Breaking the mold
For most Princeton students, fall break is a chance to relax after midterm exams. Some of us will use the time to travel or do thesis research, and others will gloat to friends at Yale or Harvard about our extra free time. Too few Princetonians, however, will use fall break for its original purpose: political volunteer work.
In 1971, the University canceled classes for a week in October to allow students to participate in political campaigns. Fall break was created in response to high levels of campus activism, and the free time was designed to give students a chance to pursue their political passions.
Now, the initial purpose of fall break is an afterthought for many Princetonians. But with an important midterm election in less than a month, the political spirit of fall break deserves a revival. One of the best ways to get involved in politics is through volunteering for a campaign. There will be many opportunities to campaign here in New Jersey, given the hotly-contested races in this state. Campus political organizations like the College Democrats and College Republicans will undoubtedly provide volunteer opportunities, but you can still get involved on your own either in New Jersey or your home state.
If you're not interested in political work, there are other civic engagement opportunities over fall break. For example, the Student Volunteer Council coordinates numerous service trips during the break. This year they are planning an outdoor-cleanup trip to Acadia National Park and are sending a group to assist with reconstruction in a region affected by Hurricane Katrina — an area that still needs all the help it can get. A quick and simple email to SVC or the Pace Center will provide you with further information about fall break opportunities.
Princetonians are lucky to have fall break — many of our peer institutions do not offer their students a week off in October. This time off should be seen as a privilege to be earned, not a right to be taken for granted. In light of fall break's original purpose, consider using this time to engage with the world outside the University's gates.
Reader Comments (0)
No comments yet. Be the first to post your opinion on this article.