Woman in Business: Fey Talabi Reflects on Her First Year in the MBA Program

Fey Talabi, a Rowan Global student from Baltimore, Maryland, shares how she manages her roles as a resident director and a student in the MBA program. 

Fey’s journey at Rowan University began at her undergraduate institution. Her supervisor, a proud Rowan alumni, recommended that she go to graduate school and pursue her degree here.

“I majored in Health Administration for my undergraduate degree and really enjoyed it. I knew I wanted to stay in healthcare, but I wanted to do so on the business side of things,” Fey says. “Rowan University’s program really stuck out to me because it is one of the only institutions that offer a concentration in Management. Now, I am pursuing a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management.” 

Fey headshot
Fey Talabi

Wrapping up her first year in the program, Fey has enjoyed her experience in the MBA program thus far.

“Graduate school has taught me some really valuable lessons. I feel like I am learning information that is practical and applicable to the workforce. In my Leadership Theory class, I am learning how to be an effective manager and how to rally employees toward a common goal. My Corporate Entrepreneurship class has given me the opportunity to format real business proposals. The program is very concentrated and focused, which I like.” 

Along with academics, Fey is working as a resident director of Chestnut Hall.

“I learned about the resident director position from my former supervisor as well. I interviewed for the position through MAPC, which is a conference for employers to interview potential employees for work opportunities. I ended up getting the position and began training in August,” she says.

Fey and Chestnut hall RA staff
Fey and her staff of resident assistants in Chestnut Hall

Fey’s favorite part of the position is her staff of resident assistants.

“This is my first time supervising a staff this large. I am taking management classes for my program, so it’s great to get to apply what I am learning in class to my assistantship. I really get to put my skills to work. Aside from my staff, Rowan University has a diverse culture and I have loved getting to interact with different members of the residential community,” Fey explains.

Managing classes and a graduate assistantship is no easy task, but Fey makes it look that way.

“It is all about time management. I am lucky because my job allows me to structure specific office hours, so I am able to base my schedule around that. I also have a supervisor that really values me as a person and student. She is adamant that I make time for schoolwork.” 

Fey and Chestnut RA staff
Fey and her staff of resident assistants posing on Bunce Green

In the future, Fey hopes to work in the healthcare industry. “I would love to work within the pharmaceutical sector as a business manager. Financial management really interests me, and I am excited to use my skills to better the healthcare industry one day.”

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Story by:
Loredonna Fiore, senior public relations and advertising major

Photos courtesy of:
Fey Talabi

Passing the Torch: Outgoing RA Loredonna Fiore Reflects On Her Experiences

Loredonna throws her cap up in the air in front of the Rowan arch.

Loredonna Fiore is a recent graduate who majored in Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in Communication Studies from Elk Township, NJ (Gloucester County).

Loredonna poses with a diploma.

As a Resident Assistant in the Rowan Boulevard Apartments, most recently, Loredonna had an outstanding experience. Loredonna even attributes her closest friendships to being an RA.

“I was a commuter my first year on campus, and it was honestly hard for me to feel like I had like a place on campus. It wasn’t until I got involved and put myself out there that I started making my true friends, and I always say that becoming an RA helped me find my place and home on campus.”

Loredonna’s favorite memory as an RA was always summer training. 

All the RAs from all different areas all have to be in the same room, and it’s a really long process during the summer. My favorite part is always training because we’re all together as a staff, getting closer and bonding. This year, we did a lip-sync battle, and it was just so much fun. That’s definitely a favorite memory of mine,” she says.

Loredonna poses next to a tree.

Looking back, Loredonna says her high school senior self needed advice on friendship.

I would say I would tell my high school self that it’s definitely a matter of quality over quantity when it comes to your friendships. Often, society tells you if you don’t have all these friends and these big girl groups that you’re failing in your friendships. I would give my younger self the advice that true friends really click with you and they know your heart and they know you as a person. It’s ok if that’s only like one or two really true good friends.”

Aside from being an RA, Loredonna was active on campus in other roles. 

I have an elevated leadership role in Resident Life as an Assistant Resident Director. I’m also a Digital Content Contributor for Rowan Blog, so I get to meet many student leaders on campus, interview them and hear their stories.” 

In the fall, Loredonna is pursuing her master’s degree in Mass Communication and Journalism at the University of Georgia. She is also starting a Graduate Assistantship as a Resident Director upon graduation.

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Story by:
Rachel Rumsby, senior communication studies and public relations double major

Why Liliana Ferrara Chose Rowan for her Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration

Liliana wears her graduation cap and gown.

Liliana Ferrara, a Rowan Global student in the MA in Higher Education: Administration program from Parsippany, NJ (Morris County), shares why she chose Rowan to pursue her graduate degree. 

Liliana is no stranger to Rowan University’s campus. As a proud Rowan alumna, Liliana graduated with a degree in Psychology and two minors in Sociology and Italian Studies. In fact, Liliana was the first person in Rowan’s history to graduate with an Italian Studies minor. During her undergraduate degree, Liliana also served as a resident assistant in Mimosa Hall and Nexus Apartments. 

Liliana grad photo
Liliana graduated from Rowan University with a degree in Psychology.

Knowing that she wanted to continue working in residential life, Liliana looked for programs that not only had a higher education program, but a graduate assistantship that would meet her needs.

“I interviewed at a few other schools through the MAPC conference and even got offered a few other positions. Rowan’s package and program was one I could not pass up,” Liliana says. “I loved Rowan so much during my undergraduate experience so it made the decision to come back so easy.” 

Now that she’s back on campus, Liliana talks about her adjustment into graduate level courses.

“My first semester was a nice introduction into the MA in Higher Education: Administration program. My professors really helped with the adjustment and made me feel comfortable,” Liliana says. “Now that I am in the second semester, it is definitely starting to feel more real. We are starting to talk about our research projects for next year and preparing for that.” 

Liliana and staff

So far, Liliana has enjoyed her time in the program and has connected with her professors. “Dr. Dale, who I had for Higher Education in America last semester, was really great. She gave me so much encouragement and support throughout the semester. I really valued that she was able to share so much of her experience in residential life because that is what I am passionate about. I was really able to connect with her on that level and hope to take her classes again next semester.”

