Posted by: Karen Smith | April 20, 2016

Rutgers University – Newark: Engaging the Community

Thanks to guest blogger Prof. Quintus Jett for this post.

11159962_775403149241720_5579338588666006514_nThis will be our first Rutgers Day at the Newark campus. I’m excited because it’s my third Rutgers Day in a row organizing students to engage all kinds of people visiting from the Rutgers community and the broader community-at-large.

I’m a faculty member in Newark who specializes in Organization and Innovation. Rutgers Day is a great opportunity for students to live and demonstrate what we cover in class: entrepreneurial skills, community engagement, and collaborating under uncertainty with others for public service.

The prior two Rutgers Days (2014 & 2015) were in New Brunswick, and the students and I were Newark based. So working out the logistics together to design and run an exhibit at a site over 30 miles away was our biggest challenge! It was worth it to see and talk with all of you who visited. While our purpose was to show you a taste of life and learning at the university, we also gained a lot hearing what brought you to campus. From returning alumni, to parents bringing their children to help them imagine going to college in the future, to guests from neighboring communities enjoying the festive atmosphere.

In 2014, our creation of an exhibit was part of the course Volunteerism & Philanthropy. It included a hands-on urban planting exhibit, a banner welcoming visitors in many languages, and contests where visitors shared the most charitable thing they’ve ever seen.

In 2015, the exhibit was all volunteer. It wasn’t part of a course. A student from the previous year suggested Autism Awareness as our theme, and we received many ideas and small prizes from RU-Newark staff and students with family members on the autistic spectrum.

12888533_941781239270576_8497328706602838163_oThis year, students in my course are serving as The Spirit Team for the Rutgers Day – Newark exhibits. Teams of my students soliciting proposals for Rutgers Day earlier in the semester, and now they are engaging the 75+ exhibits in preparation for a great time on April 30.

We’ve had an inside view and preview of exhibits planned for Newark, and it’s going to be a great day for all of you visit. The spirit of Rutgers Day will be very much evident. A huge variety of exhibits, games, and hands-on activity – to provide a taste of life and learning is like on campus.

And there will be a lot of RU-Newark flavor. Our student population is very diverse, and we have many students from a variety of ages and life experiences.

Community engagement happens here every day in many forms, whether as part of the academic curriculum or through co-curricular programs and public service. We look forward to seeing you at RU-Newark on the 30th!


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