A Big Kean Welcome to Students; New and Returning!

The end of August marked the beginning of a new chapter for Kean students.

Campus Life > A Big Kean Welcome to Students; New and Returning!
A Big Kean Welcome to Students; New and Returning!
Kean students showing their spirit at the Battle of the Buildings.
Jean Gardere

Jump into Kean, a series of campus events designed to welcome new and returning students, began on Sunday, Aug. 28. Activities ended Wednesday, Aug. 31. Through dozens of different events, new students had the opportunity to decompress and get to know their new home away from home as well as their new Kean family. 

One of these events, Fun in the Sun, was held on the Dougall Hall Patio from 12 to 4 p.m. on Sunday and Monday. Students could relax with friends both new and old. Not without refreshments, of course, courtesy of Kean staff and a local business that has been gaining traction over the past year or so. 

“[It’s] a small business, but it’s growing,” said Silvio Valladares, owner of the Fruit Republique Juicery in Union Center, an area he described as the “heart of Union Township.” Valladares and his assistant set up shop on the Dougall Hall patio on Monday, where they provided acai bowls to hungry Kean students. 

Fruit Republique Juicery sells an assortment of other items, including “juices, organic smoothies, cold-pressed juices, veggies, and fruit salads.” Fruit Republique Juicery is one of many businesses partnered with Kean University, meaning they accept flex dollars. They are located at 1001 Stuyvesant Ave., Union, NJ.

Set up across from Fruit Republique Juicery was Jumpstart. Niksha Davis, jumpstart’s senior site manager, described Jumpstart as a “non-profit organization that serves under-resourced children in low-income communities.” Jumpstart’s goal is to prepare these children with the literacy and socioemotional skills they will need before entering kindergarten. 

Jumpstart is hiring and students can earn up to 300 service hours. Additionally, Jumpstart positions count as federal work studies, meaning students can get paid. Interested students can head to Jstart.org to learn more and to apply. 

In keeping with the spirit of Fun in the Sun, students were given the chance to share some of their favorite summer memories.

“It was really fun shopping with my friends for prom dresses,”  said Jessica Appau, a freshman studying bio health. 

"I miss it a lot," said Freshman Michael Casale, about his late Thursday night drives to play mini-golf with friends.

While students were saddened by the end of summer, they remained optimistic about their potential to make new friends and memories. 

“[I’m] really excited,” said Freshman Melanie Huashuayo, a finance major. “I love meeting new people, hearing different stories and different backgrounds.”  

Freshman Vincent Scibetta, an accounting major, described himself as “closed off” in high school. Now that he is part of the Kean experience, Scibetta hopes to “meet new people and open up.” 

Elsewhere, at Wilkins Theatre, shuttle runs took place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday. Students were shuttled to various points around campus, traveling to different events, meeting new and old friends, or simply viewing the scenery.

Isabel Gulcz and Manel Rodellar were among the many students using the shuttle service Tuesday. Gulcz and Rodellar are both junior global business majors from Spain, looking to continue studying at Kean. 

“As I came here on Sunday, I haven’t met so [many] people yet,” said Gulcz. However, she did have a chance to meet her roommates and remains optimistic about befriending them. 

Gulcz dorms at Rogers Hall, Rodellar at Sozio Hall. Like Gulcz, Rodeller has not had the chance to meet many new people, but has met his roommates and keeps in touch with his fellow exchange students.

Yet another opportunity for students to interact presented itself during Jump into Kean. In the Miron Student Center Game Room, freshmen returning from a day of tours and presentations could unwind with a friendly game of pool, cornhole, chess, connect four, and more. 

“I do consider myself a team player” said Davina Malcolm, a freshman and health management major. “Because I like to talk to people and get to know everyone I’m around.” Malcolm does this to build relationships with the people she’ll be connecting with. 

Alison Kowalewski is a freshman and an education major. As a member of Kean University’s women’s volleyball team, she naturally considers herself a team player. 

Kowalewski’s friend, Freshman and Interior Design Major Brianna Otto, is another member of the women’s volleyball team. She loves games and describes herself as “very competitive.” 

Both Kowalewski and Otto give Kean’s Game Room a solid 10, Kowalewski stating “there’s so many options.” While Otto loves the “good energy [and] good vibes,” they both hope to do well during their upcoming volleyball season.

The final event, Battle of the Buildings, pit Kean’s residence halls against each other in friendly competition. Activities included basketball, sack racing, volleyball, relay races, and the event highlight, tug of war. Residential students seemed confident in their respective teams. 

“I’m pretty confident because I feel like we have such a close bond with each other,” said Iyanu Olayinka, a sophomore studying stem math education. She dorms in the New Freshman Residence Hall. 

Roommates and best friends Freshmen Genesis Veras and Deeba Majid were very confident in their team. “[I’m] extremely confident,” said Veras. “Cougar Hall is the best hall. Represent, second floor!”  

Veras is studying finance and Majid is studying chemistry. Like Veras, Majid shared her enthusiasm.

“I’m 95 percent confident," said Majid. "We have a lot of strong people on our team.” 

Starting a new chapter can be a daunting task, but it can be made easier with the help of others. Hopefully, students were and will be able to forge new connections.