Rutgers-Newark Aligns with United Airlines to Support Students’ Travel for Educational Experiences

Rutgers University–Newark (RU-N) is excited to be working with United Airlines on a commitment for travel support of its Honors Living-Learning Community (HLLC) scholars and debate team members. For both programs, travel is a critical component of the students’ educational success. With this generous gift, United Airlines becomes a lead corporate partner in ensuring RU-N students have domestic and global experiences that support their academic pursuits and RU-N’s mission of encouraging students to engage in “Local Citizenship in a Global World.”

Created four years ago as one of RU-N’s high strategic priorities, the HLLC has established itself as a transformational college access program by challenging and redefining the notion of “merit” or “honors.” A groundbreaking initiative that is revolutionizing honors, cultivating talent, and engaging communities, the HLLC provides students with the resources and opportunities to be thought leaders within their fields, positive collaborators within their communities, and change agents in the world. As part of their coursework, HLLC scholars have the opportunity to participate in the Office of Global Initiatives and Experiential Learning to prepare to become global professionals, scholar-practitioners, and community engaged social change catalysts. They do this through national student exchange and global scholars programs.

“Emanating from our operating theme ‘local citizenship in a global world,’ HLLC scholars have no shortage of interests and opportunities that make travel a necessary component of their learning experience. The United Airlines travel grant greatly enhances our continual efforts at Rutgers–Newark to secure resources for supporting worthy students,” stated Timothy Eatman, dean of HLLC. “The friendly skies are even friendlier when positive change agents like HLLC scholars and debate team members are traversing them in pursuit of their aspirations.”

Like the HLLC, the RU-N debate team has received critical acclaim. Started in 2008 as a partnership between Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) and the RU-N Office of the Chancellor, the team has been consistently ranked as one of the top-20 best intercollegiate debate programs in the country since 2014. The team competes at the highest levels nationally, attending tournaments across the country that bring them into head-to-head competition with all the major national universities, like Harvard, Cornell, and Georgetown, making its success all the more storied. In the spring of 2017, the debate team became only the second team in U.S. collegiate debate history to win both the Cross Examination Debate Association national tournament and the National Debate Tournament in a single season.

On Sept. 1, 2019, SPAA welcomed Elijah Smith as its new director of the debate team. While earning his bachelor of arts in public and nonprofit administration from SPAA, Smith helped the RU-N debate team achieve numerous national victories and milestones as a debater.

“The debate team appreciates the support United Airlines has offered the Rutgers-Newark community,” Smith said. “We travel frequently and this gift will assist in making it possible for our top students to attend national competitions by flying out of the United hub in our backyard.”

About Rutgers University – Newark 
Rutgers University – Newark (RU-N) is a diverse, urban, public research university that is an anchor institution in New Jersey’s cultural capital. More than 13,000 students are currently enrolled at its 38-acre campus in a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered through the College of Arts and Sciences, University College, the Graduate School, Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick, the Rutgers Law School – Newark, the School of Criminal Justice, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration. RU-N is exceptionally well positioned to fulfill higher education’s promise as an engine of discovery, innovation, and social mobility. It has a remarkable legacy of producing high-impact scholarship that is connected to the great questions and challenges of the world. It has the right mix of disciplines and interdisciplinary centers and institutes to take on those questions and challenges. It is in and of a city and region where its work on local challenges undertaken with partners from many sectors resonates powerfully throughout our urbanizing world. Most importantly, RU-N brings an incredible diversity of people to this work—students, faculty, staff, and community partners—making it more innovative, more creative, more engaging, and more relevant for our time and the times ahead. For more information, visit

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