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Parent & Family Newsletter

May 2020


With the closing of another academic year, we bring you our May 2020 Parent & Family Newsletter. Below, you can read an article about how the Division of Student Affairs at TCNJ is leveraging virtual opportunities for students, a feature about the School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science, and information about COVID-19 from Student Health Services. Additionally, you can find information about the virtual Commencement ceremony and important dates and deadlines for your reference. 

We hope you have a safe and healthy summer with your student!

Susie Orecchio, MA, NCC
Director of Administration & Operations, Student Affairs
Coordinator of Parent & Family Programs

Highlights from the Vice President
for Student Affairs 

Dear Parent and Family Members,

As this academic year draws to a close, I am deeply saddened. Over the past couple of months, the Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the lives of our students and the broader community. We never thought a gentle 'see you later' or 'have a good break' leading into spring break, would ultimately be our final face to face goodbye for the 2019-2020 academic year. The sweeping change has caused our faculty and incredible professional staff to quickly transform academic program offerings, create new virtual student engagement opportunities, and transform other administrative programs into digital formats that could be scaled to the entire student body. You will find many of these transformations illustrated in the virtual opportunities section of this newsletter. We are offering virtual programming, TeleMental Health, and TeleHealth Services. Our Office of Career and Leadership Development remains active as they diligently assist students in carving out their career path of job search. In fact, this office has also just completed the induction of our 2020 Blue & Gold honorees which recognizes some of our most distinguished students and their contributions to TCNJ and beyond in their short time with us. With so many challenges of the year, we have continued to persevere and accomplish so much.

Yet, I understand many are clamouring for information regarding the fall semester. Please understand it is still too early to know. Like every other campus across this country, it is the desire of our administration to reopen the campus to resume fall classes and student life. However, to achieve our greatest desire, we must be thoughtful and planful as we receive information and direction from our state leaders. We must also assess our more localized needs to ensure we keep the safety of our students, faculty, and staff at the forefront of our thinking. To this end, the College has charged a number of leaders throughout the institution to assess this daunting challenge and provide recommendations for a number of possible scenarios. As soon as we are able to report on the recommendations, you can rest assured we will let the broader community know. In the meantime, please bear with us. 

Finally, I would like to conclude by thanking all of the dedicated employees who remain so committed to our students' success and want nothing but the very best for each and every one of them. I would also like to encourage our students to hang in there. Their adaptability is illustrative of the core value of TCNJ Student Affairs: Resilience. Our students' resilient response to this global challenge gives me assurance their futures are brighter than I could have ever imagined. 

Stay safe and see you soon,

Sean O. Stallings
Vice President of Student Affairs  
Table of Contents

Connect with us across the web for more information and resources!

TCNJ Parent & Family Resources
TCNJ Parent & Family Resources
Parent and Family Webpage
Parent and Family Webpage
TCNJ Student Affairs
TCNJ Student Affairs
TCNJ Student Affairs
TCNJ Student Affairs
TCNJ Student Affairs
TCNJ Student Affairs
Student Affairs Virtual Opportunities
By TCNJ Student Affairs

During these unprecedented times, TCNJ's Division of Student Affairs has worked diligently to maintain resources and experiences offered to students. Below are some examples of what your student may have engaged with or used throughout the semester. 

