Seton Hall University

SouthNEXT Festival to Celebrate Local Artists, Speakers and Performers  

People gathered in the South Orange Performing Arts CenterSeton Hall University will be hosting a series of presentations and events that will explore technology, mindfulness, inspiration and purpose as part of the fourth annual SouthNEXT festival on Saturday, November 10 at South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) and Sunday, November 11, beginning at noon in the McNulty Science and Technology Center.

"The festival brings together local artists, speakers and performers to catalyze the kind of 'creative collisions' that spark new ideas and inspire new solutions to some of the most pressing communal challenges of our times," says South Orange Village Trustee Stephen Schnall.

This is the first time Seton Hall is hosting these events, uniting the Seton Hall family with the South Orange community.

"As the College of Arts and Sciences develops a new strategic plan, we have been energized by our conversations with community stakeholders in South Orange, Newark and beyond," said Peter Shoemaker, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "We live in one of the most diverse areas in the country, full of creative talent that is drawn to the greater New York City area."

The two day festival will begin with a keynote speech delivered by Carol Barash, founder and CEO of Story2, on Saturday, November 10 at SOPAC.  

Andrew Simon, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, will be giving a presentation titled "Managing Arousal in the Era of Fitbit." Simon will discuss the effects arousal and anxiety have on daily life, providing examples from sports, theater and business fields to demonstrate how high performers use arousal to achieve excellence.

Throughout Saturday, attendees can view the interactive and colorful mural playground in the South Orange Village and create their own piece of art by rearranging the shapes and colors on the wall.

On November 11 at Seton Hall, Communication Assistant Professor Ruth Tsuria will kick off the second day of events with her presentation, "System Overload – Don't Let Your Tech Rule You." In her presentation, Tsuria will address how technology contributes to stress and how people can use it to be happy. Tsuria will present three technology "techniques" that can be used to reduce stress through daily communication methods, like a smartphone. Her presentation aims to help others think more critically about the devices they have in their hand. 

"I think that students today deal with the highest levels of stress and anxiety ever in higher education history," Tsuria said. "Finding a way to reduce the kinds of stress is important for anybody, especially for students."

Following Tsuria's presentation will be Social Work Assistant Professor Juan Rios' presentation: "Magic, Leadership and Transcendence." Rios will be accompanied by educator Anthony Nicotera and magician Jim Vagias as they discuss how to live in the moment and tackle the adversities of life through a magical performance. 

Kirk Johnson teaches courses in bioethics, global Issues, philosophy and religion in the College of Arts and Sciences. Johnson will be giving a presentation titled "Tools of Hope" where he will speak on the power of prayer and meditative practices to overcome the hardships of depression.

Also on Sunday, November 11, Peter Savastano, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Religion, will speak on "Mindfulness in Our Community." Savastano will be joined by Monika Soto, a current undergraduate student at Seton Hall pursuing degrees in social work and political science, as well as David Harris, a retired Lowenstein Sandler partner who served as chair of the litigation department, and is currently vice-chairman of the SOMA Community Coalition on Race.

Registration is required for all events. Admission is free to Seton Hall students and staff who present their ID. Tickets can be reserved here.

Information on the full itinerary of events can be found here.

Contributors: Joseph Murante and Juliana Arrabito 

Categories: Arts and Culture

For more information, please contact:

  • Laurie Pine
  • (973) 378-2638