Members of Rutgers’ Class of 2026 have already built a resume of activism, achievement and service before entering their first university classroom or laboratory.
They have lobbied for gun safety measures, created a financial literacy business aimed at Gen Xers, and produced a film about the journey of immigrants to America. They’ve organized the cleanup of Jersey Shore beaches and coached a 3-year-old with autism to say his first words.
If positive changes are going to come to society, Abdon Andahur believes, they will start with his peers.
“At the moment, our generation and the millennials are the ones who are able to make an impact on issues like these,” said the North Plainfield resident who will study music education at Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts.
It’s a theme echoed by Dylan Chong of Jersey City, who is entering the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
“There might not be another generation that can do what needs to be done,” said Chong, who says he was driven to pursue environmental studies after his mother, who lived across from the World Trade Center on 9/11, was diagnosed with cancer.
Across the university, Rutgers is welcoming about 13,500 incoming students this fall.
President Jonathan Holloway, who greeted many members of the incoming class and their families during move-in days, said he is eager to continue meeting students as they learn more about themselves and the world at Rutgers.
“I am thrilled to welcome new caring, curious and engaged Rutgers students to our campuses, which are already brimming with energy and the promise of a fully vibrant academic year,” Holloway said.
“Nothing is more exciting than to see all the new faces as 70,000 students from across the state and around the globe return to Rutgers, full of hope and ambition and happy to be rejoined with their friends and the faculty,” he added.
Andahur and Chong are emblematic of the incoming class of first-year and transfer students at Rutgers-New Brunswick, according to Courtney McAnuff, vice chancellor of enrollment management at Rutgers-New Brunswick.
“This class is unprecedented in terms of size, diversity and academic quality,” McAnuff said. “We got the cream of the crop from the state and around the country.”
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