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Princeton launches Venture Forward campaign

<h6>Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian

On Friday, Oct. 1, Princeton launched its new Venture Forward campaign, which aims to expand alumni engagement and raise funds for upcoming years. The project also hopes to highlight the University’s work in strategic fields like access and affordability, bioengineering, data science, the environment, and service.

“The Venture Forward campaign puts Princeton’s values into action,” said University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 in the University’s press release. “Venture Forward looks to the future while remaining firmly anchored in the University’s fundamental values, allowing Princeton to move from the present to the possible.”

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Prior to the official launch, the University rolled out floor decals across campus that featured quotes and QR codes for the initiative’s official website. A focal point of the website is a video series, featuring alumni and faculty who embody the values of the initiative.

Kelton Chastulik ’21 is featured in the video for his work with the Pennsylvania College Advising Corps, an organization which works to match low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students to various colleges. Hailing from the rural town of Chambersburg, Pa., Chastulik himself came to Princeton with the help of the Corps. He said that in being a part of the campaign, he hopes to encourage other rural students to apply to Princeton as well.

“I grew up [with] the traditional sense of what a Princeton student is supposed to be. I didn’t want to ever attend this place or visit this place originally, because I thought it was for rich white kids,” he said in an interview with The Daily Princetonian. “To have to come from that perspective going into high school, every time the University says to me ‘you do belong here, your story is a Princeton story,’ it baffles me.”

Kelton’s story aligns closely with the campaign’s mission to increase accessibility and affordability of the University for first-generation, low-income students.

“The Venture Forward campaign will dedicate significant effort to raising philanthropic support for scholarships and fellowships, continuing to build and sustain Princeton’s distinctive commitment to financial aid as the student body expands,” wrote Deputy University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss in an email to the ‘Prince.’

Another goal of the campaign is to combat pressing environmental challenges.

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Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Robert Pringle was featured in the video for his research on ecosystem degradation in Kenya and Mozambique. Pringle is optimistic about the potential for regrowth in these areas, citing his students as one of the reasons.

“Just interacting with Princeton students, who are basically the smartest young people that there are … and because they’re young they’re also generally hopeful,” he said. “That kind of optimism is infectious … it charges my battery.”

The initiative stems from the University’s strategic plan, which outlines how the University will allocate resources and prioritize projects in coming years. University Advancement began work on the “Venture Forward” campaign itself in 2016, once the strategic plan was underway.

“After an extensive discovery process that involved many interviews and conversations with members of the broad University community, we identified a set of core institutional values that provide an impetus for campaign initiatives grounded in the University’s strategic plan and teaching and learning mission,” Hotchkiss wrote.

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“Venture Forward captures our intention to move into a new day for Princeton,” he continued. “And, as a University community, to pursue truth, serve humanity, pioneer solutions, explore the unknown and advance knowledge to help create a better world that champions inclusion, the humanities, science, art, public policy, and technology.”

Venture Forward is the fifth campaign in the University’s history, and the first under Eisgruber’s tenure.

Izzy Jacobson is a news and features contributor for the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at ijacobson@princeton.edu, @izzyjacobsonn on Instagram, and @izzyjacobson_ on Twitter.

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