It all started as a pun. Grounds for Inquiry would make a good name for a coffee shop, wouldn’t it? Well, now it’s the grassroots, self-published Intrinsic Café and local Newark newsletter. It just had its first publication last month and is still available to take from the café. It is free and full of fun and interesting information about the University Heights area, especially for students of NJIT, Rutgers-Newark, UMDNJ, and Essex County College.
The newsletter was founded by former NJIT student Melissa Silberstang, who hopes that students will find it useful. Also, all of the writers and photographers are either current or former NJIT students, while the illustrator is a Newark resident.
Although the universities have individual newspapers, not all of them cover the Newark area. Also, because they try not to repeat themselves, new students don’t necessarily have the information that last year’s students had. But here comes Grounds for Inquiry! New, old, persistent… the information in the newsletter is designed for everyone to benefit.
Included in the newsletter is a full page about the Newark Museum’s exhibits, hours, and costs, information about how to volunteer for Jersey Cares in Newark, news about upcoming projects being worked on in the city, and some upcoming events at the universities. There is also information about the (Re)Discover Newark Dining and Retail Passport, how to get one, and the best places to use it this season. There are adorable illustrations throughout the newsletter by Amanda Wood, local Newark artist.
That’s not all it contains, though. The publication is packed with café trivia, deals, and information since it is based out of Intrinsic Café. Newer patrons don’t know the café’s rich history in its 6 years of existence as a student hangout; they are sure to find it interesting.
“It’s important that things like Grounds for Inquiry exist, especially in an area like U. Heights, where a lot of people such as myself are transitioning out of college and into careers where writing isn’t necessarily emphasized, so that we have the outlet and the community support that creativity needs to thrive. Making this first issue was fun, unique, and groundbreaking for the post-collegiate University Heights crowd,” said Matan Shavit, one of the writers.
“I kept the group small because I wanted it to be made the same way it would benefit people, in a one on one community way. We all learned a lot about what’s going on by making the newsletter, but more importantly we finished this project for other people to get together and do the activities,” Melissa emphasized.
Silberstang wanted to give back to the community in a way that utilized her passion: publishing. There was no print outlet for Melissa to do her work, not an easy one anyway. Although working for a large-circulation newspaper would be fun, she likes what she is doing for now. Newark is her passion, after publishing, and it shows.
The newsletter is expected to come out twice per university semester and once in the summer. “Summer is my favorite time of year in Newark! There are so many wonderful outdoor events, farmer’s markets, and concerts and I want everyone to have as much fun as I always do.”
Next up after the newsletter is book publishing. Melissa wants to publish Newark authors first when she starts her business. She believes there are so many great undiscovered writers right here, and no need to look further than her favorite place.