Village works to improve relationship with students

The University Engagement Committee is currently working on new projects and revisiting old ones, in order to help bring students into the town of South Orange, according to the committee’s chair, Ian Miller.

The committee was created in 2008 as a part of the South Orange-Seton Hall partnership committees in order to foster a strong inter-community relationship, according to Adam Loehner, director of Community Relations at Seton Hall and a member of the committee.

According to Miller, it has been difficult for the committee to put on large-scale events in the past due to budgetary constraints.

However, he feels the committee has done a lot to further relations between villagers and students, which has in the past, been defined by tension over student noise levels and behavior.

“When I moved to South Orange a few years ago, I thought I was moving to a big college town,” Miller said, “but it seemed like (college students) were heading somewhere else; the city, and not going into the community.”

One of the committee’s biggest successes, according to Miller, has been its annual Columbia High School-Seton Hall University Ultimate Frisbee game, which has taken place on University Day for the past two years.

“Some committee members told me Ultimate Frisbee had been invented at Columbia High School, and I learned that Seton Hall students had just created a team,” Miller said.

According to Miller, last year’s game garnered so many spectators that there was not enough seating for everyone. For this coming year, Miller hopes to get a scoreboard and sound system for the game, as well as award plaques for the game’s winner, which will be displayed in Village Hall.

The committee has also worked to display signs and banners, now visible near the train station and other areas on Main Street, that say “The Village of South Orange – home of Seton Hall University,” according to Miller.

According to Miller, the committee is also looking into the possibility of holding a carnival for students and residents. However, the event is in very early planning stages.

In addition to community residents, Seton Hall faculty, such as Loehner, and students serve on the committee.

“As our students and Seton Hall residents propose ideas to strengthen the relationship between South Orange and the University, I assist in bringing these ideas to fruition,” Loehner said.

Seton Hall Student Government Association President Melissa Boege attends committee meetings on a regular basis.

“As a student, I help the committee determine what kind of activities the students may be interested in and what their impressions and perceptions of South Orange are,” Boege said. “The other committee members are very interested in fulfilling needs that the students may have in South Orange.”

Miller also encouraged students to attend meetings to express what they would like to see from the committee to better their South Orange experience.

The committee meets the last Wednesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

Miller said the committee is currently working on creating a calendar, which will display photos of the Village of South Orange. Seton Hall students, as well as community residents, can submit their photos to be considered for use in the calendar. Miller said entries should be sent to pics@beautifulsouthorange.com by March 21.

Caitlin Carroll can be reached at caitlin.carroll@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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