Every year, Rider celebrates the start of the holiday season by putting lights on the outside of the library and the surrounding trees. But the Student Government Association (SGA), the group that funds the lights through our Student Activities Fee, has decided not to put the lights up this year because it feels the money spent for the lights could be put to better use. The decision has drawn mixed reactions. But we feel the lights are an important part of the holiday season at Rider, and believe if the lights can’t go up this year, they should go up next year.
Whether people like the lights or not, they serve a purpose. Their main goal is to get students in the holiday spirit, no matter what holiday they celebrate. Walking by the library is a kind reminder that, despite the stress of the end of the semester, it is almost time for the winter break holidays, a much-anticipated time of year. And, in the winter, it can be dreary outside — cloudy, cold and windy. The lights give students something pretty to look at. With a price tag of roughly $17,000, it is understandable why SGA may think the lights aren’t worth it.
But there should be some sort of alternative to SGA footing the entire bill so that students can get the decorations they enjoy. Instead of having SGA pony up the entire $17,000 every year, maybe it can reach a compromise with the University. Rather than paying for the lights and the labor to hang them, SGA could pay for one and the University could pay for the other. SGA president Brian Guzman thinks that would be a better solution.
“We wouldn’t mind paying some of the costs,” he said, “but we feel this is not the proper use of the [Student Activities] fee.”
There are other options that would still allow Rider to have its lights. The University could scale down the display, or have student groups help string the lights or even conduct various fundraisers to pay for the cost.
Overall, students enjoy having the lights to look at. While it has not been a century-long tradition, it has become something that everyone has become used to in the past few years. Usually put up around early December, the campus is decorated for about a month before students leave for winter break. Many students have to go to the library in order to prepare for finals in the last weeks of the semester — do some research, meet with a study group or write a paper. It can all be done there. Decorating the building gives students a little more cheer as they make their way to complete all of the tasks that have to be done. Also, the library is the only place that is really fancied up for the holiday season, outside of dorm rooms. And hanging lights in the dorms is a fire hazard.
It has already been decided that there will not be any holiday lights this year. Some students are indifferent, but a lot are disappointed there will be nothing to lift their spirits this holiday season, and to help them get through finals. We may not be able to do anything about it now, but next year is a different story. There is a way to please everyone when it comes to the lights; we just have to work to find it.
This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the Opinion Editor, Angelique Lee.