Princeton Orientation Gets Students Out Into Community

Starting Monday September 5th, more than 525 incoming students at Princeton University will make service to others a part of the start of their college experience by living and working in communities like Princeton, Trenton, Camden, Newark and Philadelphia as they volunteer and learn about critical social issues as a part of Community Action.

Community Action (CA) is a part of undergraduate orientation at Princeton University and is organized by the Pace Center for Civic Engagement. After moving into their residential colleges, all first-year students at Princeton participate in a small group experience. While the experiences vary – from outdoor activities, to community engagement, to athletic practice – they all welcome students to Princeton and underscore the University’s values of service, community and leadership.

CA helps first-year students connect with their new Princeton family, discover new places and act through meaningful service projects. Led by more than 115 undergraduate student leaders, CA aims to connect service and learning by exposing incoming students to the communities in and around Princeton, NJ. From creating art installations in Trenton and building homes in Maple Shade, to feeding families in Philadelphia, cleaning up the Jersey Shore and supporting LGBTQ initiatives in Newark, students learn about the issues and opportunities facing communities and make a tangible impact alongside the dedicated people and organizations doing this work every day.

“Community Action is as much about opening students’ eyes to the community around them as it is about tackling concrete projects,” said Kimberly de los Santos, Pace Center Executive Director. “CA is often just the starting point for students at Princeton. Many go on to volunteer with their community partners throughout the year, or decide to join or start student organizations to advocate for change, or are inspired to incorporate what they’ve learned into their classroom experiences. CA really is the first step for Princeton students to learn how to live a life of service and realize the University’s motto – ‘In the nation’s service and in the service of humanity.’”

CA actively partners with more than 120 community partners, nonprofit organizations, and faith-based organizations during the week for students to live and work completely off-campus. The following are just some organizations in the MercerMe coverage area:

  • Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton NJ
  • Princeton Nursery School, Princeton NJ
  • Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton NJ
  • HiTops, Princeton NJ
  • Terracycle, Trenton NJ
  • McCarter Theatre, Princeton NJ
  • Send Hunger Packing, Princeton NJ
  • Trenton Circus Squad, Trenton NJ
  • HomeFront, Ewing NJ
  • YWCA Princeton, Princeton NJ
  • Planet Princeton, Princeton NJ
  • Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), Trenton NJ
  • El Centro, Trenton NJ
  • Community House, Princeton NJ
  • Isles Inc., Trenton NJ
  • The Rescue Mission of Trenton, Trenton NJ
  • Habitat for Humanity, Trenton NJ
  • Old Barracks Museum, Trenton NJ
  • Trenton City Museum, Trenton NJ
  • Princeton Senior Resource Center, Princeton NJ
  • Crisis Ministry of Mercer County, Trenton NJ
  • Newark LGBTQ Community Center, Newark NJ
  • Farminary, Lawrenceville NJ
  • Lawrence Nature Center, Lawrence Township NJ
  • The Feed Truck, Kingston NJ
  • Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, Hopewell NJ
  • Sierra Club, Trenton NJ

Follow along or be a part of the conversation using #CAPrinceton. 

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