  • The Office of Career and Leadership Development created a COVID-19 Career Resource Page and increased activity on their social media (@tcnjcareer and @tcnjleadership on Instagram) to provide tips, programs, and stories to help students through this difficult time. Some examples include the online campaign #careerdash and a list of companies' hiring statuses during the pandemic. 
  • The Residential Education and Housing staff implemented a three-pronged approach to community development and care throughout the semester:
    • Maintaining current practice of individual checks-ins of our residents to make sure they're okay, support their success, and help connect them to resources that can help them overcome any challenges they may be having. 
    • Creating opportunities for floors or communities to engage through programs and social opportunities that are synchronous and allow virtual face-to-face contact. (Examples include Netflix watch parties, game nights, and meditation sessions.)
    • Educational messaging about health, wellness, social connections, campus resources, and how to avoid social isolation in an era of social distancing.
  • The Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) continued to run its All Recovery Meetings virtually, ensuring the continuation of the emotional and community support to students. 
  • TCNJ Anti-Violence Initiatives (AVI) continued to host important events that would normally take place on campus and recognized Sexual Assault Awareness Month by creating visibility on social media. This included the Day of Action (April 7), Week to End Rape Culture (April 12-18), and Denim Day (April 29). 
  • Student Health Services offered free Telemedicine Services to meet the needs of TCNJ Students currently taking classes this semester.
  • Mental Health Services (MHS) continued providing clinical services remotely, along with sharing links to their other resources through their website.
  • The Dean of Students Office remained fully operational and continued providing services through Title IX, CARE Referrals, and Student Conduct. 
  • Recreation and Wellness established daily wellness challenges on social media, initiated group fitness from home, and continued RECreate Your Night which encourages creativity at home. 
  • The Office of Student Involvement hosted weekly trivia, celebrated student organizations through weekly highlights, and hosted a TikTok competition. They have also supported student organizations such as CUB to continue providing virtual activities such as Travel Around the World, CUB Bingo, and music lessons. 
  • The Shop/Food Pantry has remained accessible 24-7 to provide the students and community members with food and toiletries during this difficult time. 
  • The Center for Mindfulness and Compassion offered weekly online drop-in meditation sessions.

Find a more extensive list of virtual opportunities and resources provided by TCNJ Student Affairs on our Virtual Opportunites web page

Blue and Gold Hall of Fame
By Avani Rana, Director of Leadership Development

The Blue and Gold Hall of Fame was created six years ago to recognize the variety of student leadership that occurs at the College. The Blue and Gold Award honors students who have made extraordinary and sustained contributions to The College of New Jersey. This award acknowledges our understanding that these students, through the quality of their work and dedication to the mission of the College, will have a positive and lasting impact on the student experience. These individuals have all proven themselves to be critical change-agents, excellent role models for their fellow students, and dedicated and able leaders in and out of the classroom. These individuals represent leadership, scholarship, service and the core beliefs of the College.

Each year, we recognize 12 students for their service and contributions to The College of New Jersey. This year, the students have been recognized through social media, and a more formal recognition of these individuals will occur at a later date. You will be able to access the students and their short bios on our website: Please join us in congratulating this year's inductees: 

  • Vineeth Amba, Biology
  • Kimberly Cacciato, Deaf/Hard of Hearing Elementary Education - Mathematics Teaching 
  • Kelsey Cogan, Public Health/International Studies
  • Conor Collins, Biomedical Engineering
  • Casey Hendrickson, Communication Studies (Public/Mass Communication Track)
  • Sherida Hinckson, Accounting
  • Patricia (Patty) Kou, Finance/Political Science
  • Olivia Ortelli, Psychology
  • Lloyd Padmore, Finance
  • Vanessa Rutigliano, Psychology
  • Nicole Tampone, Business Administration - Marketing
  • William Walker, Marketing
Faculty Corner

Lyric Theatre has gone dark  can screens
bring it back to life?

By Lara Becker '21,
Journalism & Communication Studies Double Major

When professor Jennifer Little thinks of theatre, she thinks of its literal definition: live and immediate. Directing TCNJ Lyric Theatre every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday night brings fulfillment to this “in the moment” experience, where students engage in a place that feels safe and inclusive.

When you take away all of these features—presence of real people in real time—and translate it through a screen, it becomes difficult to find the power to create. After all, theatre is togetherness—oneness, and at home in quarantine it feels like we are devastatingly separated. 

We sit in our living rooms squinting into a camera, seeking to hear and see our colleagues and friends. How can this, too, be theatre? 

It’s something that Professor Little has worked day-in and day-out to maneuver for her students. And the best part: it’s working. 

At the beginning of the semester, Lyric Theatre did what they do best; they performed an interactive piece, “The Race,” that asked the questions that Little and her students work tirelessly to answer. 

A seasoned professor, Little always aims to produce theatre with a purpose, theatre that makes the audience think about the world around them. ‘The Race’ did just that by flipping the idea of ‘leadership’ on its head. This allowed the audience to view the political and cultural climate of today through a different lens. 

