After a 17-month absence, Rutgers University-New Brunswick students returned to campus last week eager to meet friends, participate in activities, attend sporting events, and experience classroom learning.
A celebratory mood was palpable August 31 as throngs of of students inhabited College Avenue and Voorhees Mall to check out the organizations, university departments, and community partners that were on hand for the annual Involvement Fair and Culture Fest. More than 500 groups were present, with some seeing a surge in student interest. The Philosophy Club reported 240 sign-ups.
The undergraduates below reflect the diverse, talented, and eclectic student community of the School of Arts and Sciences. They are aspiring physicians, lawyers, labor advocates, anthropologists, and more. They will eventually head off in different directions. But at this moment they are all feeling grateful to be back at Rutgers.
Hometown: North Brunswick
Major: Labor Relations
I am so excited to actually walk inside a classroom and go to a real seminar. I am thrilled to start cheerleading. I have made so many friends on the team. I love all these girls and guys and I am excited for the first game!
Major: Cultural Anthropology and Information Technology and Informatics
I am grateful for this. I am a social person and like having people around me. It was hard just staying at home and studying all day last year. I am feeling energetic for this year. I am going to be writing my senior thesis from the anthropology department and will also be a research assistant. It's going to be fun because I love my majors.
Major: Political science and philosophy
I want to make sure we're all safe because I am concerned about the Delta Variant. Wearing my mask is definitely important, and I will talk to my friends about how they should wear masks. But it does feel amazing to be back on campus. Just seeing everyone makes me remember what college is all about. For me, meanwhile, it's time for LSATS.
Major: Cultural Anthropology
It's culture shock almost, going from studying in my room by myself to being around so many people who are around my age. I hope we can stay. Fingers crossed! Most importantly, I hope we can all make the most of the time we have together, while we have it together.
I am looking forward to starting my journey here and putting a place to my experiences compared to when I was at home. I have already met some friends here at the involvement fair and joined a couple of clubs (American Medical Student Association and RU Pilot Me). I am interested in pursuing medicine so I might major in biology or something along those lines.
Year: First year
My hope is to meet new people and gain new experiences that I wouldn't have had before. I am excited to be here and explore this big campus. I like in-person better because I more of a visual learner. I am interested in computer science.
Hometown: Brentwood, NY
I am very happy to be back. Last year was really hard for a lot of us, never being here on campus and always looking through a screen. Coming back to Rutgers helps us become better students and helps us connect to our learning. For me, I think it is going to be a lot more fulfilling. I am excited to meet new people and just have a fun year.
Major: English and Sociology
It’s nice to see everybody lively and happy. I am excited to challenge myself and be back among people. I am going to be taking a lot of classes and looking forward to TA-ing two classes.
Year: First year
I am an international student from China and have come to Rutgers with an interest in pursuing geography, especially in the area of GIS (Geographic Information Systems). This campus is lovely, and everyone is so friendly. I feel grateful to be here and ready to start my classes.
A big shoutout to Ashley Vega, Assistant Director, Major Events and Programs; Camelia Watson, Event Services Coordinator; and the Student Centers and Activities staff who helped bring about this great welcome for returning students.