Celebrating service at Princeton
by Gwen McNamara, Pace Center for Civic Engagement
More than 300 members of the Princeton University and local communities joined together Wednesday, April 26, for Celebrating Service at Princeton. This inaugural event was organized by the University's Service and Civic Engagement Steering Committee to honor the service and civic engagement endeavors of Princeton faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, staff and community partners.
"I serve because it makes me happy," said Andres Castillo Quintana, a junior studying psychology who is part of Princeton Latinos y Amigos and who has collaborated with like-minded student groups including the Princeton DREAM Team to mentor and help area high school students navigate the college application process.
"I am part of the community I serve. I am low-income, first-generation, and moved to the United States when I was 3," he added. "The issues I work with on a community basis, I deal with personally too. I've come to realize that while I want to help everyone, I can't, and yet still touching one life is important. That person can go on to help others and it starts to ripple outwards. I've learned that you can make a difference for your community one person at a time."
The event began with six simultaneous roundtable panel discussions designed to illuminate the broad nature of service at Princeton and the deep connections between learning and service at the University. Afterward, attendees gathered in Chancellor Green Rotunda to celebrate service as a core value of what it means to be a Princetonian.