NANYUKI, Kenya — Princeton University graduate student Tyler Coverdale and Ryan O'Connell of the Class of 2017 clap as they walk around the tall bushes surrounding the sprawling experiment site. Not in applause, or for self-motivation — but to alert any buffalo, elephants or other animals that might be foraging for food or seeking shade from the intense equatorial sun. This is the nature of working at the Mpala Research Centre, a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional field laboratory that sits on a 50,000-acre reserve and ranch in Laikipia County in central Kenya.
Service, and the concept of giving back, are integral to the Princeton experience. In the University's informal motto, “In the Nation’s Service and the Service of Humanity," service extends to creating new knowledge and opportunity—from research to entrepreneurship—as well as civic engagement. Princeton alumni bring the motto to life with their service to Princeton.
In 2008, Andrew Appel ’81 tampered with an electronic voting machine, changing 20 percent of the votes it had registered from one candidate to the other. His “crime”—court-ordered in his role as an expert witness in a New Jersey lawsuit—captured the attention of the media and voters. Politico called him “part of a diligent corps of so-called cyber-academics—professors who have spent the past decade serving their country by relentlessly hacking it,” in a story that focused on several Princeton computer scientists.
When Laura Peña ’19 arrived at Princeton, she thought everyone was “a genius who had it all together.” Despite her stellar high school grades, she felt like an impostor and worried that maybe she didn’t really belong at the University. “If you’re from a background like mine, lower income and first generation, sometimes you wonder, ‘Am I a statistic or am I here because someone sees something in me?’” said Peña, who is from Elizabeth, New Jersey.
A needle peeks through the thick fabric as trim is sewn onto a costume. A tap shoe clicks its energetic, syncopated rhythm on the stage floor. A soprano's voice wends its way through the air with heartbreaking melody. Bodies leap and bound, then gently connect and dissipate. And anyone in the rehearsal room can ask, "What if? …"
The University community welcomed this year's cohort of Bridge Year volunteers--incoming students who have deferred their freshman year to engage in public service projects abroad. Princeton faculty, staff, alumni benefactors, and former Bridge Year participants wished these new Princetonians well as they prepared to embark on their journeys.
Princeton’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving resources is more than academic; over the last year the University has continued to create a campus climate that promotes sustainable practices—striving to make green initiatives as natural as wearing orange and black.
Shortly after arriving in La Paz, Bolivia, Deirdre Ricuarte ’16 found herself in a pediatric oncology department. She and her fellow interns were charged with talking to the patients and their parents to learn about their conditions and treatments. Most of the children were too tired to interact. But one five-year-old boy, Christian, craved her attention.
In a wood-paneled room in Princeton University's historic East Pyne building, 15 students sit among a circle of desks debating a question: Who was a more effective leader, Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X?
"In terms of effectiveness, I'd say one is not better than the other because they both served the purpose of a practical movement," said Bessie Bauman of Olathe, Kansas.
It was the final day of the 1965–66 Annual Giving campaign and Winthrop Short ’41 was on the phone with Princeton to see where his class stood. As the leader of the Class of 1941’s effort heading into its 25th Reunion, Short was trying to rally his classmates to a new all-time high for any Princeton class—$200,000.