Local Opportunities

Pace Center Opportunities

The Pace Center is Princeton University’s central resource for civic engagement. It supports efforts by all members of the extended University community to identify and act on the problems of society. Opportunities include:

  • Alternative Break Trips are an opportunity to be immersed in social issues in the US and abroad over vacations.
  • Weekly service opportunities in health and human services organizations help organize volunteers to serve in the local hospital and hospice, to provide health education in local schools, to volunteer for a crisis and suicide hotline, and serve in a number of other health- and service-oriented capacities.


In the Princeton and Surrounding Community

Ascend Hospice: [ON HIATUS DUE TO COVID19] Volunteering in a hospice can be a meaningful experience; you will work directly with a patient and their family/caregivers while also exploring issues of end of life care, death and dying, and the kind of care involved in this critical time in an individual’s life. Training and reflection sessions will occur within walking distance of campus, and the hospice itself is accessible by public transportation or Pace vehicles. The application is sent out to HPA listservs in the summer, with a late August application deadline. Learn more about past students’ participation in a similar program online.

Creative Minds is a student-led community service program administered through the Pace Center. Creative Minds pairs volunteers one-on-one with elderly residents at the Merwick Care and Rehabilitation Center in Plainsboro, New Jersey. Each resident at Merwick has a unique voice and perspective, but expressing their viewpoints is often difficult due to mental and physical health challenges. The program allows Princeton students to learn how to engage and communicate with residents, and elicit expression in a method tailored to the unique medical circumstances of each particular resident. During weekly one-hour visits, volunteers and residents will bond while working on creative year-long projects that explore the resident's interests and engage different forms of media (including books, movies, and soundtracks). Through this experience, volunteers and residents are able to develop meaningful long-term relationships.

GlobeMed is a national network that unites students and non-profits from around the world to strengthen the movement for global health equity, empowering students and communities to work together to improve the health of people living in poverty around the world. They are more than just a fundraising organization—they give students the tools they need to be educated and engaged activists and community leaders that challenge social injustices in health and beyond. Founded in 2010, the GlobeMed at Princeton chapter is partnered with COVE Alliance of Uganda, and they support COVE Alliance in its mission to provide education and health care to orphaned and disadvantaged children in Uganda.

Health in Princeton Schools (HIPS) is a Pace Center weekly volunteer project that seeks to increase health awareness in local elementary schools by recruiting Princeton University undergraduates to serve as young, relatable role models and mentors. Volunteers teach health lessons in elementary school classrooms about a range of topics, including body systems, disease prevention, nutrition, drug education, first aid, good citizenship (i.e. social and mental health and wellness), safety, and more. 

Insure Jersey (previously Be Jersey Strong) is a grassroots student movement assisting with the implementation of health insurance reform here in New Jersey. Many individuals are eligible for the health care marketplace but remain uninsured, and research suggests that for these remaining uninsured, it takes one-on-one, in-person conversations to make the decision to enroll. We train and mobilize student volunteers to have such conversations with the uninsured throughout the state.

Meals on Wheels (MoW) is a national organization that delivers meals to homebound individuals and has a local Mercer County chapter that serves Princeton, East/West-Windsor, Hightstown, Trenton, and Ewing. Volunteers have the opportunity to participate weekly in meal delivery and/or the support program, which pairs students with MoW participants for weekly conversations. These check-ins would develop into meaningful relationships that address the social facet of health, especially emotional well-being. Students would conduct nutritional assessments as part of the support program as well.

New Jersey Medical Reserve Corps: The NJ Medical Reserve Corps seeks volunteers who are willing to assist in the event of public health emergencies and health education / public health events. Volunteers are able to participate in training and education opportunities.

