NEWARK, NJ — Rutgers- Newark and Verizon Wireless officials came together on the University Heights campus in Newark today to mark the close of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and announce the expansion of UHopeLine, an extension of the company's exclusive HopeLine® wireless phone recycling program that places permanent collection points on college campuses.
Recognizing the silent epidemic of dating abuse, UHopeLine is designed to increase awareness of dating violence, provide aid to domestic violence survivors and encourage college students to help the environment by recycling their no-longer-used wireless devices.
Rutgers became the first university in the nation to host the program last October when Verizon Wireless established UHopeLine collection points at student/campus centers on the College Avenue, Busch and Douglass campuses. Championed by the School of Social Work's Center on Violence Against Women and Children, the program has been expanded this month to include new permanent collection points at student/campus centers on the Newark, Camden, Cook and Livingston campuses, and at the School of Social Work and Winants Hall on the College Avenue campus.
"Rutgers Newark is proud to partner with Verizon Wireless on this project," said Gerald Massenburg, assistant chancellor for student life at Rutgers University's Newark Campus. "The hallmark of institutions of higher learning should be to raise awareness about social issues that impact members of the campus community and the community at large. As a partner with Verizon Wireless, the university is responding to an important need that can save lives by supporting victims of domestic violence, and positively impacting the environment as these phones are recycled in a safe manner."
According to New Jersey State Police crime statistics, in 2007 there were 71,901 domestic violence incidents in the state, an average of one act of domestic violence every seven minutes and 19 seconds. Nationally, women ages 19 29 report more violence by intimates than any other age group and nearly 30 percent of high school and college students experience dating violence at some point.
UHopeLine accepts wireless devices and accessories in any condition, from any wireless service provider, and then refurbishes or recycles them in an environmentally sound way. Proceeds of the UHopeline program benefit local domestic violence survivors in the form of wireless phones with service and cash grants to domestic violence advocacy groups working to end domestic violence.
In recognition of the donations made by the Rutgers community during the program's first year, Verizon Wireless recently made a $5,000 donation to the Department of Sexual Assault Services and Crime Victim Assistance. More than 500 phones were collected during the first year of the program.
"The generosity of the Rutgers community and consumers nationwide has enabled Verizon Wireless to collect more than 6.5 million no longer used phones and donate nearly $7 million in grants and over 80,000 wireless phones with service to domestic violence survivors," said Pat Devlin, president of the company's NY-NJ Metro Region. "UHopeLine is a natural extension of the HopeLine program, and helps raise awareness among young women at a time in their lives when they are especially vulnerable to controlling relationships. We thank Rutgers University and the School of Social Work for leading the nation in this important effort."
"Dating violence is a major problem on college campuses," said Sarah McMahon, acting director, Center on Violence Against Women and Children, Rutgers School of Social Work. "Students do not always identify emotional or verbal abuse, and the rapid expansion of technology has presented additional yet subtle ways in which abusive behavior can occur. We are increasingly recognizing that dating violence is a community problem, affecting all of us, and that we need to develop solutions that involve the entire campus community. UHopeLine provides a way for everyone to become engaged in creating a community that stands against dating violence. We are thrilled that we have already collected over 500 phones on campus and believe that expanding the program to additional campuses will increase the ability of students, staff and faculty to become involved in this important project."
UHopeLine collection bins are now in place at the following Rutgers locations:
- In New Brunswick:
- Rutgers Student Center, 126 College Avenue
- School of Social Work, 536 George Street o Winants Hall, 7 College Avenue
- Cook Campus Center, 59 Biel Road
- Douglass Campus Center, 100 George Street
- In Piscataway:
- Busch Campus Center, 604 Bartholomew Road
- Livingston Student Center, 84 Joyce Kilmer Avenue
- In Newark: Paul Robeson Campus Center, 350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
- In Camden: Campus Center, 326 Penn Street
In addition to the UHopeLine program, Verizon Wireless, last year, established a $100,000 scholarship fund at the Center on Violence Against Women and Children for deserving School of Social Work graduate students. Named the Verizon Wireless HopeLine® Scholarship, income generated by the endowment is used to award scholarships, annually, to at least three Rutgers graduate social work students enrolled in the School of Social Work's Master of Social Work (MSW) specialization on violence against women and children, the first such program in the country.
In a related announcement, Verizon Wireless and the City University of New York (CUNY) today launched UHopeLine at eight of the University's campuses in New York City. See news release at http://www.verizonwireless.com/news/article/2009/10/pr2009-10-26e.html.
As part of the company's ongoing HopeLine phone recycling program, wireless devices and accessories also are accepted at all Verizon Wireless Communications Stores in the New York-New Jersey metro area and across the nation. For store locations and to learn how to donate a phone using a postage-paid mailing label, visit www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable and largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving 89 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 85,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.
About Rutgers University, School of Social Work and the Center on Violence Against Women & Children
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is the premier public university of New Jersey and one of the oldest and most highly regarded institutions of higher education in the nation. With nearly 50,000 students and over 9,000 faculty and staff on its three campuses in Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick, Rutgers is a vibrant academic community committed to the highest standards of teaching, research, and service. Established in 1954, the School of Social Work has a distinguished record of instruction, research, and public service. Classes were first offered during the Depression to meet the state's need for social workers. Today, the school offers undergraduate and graduate-professional degree programs, holds classes on Rutgers' three regional campuses, and is affiliated with more than 800 social service agencies throughout the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area. The mission of the Center on Violence Against Women & Children is to strive to eliminate physical, sexual, and other forms of violence against women and children and the power imbalances that permit them. This mission will be accomplished through the use of a collaborative approach that focuses on multidisciplinary research, education, and training that impacts communities and policy in New Jersey, the U.S., and throughout the world. The Center on Violence Against Women & Children is part of Rutgers University, School of Social Work, and the Institute for Families. For more information, please visit http://vawc.rutgers.edu.