About 200 new and returning students at Rutgers University at Camden participated in a voluntary day of service to beautify the city, including park clean-ups and public space restoration. At Farnham Park, students donned rakes, brooms, shovels and trash bags to remove weeds and trash from the park.
First-year student Jason Lin from Long Island, N.Y., will be living on campus and studying biology. He said that his family is worried about him living in Camden, a city with a reputation for being neglected and dangerous. They suggested he not wander far from campus. Sopohmore Joey Poliziana lived on campus as a freshman and begins his stint as a resident assistant in a university dorm this year. He thinks of the campus area as secluded and sheltered from the rest of the city, but said he’s a fan of the “culture of Camden” and that he will encourage his first-year residents to get out and experience the local restaurants and businesses. Senior marketing major Angelica Diodato grew up close to Camden and remembers visiting the aquarium as a child and thinking the city needed help, so now she volunteers whenever she can. “It does need a lot of help, but it has the potential to be a great place to live,” said Diodato. First-year student Vanessa Murphy from Pitman, N.J., will live on campus while studying biology. She’s heard the good and the bad about Camden, but finds her new home “pretty” and was glad to be volunteering. She hopes that the work students do will help revitalize the city and that everyone else will take the opportunity to “see Camden before making any judgements about it.”