In 1992, Rider University merged with Westminster Choir College. Ever since then, there has been an unspoken disregard between students on both campuses. These campuses are different, but it still does not explain the lack of unity at this school.
Even though Rider bought Westminster Choir College 18 years ago, Westminster is still a full half of Rider. Our school has two campuses: one in Lawrenceville and one in Princeton. But many people don’t refer to them by their locations. The Lawrenceville campus is generally called “Rider,” while Princeton is referred to as “Westminster.” But therein lies the problem — we’re all the same school. This phrasing perpetuates the divide.
The problem even continues online. The Lawrenceville and Princeton campuses each have their own websites. On the Princeton site, there is little mention of the Lawrenceville campus at all. There is a link at the top, and one at the bottom. On the Lawrenceville site, Westminster has its own section.
A student attending Westminster can expect to learn all about the fine arts, including music, theater, performance and much more. A Lawrenceville student could learn about music, but the majority of students major in business, education, communication or psychology. This is just one of the many differences between the campuses. Because students on the Lawrenceville campus may not necessarily be interested in the fine arts events that happen at Westminster, they feel there is no reason to go to the other campus.
University officials have tried to promote unity between the campuses — there have been many events that students could attend together, and anything that happens on either campus is open to all Rider students. But as far as we’re concerned, it’s just not working.
Even though Rider has done a lot, there could be more publicizing of important events. The school could send out reminders of anything that might be of interest to students to get them to the other campus.
For example: the annual Homecoming dance, which is always held on the Princeton campus, is something many Lawrenceville students have never even heard of. The dance is open to all Rider students, but because it’s not really advertised at Lawrenceville, students here may believe they’re not invited. Also, in March, Relay for Life was held at the Lawrenceville campus, but students at Westminster were not informed of it until the day of the event. Those on the Lawrenceville campus were bombarded with information about the event and invitations to join various organizations.
The Student Government Association (SGA)’s of both campuses have recently joined together to promote unity among Rider students by finding activities for everyone to do together, along with finding a Westminster Relations Chair to help bridge the gap. These changes are already a great start to improving communication between Westminster and Lawrenceville.
Better publicity of events for students to attend can foster more interaction between students, and may lead to a change in how students feel about each other. They need to feel welcome on both campuses in order for this change to hold, though. But in the end, it is up to the students to decide whether they even want anything to change. After events are better advertised, it will be up to the students if they want to abide by the campus description, “two campuses, one school.”
This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the Opinion Editor, Angelique Lee.