It allowed student actors to raise societal and political questions that many struggle to hash out in their daily lives. Junior Lauren Petite tackled Shane Koyczan’s ‘To this Day’ monologue, which discusses motivation and bullying. Junior Michael Schraft delved into Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom Speech” to share changing perspectives of America.

And lined up next was Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Trial By Jury,” a classic comedic opera turned modern. The story centers on a broken marriage and an equally broken legal system, both through playful satire. 

Senior Julia Corso had been patiently awaiting her time to direct a show alongside Little, and was all set to bring her ideas to life this Spring.

"We chose ‘Trial By Jury’ largely because we wanted to do a comedy after tackling some heavier shows! I’ve always been a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan, so I thought it would be fun to work on one of their lesser known operettas,” said Corso of her first directing experience.

Little described the show as reality TV meeting “Judge Judy,” and was ecstatic to bring a contemporary feel to a traditional opera sound.

However, this project would come to a screeching halt before it even started. After classes at the College were put on hold following spring break, Corso and Little began gathering ideas to quickly shift their focus to online learning. Their goal is to create an online version of the opera which will be posted on May 8, although this certainly comes with its challenges.

"During this pandemic, all of our students are dealing with more than just classes. They are dealing with economic uncertainty, health scares, family dynamics and the overall trauma that we all feel. No one can do three hours on Zoom three times a week. So we modified our schedule a bit and then started exploring what was feasible,” said Little. 

Keeping in mind realistic goals for the foreseeable future, Corso and Little began working with the resources they did have on platforms like Zoom, such as virtual backgrounds and mixed sounds.

What has been the most helpful to the directors, they said, is the students. Everyone has been doing their part to pool their knowledge and work together, as they always have done.

Senior Lana Holgado has worked to edit music and mix sounds, freshman Dylan Catania has jumped in to become the show’s “narrator,” and every student has spent weeks personally recording their own solos. 

It is these collaborations that help Lyric Theatre to stay true to what it’s always been about: community. It is clear that even in these trying times, teamwork has kept these students and directors going day-by-day.

They all agree that now, more than ever, theatre becomes even more relevant—not only to these students, but to us all.

"It is so unique that we have a place like this, to come together and laugh—sometimes lament—and keep working towards something as a group,” said Corso. 

Little believes that as storytellers, these student actors and directors are the key to breathing life into these unyielding times. Nothing can stop these voices from being heard, even a global pandemic.

She notes, “I am a firm believer that theatre will bring us out of this time. Right now, what we as theatre artists can do, is keep the stories present. Keep the stories alive. Keep writing, acting—connecting.”

"Trial by Jury" (Quarantine Edition), will be released on TCNJ Lyric Theatre's YouTube channel on May 8, at 8:00pm EST. 

School Spotlight

Update from the School of
Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science

By Dean Carole A. Kenner
School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science

Dear Parents, Families and Friends:

During these uncertain and unprecedented times, the School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science has recreated the higher education learning experience by utilizing technology and delivering our courses by on-line methods. Most of these courses are offered synchronously and faculty led just like in the usual on campus classroom. As health professionals, we recognize that interactions between faculty and students are critical to relieving undue stress.

Our health professional students in the fields of Health and Exercise Science, Nursing, and Public Health have always engaged in community experiences and have stepped up to assist during the pandemic.
  • Health and Exercise Science major Michael Zogheb's internship site successfully converted to a hybrid of remote and on-site work, continuing the full activities of the facility. Mike has been able to fully participate and implement his programs with rehabilitation (physical therapy and return-to-play training) and performance training of athletes. Video link:
  • Health and Exercise Teaching major Elena Pomarici's successfully converted to 100% on-line operations creating and administering online health and wellness programs as part of her internship site and project requirements. Video link:
Recently, Dr. Tracy Perron, Associate Professor of Nursing, described the overall experience of delivering coursework online. The Q&A session is below:

