NJIT Students and Professor Spend Weekend Rebuilding Newark South Ward Home

NEWARK, April 30--Students studying engineering technology at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) recently spent a weekend rebuilding one of 10 houses in Newark's South Ward.

"The idea was to get students out of the classroom, into a place where they could work with carpenters, plumbers and electricians," says John A. Wiggins, assistant professor of construction engineering technology at NJIT. "When my students graduate they become building contractors so working now and interfacing with those professionals is really helpful." Tradesmen from all the local unions-electricians to masons--donated their time to the project.

The project is sponsored by Rebuilding Together with Christmas in April, a national organization devoted to organizing local volunteers and professional trades people to rehab houses in urban centers. The Newark project brought together more than 300 tradesmen from local unions and the support of the Building Contractors Association of New Jersey, Edison, the Essex County Building & Construction Trades Council, Prudential Financial, Newark, and Public Service Electric & Gas, Newark.

NJIT students who participated included Christina Villa, Sayreville; Laurie Sullivan, Allentown; Jessica Basch, Bloomfield. Also present were Frank Putrino, Hackensack; Mark Abbatista, Wayne; Jeremy Paul, East Orange. Other participants were Zdzislaw Kotlewski, Linden; Adeola Ogunduna, Maplewood; Steve Sachs, Tenafly; Chris Sammarco, Woodbridge.

Rebuilding Together with Christmas in April is the nation's largest volunteer program providing assistance to homeowners who, because of physical limitations or income, are unable to make needed home repairs. Volunteers do a variety of free repairs including carpentry, plumbing, electrical, plastering, painting and weatherizing. Low income homeowners who are elderly disabled or have small children living at home are eligible for assistance. The program is made possible through the support of individuals, corporations, labor associations, foundations, civic groups and religious organizations interested in helping build a better community in Newark. The national impact of this group through the year 2001 has made possible the rehabilitation of 17,000 homes, thanks to the work of more than a million volunteers. There is no charge for any repairs made. If possible, homeowners, along with families and friends, are expected to assist with the work.

The organization targets specific neighborhoods each year and solicits applications through the mail. For more information contact Rebuilding Together with Chrismas in April, PO Box 32171, Newark 07102, 973-642-6100.


NJIT is a public, scientific and technological research university enrolling more than 8,800 students. The university offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to students in 80 degree programs throughout its six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. The division of continuing professional education offers adults eLearning, off campus degrees and short courses. Expertise and research initiatives include architecture and building science, applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and science, information technology, manufacturing, materials, microelectronics, multimedia, telecommunications, transportation and solar astrophysics. Yahoo! Internet Life magazine cites NJIT as a "perennially most wired" university.

Contact Information:   Sheryl Weinstein
Robert Florida
Public Relations 
(973) 596-3433