I have wandered aimlessly through the campus of Cook/Douglass and uncovered beautiful scenery, scenery consisting of vibrant backdrops and striking locations such as the “Kissing Bridge”, “Passion Puddle” and the architectural beauty known as Voorhees Chapel. All of these locations serve as campus and more specifically as Cook/Douglass landmarks. Yet, it is not sites that I wish to focus on (I could devote an entire blog to the most beautiful places to visit on campus) I instead, turn my attention to the opposite spectrum… anti-notoriety… places like a desolate field that I walked past one early Sunday morning. On this field there were no trees, no rocks, no benches of any sort… No. it was just a sprawling and monochromatically green field that spanned from the Eagleton Institute to the Loree computer lab. It was a lonely and depressingly uninhabited looking field and yet, there was much beauty in its simplicity.
The infamous Rutgers Day, a day of gathering with family and friends, rallying Rutgers pride, and acquiring free items took place on April 26th, 2014. And while people were enjoying the festivities on the College Avenue, Busch, and Livingston campuses, the jewel known as the New Jersey Folk Festival graced the presence of the Cook/Douglass campus. This year was the 40th anniversary of the NJ Folk Festival. I was drawn to attend by the promises of delicious food, great company, and entertainment; I was not disappointed.
Remember that “uninhabited field?” Well I barely recognized it, seeing as it was now accompanied by the many tents and pedestrians adorning its existence. And flowing through the empty space were intervals of laughter which then intertwined with the melodic folk music thus generating a product of collectivity. People seemed refreshed by this rare environment. And the interactions with the vendors, many of whom were small business owners and sold wonderfully crafted vintage/heritage/handmade crafts, illustrated this. Everything from the music to the crafted items that were for sale, coincided with Pete Seeger’s song “If I had a Hammer,” because the song itself promoted self-reliance and the pride associated with building something with your own two hands. The folk festival was a much needed break from the oversaturated ‘pop music’ that shrieks over the radio or the mainstream rap that bleeds out of student’s headphones on the buses. I felt honored to have attended.