By Gerard Freda
If the College wants to continue to attract the best students from New Jersey and elsewhere, we need to make as many people aware of our name as possible. I know there are occasional sales, but lowering the price of school gear at the College’s Barnes & Noble bookstore for an extended amount of time would undoubtedly increase purchases and, in turn, the amount of people wearing the letters “TCNJ.” This would ideally increase the general public’s awareness of our school.
The College’s bookstore, like almost any other college bookstore, is over-priced and we all know that. But few colleges could benefit more from a donation to subsidize prices on apparel and school memorabilia in their bookstore than ours.
When asked by a relative or a friend where you go to school, how many times have you heard the response, “Oh, I never heard of that” and then you proceed to explain it used to be called Trenton State? Or how many times has someone asked you where you go to college and you get the response “Oh you mean NJIT?”
Explaining to people that you go to “TCNJ,” “The College of New Jersey,” “it used to be called Trenton State” or “no, not NJIT” can get redundant and annoying, but it speaks to the larger problem that after almost 20 years, many people simply do not know about the College.
Recently the College delved into the largest fundraising campaign in the school’s history. The $40 million campaign includes initiatives on student support, academic enrichment, student experience and capital improvement goals. With continued state funding cuts, these areas of need are obviously more immediately important than making our school clothing and memorabilia less expensive. But what is also important is the long-term goal of getting the four letters “TCNJ” easily recognizable to the public. A donation to this cause would be much more noble than to a general fund to get your name on a building.
Hopefully, a small portion of our fundraising campaign can go towards making the bookstore less expensive. Maybe then, next holiday season, more of us could wear those “ugly” holiday sweaters and just point to our chest when Uncle Bob asks us where we go to school.
Or maybe not.