During the Fall Semester South Orange enlisted the Stillman School’s
Market Research Center to examine the Irvington Avenue corridor and help
envision its future. Students were tasked with developing a vision for
the neighborhood that would revitalize it and make it a more thriving
section of the Village.
Students from the School of Business worked with South Orange
Trustees Sheena Collum, Steve Schnall and Deborah Davis Ford, as well as
Township Administrator Barry Lewis and Assistant Administrator Adam
From approximately 500 survey responses, students, business owners
and residents alike suggested improvements to the area’s physical
appearance, including prettier facades, better store-front signage, more
greenery and cleaner sidewalks. Both residents and students also noted
safety concerns, suggesting better lighting, more police presence and
stricter traffic regulations.
Students expressed interest in increased patronage and involvement
with businesses in the area. Suggestions included a shift in the types
of businesses on Irvington Avenue in order to draw a younger,
college-friendly audience, such as coffee shops, bookstores, and retail
stores. The idea of adding a dorm for upperclassmen was also considered.
Stillman senior Vito Amato said, “The ‘Reimagine Irvington Avenue’
project is definitely the most valuable and significant project I have
worked on. This is not just a project where we get a grade and move on.
It represents something that we could possibly look back to and see our
work come to life. I am very thankful to have had a part in this
initiative as I genuinely care about the community of South Orange and
Seton Hall; both represent my second home.”
Adam Warner, director of the Market Research Center, noted,
“Irvington Avenue represents our community. It’s right around the corner
from Seton Hall and it holds tremendous unrealized potential. In
addition, this project represented a great opportunity to partner with
the South Orange community on an initiative that benefits everyone.”
Junior Theodore Filardi said, “Working on this project was a
tremendous experience. While there is certainly value in learning
through the traditional classroom setting, the opportunity to actually
practice the theory being taught in class is invaluable.”
The concept of rebranding and marketing the neighborhood was seen as a
positive step and the town’s response to the insights and
recommendations presented were very positive.
Township Administrator Barry Lewis and Trustee Sheena Collum remarked on the enthusiasm and professionalism of the students.
“There is a practical effect and a benefit that we are going to get
out of this project. You are going to see changes in the neighborhood
and know you were a part of making it happen.”
“This is not just an academic exercise. Whether you stay in South
Orange or come back and visit in 10 years, you will see the positive
changes you helped bring about.”
About the Market Research Center
The Market Research Center at Seton Hall University is a
full-service facility, providing high-quality market research. It is one
of the few college campus-based facilities of its kind nationwide. In
the last three and half years students have completed nearly 70
projects. These projects have run the gamut from municipalities and the
arts to large businesses like UPS, Hackensack Medical Center and Planet
By partnering with clients and working on actual market research
projects, Stillman School students are learning critical skills they’ll
be able to use after graduation.
Creation of the Market Research Center has led to a “win-win” for both the students and the business partners.
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