Along with her coursework, Liliana has her hands full being a resident director of Rowan Boulevard Apartments.

“Although it is challenging to manage being a student and an RD, I have had such an amazing experience so far. I love getting to work with the RA’s on my staff and across campus. I wanted this job to help students and develop a close connection with them past the supervisory role. As an RD, I get to do just that,” she explains.

Liliana and staff pointing at her
Liliana (center) poses with members of the resident assistant staff.

Liliana can’t imagine being an RD anywhere else, either. “Being an RD at Rowan specifically gives you such a holistic experience in higher education. This assistantship stuck out to me because we get to do so much as graduate students. Whether it is working with the housing assignments team, supervising a staff, or serving in a duty rotation, this assistantship is so hands on. We really get to put the theory we learn in class into practice,” she says.

When asked to give advice to students who want to pursue a career in higher education, Liliana replies: “You really have to think about the work-life balance you want to achieve. In a field like residential life, it is so easy to get burnt out because there is a stigma that you have to work after hours to be great. I think it is really important to set boundaries so you can be successful in your work life and your personal life.” 

After graduation, Liliana wants to continue to work in residential life and maintain the work-life balance that is so important to her. 

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Story by:
Loredonna Fiore, senior public relations and advertising major

Photos courtesy of:
Liliana Ferrara and Residential Learning and University Housing Department 

Related posts:

Higher Education Master’s Program Sounds Like Sweet Success For Rowan Music Alum Ben Wilner

Rowan Global Student Brittany Passano: Paving the Way for Latina Women in Higher Education

Rowan Global Student, SJICR Grad Coordinator Alondra Martinez on Bringing More Students of Color into Higher Education Spaces

How To Handle Homesickness: An RA’s Perspective

For most students, college is the first time they are living away from home for an extended period of time. This transition can be tough. Here are four ways students can handle homesickness from an RA’s perspective:

1. Plan to go to an on-campus event

Sometimes, just being around people is comforting. Check ProfLink for any on-campus events that seem interesting to you. This could be anything from a Student University Programmers (SUP) movie night to a Rowan After Hours (RAH) Disney night. Getting out of your room can help get your mind off of things. 

Students talk outside near Robinson Hall.

2. Attend a Chill n Chat session at the Wellness Center

The Wellness Center offers a wide range of drop-in hours where students can come in/log on to Zoom and talk about their feelings with a group of people. Chill n Chat is designed to be a casual, comfortable environment where students can share what’s on their mind in a safe space. The hope is that in a group setting, students can see that they are not alone and have others relate to their struggles. 

Students inside their residence hall.

3. Call family and friends from home

It is normal and understandable for students to feel homesick. Sometimes, just picking up the phone and calling your friends/family from home is comforting. Consider scheduling a time out of your day/week to spend some time talking to your loved ones on the phone. Carving out time to stay connected to them is important and may help with the feeling of homesickness. 

4. Talk to your RA

Your RA is there to help! Attend one of their programs to get more connected to other people on your floor. Also, let them know that you are feeling homesick so that they can refer you to resources they see fit. I bet they will even offer to go to events with you themselves. They want to see you succeed and be happy in the residential community, so they will do what they can to make it happen.

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Story by:
Loredonna Fiore, an assistant resident director, senior public relations and advertising major

#PROFspective: From Colorado to Glassboro, Biomedical Engineering Major Katie Driscoll

Katie works in a biomedical engineering lab.

Today, we speak with senior Biomedical Engineering major Katie Driscoll of Durango, Colorado. She holds minors in History, Chemistry and Arabic Studies and is part of the Honors College. Here, Katie shares insights on her major, including the research work she’s been part of since her first year here at Rowan, and talks about the importance of getting involved on campus.

What made you come all the way here to New Jersey?

I just felt really at home when I visited the Biomedical Engineering program. It felt like everyone was super excited about Rowan’s potential for growth. And everyone was really happy to be here, students and faculty alike. So it really kind of felt like a welcoming place. 

Why Biomedical Engineering? 

I decided to major in Biomedical Engineering because it is a super well-rounded major. I wanted to know about a lot of things, and I wanted to have a lot of skills coming out upon graduation. So that was kind of my focus coming into undergrad.

Portrait of Katie Driscoll.

What do you want to do with this degree? 

I’m not really sure exactly what I want to do yet. But that’s a really good thing about this degree is you can do pretty much anything coming out of an undergrad in Biomedical Engineering. There are a lot of different paths open, whether it’s industry, med school or grad school, I feel really comfortable and confident going into anything.

Can you tell me a little about your experience in the lab? Have you done any research? 

I started research at Rowan in my freshman year with Dr. Vega, which was really cool, because it’s rare that you get to actually do hands-on research as a freshman in any research university.

I currently work in his biomaterials lab, looking at how the mechanical environments of stem cells affect their behavior. And that is for future use and tissue engineering applications.

Can you share an “aha” moment either with a faculty member or in a class where you knew you made the right decision?

So my freshman year when I started research in Dr. Vega’s lab, he was going over protocols with all of us and teaching us how to do everything. And we were imaging some cells on a fluorescent microscope and one of the labs, and he put the image up on the computer, and I just remember thinking that all the cells against the black background really looked like space. They looked like their own little, little galaxies. And I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Because you always see the pictures or the cells in a textbook, but to see it in real life, and all lit up, that was really different. 

What advice would you have to an incoming student who just chose this major?  

I would say definitely get connected with faculty in the department as early as possible because they are some of the most supportive people that I’ve met at Rowan. And if you know the faculty, you’re going to feel a lot more at home in the program. And also just get involved super early, whether it’s in research or in clubs, whatever you want to do, just kind of day one freshman year go in with a plan of how you’re going to get involved on campus.

Katie performs an experiment in a lab.

Can you share with me some things that you’re involved in or things that have had an impact on your college career?

I’m pretty involved with research here through Dr. Vega’s lab. This is my third year in his lab. And then I am also involved with Rowan Food Recovery Network. It’s a club that focuses on taking food from the dining halls that would otherwise get thrown away and redistributing it to community partners to reduce food waste and help with community hunger. So that is one big thing that I do. 

