Saturday, November 26

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A helping hand

The University is making good on its old adage "Princeton in the nation's service" through its new program of curriculum-based community service. Thanks to the Bonner Foundation, a local service organization, the University is one of 14 schools nationwide to receive a grant providing $11,000 per year over a three-year period for the purpose of integrating volunteer work into collegiate academics. Thus far, the University has used these funds for courses such as FRS 130w – "Race and Democratic Discourse" – which includes pro bono work at a Trenton service organization, and CHM 112 – "From Ozone to Oil Spills" – which helps the community with environmental projects.

As the University works to link community and curriculum, it needs to ensure that students are fully aware of their options. Courses with a service component should be clearly marked in the course guide and more prominently displayed by individual departments. The academic service initiative should work with the Student Volunteers Council to reap the benefits of students' extracurricular outreach experience. While the Foundation's grant and SVC are separate entities, the service-based courses need not ignore the extensive contacts the SVC has already established.

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Looking to the future, an expanded program of service-based courses would fit appropriately into the University's permanent curriculum. The University should continue to build on the current program of community-minded courses, effectively forming a constructive bond between students and society.

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