The Stevens community was abuzz with excitement as the university welcomed more than 800 incoming freshmen and transfer students to its Hoboken campus.
Over a period of five days, Stevens’ orientation programs helped the newest members of the Stevens community settle into life on campus. For Stevens students, resident life extends well beyond its campus on Castle Point and into the vibrant and bustling city of Hoboken, which has been home to Stevens since 1870.
The city continues to be an integral part of the university. So as part of 2014 Orientation, the university held a series of events dedicated to community service in Hoboken on Saturday, August 23.
Through participation, new students have an opportunity to give back to the community they will call home for the next several years, while forming connections with peers.
“This day of service was an important piece of our new students orientation to Stevens as it demonstrated our commitment to our Hoboken community partners, while providing them an opportunity to make a direct impact on others,” says Thea Zunick, associate director for the Office of Student Life.
The latest additions to the Stevens community responded enthusiastically to the optional events, which centered on supporting the city of Hoboken and its residents. Many of the offerings, seven in total, were filled to capacity.
Kenneth Nilsen, dean of students, was extremely encouraged by the response.
“I am very excited that 150 of our first-year students and student leaders volunteered on Saturday around Hoboken. Our goal is to connect Stevens students to the city of Hoboken, and one of the best ways for the university to do this is to connect them to local organizations who can use their time and talent to accomplish their missions,” says Nilsen.
The activities ranged from creating a public 3D mural to cleaning up municipal parking garages to organizing crafts for local children to volunteering at a humane society or library.
“Our students engaged in various activities ranging from doing crafts with children at the 14th street Farmer’s Market, seeing who could collect the most garbage in the public parking garages, to painting the stage at Hoboken High School, and making cards and survival bracelets for our troops,” describes Zunick.
The orientation leaders, many of whom are service fraternity representatives, marveled at the enthusiasm they witnessed throughout the day by the new students.
"It was very inspiring to see the next generation of Stevens students so excited to help their new adopted community of Hoboken. Some of the students in my group at the 14th and Garden Street Farmers Market didn't want to leave, so we stayed an extra hour!" says orientation leader Jacob Vanderbilt, a member of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega.
Another orientation leader, Trevor Batchelder ('17), says he was gratified to observe the new students leaving with a deeper understanding of community service.
“What was more exciting was seeing the students, who had come to play with Liberty Humane Society's animals, leaving with a better understanding of and a desire to do community service during their time at Stevens,” says Batchelder.