Dozens of incoming Princeton University students from the Class of ’26 helped create a new grove recently on the Watershed Reserve as part of their first-year orientation at the Ivy League institution.
Each year, new students select an activity where they can work side-by-side with others as part of Community Action or Outdoor Action, two programs run by the Pace Center for Civic Engagement at the university.
Those programs aim to give undergraduate students a way to bond together while participating in meaningful community service, reflection, and learning.
On Monday and Tuesday, about 50 Community Action participants planted hundreds of native plants and mulched a small section of the 950-acre Watershed Reserve. They also helped restore an area of the meadow so it may grow into a forest eventually. Together, they pulled out invasive species with the goal of creating a habitat where local wildlife may thrive.
About a dozen Outdoor Action students did day hikes and team-building exercises on the Reserve and spent several nights in tents near the Watershed Center.
Both co-curricular programs offer students a chance to make connections before classes start in earnest with informal discussions, journal writing or other reflections, and opportunities to meet other students in a more casual setting.