I’m an assistant resident director through the Office of Residential Learning (University Housing). I also am the Vice President for Rowan Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), which is like a pre-professional club that we have through our department. And that’s been really impactful to get to meet different people from industry and grad school and have them talk about their experiences.

Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

BMES is like our major specific club, and we meet every other week. And we usually have people from industry or have our own professors talk about their research. And it’s just a really great way to get connected within the major. Because a lot of the faculty will come to the meetings, people like freshmen through seniors come, and you can kind of network with each other, and talk to each other.

We also do some community service events. And we also usually, in non-COVID times, we have the BMES games, which is where everyone — it’s like a field day for our department. But all the professors also come out and they compete with us. So it’s a really fun environment.

You said that you’ve been working in a lab for three years. So are you able to start working in a lab early into your college career, you don’t have to be a junior, senior? 

You can start day one. I walked in, and I just emailed the head of the department … it’s that accessible. And he set up a meeting with me as a freshman, which I don’t think that’s really found at any other university. And he was able to get me connected with Dr. Vega. And I started in his lab, like my first month, freshman year. We also have other freshmen in our labs, we have sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

As an out-of-state student, do you have any advice for the transition process to come here? 

Rowan is a place where it’s really easy to make friends. Even though a lot of people here are from New Jersey, and there’s not as many people from out of state, it’s super easy to get integrated with the community. I’ve never once felt out of place.

Katie views a microscope in the lab.

Is there anything else that you want to share?

I’d like to reiterate how excited everyone in this department is to be here. And I think that’s really rare in other schools; faculty just kind of like their jobs. But like, every single one of our faculty members are super passionate, not just about their research … instructors are super passionate mentors. I think that’s a really rare combination to find at another university. 

See Katie with the Rowan Food Recovery Network in this video

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Rowan RAs Share Tips for Creating a Positive Environment while Living with a Roommate

two people sitting in apartment.

For most people, college is the first time students live with a roommate. Resident Assistants (RAs), who are trained with mediation tactics, share some tips on how students can create and maintain a positive environment in their spaces. 

Senior RA in Townhouse Apartments Alyssa Putiri thinks the key to a positive roommate relationship is “all about being open to communication. Discussing boundaries and personal preferences are crucial to making sure both you and your roommate are comfortable with each other. Remember, you don’t need to be best friends with your roommate, but it’s important to create a comfortable environment for the both of you to live in.” 

Alyssa Putiri leans against an outdoor railing on campus.
Alyssa Putiri

Alex Jackson, a senior RA in 230 Victoria Nexus Apartments, says to “pick your battles. There’s always going to be disagreements, as people in general have different living styles. But if you and your roommate can learn to compromise on things that aren’t too important, you will both be sure to take important issues much more seriously.”

Alex standing outside

Whitney Center RA senior Mathew Mcgrath says “first and foremost, it is essential that roommates maintain respect for one another. Roommate agreements provide a framework for what roommates want and expect from one another. Having respect for each other will make developing personal bonds both a less complicated and less intimidating venture.”

Mathew McGrath

Sam Eloy, a junior RA in Rowan Boulevard Apartments, challenges students to “make sure they are as transparent as possible. Address any issues immediately rather than letting them simmer. Drawing lines of respect and understanding is important to make sure no one is ever offended or gets hurt.” 

Selfie of Sam Eloy.
Sam Eloy

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Story by:
Loredonna Fiore, senior public relations and advertising major

3 Rowan RAs Share Their Favorite Programs

Resident Assistants, or RAs, are tasked with creating programs to connect residents with each other and the greater Rowan community. Each program is designed specifically and intentionally by the RA of the floor to promote a sense of belonging in the residence hall. Here are some programs that RAs loved to host for their residents. 

Junior Keianna Williams, an RA in Chestnut Hall, shared her favorite program titled “Self Reflection.”

“I displayed a mirror outside of my room and then made a heart full of sticky notes. Each resident was asked to write something they loved about themselves in a sticky note displayed on the wall. I then handed out tiny pocket mirrors for them to keep. I told them that every time they opened the mirror, they should say something nice about themselves. This program helped promote self-esteem and self love. I also loved that it included Rowan Thrive, a wellness initiative on campus attributes of purpose.” 

Keianna Williams
Keianna Williams

Sydney Ramos, a junior RA in Mimosa Hall, shared that her favorite program that she has done is a Black Lives Matter Brave space.

“This was a program that encouraged an open discussion on issues surrounding racial injustice in our communities. It also was a space where those who did not know much about the BLM movement could understand what it was and gain information and resources to have a better understanding as to why the BLM movement is so important. I had a decent outcome with residents, and they were happy to be able to have a discussion on issues that sometimes are hard to talk about. I was even interviewed by The Whit for a featured article about my program.”

Sydney Ramos
Sydney Ramos

Alyssa Salera, a senior RA in Holly Pointe Commons, described her favorite program that combined fun with important conversations about relationships.

“We had a Bachelor finale watch party. My residents all loved the show, both my male and female students, so we all got together, snacked on a bunch of food and desserts, and talked about the show and everything it encompassed. I loved seeing how excited they got about who the star chose to get engaged to, as each of my residents had a personal preference. We then talked about toxic relationships and the importance of mental health in regards to how it pertains to the show, they were all so involved in the conversation! It was the most I’ve heard some of my residents speak and be engaged in all semester, so it was great seeing them come out of their shell.”

Alyssa holding goat
Alyssa Salera

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Story by:
Loredonna Fiore, senior public relations and advertising major

5 RAs Share the Benefits of Living on Campus

External shot of Townhouses.

Living on campus can open a door of opportunities for Rowan students. Resident Assistants, or RAs, are an integral part of the on-campus community. They are trained to guide and support students in their transition to Rowan residence halls. Here, five Rowan RAs reveal the perks of on-campus living.  

