By Grace Purvis
The Campus Mall was covered in the colors of cranberry and white on Saturday, Sept. 17, to celebrate the annual Cranberry Fest.
Cranberry Fest has been a popular Rider tradition since 1979, providing an opportunity for the community to come together and listen to live music, eat lots of food and celebrate being a Bronc.
“It showcases our school spirit,” said Nicholas Barbati, assistant director of campus life for activities and student engagement. “We’re celebrating all that links us as one; our school history and the color of cranberry.”
Traditionally held on a weekday during the hours of 11 a.m. to 1:10 p.m., this year the festival was held Saturday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“It was definitely a different kind of crowd this year,” said Barbati. “People were much more relaxed and able to hang out rather than trying to rush to class.”
This change was made as part of a larger effort to encourage students to be more active and involved at Rider, and to deter students from going back home on the weekends.
Students at Rider said they see both positives and negatives to the change.
Aleesha Rouse, a senior environmental science major, said that she thinks the change is good as it means that all students will be able to attend and get involved without missing classes.
“The years prior, I would always have a class right before Cranberry Fest, so you’d be sitting in class and you would hear all the music and you weren’t involved for like an hour of Cranberry Fest,” she said. “You had to like rush and fight basically everybody to get food and see all your friends, so now it’s on the weekend and not when classes are being held. I think it’s just a lot better.”
Although some students benefit from the change, other students, especially those who commute to Rider, said that it may prevent people from attending the actual festival.
Maria Awad, a sophomore communication studies major, said, “I’m a commuter, and I commute from like an hour away so I wouldn’t want to come in on a Saturday just for Cranberry Fest, but I also think it’s a good idea for the people that live here because then they won’t be rushing to go back to class.”
Awad said that she believes campus life at Rider on the weekend needs to improve.
“This campus is pretty much a ghost town when it comes to the weekend so I think trying to get people involved earlier in the season definitely will help out with not being so barren on the weekend,” she said.
Barbati has high hopes for campus life as well and hopes Cranberry Fest continues to welcome students new and old for years to come.
“The new school year is the most exciting time for us all. Cranberry Fest is a great way to celebrate that,” said Barbati.