By Kristie Kahl
With all the violations and codes we find around Rider these days, a new code has found a way to shed positive light on the community.
The Rider Athletic Department has initiated Code Cranberry, an idea put together by the student athletes to show unity among the varsity athletes within the department.
“The purpose of Code Cranberry here at Rider is to create support throughout the entire athletic community,” said senior Sarah Richards, a Student Athlete Mentor (SAM). “By bringing all the athletes together to support each other’s games, matches or meets, it will help unite us as one team.”
While enforcing the concept, the athletes use the slogan, “355 athletes, 20 sports but one team” in order to promote their idea.
“The mentality behind Code Cranberry is togetherness,” said Richards. “All the athletes here share a passion for sports, and by supporting each other it makes us stronger as one whole team.”
The idea stems from a conference in which the university sent athletes from the Rider Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), SAM and members of the Captains’ Leadership Seminar. Over the four-day period, the athletes brought the idea back to Rider, and the department ran with it.
“The conference is a countrywide conference that is highly respected for the teachings and ideas that are conversed about during the four-day event,” said senior soccer player Collin Jennings. “The Athletic Department was nice enough to send several students down there and although they were not receptive to all the ideas that were brought back from the conference, they strongly backed the idea of Code Cranberry.”
When the department finalized the ideas for the concept, they drew up a revised schedule along with the official concept and guidelines for Code Cranberry.
According to Rider Athletics, Code Cranberry’s concept is to “present a unified and increased show of support from within the Department of Athletics for all of our teams at a designated home event.”
“The basic concept of it is to go out as one big group and show that we’re all a part of the same team, we’re fighting for the same goals, we’re working just as hard as one another,” said Associate Director of Athletics Karin Torchia.
While supporting Code Cranberry teams are asked to plan practices and workout schedules accordingly to events, cheer in a positive manner and show good sportsmanship.
In order to spark the tradition of Code Cranberry, the department has organized designated dates in which the coaches and teams plan their schedules around one sporting event. The athletes not only show their support in attendance, but also wear T-shirts sporting the Code Cranberry slogan.
“We believed that in getting the athletes to the game we would then be able to encourage the student body to come out to the games not just through word of mouth or advertising but by action also,” Jennings said.
The first Code Cranberry was intended to take place on Sept. 23, but the campus-wide power-outage put the idea to rest until the department could rearrange the schedule. Code Cranberry was finally able to take place for the first time on Friday, Oct. 3 at the women’s soccer MAAC opener facing off against Fairfield.
Although the team fell to Fairfield 2-1 in double overtime, the event seemed to have worked its purpose in uniting the department. Granted it was cold, and not many Code Cranberry T-shirts were seen among the crowd, but you could still sense the support and energy felt among the student athletes.
“Friday’s Code Cranberry had a great turnout because of the dedication that was brought to the situation by the administration, the coaches and the athletes,” Jennings said. “I do think that everyone believes that this idea has a lot of potential.”
With such support from the student athletes, the department hopes the idea of Code Cranberry can also unify the student body as a whole.
“Hopefully the campus community, and the external community, will kind of catch on to it and think that if we can promote this within ourselves then they can come out and support as well,” said Torchia. “We’re hoping that concept will catch on with the university community.”
With one successful event down, Code Cranberry looks promising for the future.
“I think it’s going to be great,” said Torchia. “The student athletes and the coaches have bought into it. I think they support each other because they know these people are out on the court or on the field, working just as hard as they do in classes, in training and everything. So, to get that little bit of extra boost of support from one another goes a long way.”
Code Cranberry will finish up fall with an event today at the field hockey game against Sacred Heart at 4 p.m. Volleyball will also take part on Oct. 24 against Fairfield at 7 p.m., while men’s soccer finishes out the Code Cranberry fall schedule against Manhattan on Oct. 31 at 3 p.m.