“Especially in a time where online learning is more prominent, it is crucial for our students to feel like they have a space to connect with other students and staff. We offer events that different offices and organizations hold for students to be able to unwind and enjoy their time on campus. We have internship opportunities here on campus, jobs, and so much more to offer all for our students. These connections are something that they can take with them well into the future.

“My job as an RA is to be able to know the resources on campus and connect my residence with what I feel they need or would like to try. I offer events that SUP put on, connections to the Wellness Center, the Academic Success Center and so much more. As an RA I am the point person to help students understand each of the departments that we offer. I even get the opportunity to get to know my residents by attending events with them or even just eating at the student center. It is one of the most impactful student leadership roles on campus.” – Sydney Ramos, an RA in Mimosa Hall

Sydney sits outside on a gazebo.
Sydney Ramos

“Living on campus was one of the best decisions I made when I first arrived at Rowan. Not only do students who live on campus possess opportunities to develop as an independent, but they may also forge bonds with one another. The communities fostered by Rowan’s residence halls are strong, making it easier for students to thrive socially when they first arrive at college. RAs are responsible for making residents feel comfortable in their new environment. We facilitate and promote programs and other events tailored toward the diverse interests of our community.” – Matthew Mcgrath, an RA in The Whitney Center

Matthew smiling with red umbrellas in the background.
Matthew Mcgrath

“Living on campus gives a whole different perspective of life! It’s not for everyone, keep in mind, but it’s a great way to meet new people and get super involved. Rowan has so many fun campus events that it’s just easier to enjoy if you live on campus. Academically, it can be a lot more convenient to walk to class instead of trying to find a parking spot or if you need to run into a lab for whatever reason. RA’s can play a huge role in the college experience, as they are usually the first resource you go to for any advice or announcements regarding events on campus. They try their best to really integrate you into the community and make you feel at home.” – Alyssa Putiri, an RA in Townhouse Apartments

Alyssa sitting at a table with her laptop on campus.
Alyssa Putiri

“Living on campus is an integral part of the college experience. It provides a smaller community of students who you might not otherwise get to meet if you weren’t living on campus. Rowan’s residence halls are great communities for students, and as RAs, we help run this community. Fostering an environment for residents to interact with one another and feel connected to the community is one of our goals, and this is an experience you don’t get to have if you aren’t living on campus.” – Rachel Galing, an RA in Magnolia Hall

Headshot of Rachel smiling.
Rachel Galing

“Living on campus was the best choice for me, 100%. Living in a residence hall freshman year was a unique experience that introduced me to so many different types of people and brought me closer to people on my floor and in my major. I was also close to everything on campus, so meeting up with friends or classmates to do homework or hang out was always convenient.” – Alex Jackson, an RA in 230 Victoria Apartments

Alex in student center.
Alex Jackson

Even though living away from home can seem scary, Rowan RA’s and the greater campus community can help make it worthwhile. 

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Story by:
Loredonna Fiore, senior public relations and advertising major

Why Psychology Major Leah Boyle Chose to Study Close to Home

Leah stands in front of a tree on Bunce Green.

Today we speak with Leah Boyle, who recently graduated with a degree in Psychology. Leah comes from Haddonfield, NJ in Camden County and is a first-generation college student. She had been an on-campus resident all four years and worked as an RA (Resident Assistant) for the LGBTQIA+ Learning Community in Holly Pointe for the last two years.

Why did you choose a university close to home? 

My sister went [to Rowan]. She’s a year older than me and she graduated last year. We are very, very close and when she went to Rowan, I knew that they had a great psychology program. We were roommates in Holly Pointe my freshman year. We had an apartment together with our friends. She’s one of my best friends. That was why I chose [Rowan] and it ended up being a great opportunity. Everything about it has been awesome. It was more for family. 

How do you carve out an identity for yourself if you are with a sibling in the same place? 

Shannon, my older sister, specifically was an Art major. She was working on that, and I became interested in the Social Justice office. [I] started working at the office of Social Justice Inclusion and Conflict Resolution (SJICR). I worked on their programming and it got me thinking about what we do for our queer students, which got me to becoming an RA. She ended up making a club for women in our arts programs (Women of Westby, W.O.W). I was able to get my residence to come to W.O.W. events and she was able to bring the arts to my residence. So we were able to connect a lot [that way]. She was really successful in her art. I was doing my psychology and social justice stuff. We started out the same but went in different directions.

Leah wears glasses and a Rowan t-shirt smiling in front of Bunce Hall.

Did you ever feel overshadowed by having a sibling here? 

Well, I’m not an artist! I didn’t really know much about how Shannon is such a good artist until I would meet with her in the art building. [We’d] go get food together, see her stuff and [witness] people talk about her and her art. She is an incredible oil painter. So I didn’t [feel] overshadowed because I don’t do a lot in the arts. I took an oil painting class last semester on Zoom and had to call her every day to get tips. We had our own things that we specialized in. It was good to see her grow in her art. She got a lot of involvement in social justice too.  

What was it like to live with your sister in a university location after living together for your whole life? 

It was much messier because we had bigger rooms now. We’ve shared a room since I was seven. I say everything that is hers is mine. She lives in Maryland now. It’s a lot more arguments about where things should be put, but it was great. My sophomore year we had an apartment with four other friends in university housing. It was really great because there’s no one you could be more honest with than your sister. I could say, “I can’t be around you right now.” I can be honest with my roommate because she is my sister.

Rowan was really accommodating to [me] living with a sophomore my freshman year. They had no problems and they were so happy for us. I’m happy we were able to do it because now she’s doing her own thing. I’m moving after this. I’m going to grad school at Montclair State University.

Leah chats with her friend Kevin on Bunce Green.

Do you have any other majors, minors or CUGs? 

I took Child Life courses at University of California Santa Barbara, where I study hospitalization. I’m going to Montclair State for Child Psychology. 

What is it like not living with your sister? 

In the beginning, it was kind of a bummer. I’m happy I didn’t have to go live with someone who wasn’t her. I got used to it. It’s a little far (I’m up near New York) so we make weekends to see each other. She calls me and I call her probably a little too much. It’s not so bad, we’re [still] in constant contact.

