By Briana Vannozzi
This is not the Rutgers University of the past. On a tour with president Dr. Robert Barchi today, a first glimpse of several new facilities.
“I just feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction and gratitude to all the people who put so much work into making this happen,” said Barchi.
The main attraction is the nearly $90 million university honors college. The first of its kind, to draw the best and the brightest. A 550-bed residential building, with seminar rooms and social spaces. This inaugural class of freshman has an average SAT score 200 points higher than the rest of the student body.
“We send more than 30,000 young people out of the state of New Jersey. And when you think we spend the most money out of any other state in the country to educate young people, the one thing you don’t want to do is export them, they’re our future,” said Sen. Steve Sweeney.
They’re also erecting a $116 million academic building right next door. It’ll transform this section of the College Avenue campus with state-of-the art labs and classrooms. The plan to draw and keep NJ’s top students here, seems to be working.
“It’s the openness of opportunities and the networking it provides at such a large university that a lot of other schools don’t really have,” said Akshay Kamath
When asked what other colleges Chas Morse had been looking before deciding on Rutgers, he said, “RPI, NJIT, TCNJ, and UPenn.”
And while the freshman are thrilled with their new digs, some current honors program students aren’t putting the gold star on this project just yet.
“In theory the new honors college is great. It’s great to have a hub for really strong academics, it’s great to have a hub for really strong students,” said Sivan Rosenthal.
Rosenthal is part of the Rutger’s Students for Shared Governance Coalition. She agrees attracting top students is a must, but she’s also wary of the lagging resources for academic programs, facilities and current dorms.
“My concern as part of the honors program and part of the wider Rutgers school, is that its going to concentrate all the best resources of the university to a place where other students aren’t going to have access to them,” Rosenthal said.
She agrees attracting top students is a most,but she’s also weary of the lagging resources for academic programs, facilities and current dorms.
“We’ve already seen that kind of happen with the Dean of the Honors Program is now moving over there,” Rosenthal said.
“We can’t do everything at once we only have so many people and so many man hours and we have a priority hit list of what we’re looking at,” said Barchi.
For his part, Barchi defended the project, saying the Rutgers transformation is going to take time.
“We don’t wanna have any of our dorms become second rate space and we don’t want any of our faculty or our students living and working in second rate facilities,” he said.
The second phase of building is scheduled to be complete in the fall of 2016.