will be different. As Jill Dolan, Dean of the College, and W. Rochelle Calhoun, Vice President for Campus Life, shared in their joint letter to students “until a COVID-19 vaccine is approved, widely distributed, and administered, life will not be normal on campus. The safety and success of our spring plan will depend on how completely you adhere to the Social Contract and how faithfully you observe the constraints on campus life during this pandemic.” 

Whether you are on campus or off campus, we are focused on protecting our community’s well being, and you are a beloved part of that community. To remain prepared and responsive to the needs of our undergraduate and graduate students, community partners, campus partners, faculty, and staff we will continue to be informed by a set of guiding principles

  • Sustain the wellbeing and protect the health and safety of all students, staff, community, and others who participate in and contribute to the life, programs and activities of the Pace Center 
  • Build upon best practices for offering service and learning through virtual and online programming to maximize engagement while minimizing health risks for students, staff, and community.
  • Adhere to current health guidelines and compliance with policies, practices and protocol informed by the University in partnership with the community. 
  • Engage, sustain, and partner with the community by listening to their needs and uniformly employing our partnership principles: preparation as continual practice; communicate early and often; approach service with integrity; and create equity in partnerships. 
  • Respect and uphold the grassroots nature of service at Princeton with meaningful and safe opportunities that reflect students’ diverse interests, passions, and points of access.
  • Prioritize student capacity building to work toward systemic change with advocacy and activism training, leadership development, and clear and consistent guidelines and parameters. Centering the most marginalized voices and anti-racism are priorities.
  • Maintain clear and accessible communication for students, staff, and the community with health and safety concerns, programming updates and more. 

We continue to work with campus leaders and partners in the community to identify safe ways to engage remotely and support our community. As of right now, service and civic engagement will continue to be fully remote in the spring and our physical spaces in the Frist Campus Center and third floor of the Carl A. Fields Center will remain closed. Many of you in the Princeton community will have questions about what plans for the spring semester mean for service and civic engagement. To provide an update on where we are and where we are going, we will hold two virtual town hall meetings the week of January 4 for students and community partners. Register to attend with the links below. Registration is required for these events. 

In the meantime, to reach Pace Center staff, please find our contact information on our website with email being the best way to be in touch. As the situation in New Jersey evolves, we will continue to monitor state and campus guidelines and adjust our plans accordingly. Please be sure to visit us at pace.princeton.edu for continued updates and how to get involved with active virtual programs.