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Retreat Amongst The Woodlands

Kean acquires 41 acres in the Highlands

By Michael Tomasino
On March 3, 2012

The economy's state has left many academic turfs cut high and dry. However, the fields of environmental and life sciences have been virtually unaffected by this "deforestation of the market." Keeping this in mind, Kean University will be providing individuals with the opportunity to gain first-hand experience -- working within the most aw-inspiring nature in the northeast.

As part of the Vision 2020 plan, Kean has acquired 41 acres in Oak Ridge, New Jersey. The university is working hand-in-hand with the Environmental Protection Agency to secure a 20-year lease for the Regional Highlands Center at Mt. Paul -- costing the university a total of $1 per year -- yes a dollar a year.

Dr. Nicholas J. Smith-Sebasto, the executive director of the Kean University Center for Sustainability Studies states, "The Kean Highlands will provide students with a variety of educational opportunities, including -- but not limited to -- the ecology and sustainability of terrestrial and aquatic natural resources, such as fisheries, wildlife, watersheds, and native species; the biogeochemical processes related to landscape management; and the impacts of climate change on ecosystems."  

Sound impressive? Perhaps so impressive that faculty may "grow green" with envy of their pupils. Luckily for the administration, faculty will be presented with the opportunity to conduct research alongside students. Yes, both students and faculty of the colleges of Natural, Applied and Health Sciences; Humanities and Social Sciences; Visual and Performing Arts; and Education will be able to study in the Garden State's woodland utopia.

Those whom cash in on this prospect will live within a "dormitory-style building featuring 35 private and semi-private sleeping rooms, various large and medium size meeting spaces, shared bath facilities, an indoor basketball court, and a commercial-grade kitchen." Only adding to the allure, every building is set within walking-distance of a large lake equipped with a dock.

The Regional Highlands Center at Mt. Paul provides students with all of the luxuries and experiences of studying abroad, without the expense and inconvenience of traveling halfway around the atlas.


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