“Not one, not two, not three — but four women are being inaugurated!”
Thus proclaimed South Orange Village President Sheena Collum from the dais at Orange Lawn Tennis Club on June 15, 2023, noting that the South Orange governing body now includes “a lot of estrogen.”
Although newly elected South Orange Trustees Olivia Lewis-Chang and Jennifer Greenberg as well as re-elected Trustee Summer Jones (her second term) and thrice-elected VP Collum had been quietly sworn in after their uncontested May 9 election win, the in-person ceremony on Thursday was joyous and well attended by Village staff, former Trustees, community volunteers and numerous elected and other representatives from neighboring Maplewood.
Besides celebrating newly elected officials, Collum also took time to honor departing Trustee Steve Schnall — who stepped in to fill the shoes of Trustee Bob Zuckerman when he moved to Asbury Park to run the Red Bank RiverCenter — and former Trustee Donna Coallier, who garnered sustained applause for her leadership of the South Orange Board of Health through the COVID -19 pandemic and for her work on the Community Care & Justice initiative with the South Orange Police in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and the publication of the NJ Force Report.
Service was the theme of the night, with new Trustee Olivia Lewis-Chang capturing the essence of the message when she stated that she ran “not to compete but to compliment” and “not to show off but to show up.”
“We were uncontested but we did 20 events,” Collum told the crowd as she thanked the campaign staff.
Rattling off accomplishments and projects underway, Collum said, “I could tell you about [all this], but I won’t. But I will tell you that this is the best village, township, community in the entire world to serve. And it is my pleasure to serve a third term and I am so immensely grateful to know that every morning, every afternoon, every night I am thinking about how to make this community proud.”
“So, to every one of you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”