Seton Hall is typically referred to as a suitcase school. Why? Because the bulk of students are from New York, New Jersey and other surrounding areas, and home is a convenient way to spend the weekend. Does Seton Hall have to be a suitcase school? Absolutely not, but it is.
I have heard, more times than I can count, people say that there is nothing to do on campus on the weekends. I have even heard people take it so far as to say that the town and area offer nothing to do. The only conclusion I can reach is that students are not taking advantage of the opportunities here. It is understandable that the University provides a lack of programs or activities on the weekends because one has to assume that the suitcase school stigma has proved true and there are no students to participate. However, some effort has been made. For example, the recent Pirate’s Cove renovations were made in an attempt to establish a greater sense of community and provide weekend residents with a place to go. It remains to be seen if students will actually utilize the updated lounge, which, as was reported last week by The Setonian, will boast a new weekend menu and several new televisions. What is not understandable is the view that there is nothing to do in the area. Being just 14 miles outside the bustling world of Manhattan is one of the major incentives of attending the University. A direct train line to New York Penn Station is less than one mile from campus, and a round trip ticket costs less than $15. One of the easiest things to do is waste a day exploring Manhattan, one of the most diverse and energetic cities in the world. The village of South Orange also offers residents opportunities. Right behind the train station is the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) which regularly updates its schedule of plays and musical acts with tickets available at agreeable prices, and some Seton Hall classes are able to offer free tickets to these events for students. Aside from the performing arts, SOPAC is also home to Clearview Cinemas, which houses several movie theatres; all just a short walk or SHUFLY ride away. If South Orange does not entice you enough, try taking a train to nearby Maplewood or Millburn. Both have train stations within walking distance of their town centers; centers offering a plethora of shops and eateries. Both towns also offer movie theatres with a variety of films. Train tickets run $5 or less round trip, each town only a stop or two away. I encourage all students to begin to, or continue to, utilize the resources which the area provides. If you choose to go home for weekends, there is nothing wrong with that at all, but going home should not be a last resort because you think there is nothing to do. I assure you all, there is always something to do, weekend or not. You just have to be willing to go and find it. The world around us is bursting with culture and progress, and we would be doing ourselves a disservice as students at this University if we did not stick around to make something happen here and dispose the suitcase school stigma. Samantha Desmond is a junior journalism major from Vernon, NJ. She can be reached at email@example.com.