Penn Med Princeton Medical Center Hospital Grand Rounds: Princeton Healthcare System's Department of Continuing Medical Education has kindly offered to extend an invitation to prehealth students to attend Grand Rounds. Grand Rounds take place on Tuesdays at 8am at the Princeton Medical Center. Your objective in attending a Grand Rounds session should be simply to get a sense of the kinds of conversations that doctors and hospital personnel are having around important healthcare topics.  We at HPA hope this is a valuable experience as you continue to clarify or deepen your interest in the health professions.  The Grand Rounds topics are included in our Vitals newsletter and you can pick up a pass that allows you to attend from HPA.

Penn Med Princeton Medical Center Hospital Volunteering: There are a wide range of opportunities available for college volunteers at the Princeton Medical Center. College volunteers work with the volunteer coordinator to select a weekly three-hour shift. The minimum commitment is 100 hours per year. Volunteer assignments are based on organizational need, in addition to your interests, skills and availability. College volunteers enjoy many benefits, including free parking, documentation of hours, free training, special discounts and celebratory recognition events.  Students apply to volunteer independently; transportation coordination and support is provided through the Pace Student Volunteer Corps.

Physician Shadowing: HPA has compiled a growing list of local physicians who are willing to have Princeton prehealth students shadow them. This list will be available again after the pandemic subsides.

Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad (PFARS)Serving the community for nearly 80 years, Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to providing the entire Princeton community with professional, courteous and skilled emergency medical and technical rescue service.  To learn more about how to become a volunteer, complete an online interest form.

Partners in Health Engage (PIH) Engage aims to build the right to health movement by growing and amplifying the mission of PIH, as a global health organization, worldwide. We, as the Princeton PIH Engage chapter of the national team and as a Pace Center student organization, recruit and train volunteer organizers to support health systems in need around the world and engage with policymakers, focusing our actions on the three pillars of PIH Engage: advocacy, fundraising, and community-building.

St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center (SLRC): St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center (SLRC) is a private, not-for-profit facility that provides physical rehabilitative services. A variety of volunteer opportunities are available that enhance patient satisfaction, while producing a well‐deserved feeling of personal fulfillment for the volunteer. The SLRC is a few miles away and can be reached by public transportation. See the SLRC website for their volunteer application.

    Currently Inactive

    • Be Jersey Strong Health Reform Movement: This initiative was established in Fall 2015 to mobilize students interested in implementing health reform efforts in NJ by talking one on one with uninsured individuals about their health care options.  Email questions to kyle@bejerseystrong.org.
    • Music is Medicine - perform for elderly and individuals in hospitals
    • Princeton’s TropicalClinics for Rural Health (TCRH) is the founding student chapter of an initiative led by TropicalClinics, a 501(c)3 U.S. nonprofit with the mission of building one-of-a-kind health centers in rural areas of developing nations, starting in Kenya. Through implementing dedicated fundraising efforts and facilitating frequent rural health activism events, TCRH chapters provide direct support for the mission of TropicalClinics to bring quality health care to underserved rural populations in developing nations, while in the process fostering the development of their members as future leaders in the global health field. 
    • Unite for Sight - raise awareness and funds for eye surgeries in Ghana
    • Relay for Life is an organization whose goal is to raise money for the American Cancer Society. This money will be used to fund cancer research, provide better support resources for cancer patients and survivors, and to raise general awareness about cancer and its effects on daily life. 
    • Operation Smile is an international medical charity that provides free reconstructive surgeries for children born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities. They are one the world's largest medical charities with over 5,000 volunteers worldwide. Each Operation Smile surgery costs as little as $240 and can take as little as 45 minutes. Operation Smile is one of the few non-governmental organization's that allow high school, university, and medical students to volunteer on missions.
    • Princeton Music Outreach (merged with Music is Medicine) brings together musicians from Princeton with local nursing homes, assisted living homes, and hospice communities. We strive to make a difference through music, which has a great power to help people relax, love, and enjoy their lives. In the past we have put on different themed concerts for these residents, such as a Valentines and Christmas themed performance. We try to put on several performances each semester, and we have a lot of fun!