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Story by: 
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

Roommates Reflect | Anthony and Nasir | Holly Pointe Commons [VIDEO]

Exterior shot of Holly Pointe Commons.

Roommates Reflect is a series highlighting campus living, how new students bond together and the stories they share.

“The reason I like it here is because it’s very close to home,” says sophomore Civil Engineering major Nasir Brown. “It’s good to get the experience of living on your own and having the real college experience despite all the difficulties.” 

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Video By:
Brian Seay, sophomore sports communication and media major

Alumni Success: Mitch McDaniels on Finding Your “WHY”

Mitch poses at the Holly Pointe Commons sign.

Today we speak with Mitch McDaniels, who graduated from the Honors Concentration with a degree in Biochemistry in 2020. Mitch also minored in German Studies throughout his time at Rowan University. He grew up in Hammonton, NJ (Atlantic County) but now lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Mitch was a Resident Assistant (RA) for three years and lived on campus for all four years. He was also actively involved in the Honors College, B.L.A.S.T. Mentoring, the Keck Behavioral Lab at Cooper Medical Schoolthe Academic Associate Program at Cooper University Hospital, Rho Alpha Sigma, and Alpha Epsilon Delta. He was also a volunteer at the Kitchen of Hope Food Bank (Glassboro), and a Chemistry Learning Assistant for four semesters.

What did being an RA and Assistant Resident Director (ARD) mean to you?

Res Life [meaning RLUH or working for Residential Learning and University Housing as an RA, ARD, graduate role, or professional role] is such a unique field and it’s such a diverse and unique group of people that come together to do so much more than just run a building. I absolutely loved it throughout my time at Rowan — the opportunity to be a part of flourishing communities of residents in their first year of college, and hopefully being that go-to guy for my residents for the good, bad and everything in between.

My experience through Res Life has definitely been one of my favorite memories at Rowan because I met so many new, and now lifelong, friends through it. I love when my residents come back and tell me how much fun they had their freshman year or a favorite memory they had from their year in our pod. A few even went on to go into Res Life themselves; it makes me so happy to hear that!

For me, it was really special to see the ways in which my communities grew together, and the ways they found to make a difference together. 

Mitch poses under the "Pork Chopper" statue in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Mitch poses by the “When Pigs Fly, Pork Chopper” Statue which is part of the Sculpture Walk in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

What advice do you have for current students?

I think every first year student should take a little bit of time to find what it is they want to do at Rowan, until they really find their “why,” both on campus and off. I’m still learning exactly what that is for me, honestly. No matter what you do, who you hang out with, or the classes you take, I’ve learned that it’s best to keep an open mind because those moments came when I was least expecting them.

My first year, I was really quite quiet, but I thought that being an RA would be a really unique way to meet people and be part of a community. Lots of people become hyper-focused on the free housing and food, which is pretty sweet, to be honest, but I also wanted to find a place to help in building that welcoming environment I found on campus. I often forget that I had a meal plan and free housing as an RA because I just enjoyed getting to meet everyone and get connected and involved in a way that was different from any other role on campus because their home also becomes yours. 

No matter what you do at Rowan, you really have to take the time to find your “why” [your purpose] at Rowan. There’s this proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I really believe that Rowan’s spirit comes from that small-campus community, where friends, colleagues, and professors all have your back.

My best advice would be to enjoy college for the people and experiences you’re surrounded by — go together, not alone. I’ve found that the best way for me to get things done is when I’m passionate about it and that I want to see it through to the end, together. For me, the Res Life community was that “thing.”

Now stepping into the real world and getting off of the college campus, finding your “why” comes with the territory for everything you do.

Mitch poses confidently in front of a Sioux Falls sign.

Where do you work now?

Now, I work as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Sanford Health, a big hospital system in the Midwest, but mostly in the Dakotas and Minnesota. I’m on a team of four coordinators that are working on a portfolio of COVID studies. We have two different studies that we are mainly working on for the moment. One is for different treatments that focus on outpatient settings, where patients actively have COVID and are sick, but they’re not sick enough to be hospitalized. This study, sponsored by the National Institute of Health, is an Adaptive Platform Study, which means that we are evaluating multiple investigative treatments that can change from time to time, to quickly and safely identify medications that could significantly improve a patient’s COVID-19 diagnosis.

We’re also doing inpatient work with people who are in the ICU on ventilators, high flow oxygen or other life-saving measures to support them throughout their battle with COVID-19. It’s another adaptive platform study evaluating various medications for people suffering more severe COVID, and who have received advanced life-saving therapeutics or interventions to keep them alive or better support them.

I was always asking myself “why” because I wanted to pour all that I could into any activity I was doing. I didn’t want anything to be just a checkbox for my resume. It really needed to be something that I cared about and believed in.

Part of my “why” for medicine is that I want to be a resource for people wherever I go. That’s something I saw in my family with my father being an FBI agent. I want to be able to carry my skills into underserved areas at some point in my career and make a difference within those communities.  

Mitch wears a light blue shirt and stands in front of a waterfall.
Mitch loves the famous Falls Park in his new hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

What do you hope to do in the medical field?

It really hit when I had the chance to really immerse myself in the Camden community through Cooper, first as a student at MEDacademy at Cooper Medical School, and later as an Academic Associate at Cooper University Hospital. I really began to see that a physician doesn’t work in a bubble, they are someone who’s active and embedded within the community that they are trusted to serve. Ever since, I saw medicine as an opportunity to expand upon the skills, mindset and joy that Res Life has brought me, to help better build a community.

Of course, Rowan has always supported and nourished my curiosity for science and the human body; it’s also helped me to find my voice in leadership. But what my time at Rowan and Cooper has gifted me with has been the opportunity to think, grow excited and imagine how I wanted to give back to the community at the intersection of science, leadership, education, research and policy. 

Part of my “why” for medicine is that I want to be a resource for all people wherever I may go. That’s something I saw, and valued, in my family with my father being a Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I hope to be able to carry my skills into communities (especially those underserved) throughout southern New Jersey, our nation, and the world throughout my career and in hopes of making a difference within those communities by empowering the people of those communities through all I learn from them. No matter what field of medicine I pursue, there’s nothing more important to me than to help these communities I hope to serve to thrive and grow.

