This summer, a number of Seton Hall students have elected to remain either on campus or in South Orange for reasons as varied as summer courses, participation in athletics, internships or employment.
Cheryl Janus, assistant director of Housing and Residence Life for Housing Services, said the office of Housing and Residence Life has received close to 100 summer housing applications from students wishing to remain on campus and are expecting more applications to come in as classes and finals wrap up. Additional students are planning to remain close to campus throughout the summer as well.
Nicole Dalton, a sophomore staying in her Ivy hill apartment rather than returning home to Tennessee, said that she feels South Orange has nothing to offer over the summer. "I can't think of much to do in South Orange over the summer, but the area around South Orange has a lot," junior Sydney Betts said.
The idea that South Orange does not have much for students to do has been at the center of many groups' attention, both on and off campus.
This summer Adam Loehner, Seton Hall's director of community relations, said the group will launch a new Web site at somacommunitylink.org, which will serve as "a source of information for the community and a Web portal for nonprofits of South orange and Maplewood to recruit new volunteers and advertise their events and projects." The Web site will feature an online calendar alerting students and residents of South Orange and Maplewood of events in the community.
The South Orange Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs, better known as The Baird, and the local organization Main Street South Orange have many community events planned. Carol Anzalone-Newman, director of Main Street South Orange, said students are more than welcome to participate. The Baird will be hosting an Old Fashioned Fourth at the Meadowlands Park in downtown South Orange in the Fourth of July. The Baird will also feature a Concerts in the Park Series every Wednesday in July beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Anzalone-Newman said Main Street South Orange also has a number of events that might interest students that are more retail-oriented.
"We have lunchtime concerts in Spiotta Park, and we hope to bring people into town and encourage them to buy lunch at local restaurants while enjoying the music," Anzalone-Newman said. The Lunchtime Concert Series will be held Wednesdays in June from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Spiotta Park next to the Washington Mutual on South Orange Avenue.
In addition to the concerts, Main Street South Orange will also host a Farmers Market Wednesdays starting June 24 in the Sloan Street Parking lot from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and will likely feature special retail promotions for local shops and a guest chef from a local restaurant.
Main Street's largest event is the Celebrate South Orange festival on June 13. The all-day event will feature live musical performances, dances, showcases of local artwork, a giant sidewalk sale and a $12 community supper featuring an array of cuisines from local restaurants.
Seton Hall students are also welcome to take advantage of Baird's many art lessons, theater productions, community pool, tennis courts, and other recreational facilities. Loehner recommends that any student staying in South Orange over the summer go to The Baird and get a photo ID badge to that they can make the most of South Orange's recreational facilities.
Among the badge's perks are admittance to the community pool and playground programs, and discounts on tennis court access and several other programs, Loehner said. Students on campus need a letter from The Office of Community Relations to prove residency and students staying off campus need two forms of identification and proof of residency to procure a badge.
Graduating senior David Castrillon spend two summers in South Orange and said he had some advice for students staying in the area.
Castrillon said students should remember that "Seton Hall University is a ghost town during the summer … it is rare to come across people you might know."
He said: "GDS does not offer regular cafeteria services during the summer. Students living on campus must be prepared to live off of microwaveable food or to pay high GDS prices in the outer cafeteria." He recommended that students instead do their shopping at Eden Gourmet for its high quality and low prices.
For students living in South Orange rather than on campus, Castrillon said his second summer was more entertaining when he and three friends rented a house on Eder Terrace. The one drawback to staying off campus, he said, was that public safety is an issue of concern.