Southern New Jersey and its eight counties – Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, and Salem – are incredibly diverse in population, environment, and terrain. From Atlantic to Camden City, rural areas to coastal shore, Southern New Jersey has so much to offer everyone who calls it home. But, it is not without challenges – South Jersey counties consistently fall to the bottom half of health rankings across the State, which speaks to a variety of community issues across the region, including housing, transportation, employment, public health, food insecurity, and education. The Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs exists to serve Rutgers University, the region, and State, by bringing critical social and community issues in the Southern New Jersey region to the forefront with trusted data and research that supports sound decision-making in policy and practice that can impact those outcomes.
The Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs at Rutgers University – Camden reinforces and amplifies Rutgers service, teaching, and training goals by:
- Conducting multidisciplinary community-focused research and evaluation that connect to public policy and practice issues in Camden City and across Southern New Jersey.
- Convening stakeholders to make connections across research, policy, and practice in support of Southern New Jerseyans.
- Connecting the multidisciplinary expertise of university faculty to regional problems.
- Training and mentoring students from across disciplines in community-focused research.
The Walter Rand Institute is:
- Responsive to the needs of Camden City and Southern New Jersey communities. WRI has its pulse on the issues of concern and areas of opportunity, improvement, and growth for Southern Jersey residents and conducts timely research that amplifies and highlights them.
- Flexible, nimble, and creative in research methodology and in meeting the research needs and goals of both the community and the university.
- Committed and connected to Southern New Jersey. WRI has a deep understanding of the region, is dedicated to serving Southern New Jersey communities, and builds strong collaborative research partnerships with government agencies, legislators, and community organizations across the region to realize its mission.
- A critical resource for reliable information, data, and research for government agencies, legislators, faculty, the university, community providers, and residents about Southern New Jersey.
- Committed to Equity. WRI strives to both understand and reflect on the impact of its collaborative research on contributing to a healthy, thriving, and equitable Southern New Jersey and employs research designs and methodologies that integrate diverse perspectives and promote inclusivity.