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Seven students recognized for service through the Spirit of Princeton Award

Sameer A. Khan / Fotobuddy

Six seniors and one junior have been recognized for their positive contributions to the undergraduate community with the 27th annual Spirit of Princeton Award (SOP).

The award recognizes students who have demonstrated their commitment to service on campus, through “student organizations, athletics, community service, religious life, residential life and the arts,” according to a press release from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS), who sponsors the award.


All students are eligible for the Spirit of Princeton Award. Students must be nominated by a member of the campus community in order to then be considered by the selection committee, which is composed of administrators across different departments. 

This year, the selection committee received over 150 letters nominating students for the award. 

The seven winners of the award this year are Tamilore Ajeigbe, Elijah Barnes, Alex Charles, Naomi Hess, Sally Jane Ruybalid, Emma Treadway, and Shruti Venkat.

Tamilore Ajeigbe ’22 is an African American Studies concentrator with a Statistics and Machine Learning certificate. She is the Princeton African Student Association’s former president, an intern in the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, a school liaison for Community House, a Dormitory Assistant (DA), a Recognizing Inequities and Standing for Equality (RISE) peer facilitator, and a Matriculate advising fellow. 

“Being part of leadership positions in numerous organizations and clubs, the purpose in being involved was never to receive an award, but just to make these places a place of enjoyment as well [as] a place of community for myself and other students,” Ajeigbe wrote to the ‘Prince.’ “And reading the great things the other recipients of the SOP have done, it’s great to be part of this amazing cohort.”

Elijah Barnes ’22 is concentrating in History and is on the men’s basketball team as a forward. He is a Habitat for Humanity volunteer and a Black Student-Athlete Collective (BSAC) founding member. Barnes also takes part in the Princeton University Preparatory Program (PUPP), a college preparation program, and helps with registering new citizens to vote in Trenton. 


Barnes did not reply to a request for comment.

Alex Charles ’22 is a School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) concentrator with a Statistics and Machine Learning certificate, as well as a men’s soccer team defender. He is a BSAC founding member, a Writing Center Fellow, a volunteer with Academic Success Today, and a member of the Princeton Charter Club.

“There’s a lot of pride and advantage that comes with being a Princeton student, but what I think is equally important but perhaps less discussed is the responsibility it entails as well,” he wrote to the ‘Prince.’ “In my opinion, we have an even greater obligation to acknowledge the immense privilege we have as Princeton students and do our best to build up the communities around us.”

Naomi Hess ’22 is concentrating in the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) with certificates in Journalism and Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is an AccessAbility Center fellow, a member of the Disability Collective, a Butler College Peer Academic Advisor (PAA), and a Center for Jewish Life community engagement intern. Hess also co-led the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Disability Task Force.

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Hess is an associate news editor emerita for the ‘Prince’ and current Senior Writer.

“It truly means the world to me to receive the Spirit of Princeton award,” she wrote to the ‘Prince.’ “This award represents the culmination of my efforts in the last four years to make the campus community more accessible for students with disabilities like myself.”

Sally Jane Ruybalid ’22 is an architecture concentrator with an Urban Studies certificate. She is a singer in the Princeton Chapel Choir, a PAA in Butler College, a manager for the women’s basketball team, and a member of the Residential College Leadership Team (RCLT).

Ruybalid is an opinion columnist for the ‘Prince.’

“There is nothing better than coming from a day of courses to advise the peers of Butler, to manage for the women’s basketball team, to sing and help organize the choir. In short, these groups make me happy; people make me happy,” she wrote to the ‘Prince.’

Emma Treadway ’22 is concentrating in classics and served as the undergraduate departmental representative for the department. She is also a John C. Bogle ’51 Fellowship in Civic Service recipient, a Matriculate tutor, and a Service Focus fellow.

Treadway is the former Editor-in-Chief of the ‘Prince.’

“True education, as many alumni will tell you, comes from the people with whom you surround yourself; it is their stories and actions that will impact you the most,” she wrote to the ‘Prince.’ “My role centered me in the marketplace of such stories as their vendor, and I have become a better person for it.”

Shruti Venkat ’23 is concentrating in Economics with certificates in Statistics and Machine Learning, Finance, Vocal Consort Singing, and Conducting Performance. She is a member of the Swara Indian Classical ensemble and vice president of both the Chamber Choir and the Glee Club. Venkat also serves as social chair of the Princeton Hindu Society, an Undergraduate Course Assistant, an Orange Key tour guide, a learning consultant with the McGraw Center, a Peer Career Adviser in the Center for Career Development, and a member of the RCLT in Rocky College. 

“To be recognized as a junior alongside such deserving and incredible students is truly an honor, and it only confirms that awards are not the end goal, but a wonderful surprise along the way of achieving your dreams and pursuing what you are passionate about,” she wrote to the ‘Prince.’

These seven winners received a certificate and book prize. They were honored for their contributions at a dinner on Tuesday, April 26.

Isabel Yip is an Assistant News Editor who typically covers University Affairs and student life. She can be reached at or on Instagram at @isaayip.