While Rider was busy making sure this year’s galactic-themed MAACness was out of this world, it may have overlooked a few things that didn’t exactly pan out well. Incidents that occurred both before and after the celebration had us thinking, “Houston, we have a problem.”
Last Friday night was Midnight MAACness, Rider’s annual celebration of the first day that the university’s basketball teams can begin practicing for the new season. Held in Alumni Gym, the event featured performances by the dance team and Rider cheerleaders, along with a highlight reel of last season’s players.
So many people gathered to show their Rider pride, possibly the largest crowd at MAACness in years, that around 200 people were turned away. Students attending the event were faced with line-cutters and a wait to receive a voucher instead of a T-shirt as they entered the gym. At the end of MAACness they had to stand in longer lines than what they dealt with before the night began. But let’s not forget the most prominent issue: students who could not even enter the gym in the first place.
We realize there are fire and safety hazards that need to be acknowledged, but students who were denied entrance were waiting for at least an hour before they were told they could not enter the gym. As some sort of apology for the time wasted, students who were unable to celebrate the evening with the rest of the Rider community should have been able to receive some form of compensation, such as a Rider T-Shirt, MAACness or not, Bronc bobble head, a 20 percent off coupon to the bookstore or voucher for free food at Cranberry’s or the Bronc Diner. Even though the compensation wouldn’t equal the experience of MAACness, it does show that the university cares about the students and wants them to continue to show their Rider pride.
In the past, students have been known to arrive at MAACness early, get one of the many T-shirts Rider gives away and leave without attending the event. Trying to discourage that this year, Rider gave out T-shirt vouchers as students walked into the gym. After MAACness was over, students could exchange the voucher for a shirt.
The problem with this was once the event ended, students who wanted to make a quick exit were unable to do so. While the vouchers were a good idea, they were not the most efficient way to give everyone the T-shirts they had been waiting for. The madness that normally happens before MAACness, where everyone tries to get a shirt in the right size, began immediately after, but this time, students, parents and faculty alike were forced to stay in the gym and wait to leave, even if they weren’t getting a shirt.
Since Rider was so conscious of the fire and safety regulations, it should have taken into consideration that long lines plus a massive crowd would not equal a fast or safe exit. Saving the T-shirts until the end didn’t solve problems, it just delayed them until MAACness was over.
Another issue was one that Rider students have been experiencing for years: people cutting in line. At other events, groups establish ropes to keep the lines in order. But this year, there were no ropes and no order. Once again, students could be seen jumping in line with friends who had arrived at the gym earlier. But once the doors were opened, there was no solid line anymore; it was just one huge crowd waiting to storm the gym.
It’s inevitable that people will try to cut in line; however, more should be done to try to control it. Besides the ropes being established, student volunteers from the Athletics Office, Student Entertainment Council or Student Government Association should stand by and keep people in line in the order in which they arrived. The students who waited the longest should be the first ones rewarded with the opportunity to choose their perfect spot to sit and enjoy the show.
MAACness will always be a treasured tradition and has been for 14 years. The evening ran smoothly for the most part, but as with any campus event, there is still room for improvement. So maybe for next year’s celebration, Rider can revert to how it has been run before by continuing to give out T-shirts at the beginning and not adding extra stress and crowds to the end.
This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News editorial board and is written by the Opinion Editor, Angelique Lee and the Assistant Opinion Editor, Kristy Grinere.