BELLEVILLE, N.J. | New Jersey City University (NJCU) and its Division of Student Affairs was honored by The Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) and COMMERCE Magazine during the 2022 Companies That Care Awards Reception at Nanina’s in the Park on March 23. The awards breakfast paid tribute to the kindness and generosity of the business community.
NJCU was recognized with CIANJ’s Companies that Care Awards with its Gold Award in the Outreach to Vulnerable & Disenfranchised Communities category.
Barbara Colon-Ruggieri, MSW, LSW, Assistant Dean of Social Services and Jennifer K. Luciano, Associate Dean of Residence Life and Social Services, accepted the award on behalf of NJCU.
In all, 44 companies, including leading manufacturers, retailers, hospitals, banks and colleges and universities, were honored at the reception, attended by more than 100 business executives.
“Giving back and helping those in need is a part of the culture for all of the companies and organizations we are honoring,” said Anthony Russo, President of CIANJ. “We are glad that we can showcase all of their good works and honor them for their commitment to service even through the last two years while dealing with the global pandemic,” Russo added.
Jodi Bailey, Ph.D., NJCU's Vice President for Student Affairs added: “I am so proud of our work. Our team has worked so hard, often while dealing with emergencies. To have the services recognized and to be a gold standard is simply amazing.”
As NJCU returned to in-person instruction during the Fall 2021 semester, an emphasis on student welfare put a spotlight on the efforts of the Division of Student Affairs, led by The Center for Community Engagement (CCE) and the NJCU Community Center.
In October 2021, NJCU held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand opening of 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐆𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐜 𝐑𝐚𝐜𝐤. This center offers career clothing options for NJCU’s students by providing access to new and gently used professional attire for interviews, career fairs, networking events and the workplace, thus removing financial barriers that may prevent students with the highest need from looking and feeling their best during the internship and job search process. By doing so, NJCU continues to find solutions to elevate social mobility.
NJCU’s team created the Gothic Knight Food Pantry (GKFP) to address food insecurity — which has increasingly become an issue on college and university campuses and can pose a significant barrier to student success. Furthermore, NJCU held holiday food drives and collected food, gifts, and donations for families in the local Jersey City community.
“We gave out food during Thanksgiving to 60 families, held a holiday gift drive with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson & Union Counties, held coat drives, and delivered food to doorsteps while aiding Assemblywoman Angela McKnight’s hunger initiative,” Bailey noted. “We also established lactation rooms, gender-inclusive restrooms, and changing tables in all bathrooms—not just women’s rooms.”
To assist the campus community with pandemic-related challenges, the NJCU Community Center offered free daily COVID-19 testing and with the help of our Student Government Association, the center designed masks that were given out free to the NJCU community. Furthermore, the institution’s Children's Learning Center (CLC) provided discounted childcare rates for faculty and staff and offered full childcare grants for students.
Additionally, NJCU’s Health and Wellness Center hosted COVID-19 vaccination opportunities for students, faculty and staff and opened the opportunities to anyone in the Hudson County community. Additional flu vaccine clinics and community blood drives were offered as well as free STD testing for students.
CIANJ is a statewide business advocacy organization, representing more than 900 corporate members from every industry sector. The organization asked the business community to share stories of its philanthropy. Their stories became a special section of the March issue of COMMERCE Magazine that was also distributed digitally.
This year’s winners were selected by a blue-ribbon panel of judges which included CIANJ board members John Corcoran, President & COO, D'Alessandro, Inc., Cindy Myer, President, Ridgewood Moving Services and Peter Webster, Resident Managing Director, AON Insurance.
Pfizer was chosen as the 2022 Champion of Good Works for their incredible work to address the global pandemic. They produced more than three billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for people around the world. Their global outreach was nothing short of extraordinary and made a difference in the lives of so many people in every corner of the world.
The New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) partnered with CIANJ this year to present their ‘MADE in New Jersey’ Manufacturing Cares Award 2022 to Custom Picture Frames. NJMEP and CIANJ also partnered on a philanthropic venture, ensuring that a portion of every ticket sold to the awards reception was donated to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. Both organizations recognize that food insecurity has become widespread because of the pandemic and are committed to addressing the issue.
New Jersey City University is an institution of higher learning with an audacious goal: the development of our students, our city, our communities, our state, and the world beyond. We are a game-changing force for our students and their families. Whether our students are enrolled in one of our 50 undergraduate, 30 graduate or three doctoral programs at our three locations — our main campus in Jersey City, our School of Business located in the heart of the Jersey City Financial District, or our newest location at NJCU @ Fort Monmouth which expands bachelor's and master's degree offerings along the Jersey Shore, NJCU provides an affordable, diverse environment, and an exceptionally supportive faculty—all of which prepares them to be critical thinkers in a global landscape.
We’re also changing the game for our city, our communities, and our state. As the educational anchor institution in Jersey City, we’ve established partnerships to ensure the area’s growth directly benefits our students and community members. We seek to improve the lives of everyone in the Garden State, whether creating a home for the arts, bringing educational programs to K-12 students, offering bachelor’s degrees in partnership with community colleges, or providing professional development opportunities for adults.
At NJCU, we’re not just educating minds, we’re nourishing souls and lifting communities. We’re changing the game.