Civic Engagement and Service

At its heart, medicine is a service profession. You are committing to making a difference in others’ lives as a physician, and there’s no reason to wait until you’ve become one to help others. Being involved in service shows commitment to your community and to society, provides an opportunity to learn about populations and social issues that may be less familiar to you, and helps you to develop important communication and interpersonal skills.

Service opportunities with a health focus are listed in the Clinical Experience section of our website.

Below are additional service activities that our students have found particularly meaningful in recent years, most through the Pace Center Student Volunteers Council. This is not an exhaustive list – if you’re interested in service and want to become involved, the advisers at the Pace Center for Civic Engagement and at HPA can help you identify initiatives that fit your interests. 


Academic Success Today: Students are matched one-on-one with at-risk local middle school students, and provide tutoring/mentoring. The program is a partnership between Princeton University (through AST) and Corner House Community Center.

Community House Big Sibs Program: mentors build long-term relationships with their elementary school mentees. 

ESL El Centro: ESL El Centro provides free English language classes to adult learners at a community center in Trenton. Classes run Monday through Friday, and each volunteer is expected to teach once a week for the duration of the semester. Volunteers leave from the Dillon Gym parking lot at 4:45 PM and return to campus by 7:30 PM.

The Homefront Health Initiative (HHI) is a PACE Center volunteer group established to help vulnerable families and children at the Homefront Homeless Shelter in Trenton, NJ. Students will primarily work with the children of the residents there in one of its two programs:

1) Early Head Start program: Assisting facilitators in caring and teaching toddlers enrolled in a federal program that provides a nurturing environment to help the development of children from low-income families.

2) After School Education program: Helping the young students with their school work. Students can organize their own health lesson plans to teach the children.

Let's Get Ready: volunteers provide mentoring to high school students preparing for college admissions.

Petey Greene: The Petey Greene Program supplements correctional education systems by providing individualized tutoring for incarcerated people. Princeton is home to its largest and original Petey Greene chapter; its volunteers tutor in the Albert C. Wagner and Garden State Youth Correctional Facilities, and they focus on GED-level subjects. Ultimately, we work to support academic achievement in prison classrooms in order to reduce recidivism rates and build stronger communities.

Service Focus: First-year students participate in a cohort of peers to explore the meaning of service and its place in their lives. 

Service-Learning courses: Every semester, some classes integrate community-based learning opportunities into the curriculum.