Ewing residents are concerned about what the future may hold for the General Motors plant that closed several years ago.
Freshmen, under the direction of sociology professor Matthew Lawson, are knocking on doors and conducting a survey to allow the residents’ voices to be heard.
Senior project assistants Deanna Richter, a deaf education elementary education and sociology major, and Maryanne Mule, a sociology major, took a map of Ewing and numbered all the streets.
The numbers were picked randomly and students were assigned to every third house on those streets.
The survey is voluntary, but many residents were willing to participate because they really are interested in what happens to the 84-acre lot.
“I was surprised at the number of people who responded to our flyers,” Craig Cedermark, freshman biology major, said.
“People in the community are concerned with the future of the land,” he added.
Many Ewing residents want the site to become a town center with restaurants, theaters, parks and a public recreation site.
Lawson also wants his students to benefit from this experience.
“My job is to teach research methods, and the best way to teach that is to actually do research,” he said. “A community project is the easiest source for hands-on work.”
“The students are more motivated doing this type of project because this offers them a chance to help the community,” he added.
“Research done in class is a requirement that some students may not enjoy, but doing work in the community is very important and offers a chance for the students to receive recognition,” Lawson added.
“For me, I know something meaningful will come out of this, and Ewing will be a better community,” Richter said.
“I was very apprehensive beforehand, but everyone who agreed to take the survey were very pleasant and it was a good experience,” freshman fine arts pre-major Megan McGrath said.
Mike Miragliotta, Anne Carella, Susan Brogan along with Richter and Mule are the supervisors that make the survey successful.
“They are making the decisions and executing them,” Lawson said. “This staff presents the information and I just look it over.”
There are 65 students in the freshmen required course Athens to New York that are joining Lawson’s classes in the survey.
They need two weeknights of work and one day during the weekend to fulfill their service learning project requirement.
Cedarmark is one of those students, but feels he is doing more than just filling an obligation.
“I got to reach out to the community of Ewing,” he said.
General Motors has been contacted and has agreed to consider the students’ findings.
The Township Planning Board and Town Council will review the findings in the near future, and will use the data to make the revision the best possible for Ewing.