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College and community connect

In an effort to enhance community engaged learning and give students a desired taste of urban life, the College has opened Trenton Works, a satellite office in downtown Trenton.

“I’ve really been amazed at the interest that we’ve had,”  said Madeline Bell, policy and public relations coordinator for the Bonner Center.  She is “very impressed that TCNJ is coming back into the community.”

The Trenton Works building is situated on the two floors above the Dunkin Donuts at the intersection of State Street and Broad Street, about 10 minutes away from campus. According to a March 28 article published in The Times of Trenton, the College partnered with the Trenton Downtown Association to find and lease the site.

Through Trenton Works, students, regardless of major, will have the chance to work with faculty and participate in various programs.

“It will open up the opportunity for students both in the Bonner program and outside to connect with the community,” Bell said.

Projects that have already taken place at the satellite include film screenings, guest speakers, citizenship assistance for immigrants and student entrepreneur programs.

“We really envision it also being a meeting spot for students,” Bell said.

The second floor of Trenton Works has desk spaces and a conference room, which can be converted into a classroom if the need arises. The building also has a new multimedia design lab. But the couches on the third floor have “a kind of coffeehouse lounge setup,” which can serve as a welcoming rendezvous point for students, Bell said.

Rajashekar Manimaran, a sophomore interdisciplinary business major and a Bonner scholar, said that the Bonner program hopes the College’s efforts, through its new downtown setting, will help restore the capital to its former beauty.

“Having an office downtown not only shows that TCNJ is committed to Trenton’s transformation, but it is also an opportunity with endless possibilities because we are now at the center of rebuilding our capital city,” he said.

Trenton is a city burdened with political scandal, crime and poverty. But Manimaran believes the College community can make a difference.

“There are crime issues, a recently convicted mayor and more abandoned buildings than anyone can account for,” he said. “But in reality, the closest synonym to Trenton is and should be: potential.”


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