A gorgeous blue and orange sunset shines above a majestic waterfall in Minnesota.
Mitch captured the beauty of Falls Park with just his phone.

Tell me about your favorite memory from Res Life? 

My favorite moments were those that were unscripted where I would just hang out with my residents on a random Tuesday night in a hallway or lounge of Holly Pointe. We would have the best conversations! I would always leave my door open because I wanted people to be able to walk in and just sit down. I wanted them to know my room was theirs too, and that it was a safe space where they could unwind, have fun, or talk anything over. The most organic moments were the times when I felt true friendship forming between myself and my residents, and it was not any longer just me “supervising” their freshman experience.

One of my favorite memories in these communities as an RA and an ARD was bringing my residents to the food pantry. I really loved the idea of getting into the Glassboro Community and all of us volunteering together and seeing the ripple our pod could make in the greater community. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the awesome staffs I worked with throughout my three years in Res Life. I couldn’t think of a better group of people to program with, spend time with, or occasionally deal with those 3 a.m. fire alarms. Those unscripted moments, with my residents and RAs alike, made every moment worth it. I owe it to them for helping me to find my why throughout undergrad. 

Waterfalls and tower in Sioux Falls, Minnesota
Another gorgeous sunset by the Queen Bee Mill in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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Story by: 
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos courtesy of:
Mitch McDaniels, biochemistry graduate

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Pros and Cons of Living in Holly Pointe

Exterior shot of Holly Pointe Commons.

Rowan Blog contributor, public relations major and student athlete Natalie DePersia shares her personal pros and cons of living in the Holly Pointe Commons residence hall.

During my first year at Rowan University, I had the luxury of living in a newer residence hall with a fully functioning air conditioning system that was pumping on a continuum. From my experience I have gathered the highs of living in Holly Pointe and my personal downsides of living there. 

Pros of living in Holly Pointe

My ultimate pro of living in Holly Pointe was the air conditioning. I hate being hot, especially if I am not on a tropical beach with an ocean in an eye’s distance. As a collegiate athlete, the air conditioning in Holly Pointe was my saving grace during the changing of seasons in the fall and the very warm spring. If you are prone to getting cold easily … the air conditioning could definitely be a con for you. 

A light pink and gray decorated bedroom in Holly Pointe with photos on the wall.
Natalie’s first-year room in Holly Pointe.

Another pro of living in Holly Pointe was food accessibility. I lived in the G Wing, which was located directly above the Glassworks Dining Hall. Craving a late night snack or seeking out a pre-class and/or pre-practice meal could not have been easier for me! My favorite food was grilled cheese. Simple, but life changing. Holly Pointe even had a convenience store and a Starbucks located on the main floor.

Another pro was the inclusivity that Holly Pointe provided. There are gender neutral bathrooms accessible in every wing. There are also mixed gender rooms available. Holly Pointe provides a safe, comfortable and accepting living environment for all.

Finally, the easy accessibility to the laundry rooms made hauling a big hamper mostly hassle free. My laundry room was located just a few steps away from my room. This was just the right amount of distance before my arms started hurting from my reluctance to do laundry prior to my clothes surpassing the max capacity of my hamper. 

Glass displays and retail counter space in the Holly Pointe Snack Shop.
The Holly Pointe Snack Shop.

The cons of living in Holly Pointe

My first con has to be the frequency at which the fire alarms went off. Holly Pointe is a massive residence hall that houses over 1,400 students. For some unknown reason, the fire alarms would frequently go off; the fire alarms most of the time did not go off to warn the occupants of a fire or anything dangerous happening, but because some residents would decide they had a sudden desire to pull the fire alarms. There were many sudden wake-up calls during the middle of the night from the alarm, and it gave me a good scare every time. 

exterior of Holly Pointe Commons, orange, white and gray modern.

Another con of living in Holly Pointe was how thin the walls were in the dorms. Yes, this is a very specific con; however, as the tired student-athlete I was, I would go to bed decently early. Other residents in Holly would sometimes play music or hang out with friends during this time. If I was trying to go to sleep and a resident was playing Billy Joel a floor above me, I was indeed listening to Billy Joel along with them and not going to bed anytime soon. 

Natalie (left) and first-year roommate Jenna (right).
Natalie (left) and first-year year roommate Jenna (right).

Finally, the last con I have of living in Holly Pointe was the rule that we were not allowed to have extension cords. Yes, this con seems like a very small issue and it is enforced as a safety precaution; however, there were in fact frequent times where I wish I could have my phone, laptop, Apple watch and lamp all plugged in and accessible at my reach. I do admit that that “problem” was minuscule. 

My overall experience at Holly Pointe was one I will never forget. I greatly valued the air conditioning, easy accessibility to Starbucks coffee — a little too much — and that there was a grilled cheese always available to eat a floor below me.

External shot of Holly Pointe.

Check out our video of Holly Pointe Commons here:

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Personal photos courtesy of:
Natalie DePersia

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#PROFspective: History Major Anthony Raisley on Living On Campus

Anthony sits on the grass in front of Bunce Hall wearing a yellow shirt.

Today we speak with recent graduate Anthony Raisley, who majored in History with a concentration in U.S. History and multiple minors in Entrepreneurship, New Media, International Studies as well as a CUGS (Certificate of Undergraduate Studies) in Italian! Anthony comes from Middletown, NJ in Monmouth County and has lived on campus all four years of college. Anthony graduated this past May.

Advice for incoming transfers or freshmen who want to live on campus?

It’s very exciting to see all the facilities Rowan has to offer and the new things that Rowan is developing. There’s great housing and great options for everybody. I’d definitely say to live on campus if you can because the experiences you get are certainly unique to being an on-campus resident. I very much enjoyed my time living on campus all four years.

What are some of the advantages of living on campus? 

It’s much easier to walk to class and to visit friends in other residence halls. Also if I have to meet up with other classmates to work on projects, it’s easy to meet in one of the academic buildings or in one of the resident lounges.

Anthony stands confidently in front of the Rowan arch.

