Editorial: R U Rowan proud?

Students gather along Rowan Boulevard, or as students often call it, Robo. - Photo via Rowan University

Over the past year, The Whit has run many stories about the shortcomings of Rowan University. From parking problems to issues receiving reliable and quality mental health resources, to insufficient Rowan Alerts — it’s been a year of shedding light on issues. Yet, as many of the editorial staff and writers prepare to graduate, we’ve grown more nostalgic. The issues and our concerns seem to drift away, and that feeling of school pride returns. With 25 days left until University Commencement, it seems fitting to take a moment to appreciate the school that’s served as our headquarters for the past four years.

It’s easy to miss the beauty of our campus as you run to make your Monday 8 a.m. class, but that doesn’t mean its charm is lost. For some, the pathway through the woods behind the Engineering Hall became the perfect place for a quiet, peaceful stroll between classes. Those who enjoy the outdoors might have found refuge studying underneath the gazebo behind Willow Hall. Still, others might have enjoyed tanning, writing or hanging out with friends in the Glassboro Town Square or on Robinson Green. No matter where you go on campus, you’re surrounded by beauty. From colorful landscaping to water features, Rowan’s allure is not to be missed.

Beyond its appeal, the university has been consistently ranking competitively with other colleges. This year the RTF department ranked No. 10 overall by the Broadcast Education Association — additionally placing first for Audio Production, sixth for Documentary Production and ninth for Film & Video Production. Last year, PreMed Experts ranked Rowan’s School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM) second in the nation. The Princeton Review ranked Rowan’s undergraduate entrepreneurial program No. 44 nationally. U.S. News and World Report ranked Rowan No. 194 out of 442 national universities and No. 100 out of 224 public universities. These rankings are due in large part to the students and faculty that make up the university. 

Rowan is home to outstanding faculty, many of whom continue to work in their field while teaching. They balance classes with research, publications and award-winning work. Dr. Eric Liguori, Founding Head of the School of Innovation & Entrepreneurship was recently named the 2023 Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. This year five professors — Nicholas Whiting, Yong Chen, Andra Garner, Sebastian Vega and Jason Heindl — joined ten other Rowan professors in receiving the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards. Researchers from Rowan-Virtua SOM (in conjunction with Durin Technologies) developed a blood test that can detect Alzheimer’s 10 whole years before symptoms start. Beyond these incredible achievements, many more Rowan professors continue to research, publish, create and achieve.

The achievements extend to our students too. Did you know that the number two pinball player in the world goes to Rowan? Yup! That title belongs to freshman Nutrition major Jason Zahler. Senior Environmental Science major, Mackenzie Weaver, whose research with Dr. Andra Garner was recently published in Nature Scientific Reports, will continue her education at the University of Pennsylvania to pursue a Ph.D. Harrison Nastasi, a freshman and creator of Bobica Bars, placed first in the New Jersey Division of Global Student Entrepreneur Awards. His older brother, senior business management major, Nicholas Nastasi, developed 4U Medical Designs, which produces medical-grade stickers intended to help calm patient anxieties in clinical settings. 4U Medical Designs is now used in a multitude of local hospitals including New York – Presbyterian and Shriners Childrens.

We as a college community have even developed our own culture. From slang like “Landy,” “The Circle,” “Disco” and “RoBo” Rowan students understand each other. As a collective, we’ve created linguistic maps and large, yellow Adirondack chairs have become a cultural symbol for students. Many students cannot avoid loved ones buying or pointing to every owl item they see in honor of our favorite mascot, WhoRU. We all know what it’s like to wait for an elevator, circle around the Discovery parking lot looking for a spot and figure out how Clearpass works. Each Rowan student may have their own journey but we all have these shared moments, creating a shared experience. 

Future students have so much to look forward to. The new Discovery building will be home to many environmental science classes in the years to come. The Student Center expansion, set to open next fall, will provide students with a new place to eat, study and hang out, and modernize the central hub of the university. Rowan’s partnership with Virtua Health will further students education by providing more enhanced educational opportunities. In 2025, Rowan will launch New Jersey’s first School of Veterinary Medicine, expanding Rowan’s reach and major options. 

As seniors spend their dwindling days on campus, it’s important to look around and remember all the good times. Rowan may have its share of problems, but at the end of the day, it’s a school we can all be proud to have come from.

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