Nine seniors and one junior have been named recipients of the Spirit of Princeton Award. Since 1995, the award has been given annually to recognize undergraduates for positive contributions to campus life.
The University announcement notes that the selection committee “received over 130 letters of nomination.”
The senior recipients are Bozhidar Stankovikj ’20, Caleb Visser ’20, Jackson Artis ’20, Jacob Berman ’20, Jonathan Haynes ’20, Meghan Slattery ’20, Sirad Hassan ’20, Tabitha Belshee ’20, and Toni Xu ’20.
Kelton Chastulik ’21 is the first junior to receive this recognition since 2017.
Chastulik is a Woodrow Wilson School concentrator from Chambersburg, Pa. On campus, he is a Whitman College residential college adviser (RCA), a member of the men’s track and field team, and is involved in the Pace Center for Civic Engagement, the Student Volunteers Council, and several other service-oriented organizations.
In a statement to The Daily Princetonian, Chastulik described himself as “humbled to be alongside such a great cohort of students” — a sentiment echoed by multiple recipients of the award.
“I look up to a lot of these students in many ways so it was a great feeling to be awarded alongside them,” Chastulik wrote.
Likewise, Stankovikj noted that “it’s an honor to be nominated for such a wholesome award.”
A Wilson School concentrator from Skopje, Macedonia, Stankovich is the founder of the University’s Macedonian Society, an Orange Key tour guide, and the Chair of the Peer Representatives, where he defends students accused of academic integrity violations.
“Community building has been a central part of my life since I graduated from a United World College, and it's made easy by the wonderful people in the Coffee Club, Orange Key, Mock Trial, the Peer Reps, and so many more,” Stankovikj wrote to the ‘Prince.’ “I'm incredibly grateful for their kind words and friendship!”
Visser, a politics concentrator from Williamsburg, Va., is involved in both Undergraduate Student Government and the Princeton Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). He is also a Wilson College RCA, a campus organizer for Vote100, a politics department undergraduate student representative, and co-chair of the Class Day Committee.
In a statement to the ‘Prince,’ Visser emphasized that much of what represents the award winners’ efforts on campus “truly happens in community.”
“None of us stand alone in this recognition, and we feel humbled to have been lifted up by our peers and mentors to receive it,” he wrote. “We all stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us, invested in us, and paved the way for each of us to strive to challenge and improve the place we call Princeton.”
Artis, a mechanical and aerospace engineering concentrator from Plainfield, N.J., is a member of the Fuzzy Dice Improv comedy group, co-host of the late night comedy talk show All-Nighter, and Rockefeller College RCA. He is also an independent musician and a finalist for the position of Young Alumni Trustee, for which voting ends on May 20. In a statement to the ‘Prince,’ Artis wrote that he looks up to and is in awe of every other award recipient and is “humbled to have been in this group of amazing people.”
“I’m blessed to be able receive this reward,” he added. “It’s really just a result of the love and support that I’ve received from my family. This is theirs just as much as it’s mine.”
Berman, an economics major from New York City, is a student liaison to the Economics Department, and vice-chair of the Julis Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance. He previously served on the Editorial Board of The Daily Princetonian, on the Chabad Student Board, and on the Executive Board of the Princeton African Students Association, having grown up partially in Cape Town, according to the University statement. He also led a Princeton Chess Club initiative for students to play against inmates at the New Jersey State Prison.
“When I first found out I won, I was in my bed, just waking up, and checked my email. I immediately jumped out of bed and started dancing!” he wrote in a statement to the ‘Prince.’ “I'm so honored to be a part of such an incredible cohort and so grateful to my parents who helped me get where I am today.”
Haynes, a Politics major from Midland, Mich., was the vice president of the Black Student Union and co-founder of the Princeton Black Student-Alumni Coalition, which helped organize the Thrive conference. Haynes is a student leader of Vote100, co-chair of Breakout Princeton, and co-chair of the Class Day Committee. According to the University statement, he is also a peer academic advisor in Butler College and a member of Pink House.
“This award is recognition of the communities that I have had the honor of working with the past four years, groups filled with incredible, passionate people who are intentional about building up others,” he noted.
Slattery, an operations research and financial engineering concentrator from Bayport, N.Y., served as president of Cloister Inn and the Interclub Council, leader trainer and canoe trip leader with Outdoor Action, and co-president of the Engineering Council. Also a member of the women’s swim and diving team, Slattery coordinated Princeton’s Special Olympics Swimming program and organized the Teams and Toys service project with Athletes in Action, according to the University announcement.
"I have been inspired by so many wonderful people throughout my time at Princeton, and I am immensely grateful for those I have met over the past four years,” Slattery wrote in a statement. “It is an honor to receive the Spirit of Princeton Award alongside such a great group!"
Hassan, a Wilson School major from Frederick, Md., is a peer academic advisor for Whitman College, a member of the Religious Life Council, and an executive board member of the Princeton University Muslim Student Association. She is also a SHARE peer and Community Action leader, and in April she represented the University on the Jeopardy! College Championship.
“I feel quite honored to be part of the many names of excellent student leaders who have also received the award in the past!” Hassan wrote to the ‘Prince.’
Xu, a history major from San Francisco, assisted in planning Last Lectures events for the Class of 2020 and has served as co-president of both the Asian American Students Association and Princeton HighSteppers. In a statement, Xu reiterated her gratitude to be selected “along with such distinguished peers.”
“I have the greatest admiration for them and for those recipients who came before us,” she wrote. “I am and always will be grateful for the communities at Princeton that educated and encouraged me over these four years.”
Belshee, a politics major from Escondido, Calif., is a Wilson College RCA and an officer at Quadrangle Club. According to the University announcement, she also participated in the Princeton Hidden Minority Council and the Scholars Institute Fellows Program. She has been heavily involved in assisting with academics: as a SML 201: Introduction to Data Science teaching assistant, and as the head tutor for R-Programming and POL 345: Introduction to Quantitative Social Science at the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning.
In a statement, Belshee noted that receiving this recognition made her feel like “the effort, difficult conversations, and long days have been more than worth it.”
“Some people come into college chasing academic honors, but I really looked to Princeton as a place where I hoped to grow as a person,” she wrote. “Being a first-generation student means that a lot of my early experiences were shoots in the dark, but over time shooting into the dark brought me more joy than frustration. I learned an incredible amount about myself and how I respond in difficult situations.”
“Receiving this award, to me, feels a lot like receiving an academic honor because it's a representation of something I've spent my time cultivating,” she added. “I couldn't be more grateful.”
The Spirit of Princeton Award is sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.