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President Foster and Mayor Steinmann want students to spread the word, not the virus

TCNJ President Kathryn Foster and Ewing Township Mayor Bert Steinmann recently visited several off-campus student residences to emphasize the shared commitment between the college and the township in keeping the community healthy.

The visits included handing out hand sanitizer, TCNJ masks, and other personal protective equipment as well as conversations with students about keeping themselves and their neighbors healthy.

TCNJ students Giovanni Magee and Casey Schulhafer visit with TCNJ President Foster and Ewing Mayor Steinmann.

“We are asking our students to spread the word, not spread the virus,” Foster said. “By visiting these students at their homes, we are reinforcing we are really in this together with our neighbors in trying to create healthy community norms. The visits also demonstrate that we are serious about our health and wellness measures and we need the partnership of our students to achieve the goals we have for the year.”

Foster recently communicated via campuswide email that students need to do better following protocols and safety measures or their time on campus could be cut short.

“I am hoping that these students will catch some community spirit and help with outreach to other students and other members of the community about how to work together,” Steinmann said. “Students also can talk to Ewing citizens and perhaps find out how they can offer a helping hand.”

TCNJ has taken numerous steps as part of its state-approved Spring Flex plan including holding approximately two-thirds of all classes remotely, reducing the occupancy of residence halls by 44 percent, and implementing weekly testing for those on campus, a mandatory daily self-health check, and robust measures to assist with contract tracing, as needed.

David Rodriguez, a junior student-athlete on the Lions basketball team, appreciated the home visit and the overall approach the college and Ewing Township are taking to prevent the spread of the virus. 

“Having Dr. Foster and the Mayor Steinmann visit members of the community illustrates that, as a whole, the college and town are really trying to manage the virus and trying their best to keep us safe,” said Rodriguez. “Knowing that the administrations are making a conscientious effort really means a lot.”

Junior finance major Giovanni Magee, a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, welcomed Foster and Steinmann to his home last week and even presented President Foster with a bouquet of flowers. “I applaud these visits, especially because they are being done in a safe way,” he said. “It’s a nice gesture and it shows they are going to practice what they preach.”

Additional efforts to show the partnership between TCNJ and Ewing Township include a recent op-ed in the Ewing Observer and a billboard on the corner of Pennington Road and Olden Avenue.

President Foster and Mayor Steinmann have additional community visits planned for the coming weeks.

— Luke Sacks