By Leann Byelich
In less than a month I will be a Rider alumna, and as I look back on the four and a half years I have spent at school, I realize that I have witnessed many physical changes on the Lawrenceville campus.
If you want to experience the full effect of living in a dorm, spend the night over in Conover Hall. As a freshman, I lived in Conover, and on hot summer nights it was so unbearable my roommate and I could hardly sleep. We would sit next to the several blasting fans, hoping the power wouldn’t go out because of all the plugs being used. Now, many of the dorms have air conditioning in every room, like New Building and Hill Hall. In fact, during my freshman year, Ziegler was being renovated. It was expanded and given peaked roofing to add architectural distinction to the structures and the landscape, while signage was also improved.
In addition, West Village opened in September, which features apartment-style living for juniors and seniors. Many apartments include a washer, dryer, kitchen and large lounge. President Mordechai Rozanski has said that “new facilities continue to be a top priority at Rider and are evidence of our continuing commitment to student-centeredness.”
Rider has also dramatically changed its dining halls. Cranberry’s, a newly renovated dining café, has transformed into a fast-paced ordering service. Three years ago, I couldn’t create my own sandwich or get fresh sushi, and the lines were dreadfully slow. Now, we have touch-screen computers that allow us to make speedy orders and pick and choose what we want to eat. Daly’s has also changed its appearance and food over the years. The entrance used to look boring and old fashioned. Now its sophisticated structure makes anyone want to at least try Daly’s food. And as for their food before? Well, let’s just say when I was a freshman and sophomore, I only ate grilled cheese sandwiches and french fries. But now, Daly’s offers nutritional foods to fit anyone’s diet.
Maybe the most impressive change I have seen is the Student Recreation Center (SRC). Recently, Rider celebrated the SRC’s fourth anniversary. It comes complete with exercise equipment, basketball courts, indoor track and aerobics classes. So where did students go before the SRC? The Maurer Center, which was small, old and not air conditioned. Now students have the luxury of using the SRC, which is 55,000 square feet and two stories high.
My lifestyle as a student greatly changed over the years as well. During my freshman year, it was really easy for students to go to a fraternity party, walk around campus late at night and be carefree. However, after the Gary DeVercelly tragedy, Rider has changed its reputation greatly. As a former resident adviser in Poyda Hall, I have seen the worst of the worst, but after the new rules were enforced, I noticed the building was a lot safer, and we dealt with fewer alcohol incidents.
Rozanski says that the “SRC, the new residence halls and the improvements we have made in other areas over the last decade underscore our commitment to being a student-centered university.” In a “super” senior perspective, I can guarantee new students that improvements and beneficial opportunities are heading their way.