Should Princeton Buy Westminster

Rider University, having decided to sell Westminster Choir College, is in negotiations with a Chinese company which, until very recently, was called the Jiangsu Zhongtai Bridge Steel Structure Co. These negotiations have not been concluded after many months; meanwhile, Rider is facing two separate lawsuits alleging that it cannot sell the college — and many friends of the College, including townspeople in Princeton, have become increasingly worried that the transaction, if concluded, will fundamentally change the nature of the school.

Perhaps there is a better way to resolve this matter. Considering the excellent education that the Choir College has given its students for so many decades, and the prestigious, nationally acclaimed school that it has always been, suppose the town of Princeton were to float a bond issue and buy the Choir College from Rider University, thereby keeping the college alive and functioning.

Obviously the college would have to repay the town for its generosity, perhaps by allowing a portion of its land to be made into housing for the community. But since Rider is only interested in getting its money wherever it comes from, Princeton’s contribution would maintain the college in the form that it is in, while investing in an institution that perfectly fits the residential area it has so long graced.

Westminster is too valuable an asset to the town of Princeton to simply let it disappear or change in deeply fundamental ways. I urge the government and the people of Princeton to appreciate the wonderful school that they have in their midst and raise the money to restore to Westminster the independence that it once enjoyed. That would surely be the greatest gift that Princeton could give to the amazing students and teachers of Westminster Choir College.

Marvin Harold Cheiten

Meadowbrook Drive, Princeton

Celebrating Service Past and Present

When John Borden died on April 11, Princeton lost a most sincere and effective advocate for the housing needs of our community. On behalf of Princeton Community Housing (PCH), I am writing to express our condolences to John’s family and friends and to let others how much John meant to our organization and to Princeton.

John was indeed a wonderful man — the kindest man I have ever met, without exaggeration. I will miss his smile, his easygoing delivery, his wisdom and friendship. John was a gentleman in every respect and a man I hoped I could be. His sense of duty to the community and the manner in which he approached this duty are the reasons why he leaves an incredible legacy in his service to PCH and the Princeton community.

This legacy includes his role as one of the pioneering and founding members of PCH in 1967 and his service on the Board of Trustees as a representative for Princeton Monthly Meeting. John was a significant contributor to the work and accomplishments of our organization, particularly over the past year, helping us to promote our mission to provide, manage and advocate for affordable housing opportunities in town. During his tenure on the PCH Board, John often led our fundraising and development efforts, by word and by deed, and also chaired the Development Committee.

John worked quietly, but tirelessly, diligently and effectively, to ensure that the community understood the necessity of ensuring that Princeton was a town in which everyone — seniors, families, people at every income level — could have a home.

Our fond memories of his one of a kind personality, effective leadership and steadfast advocacy help ease the sadness of our loss and inspire us to continue our mission and help the community to offer the variety of housing opportunities that are essential to maintaining the vibrancy and socioeconomic diversity that defines our town.

Edward Truscelli

Executive Director, Princeton Community Housing

A memorial service for John Borden will be held Friday, June 16, at 10 a.m. at Princeton Friends Meetinghouse.

As we celebrate National Volunteer Week (April 15-21), VolunteerConnect would like to reflect on our 20 years of connecting the amazing people in central New Jersey to opportunities that are so desperately needed by nonprofit organizations in the region. Originally named Hands On Helpers, our organization was founded with the goal of connecting volunteers to nonprofits. Today, our name and scope of volunteerism have evolved to focus on the skilled needs of organizations, but our commitment to ensure the growth and capacity of area nonprofits has remained steadfast and can’t be done without the support of volunteers.

The one constant over the years has been the wonderful ability of people to step up and help—not just in times of crisis, like Hurricane Sandy with many thousands of people providing relief with personal effort and financial support, but day-to-day heroes who help in our soup kitchens or provide after-school arts education, counseling services, animal rescue, environmental awareness and so much more. In addition, there are volunteers who are working with us to support nonprofits with their business needs in short-term projects and many who are particularly committed to long-term engagement by joining a nonprofit board of trustees.

What we’ve seen during our 20 years of service is that regardless of the time, financial or skill level available, New Jersey volunteers have a strong desire to help others and a passion for social change. VolunteerConnect would like to thank the more than 1.6 million volunteers in our state for their much-needed service and greatly applaud all of you for thinking outward and moving forward.

Amy Klein

Executive Director, VolunteerConnect

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