Village President: Students valued in South Orange
After the announcement of Seton Hall’s 20th president, there have been positive feelings towards the current and future relationship between the University and South Orange.
Seton Hall President Gabriel Esteban and Village President Douglas Newman both had kind words to say when asked about their thoughts of the South Orange community and the University working together.
Both presidents said they have served together on the Board of Governors of the South Orange Performing Arts Center and have had a growing relationship since Esteban held the position as university provost. “I’m honored to be a part of this community, along with my family,” Esteban said. “Ever since we arrived here, I have felt welcomed by neighbors and at home in our new parish, Our Lady of Sorrows.” Esteban said he feels Newman has been very proactive with ideas and initiatives for South Orange and Seton Hall. “We have discussed, in addition to SOPAC, the Seton Hall University Partnership, nearby off-campus housing and security concerns, among numerous other ideas,” Esteban said. Newman said he feels his relationship with Esteban will be just as good as it was with former President Monsignor Robert Sheeran. During Msgr. Sheeran’s presidency in 2008 Newman said the South Orange – Seton Hall University partnership was formed. Newman said this partnership “has worked on programming and ideas within the Village for students and on campus for community members… One project I’ve personally been involved with is the After the Bell Rings Program at the South Orange Middle School, where Seton Hall students have volunteered.” When asked to acknowledge some of the past issues or concerns that the South Orange community has had with Seton Hall, Newman said, “the Village really has not had issues with the University, and frankly has a great relationship with the University administration. That said, from time to time, neighboring residents have complained about quality of life issues, such as night-time noise or lighting spill-over.” Newman described Seton Hall students in his own words as “valued residents of South Orange.” He continued to explain how students contribute to the community in many ways. “Students live, work, volunteer, shop and have fun in South Orange, and our community is enriched as a result. I’ve personally gotten to know many students, and have spoken and worked with many students, each and every one of whom I’ve found passionate about the University and our community and about living here,” Newman said. Esteban said Seton Hall works every day to strengthen the relationship with the community. One of these ways is continually working throughout the year through the Office of Government and Community Relations. Esteban said Adam Loehner, director of community relations, and students from the Village Liaison organization attend the Seton Hall University Partnership committee meetings that focus on student engagement in town, resident participation on campus and economic development. Esteban said Seton Hall also has a good relationship with the Main Street South Orange organization which works to revitalize the downtown by creating a welcoming environment for the community. Both Esteban and Newman said they hope to continue the current progress in improving the relationship of both communities. Some upcoming university and community events involve the Jazz Ensemble performance at SOPAC on March 15 and “Celebrate South Orange” events in the spring. Carolyn Maso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.