A Student Talks Up Rutgers-New Brunswick
The Rutgers-New Brunswick that I attended in the late 1970s/early 1980s is not the same school where I earned my MBA in the early 1990s. And no way is it the same Rutgers-New Brunswick current students attend today. Whenever you’re an alumnus of a college and you talk to a student who is still there, you wonder if you’re talking about two different schools.
I asked Carmela Sadaya, a junior at Rutgers Business School, to share her insights with me and you. A Marketing and Business Analytics major, Carmela has taken advantage of several of the academic and social opportunities that Rutgers has to offer. I met Carmela through a volunteer student-alumni mentor program, and find her to be quite bright and motivated.
Listen to Carmela as she talks up the Rutgers-New Brunswick of today. She and her classmates have more choices, better technology, even a serious pre-business program.
Carmela’s Rutgers-New Brunswick has an undergraduate business school with six majors and eight concentrations. My Rutgers had a general business major with an “Accounting option.” The pre-business program and the core courses offered today were essentially the general business major. There were a few electives in Accounting and Finance, but nothing like the students have now.
And there’s some other contrasts.
The Rutgers-New Brunswick of today, much like the past, has many clubs and organizations. Carmela even started one. The difference between then and now is that clubs and organizations get a longer life, thanks to the alumni relations office and social media. Today Rutgers alumni can work with the alumni relations office to start an alumni chapter of a club that they ran in college. Students can network with alumni easily about careers and the futures of the clubs they started and grew.
The Rutgers of today competes in Big Ten Athletics. Back in my day Rutgers was starting to play football against the larger East Coast universities like Penn State and Pitt. Our men’s and women’s basketball teams played competitive schedules then and now. Our women were National Champions during my senior year. Back then the championship game was in Philadelphia. But the fans didn’t go along for the ride like they do today for the men and the women. Today, the home arena is the same. But now it has a better nickname. When Rutgers was winning in the Big East in my day it was called ‘The RAC,’ for Rutgers Athletic Center. But when the men starting winning in the Big Ten this season, it was called the Trapezoid of Terror. I like that better.
The Rutgers of today, when it was open for dining on campus, feeds its students far better. There’s even a choice of dining options near the Trapezoid of Terror. If you ever come to a sports event, check out Henry’s Diner. Run by the university’s dining services, it mimics Jersey diners, a Garden State institution. Students can eat there on the meal plan. But they’re asked to tip their fellow students. It’s only right, and the food is really good! I rarely had anything good to say about the dining hall food when I was in college.
The Rutgers of today has a residential Honors College. There is also an honors academy for engineering students, a honors program in the Biological and Environmental Sciences and many living-learning opportunities. There’s even a large residential community with living-learning options for women! In my day, select freshmen were invited to be part of a non-residential honors program and a small number of special interest floors in the dorms.
The Rutgers of today houses about half of the student body in residence halls and apartments before COVID 19. The Rutgers of my day had a housing lottery. A high number forced you to look off campus, commute, maybe consider a fraternity or sorority during rush. First semester freshmen were allowed to rush back then. Now a prospective pledge must have at least 12 credits with a 2.5 or better.
One thing Carmela and I share about Rutgers-New Brunswick is a lack of love for campus buses. They’re a necessary evil on a campus that’s separated by a river, a downtown and a state highway. But you’re not going to ride around campus on the bus as much at Maryland or Penn State. However, you’re more likely to ride on a bus to go to your off campus apartment at most other Big Ten schools.
I hope that you will listen to Carmela talk up Rutgers. The school that she attends does a lot to make good for its students, and should continue to do so.
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