Princeton University’s Pace Center for Civic Engagement began partnering with Princeton Theological Seminary several years ago, and since that time Seminary students have made significant contributions to the center’s goal of making meaningful service part of the Princeton University student experience. Through the Pace Center, students can learn alongside the community, help others, explore pressing societal issues, engage with faculty, advocate for change, and connect service to their academic pursuits.
“They bring a thoughtfulness and intentionality that has been crucial in helping us introduce students to community service,” says Pace Center Associate Director Charlotte E. Collins.
“They learn about the role that civic engagement and social justice play in ministry, and do really exceptional work.”
Community Action is one of the Pace Center’s introductory programs that welcomes about 600 first-year students to a week of community service and engagement with local nonprofits and organizations in local regions. In this peer-on-peer model, Princeton Seminary interns lead small groups and work closely with the undergraduate student fellows who are in charge of each region.
Grant Mongin, an MDiv student who interned at the Pace Center, hopes to work in student affairs after graduation. He’s creating a toolkit to help Pace Center students lead mindfulness meditation with their student groups, focusing on loving kindness, breathing exercises, and other self care. He corresponded with staff from other universities and one of Princeton’s associate deans of the Office of Religious Life for advice in creating the toolkit.
“I appreciate the freedom they’ve given me to take something I’m personally passionate about and find a place for it in the Community Action experience,” Mongin says. “They’ve supported me the whole time and I’ve run with it.”