Q1. What exactly does the remote learning look like for nursing students? Including simulation labs.
A1. Depending on their year and current course they are enrolled in, Nursing has a variety of online simulations as well as actual clinicals that students are participating in. Actual lecture is being provided via Zoom, voiced over PowerPoints and other types of media sources. 
Q2. What has your department done to ensure that seniors are going to graduate and underclassmen are able to stay on track?
A2. Seniors will graduate on time. We are following NJ Board of Nursing and CCNE  (our certifying body) guidelines. This is an unprecedented time in nursing education. The Dean is in contact nationally with other Nursing programs to stay on top of the latest information regarding regulations for nursing education. The underclassmen are also being kept on track. 
Q3. Do you feel that the communication within your department between faculty has proven to be successful during this uncertain time? 
A3. Absolutely, our Dean has been very responsive to our questions. We, as faculty, have also banned together sharing various online simulations and activities as well as sharing our individual tech savvy with others less experienced with some of the online capabilities that TCNJ has.  
Q4. How have your students been reacting, in your opinion to the remote learning? 
A4. For the most part the students seem to be adjusting to the new norm. I would say the fact that this generation is very tech savvy is a really good thing! 
Q5. How are you yourself, as a professor handling the change? 
A5. [The first two weeks had] been very stressful finding alternatives to clinical, answering the needs of our clinical partners, needing student nurses to assist with triage, senior meal deliveries, senior grocery shopping and many other activities. Developing online course work, exams and helping adjunct faculty with tech issues as well. Being a public health/community health nurse has really helped me with this process; going with the flow and being flexible is what we do. 
In these uncertain times, our nursing students have been committed to assisting in their communities. Senior Nursing student Alyssa Ryan appeared on the Today Show to address the current pandemic from a nursing student perspective. The video can be found at
More news about our exceptional nursing students can be found at the links below:
Public Health students are making significant contributions on the front lines of the COVID-19 response: Abigail Parker interns at the Hunterdon County Public Health Department, Sebastian Czerwinski interns at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Sally Manneh (MPH) interns at the New Jersey State Department of Health, and Destiny Johnson interns at the Mercer County Division of Public Health.
Haley Pellegrino successfully adapted her internship to the COVID-19 pandemic and new social distancing guidelines. She played a crucial role in ensuring that the walk for suicide prevention happened this year. She assisted in the organization of TCNJ’s Out of the Darkness virtual campus walk in which more than 171 TCNJ members participated and $18,312 was raised for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Stay well and we hope to see you soon!
Dean Carole A. Kenner
School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science
What's New at TCNJ?

As the semester comes to a close, see some of the latest news available about The College of New Jersey!
Stay updated with more news about the College here.
What is COVID-19 and How Do We Cope With It in This New World?
Written on 4/21/2020 by Barbara Clark, ANP
Nurse Practitioner, Student Health Services


The virus that has so suddenly and dramatically changed the world by launching a pandemic and causing one of the largest healthcare crises in over a century is a novel (meaning “new”) virus from the coronavirus family of viruses. This virus is referred to as “SARS-CoV-2”, “2019 novel coronavirus”, or “2019-nCov”. The illness that is caused by this virus is called COVID-19 which stands for “CO” (corona), “VI” (virus) and “D” (disease). As worldwide cases and death rates soar, the implications for society include governmental “stay at home” mandates and pleas for social distancing measures. COVID-19 has closed schools including colleges and universities across the country sending students home to conduct remote learning. Information about this virus is changing daily leaving students and parents wondering where to look for help.

TCNJ students have a valuable resource at their fingertips with the FREE telemedicine services being offered by TCNJ Student Health Services. For questions about COVID-19 and/or concerns with other medical illnesses or injuries, students can schedule a telemedicine appointment from the comfort and safety of their homes using OWL (Online Wellness Link) at This will connect them with a Student Health Services’ nurse practitioner or physician who can offer healthcare advice, medications if necessary and other medical services to students. Here are some common questions that students and families may have about COVID-19.
Be Prepared: Get A Flu Shot Over the Summer
TCNJ Student Health Services

Experts including the CDC recommend that people receive annual vaccination against influenza. As the worldwide fight against COVID-19 continues, the advice to receive the flu vaccine has never been more important.

Although the flu vaccine has not been shown to provide protection from COVID-19, symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 may present in a similar fashion. Having the flu vaccine may help medical professionals decipher the cause of your symptoms if you get sick. 

