OUR Mission

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.

Our History

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 (PPro) 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 (for example Divest Princeton); and organized panel discussions and mixers 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, Abolition, and Reform (SPEAR), Green Princeton, Princeton Advocates for Justice, and Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA).

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 also went 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.


Students and Campus

We will continue to provide financial support for The Prog (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 periodic 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: protests, 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 periodically provide a roster of progressive candidates for elective office who are from the greater Princeton University community. However, we also are keen to play a role supporting progressive candidates outside our community where we feel we can make a difference. Our efforts include opportunities to meet such candidates, potential endorsements by PPro, events to introduce candidates to our community, fundraising, and organizing canvassing and other volunteering for election campaigns

Local Chapters

The Board aspires to create local chapters which can plan their activities to further the progressive cause outside of the New York Metropolitan Area. Our first local chapter is the Princeton/Central Jersey Chapter.

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 have 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.


Jason Gold ’81, Co-Founder, President

Jason Gold is one of the founders of PPro in 2011 and has been its President ever since.  He spent his freshman year at Princeton holed up in Witherspoon reading The Worker’s Vanguard and Young Spartacist, doing math problem sets, and building architectural models.  He majored in Architecture & Urban Planning, got his M. Arch. at Columbia, and is a practicing architect in New York City.

Sandy Harrison ’74, Vice President

Sandy Harrison, who has been a PPro Board member since 2012, attended Princeton during the heyday of the anti-Vietnam War and other social movements, which has had a lasting impact on his commitment to the advancement of progressive ideals and causes. Sandy particularly enjoys working with today’s talented and motivated student activists on campus. He also is involved in his local area outside of Philadelphia in protecting immigrant rights and serving as a Democratic Committee member, Treasurer for Democratic candidates, and a member of Indivisible.

Tom Hughes ’82, Treasurer

Tom Hughes majored in English Literature and has many happy memories of performing at Theater Intime, in the Wilson College theater, and on other campus stages. Since college, Tom has worked primarily in technology related to financial services, and currently consults in product strategy for information businesses. He is a lifetime New York City resident and serves on the Board of the Alliance for Downtown New York, the largest business improvement district in the country.

Sue Gemmell ‘82

A visual arts major at Princeton, Sue Gemmell participated in the movement to divest from South Africa, organized marches to end US support for the dictatorship in El Salvador, and stood up for the University’s dining hall workers’ right to unionize. Sue lives in Portland, Oregon, earned a masters in Information Management at University of Washington, and consults for global aid and nonprofit organizations.


Alliance for Jewish Progressives is very, very grateful for your support! It means so much to have such a wonderful community of progressive alumni supporting progressive students on campus. On a personal note, your support - for this recent event, the printing of The Prog, and the Bread and Puppet show in 2020 - has made my time at Princeton infinitely better than it could have been without your support and enthusiasm. Thank you, thank you!

Chaya H. '23