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Virtual Rutgers Day to feature more than 100 programs for community members

This will be the second year in a row Rutgers Day has gone virtual due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, with the event being held through the Rutgers Day Facebook page. – Photo by Rutgers.edu

The annual Rutgers Day event will be held virtually tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m for the second year in a row, said Patty Kastner, associate director of the Office of Community Affairs. The event will feature more than 100 live and pre-recorded programs for visitors with activities including performances, contests and informational content.

“The pandemic has kept the University’s hallmark spring event virtual again for this year, but our creative faculty, staff and students have worked hard to put together engaging and interactive programming,” she said.

While Rutgers Day is typically the largest community event at the University, drawing more than 100,000 people to campus in the past, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has required this year’s event to look different, Kastner said.

Several Rutgers community members discussed the programs they have created for the event and what they hope participants will take away.

Erin McDonald, a School of Arts and Sciences senior and events intern for the School of Communication and Information, said two of the school’s live programs will include a conversation on career tips for individuals interested in communications and a School of Communication and Information-themed trivia game, she said. Asynchronous activities will include a themed scavenger hunt and virtual video tour of the school.

Gaurav Pathak, a fifth-year student in the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and president of the Pharmacy Governing Council, said the school will be hosting seven different events for Rutgers Day. He said pharmacy organizations have collaborated to create programs regarding the pharmacy profession and how to get involved, as well as events that discuss the COVID-19 pandemic, opioid epidemic and access to healthcare.

“Although each program is slightly different and has a different focus area, we hope that our viewers understand how pharmacists have worked on the frontlines to combat the pandemic, impact the opioid epidemic and educate patients,” Pathak said.

Jasmine Grossmann, a graduate student at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and president of EJB | DESIGNS, and Justin Alexander, a School of Arts and Sciences junior and secretary of the organization, said their organization will be focusing on the history of the urban design sketchbook through several speakers and curated drawing sessions.

“Our hope is that participants will begin to understand the value of hand drawing, not only in its application within the urban planning, design and architectural fields, but also applying hand drawing as a broader way to think, problem-solve and, in some cases, just relax and have fun,” said Jonathan Malpica, a graduate student in the Bloustein School.

Marycarmen Kunicki, an agent in the Department of 4-H Youth Development Program at Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, said New Jersey 4-H from Home will be hosting several interactive webinars and posting videos geared toward youth and families that will focus on areas such as healthy living, financial literacy, civic engagement as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Additionally, the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies will be hosting an at-home painting and mindfulness event as part of its RU Tobacco Free campaign, said Nicolette Garthe, a School of Public Health junior. At this event, participants will be able to illustrate their vision of a tobacco-free campus and post their works on social media for a chance to win prizes.

“Our goal is to advocate for a 100 (percent) tobacco-free campus policy and cultivate a healthier Rutgers community (that) can come together to celebrate the benefits of a tobacco-free campus environment,” she said. “From the program, we hope to educate the community on health risks associated with tobacco use and raise awareness of cessation resources available to them.”

These participants said that despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on the traditional design of many Rutgers Day programs, they were able to come up with new ways to continue to engage the Rutgers community in a virtual environment.

“I think it’s important to maintain the continuity of the Rutgers Day tradition, even during a pandemic,” Kastner said. “It’s an important outreach effort for community members to learn about the research and programs that Rutgers is working on … and an opportunity for the Rutgers community to come together during challenging times.”

The event will be presented on the Rutgers Day Facebook page, and there are no pre-registration requirements, she said. Participation is open to everyone, and programs will be made available on the Rutgers Day webpage after the event so that individuals can continue to visit them.

“Rutgers Day will continue to foster the same community spirit that we all enjoy each spring,” Kastner said. “It provides a chance for us to come together and share in a day of learning, exploring and fun.”

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