What about practical tips for packing? Tips on what to leave at home?

Each year you get better and better with picking and knowing what you need to bring. To be honest, I never bring enough (lol). There are things where I’m like, “Oh, you really don’t need this.” But you can never have too many sweatshirts if it gets chilly on certain days. Don’t forget the rain boots or rain jacket. Those are things you forget because it’s a beautiful August day when you move onto campus and then you realize once it’s October: “Oh yeah, I need my boots and rain jacket!” Definitely prepare for all of the elements, but it’s great to see the campus change through all of the seasons!

How did you make friends as a resident? 

My freshman year, when I moved in, I started off running cross country and track. I was able to move in early. I met the guys on the team. Everyone from Rowan Athletics is fantastic, makes you feel welcome, and helps you with your transition from moving from home into college. My sophomore year I was still running. I [also] started working in admissions as an ambassador. Being able to meet a lot of my fellow ambassadors as a sophomore, junior, and senior, you get a great idea of what Rowan represents as far as all of the different backgrounds and different majors. It’s a great way to meet people that way. It’s a great environment to work in. In my junior year, I started working for the social media team, another great way to meet people and professional staff as well.

Anthony gazes into the sun in front of Bunce Hall wearing all light colors.

How did you get connected with Rowan Social Media? 

I saw an email or announcement online. Immediately, I was interested in it because on the side I take photos. Being able to be part of this environment, taking photos of campus, and getting to meet so many people has been fantastic.

What do you want to do professionally after graduation? 

After graduation, I’m actually going to Georgetown for grad school. I’m moving to Washington, D.C. because the program I got into was the Master of Arts in Communication, Culture, and Technology. It’s exactly what I love, all those subject areas even with the minors that I have here and also my major. It all fits together. I’m so glad I’m able to pursue that next year. It’s nice because you can pick what you want to focus on. That’s what’s in store for me this fall.

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Story by: 
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

Queer Voices: Business Major Ian McClellan

An exterior shot of Bunce Hall is illuminated in rainbow colors for Pride Month.

This interview was originally featured on the Queer Voices Instagram page @queer_voices. 

Biomedical Art and Visualization major Emerson Harman created the Queer Voices Project, which is working “to amplify LGBTQ+ student, faculty, and alumni voices at Rowan University through portraits and interviews.” You can also find more of their content here.

Name, pronouns, and identity?

My name is Ian McClellan, my pronouns are he/him/his, and I am gay.

What is your year in school and your major?
I am currently a junior here at Rowan University majoring in local Supply Chain Management and Logistics, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship.

Ian leaning against a bridge overlooking a lake.
When did you come out as LGBTQ+, and why then?

I officially came out when transitioning between high school and college. For me it was just an easier transition, because I didn’t have to keep up any sort of façade. Everyone who was going to be at my school wouldn’t know me, so it was an easier time to be open instead of trying to hide it.

Has being LGBTQ impacted or influenced your education?

For the most part, there isn’t a noticeable impact. My teachers have never quite cared, and most of them probably don’t know. I’m not super forthcoming about being gay, it’s more of a fun fact or piece of trivia that you figure out if you figure it out, so I guess there’s been no profound impact.

Has LGBTQ culture and acceptance changed throughout your time at Rowan?
I’d say the change is minor, but I noticed it through the LGBTQ clubs on campus. When I first started attending Rowan my [first] year, the LGBTQ clubs and organizations were more of a social gathering where you could go and meet other LGBTQ people in the community, but today it’s more focused on activism and social change. That has come around due to leadership changes in the clubs, so activism is a bit bigger on campus than it once was. Social interaction still occurs through the activism of those clubs, but it’s not quite what it was. The culture hasn’t changed too much, but just changed what the focus is about.

How has attending Rowan helped you in finding an inclusive community?

Rowan has allowed me the opportunity to meet other members of the LGBTQIA+ community who are of a similar age. This has allowed me to feel more comfortable and to physically see others thriving and believe that I can thrive myself.

Were there any faculty that you particularly enjoyed, inspired you and/or made you feel you had a safe space?

The residential learning professional team at Rowan made me feel more comfortable in my time as both a resident and a resident assistant. They not only encourage diverse perspectives but celebrate them. Everyone has something to bring to the table.

Is there anything you would want to see changed at Rowan in regards to LGBTQ+ life?

I know a lot of people at Rowan struggle at the moment with their identity. College, for a lot of people, is a time to get away from the pressures of home and feeling like you have to achieve certain things, so I know a lot of students have the opportunity to explore their sexuality. A lot of people are quiet or hushed about it, though, because they feel that there’s some kind of stigma or stereotype about experimenting with your sexuality, like it’s something you can be made fun of, especially if you’re a male. You seem to have to want to experiment, because if you experiment, people think you automatically are [LGBTQ] and there’s no going back, so a lot of people go on apps to explore sexuality and use fake names or don’t put up photos, so overall there’s a lot of insecurity about it, which could be worked to be decreased.

Anything else you want to discuss?

There’s a living-learning community in Holly Pointe Commons for LGBTQ+ people. I know that RLUH (Residential Learning and University Housing) is really pushing to create more learning communities to allow people to express their interests, so people who want to be involved in the LGBTQ community have a place where for the first time in college they can come out and meet people in the community. They get the opportunity to feel an aura of comfort, because other people in their community don’t judge them for who they are.

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#PROFPRIDE: Leah Boyle, RA for the LGBTQIA+ Learning Community

Leah smiles in front of Bunce Hall while wearing a gray Rowan shirt and glasses.

Today we speak with Leah Boyle, who graduated this May with a degree in Psychology. Leah comes from Haddonfield, NJ in Camden County and is a first-generation college student. She has been an on-campus resident all four years and worked as an RA (Resident Assistant) for the LGBTQIA+ Learning Community in Holly Pointe for the last two years.

What has it been like being an RA?

It’s been so good. I love everything about it. I’ve gotten so many opportunities through it. I am the RA for the LGBTQIA+ Learning Community. I make programs and oversee all of our students as they transition into Rowan. 

Is there a moment that stands out to you as particularly meaningful being the RA of this pod? 

