Esteban and South Orange Village president arrange monthly meetings
South Orange President Alex Torpey and Seton Hall President Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban have met several times to ensure Seton Hall and the Village are on the same page when making decisions that will impact both communities, according to Torpey.
Torpey said his goal is to meet with Esteban once a month, although the pair has not been able to stick to that schedule yet.
According to Torpey, public safety concerns and ideas to attract more students to the downtown South Orange area are among the frequently discussed topics.
Additionally, the meetings allow Esteban and Torpey to discuss the shared future of the University and the town, Torpey said.
Esteban said that one specific program he and Torpey have discussed is the possibility of working together on a master safety plan.
Torpey explained that if South Orange were to think about different economic development plans, it is helpful to know what Seton Hall may need from the town in coming years.
As an example, Torpey said it would be important for South Orange to know if Seton Hall will need or want to acquire more off-campus apartment housing in upcoming years.
“I think there are probably very few things that either of us would do that wouldn’t affect the other, and I think that’s why it’s so important to continue to work together and find new ways to collaborate on projects,” Torpey said.
“This partnership will help foster an even closer relationship, which is essential, because our destinies are intertwined,” Esteban said.
Esteban added that working together as a community is a priority to allow for future development and improvement on campus and in the Village.
Torpey said that in addition to concerns that develop from being neighbors, such as safety and economic development, he and Esteban also proactively look for programs in which both South Orange and Seton Hall can participate.
According to Torpey, technology is one such area, although he did not specify what, if any, shared IT programs are in the works.
One of Torpey’s main goals as president of South Orange is to bring technology to the government, according to his website, www.alextorpey.com, and Seton Hall touts its completely wireless campus and laptop distribution on its website, http://www.shu.edu/campus-life/laptop-program.cfm.
Torpey said the meetings with Esteban will continue.
“We’ve got a number of issues pending in our discussions,” Torpey said. “I think both of us are open to the suggestions of our respective communities on what issues are important to talk about, too.”
Torpey also said the University Partnership Committee, which has members from the Village and Seton Hall, works to bring together the University and South Orange communities as well.
According to Esteban, the meetings have allowed Seton Hall’s relationship with South Orange to become stronger.
“I believe continuing that communication is the most important facet of town-gown (town-college) relations,” Esteban said. “Although at times we may disagree, or want different things, we understand we are like a family and can discuss our differences and work together toward outcomes that benefit us both.”
Caitlin Carroll can be reached at Caitlin.firstname.lastname@example.org.