In recognition of Brookdale’s 50th anniversary, employees from every academic institute and department came together on Nov. 6 to host one the biggest, broadest and most immersive Fall Open House programs in college history.
More than 700 local students and community members flocked to the Lincroft campus for the afternoon Open House, which was completely redesigned for the 2016-17 school year.
While previous open houses featured a wide range of information booths clustered throughout the Collins Arena, this year’s program allowed attendees to tour the college’s 220-acre campus and get a first-hand look at Brookdale’s science labs, arts studios, tutoring centers, TV and radio studios, theater spaces, the Bankier library and other facilities.
The Open House also featured a student panel discussion, with five current Brookdalians describing their experiences at the college and answering questions from prospective students, and addresses by financial aid director Stephanie Fitzsimmons, vice president of student success David Stout, and Brookdale president Dr. Maureen Murphy.
“I could not be more excited to welcome you here today. This is going to be a great afternoon,” said Murphy, addressing the crowd in the arena before officially kicking off the Open House. “Brookdale is the finest community college in the state of New Jersey, and one of the finest community colleges in the country. I encourage you to explore, talk with our students and employees and see for yourself just what makes our college so special.”
Murphy also gave an overview of some noteworthy services, programs and achievements for the 2016-17 school year, including expanded bus service to Brookdale campuses, an affordable new child care center on the Lincroft campus and a series of new, more convenient transfer partnerships with New Jersey universities. Murphy also highlighted the college’s value, explaining that tuition is roughly one tenth that of some nearby universities, while Brookdale graduates regularly transfer to some of the top colleges in the nation.
“Our graduation rate is in the top 10 percent in the nation, and 60 percent of our graduates leave Brookdale with zero student loan debt,” Murphy said. “Our mission is simple: We help you get here, we help you stay here, we help you learn here, and we help you thrive.”
Following the remarks, attendees were able to stay in the arena and meet with staff and students representing dozens of college departments and campus organizations, including the Office of Student Life and Activities, Career and Leadership Development, admissions, financial aid and partner institutions such as Rutgers and New Jersey City universities.
Attendees could also choose to visit a number of “mini open houses” in their area of interest. In the Center for Visual Arts, for example, faculty such as interior design professor Celeste Chirichello and architecture professor Edward O’Neill walked potential students through the college’s design studios, answered questions and gave an overview of their academic programs.
In MAS, STEM and health sciences faculty gave demonstrations and hosted intimate roundtable discussions for local high school students and family. In MAN, visitors could learn about more than a dozen business and social science programs while munching on freshly prepared food courtesy of Brookdale’s Culinary Education Center. Humanities faculty set up shop in the Performing Arts Center’s Black Box Theater, talking literature, music and theater with interested visitors throughout the day.
Howell High School senior Chris Guidice said he was especially impressed with Brookdale’s TV studio and production facilities in the basement of ATeC, where we was able to learn the ins and outs of the college’s digital media program.
“I haven’t made a decision on where I’m going to college yet, but I’m definitely impressed with Brookdale,” said Guidice. “I’ve never been to the campus before, and it’s surprising to see how much they have here. It made a pretty good impression on me.”
Guidice’s mother, Janeen, said she appreciated the new, more interactive Open House format, which was similar to Open House programs run by four-year colleges and universities in the area.
“We recently went on a tour that was a lot like this, and it is much more enjoyable and informative that attending your usual ‘college fair,” she said. “We both appreciated being able to see the facilities and speak with an instructor directly. It makes a big difference.”
Learn more about Brookdale’s academic programs and courses of study here. Keep up with Brookdale’s year-long 50th anniversary celebration, including exclusive events and community programs, by visiting the Brookdale events calendar.
Check out more photos from the Fall 2016 Open House here.