Have You Met Rutgers-Newark?
Rene Melara, College of Arts and Sciences
Positive word-of-mouth attracted Rene to R-N, but his experiences on campus made him a huge fan. “I had high expectations but Rutgers-Newark has lived up to them,” he explains. When Rene transferred to campus in spring 2010 from a New York college, he was seeking a diverse campus and an urban experience similar to what he had experienced growing up in Elizabeth, N.J.
He enjoyed the sense of community and of acceptance that he found here, where he was active in RU Pride, an organization for LGBTQ students, and worked as a resident assistant in Woodward Hall. That sense of belonging and support also complemented his work with Active Minds, which is working to erase the stigma of mental illness.
Rene helped to raise awareness of mental health among R-N students during campuswide health fairs, a goal made all the more urgent by the attempted suicide of a friend. Ironically, he had first become involved in suicide prevention while interning with The Trevor Project, a nationwide support organization for GLBTQ young people. Thanks to the techniques he had learned at Trevor Project, he was able to facilitate discussions on suicide prevention and depression.
Rene also interned at the R-N LGBTQ and Diversity Resource Center as the Peer Mentorship Program Coordinator.
The Trevor Project internship altered Rene’s major, as well as his career path, to social work, a field where Rene hopes to make a difference in young lives. After graduating from RU-N in 2013, he went on to earn a Master in Social Work on the West Coast, where he now works as a resident services coordinator.