Matthew Blair dips five fingers into the pan of red paint and very carefully adds his palm print to the giant R hanging in front of him – literally taking the future of Rutgers-Camden into his own hands.
“It’s all about people leaving their mark on us, and us leaving our mark on them,” says the Collingswood resident, a member of the graphic design team in the Rutgers-Camden communications office that designed the display.
One by one, visitors are making their mark at the booth at the Voorhees Mall along College Avenue today, where supporters of the university’s southern-most campus are gathering to air their thoughts on the facility that has been part of the Camden landscape for more than half a century.
“Rutgers University is the state university, and how can you be the state university if you don’t have a campus below New Brunswick?” questioned Cal Maradonna, a retired dean of students who worked for Rutgers for three decades and who still sports the seven letters R.U.T.G.E.R.S. on his license plate. (His will stipulates that the plate goes to his daughter upon his death.)
Even as he speaks, Rutgers Day-goers are grabbing up the 400 T-shirts emblazoned with “We Are One, We Are Rutgers, Newark, New Brunswick, Camden,” and holding them up for friends and families to photograph.
“We’re getting pretty heavy traffic,” says Andrew Shenkman, a history professor at Rutgers-Camden since 2005, who’s sporting one of the shirts. “People are saying, ‘Keep up the fight.’ They know we’re all in this together.”