By Nicole Cortese
The Cranberry Cavalry is not a secret underground society or Rider’s new jousting team. The name was created from the combination of the school’s predominant color, cranberry, in honor of Andrew J. Rider, “The Cranberry King of New Jersey,” and today’s definition of cavalry, meaning “any unit of troops that is quick and highly mobile.”
The program was established this fall to offer Rider students a chance to learn, network and give back throughout the school year.
“The Cranberry Cavalry is a student stewardship and engagement program designed to encourage Rider students to donate their time, creativity and talents to making the university the best that it can be,” said Andrea Jarvis, assistant director of Annual Giving, who organized the program. “The goal is to engage our entire campus community and establish the foundation for a loyal, lifelong connection with Rider.”
Tutto Voce, meaning “all voices,” will also be taking place on the Westminster campus. It is the same program and gives students the same opportunities.
“We hope the Cranberry Cavalry and Tutto Voce will broaden students’ understanding of Rider’s and Westminster Choir College’s histories and traditions, while offering opportunities to learn, network, get involved and give thanks to the thousands of supporters who make Rider and Westminster Choir College the special places that they are,” said Lynn Schindel, associate director of Alumni Relations.
The Cranberry Cavalry and Tutto Voce will give students the option to participate in various philanthropic-based activities during annual campus events such as Cranberry Fest and Awareness Day. If students are unable to make it to these events, there are still other ways to participate.
“Students can record a video thank you and write personalized thank you notes to donors, assist with our social media efforts, and participate in a student ‘Thankathon,’” Jarvis said.
The Thankathon is an event similar to the Phonathon where students can call alumni and thank them personally. Shindel has also established career-focused events for students, most recently the Interview Etiquette event that was held on Oct. 23.
“The Cranberry Cavalry and Tutto Voce will include free career-focused sessions, featuring alumni and faculty guest speakers who will present on a variety of informative, educational and social program topics, such as how to sharpen your career search skills and interview etiquette, to name a few,” Schindel said.
Students who sign up for the Cranberry Cavalry or Tutto Voce will have the opportunity to win prizes. Every time students participate in a Cranberry Cavalry activity on the Lawrenceville campus, they will earn a chance to win an iPad. Participants for Tutto Voce activities on the Westminster campus will earn a chance to win a $250 Amazon gift card.
Alicia Quayson, senior psychology major, thinks the Cranberry Cavalry is a wonderful way to show her gratitude towards univeristy donors.
“I think Cranberry Calvary is a brilliant idea,” Quayson said. “I always wanted to express how grateful I am and Cranberry Calvary is the avenue to do so. It is very important for students to have the opportunity to thank the people whose generosity has helped make a college career possible. Without their help, many of us would not be where we are today.”
The Cranberry Cavalry plans to establish relationships with current students who want to express their gratitude toward donors in their own voices.
“We want to demonstrate how donor support makes a lasting impact on both students and our campus as a whole,” Jarvis said. “We want students to use their individual voices to express appreciation to our donors and illustrate the many ways alumni support makes a difference on campus. We hope that existing donors will then feel more appreciated, and current students will learn that giving back feels good.”
Besides having the opportunity to give back, Schindel and Jarvis both hope this program will help students create a lasting bond with their university after their time at Rider.
“We want to provide students with an opportunity to build a lifetime connection with Rider University and Westminster Choir College that doesn’t end after they leave campus,” Schindel said. “We believe the Cranberry Cavalry and Tutto Voce will give students an unique opportunity to maintain a relationship with their alma mater and their peers long after graduation.”
Published in the 10/30/13 edition.