Making programs [focused] on helping people introduce themselves and finding footing in a completely safe space for the first time has been the most impactful to me. Just having people refer friends to me if they have questions. Knowing that I myself am a resource has been my favorite thing about it. 

Do you get a lot of first years? 

Yes, it’s only first-years. I’m so happy I was able to do it. It’s been the happiest job I’ve had. It’s been so positive and a great environment.

Can you tell me more about the programming that you’ve offered? 

Because of Covid, it’s a little bit different. This semester I taught American Sign Language every month on Zoom. Last year I did Coming Out parties and LGBTQIA+ History Trivia Nights (showing the names and faces of people who are really important to our history). We have certain events for people who were celebrating their one-year anniversary since transitioning. It was so great, we had so much fun.

It’s a little different with Covid. I had a Diversity Movie Club, where everyone would watch the movie on their own time and then we would get together later on and discuss whether it was reflective of our experiences. It’s more flexible, but last year I had a lot more [spontaneous yet purposeful] events.

Leah puts a hand on her hip while standing under the Rowan arch.

What feedback have you gotten from residents in comparing this community to where they originally come from? 

I’ve had people tell me that this is the first time that they have had people refer to them by the name that they always wanted to be referred to by. [I’ve been told], “You’re the first person to ask me what my pronouns are and if I’m comfortable” or “I was nervous about my roommate but because I’m part of the LGBTQIA+ Learning Community, we’ve had the same experiences and I feel validated.” It’s so important that we have this space for people to meet other people. They all go off and join clubs together and lead together through Rowan. Having people show up to events that don’t even live in my pod and knowing more people around campus is so great. This has been great too. If people are happy within the community, it will continue to grow and grow. 

When you talk about your job with people who are not directly part of the campus community, such as parents or relatives, do they embrace it or do you find yourself having to explain its importance? 

One of my favorite things about coming to college has been that everyone comes from a different understanding of the community. It’s a bit confusing for people who are older than me or don’t really understand [why] I work specifically with this community. [It] also means that sometimes my job is more difficult than the people who live in neighboring pods because it comes with more difficult conversations. Sometimes I have to explain that, “Yeah, I have fun programs but sometimes it can be really intense.” 

It’s a bit different from a typical resident assistant but a lot of times my friends would always want to show up to these events, meet people, and get people involved. I think it’s important to talk about it and learning communities at Rowan are so important. They’re really, really successful. I hope that the more we talk about it, maybe we could have learning communities in one or two other buildings. I like to spread the good word and let people know it’s a really great space.

Leah and Kevin stand under the arch together.

Have you ever encountered any hate towards you as being the RA or towards people who live in your pod?

I think with having a diverse community living in a space, people can make the decision to come through and be judgmental or defacing property. In those situations, we have a lot of things in place to make sure that students are feeling supported. It’s not very common. I’ve been in this position for two years and very few times have I had to sit down with someone and say “Let’s talk about why you’ve done this thing.” 

It doesn’t really happen that often. A lot of the time we get people who didn’t sign up for it but they’re really just happy at the end of the experience because they were able to learn. I’ve had a lot of people grow and learn more. It helps not only our community but the people around us. Yes, we’ve had situations where people have not been accepting, but Rowan has a very strict policy for any of that behavior. It’s always been taken care of. 

For people coming into the university, do they have to share who they are to be able to qualify for this pod in terms of identifiers? 

We don’t want anyone to feel like they have to out themselves to their family or friends when they’re coming to Rowan. So, what they can do is when they sign up for housing there will be boxes of all of our learning communities. You can select that you want to be with first-gen people or social justice people. Then you can have information sent to your personal email about the LGBTQIA+ community and find out if you were able to be placed. 

I don’t get a list of [how] people identify. You can join if you’d like to and it’s not shared with a lot of different people. So I go into my job [thinking] that maybe this person signed up or maybe they didn’t. It’s more of an educational experience. A lot of people will come in letting me know that they’re so excited and share their past experiences. This year is different because we have different numbers than usual. I have people who don’t identify as LGBTQIA+. They have the complete same housing experience as everybody else. They just get more resources. It’s a win-win.

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Story by: 
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

Advice From a Rowan RA on the Residence Hall Experience

Exterior shot of Chestnut Hall Building

Today we speak with Alex Brown, a senior Music Industry major and first-time resident assistant (RA) at Chestnut Hall.

What advice do you have for incoming first years or transfers living in residence halls?

Definitely do not be afraid to try something out. If there is something that peaks your interest even a little bit and you feel like you can manage that with your course load, or even if you think you can’t, at least give it a shot. One, you’ll meet the people who run it; two, learn more about it; and three, you can say that you gave it your best shot.

There are people who leave after four years regretting not joining a club or being more involved on campus. 

What advice do you have for students who choose to live in a residence hall?

It’s a great experience, but it’s also something where you get what you put in. I highly recommend talking to as many new people as you can. You never know who is going to be your next best friend or resource for the rest of your college career.

Alex stands on the steps of Bunce Hall.

Do you have any advice for students dealing with homesickness?

You’ll definitely feel homesick the first few weeks, but Rowan does a lot of welcome week events where you can start immersing yourself with all the opportunities Rowan has to offer. Put yourself out there, go to events, go to Rowan After Hours (RAH) events every weekend, walk around, learn more about the campus and you’ll start to fit in to the environment. If you put in the effort to be a part of the community, the community will welcome you with open arms. 

Can you tell us about some of the best parts of Chestnut Hall?

Chestnut Hall is huge. It’s on the bigger end of the first-year dorms. Because of that, there are a lot of people you see on a daily basis. The space allows for more connections and friendships to be made without having to go too far.

Alex sits on the steps of Bunce Hall.

How would you describe the proximity to the academic buildings?

The way Chestnut is placed, you have a lot of different things that can help you. Chestnut has a parking lot for first-year students with access to a car. It’s a reasonable walk to Rowan Boulevard where there are a lot of restaurants. It’s also just a great hangout area for Rowan students and close to other first-year buildings.

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Story by:
Caitlyn Dickinson, senior public relations and advertising major

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major