Members of the Seton Hall community described the ways alumna Sheena Collum ’08 gave back to her community as a student and continues to as South Orange Village President.
“It feels great to be able to serve the community that is home to the university I graduated from,” Collum said. “I was overjoyed when I became the first woman in the town’s history to be elected as Village President.”
Collum said she was heavily involved with the Student Government Association (SGA) from her freshman year to graduation. She added that a lot of her work was based on how to connect Seton Hall with South Orange.
“I worked on bringing the SHUFly to life and also Pirate’s Gold encouraging students to both travel and spend money in the community,” Collum said.
Collum added that during her tenure, she helped to expand library operations to 24 hours and created the Greek Municipal Assembly.
Collum said she also moved a polling location on campus, lobbied for the University to formally recognize a LGBTQ student organization and opened an interfaith prayer room in Xavier Hall.
Collum said that many of the responsibilities she has had as Village President directly impacted the Seton Hall community, and she views it as one whole community.
“Crime is down in South Orange, [and] we have some great economic development projects coming online,” Collum said. “I’m constantly trying to advocate more moderate and lower income housing options. The Gateway Tunnel Project is of critical concern to our commuters and I imagine students who regularly travel throughout New Jersey and into New York City.”
She added that the city successfully changed water providers to ensure the best water quality. Collum said that the Village is considering a reusable bag ordinance which will strengthen their commitment to the environment.
“I could list off dozens of projects where students have worked with me on service initiatives including documenting all gaslight outages around town,” Collum added.
Alumna Teagan Sebba ‘17, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science, said that throughout her time as Seton Hall’s SGA President Sheena guided her to grow into a “confident female leader.”
“Sheena motivates me to pay it forward and help other young girls be the best leaders they can be,” Sebba said. “I literally want to be Village President of South Orange one day to follow in her footsteps and keep her vision alive. I cannot say enough about Sheena; she is a girl boss legend.”
Alumna Chelsea Wilson ‘16, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, marketing and management, said she worked with Collum through her role as speaker for SGA, and considers her a mentor and friend.
“I can definitely add that during my time at Seton Hall, Sheena’s commitment to the University and the Village of South Orange was evident,” Wilson said. “She significantly improved the relationship between the students and the village residents and increased student turnout at village events. Sheena always had a presence on campus and made it clear she cared about students’ concerns.”
Mary Meehan, Interim President at Seton Hall, said that through her current role, she has had many opportunities to interact with Sheena.
“Civic engagement is one of the hallmarks of a university education, and I am thrilled that Sheena’s activism as a student prepared her for her commitment to public service,” Meehan said. “I hope her example is an inspiration to our current students.”
Werdeh Hassan can be reached at email@example.com.