Additionally, as both COVID-19 and influenza can cause serious complications including hospitalizations and sometimes death, having fewer people sick with the flu will lessen the burden on the healthcare system and allow necessary healthcare resources to continue to be utilized in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

Flu vaccine for the upcoming 2020-2021 flu season is generally available starting in the summer through retail pharmacies throughout New Jersey and from your healthcare provider’s office. You can locate vaccines at:

Additionally, TCNJ Student Health Services in partnership with the TCNJ School of Nursing provides campus flu vaccination clinics every fall. Dates and locations will be posted on the Student Health Services’ website in mid-August and campus-wide emails will be sent in mid-September. “Don’t hesitate, vaccinate today!”
TCNJ Athletics Winter Sports Recap
TCNJ Athletics Communications
Although the 2019-2020 athletics season was cut short, TCNJ students were still able to accomplish so much! Check out the winter sports recap here.
Health & Wellness Newsletter
By TCNJ's Health & Wellness Portfolio
TCNJ's Health & Wellness portfolio has their April 2020 newsletter to share with you! This issue is filled with articles, activities, tips, and helpful suggestions on how to cope more effectively during this unprecedented time. You can view the latest newsletter here.
TCNJ Dining Services

During this unprecedented time, TCNJ Dining Services has remained dynamic as it continues to serve the campus community.

The Dining Services Operational Team was able to quickly align with guidance that was received as we learned more about the precautions that we may take to best serve our customers.  While the team was preparing meals on campus, your health, safety, and nutrition were our priority as we developed novel ways to serve those remaining on campus by creating an online ordering system and delivering meals to sick students.

As the campus moved to virtual learning, and adjustments were made to the dining operation on campus, The Dining Services team at The College of New Jersey was able to donate 1,212 pounds of excess food from the various dining locations on campus. Donations were made to the TCNJ Food Pantry, The Shop, and to the local food bank Mercer Street Friends.





The team Registered Dietitian and Marketing Team have continued to support the campus community and students through its social media outlets, promoting health and wellness as well as nutrition tips for this time of virtual learning and staying home.

Some tips from the Dietitian include:

  • Look for the following nutrients when putting together meals and snacks to help give your immune system a boost.
  • Foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, mango, broccoli, and tomatoes are rich in Beta Carotene. Don’t shy away from the frozen food section of the grocery store; frozen produce is just as nutritious as fresh, and a great way to stretch out your stock of produce until your next trip to the store. 
  • Vitamin C is known to be rich in foods such as citrus fruits, and berries, but don’t neglect foods such as melons, tomatoes, and broccoli that are also high in this immune booster and budget friendly. 
  • Vitamin D is found in fatty fish, eggs yolks, and mushrooms, but you can also include fortified foods such as milk and juices fortified in Vitamin D. Egg yolks often get neglected or avoided, but they can be a part of a balanced diet and are rich in vitamins and minerals. 
  • Beef, seafood, and tofu are rich in Zinc, but it can also be found in pantry staples such as nuts and beans! 
  • Look for Probiotics in foods such as yogurt, kefir, and fermented foods. Fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut are a great way to add variety and flavor to your meals when you’re feeling bored of the same routine!   

TCNJ Dining Services continues to proudly serve its customers and is looking forward to serving you back on campus soon!

Significant Dates and Deadlines

  • Last day of Spring classes: Friday, 5/8/20
  • Reading days: 5/9/20 - 5/11/20
  • Exam period: 5/12/20 - 5/15/20
  • Reading days resume: 5/16/20 - 5/17/20
  • Exam period resumes: 5/18/20 - 5/19/20
  • Virtual Spring Commencement: 5/21/20
You can find TCNJ's full academic calendar here.
Class of 2020 Virtual Commencement Ceremony
Class of 2020 families, be sure to visit the Commencement website for detailed information on Commencement.
Are You a TCNJ Legacy Family? Let us Know!

A Legacy at The College of New Jersey is an alumna/alumnus or current student who is the grandchild, child, or sibling of another TCNJ alumna/alumnus or current student. The Office of Alumni Affairs hosts special events for Legacy families throughout the year. Please let us know if you are a TCNJ Legacy family by clicking here to fill out our survey.
TCNJ Barnes & Noble Bookstore

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