Princeton Progressives (PPro) is a network of the greater Princeton University community of alumni, students, faculty, and staff, together with our friends and relatives, who share a commitment to reform laws, institutions, culture and society to improve the human condition. Our values include equity, equality, opportunity, freedom, and responsibility. We encourage people who are members of this greater Princeton community to join us in working to ensure that progressive change is implemented in our society.
PPro was founded in 2011 by a group of alumni in New York City under the name “Princeton Progressive Action Committee.” The group felt that synergies developed by connecting with the larger Princeton community would effectively advance progressive values.
A letter announcing the formation of what was shortly to become Princeton Progressives was published on January 18, 2012 in the Princeton Alumni Weekly. In our first year, we developed relationships on campus, and provided funding to students to campaign for marriage equality in Maine and for President Obama in Florida.
Since then, we have established a strong presence on campus among progressive students. In addition to providing financial support for students to work on political campaigns, we have: sponsored progressive speakers on campus; provided funds to the student magazine The Princeton Progressive; supported on-campus activism (including recently, March for Our Lives); and organized an annual panel discussion and mixer during Reunions. We work with on-campus organizations and welcome opportunities to collaborate, particularly in funding or co-funding student activism. These organizations include Princeton College Democrats, Students for Prison Education and Reform (SPEAR), Princeton Conservation Society, Green Princeton, DREAM Team, and Princeton Advocates for Justice.
In 2012, we also established our Head in the Sand Award, bestowed annually on the Princeton alumnus who most thoroughly defies logic, evidence, justice, fellow-feeling and common decency in pursuit of right-wing political advantage at any cost. That year we awarded our first Head in the Sand Award to then Trustee George Will *68, for his skepticism of the need to address climate change. Over the years the award has gone to fellow alums Senator Ted Cruz ’92 (2013, for reckless disregard for both the common good and inconvenient facts); Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito ’72 (2014, for a consistent pattern of ruling in favor of corporations or religious interests over the legitimate rights of ordinary citizens); former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ’54 (2015, for championing a war of choice in Iraq); U.S. Representative Ken Buck ’81 (R, CO) (2016, among other things, for his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, opposition to reproductive rights and positions on homosexuality); and Andrew Napolitano ’72 (2017, for postulating preposterous conspiracy theories and embracing historical revisionism that ignores reality). In 2018, the Board decided to suspend the award as it turned its attention and resources to other organizational priorities.
In early 2017, the Board decided to undertake a thorough review of PPro’s pursuits to determine what the organization’s focus and priorities should be as it enters its second decade. The outcome was an ambitious plan to expand the range of activities in support of progressive values. Among the initiatives and activities we intend to sponsor going forward:
Students and Campus
We will continue to provide financial support for The Prog (formerly, the Princeton Progressive student magazine); for student campaign work throughout the country; and to enable students to attend and engage in activism in various ways. Our plans include the continued development of an annual Reunions get-together and sponsorship of on-campus speakers. We also intend to provide mentoring of student activists and to voice our views in responses to university administrative actions relevant to progressive issues.
Education and Community
One of PPro’s goals is to provide opportunities for members of our community to increase their knowledge about a variety of issues of concern to progressives. We will do so through a program of speakers, panel discussions, book events and other activities. In the process, we hope to build bonds among our members that will strengthen PPro’s ability to carry out its mission. We also plan to connect with a variety of affinity groups—both within the greater Princeton University community and with outside progressive groups.
Activism and Causes
PPro will support progressive change through the promotion of of all sorts of activism: rallies, boycotts and calls to action—and, when possible, by organizing alumni to participate. We will also utilize our network and communications platform to advocate for progressive causes and actions.
Candidates Endorsements and Support
We will continue to provide a roster of progressive candidates for elective office who are from the greater Princeton University community. However, we are keen to play a role supporting progressive candidates outside our community where we feel we can make a difference. This includes opportunities to meet such candidates, potential endorsements by PPro, events to introduce the candidate to our community, fundraising, and organizing canvassing and other volunteering for election campaigns
The Board has decided to create local chapters that can plan their activities to further the progressive cause outside the New York Metropolitan Area. Our first local chapter is the Princeton/Central Jersey Chapter, which is headed by Board member Noemi de la Puente.
If you desire more information about our existing local chapters or want to set up a local chapter in your area, please contact us.
We believe that the Princeton University network of people who studied or worked there, together with our friends and relatives, can be a powerful force for change.
Please join us in making this happen through becoming a member, signing up for our mailing list, making a donation, or volunteering through service on a committee or any other way you desire. We welcome all who share our values. You need not have any connection to Princeton University.