By Elena Tafone
Leaders and residents of the Ewing Township community, along with students from the College, met in the Education Building on Monday, March 9, to review developments in the town, on campus and in areas where the two worlds intersect.
Following a closed council meeting, the open-public session included discussion of upcoming on-campus events as well as off-campus safety and community outreach.
These meetings started back in October 2012 after the school administration received a flood of complaints about the off-campus conduct of students. Administrators hoped a public forum would help foster communication and improve the sometimes turbulent relationship between Ewing residents and students.
It’s an approach that appears to be paying off — in terms of incident reports, this past year’s Homecoming was “the best year in 15 years,” according to Ewing Police Department Det. Michael Pellegrino.
Student Government President Matt Wells says this year’s successful Homecoming showed how the relationship between the College and the surrounding community has improved over the years.
“I think students are starting to recognize their impact on the community and the community’s impact on them,” Wells said. “We’re entitled to have events on campus and such, but at the same time, (we have to) be mindful of the community around us.”
It’s not only Homecoming weekend that has seen improvement, but the rest of the academic year, as well. While weekends are still when most disturbances occur, there has been a noticeable decrease in Tuesday night incidents. This can be attributed to new class scheduling, according to Vice President of Student Affairs Amy Hecht.
However, a more pressing concern has been the increase of break-ins in the area, mostly in student-rented houses. With many people coming and going and students visiting home during long breaks, off-campus housing can make for an easy target.
“If you can, keep a couple of cars in the driveway,” Pellegrino said. “I know that students have to take their cars home, but if there’s any way they can carpool, especially if it’s over a long weekend or something like that, it’s always best.”
He also recommended keeping lights on timers, making sure that doors and windows close and lock correctly and taking home valuables.
It’s this kind of vigilance that will only help to improve the Ewing community, making it a place in which both residents and students want to live.