Welcome from Rochelle Calhoun, Vice President for Campus Life

Welcome and congratulations!

Every year at this time, the campus begins to come alive with preparation for your arrival. We are, indeed, excited to welcome you to Princeton University. You, like so many Princetonians before you, represent the top graduates from high schools around the country and around the world. We are proud of the fact that the Class of 2021 is part of the true actualization of our stated goal to be a diverse and inclusive college. This diversity reaches beyond the boundaries of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and class to include religious and spiritual practice, intellectual ideas, and global perspectives.

So, what does it mean to be a member of a diverse and inclusive community? Research tells us that being educated in a truly diverse environment enhances the learning of all students in important ways. You will find yourself in settings all around campus where you will have the opportunity to expand your own thinking based on the experiences and perspectives shared by people whose lives may have been quite different from your own. It is in this context of expanded perspectives that you will grow both intellectually and personally. You may also be surprised to learn that you have a great deal in common with people who, at first, seem to be very different. As a member of the Class of 2021, we hope that you will seek to actively engage with the diversity represented in the Princeton community. We encourage you to seek understanding across lines of difference. Princeton is a vibrant community, not of individuals co-existing, but of students engaging deeply with one another, with faculty, and with campus staff. You were intentionally chosen to become a member of Princeton University not only for your individual strengths, but also for what you contribute to the Princeton University community. 

Orientation will be an excellent time for you to begin to get to know the campus and the broader Princeton community. Orientation will also be time for you to begin your transition into the academic and social aspects of college. Getting involved with campus life is an excellent way to make your overall college experience successful. If you haven’t already, you will discover that whatever your interests—both inside and outside of the classroom—there are ways to pursue them at Princeton. There are over 300 student organizations, 38 varsity sports, 36 club teams, a robust intramural program, and a myriad of service activities; students participate in research projects with faculty; student performances are plentiful throughout the academic year; and visiting artists and lecturers are regular features on our weekly calendar. So make it your plan to discover what Princeton has to offer you and get involved.

There are four areas on campus that work especially close with students to broaden their awareness about issues of diversity and inclusion.

The Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding, located on 58 Prospect Avenue, is Princeton University’s unique cultural center. At the Carl A. Fields Center diverse perspectives and experiences of race, class, gender, religion and their intersections are supported and challenged, questioned and answered. Additionally, the Center’s student friendly space offers numerous opportunities for relaxation and engagement – comfy lounges, study breaks, movie nights, galas, festivals and more. See for yourself at their Open House on Tuesday, September 12.

Princeton’s LGBT Center is by, for and about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and ally members of the Princeton University community, located in Frist Campus Center, room 246. Incoming first year students may be especially interested in the weekly first year lunch group on Fridays, which is an informal space for LGBTQIA and questioning students to meet other first years and talk about all different kinds of Princeton and LGBTQIA topics. To learn more, visit the website (http://lgbt.princeton.edu) or sign up for the listserv by emailing lgbtasst@princeton.edu to receive the weekly email about Center happenings.

The Women’s Center staff works closely with students of all genders to advance the campus dialogue about gender norms, gender equality and gender-related activism. Stop by (Frist Campus Center, room 243,) to pick up a calendar, study, relax, enjoy a hot drink, and meet some great students. In the meantime, check out women.princeton.edu, and sign up for the weekly email newsletter. 

The Office of Religious Life (ORL) is housed in Murray-Dodge Hall, right in the center of campus. The staff, who are from a wide variety of religious traditions, offer innovative programs on spiritual, ethical, and justice-related themes. The ORL sponsors religious rituals, trips abroad to learn about religion and social issues, interfaith dialogue, spiritual counseling, and much more. All students are warmly welcome to participate, and to engage the chaplains in conversation on any topic, from religious questions to family and relationship issues, sexuality, vocational choices, “big” questions of meaning and ethics, etc. The ORL runs the Murray-Dodge Café, a favorite place for many students to relax, have a great discussion with friends, and enjoy free cookies and beverages.

Inspired by Princeton’s informal motto “Princeton in the Nation’s Service and the Service of Humanity,” Princeton offers all members of its community a wide range of opportunities for volunteerism, outreach and work in public service. I encourage you to connect with the Pace Center for Civic Engagement to explore ways to serve and enhance your Princeton experience.

The Pace Center for Civic Engagement, located in the Frist Campus Center, room 201, and on the third floor of 58 Prospect Avenue, helps students learn to do service well and have a positive impact in the community. Through the Pace Center you can learn alongside community, help others, explore pressing societal issues, advocate for change, and connect service to your academic pursuits at Princeton and beyond. To learn more, visit pace.princeton.edu where you can sign up to receive a weekly email about ways you can engage. Or stop by our Welcome to Service at Princeton event on Tuesday, September 12 at both our Pace Center locations.

I’m looking forward to welcoming you to campus.


W. Rochelle Calhoun
Vice President for Campus Life