For a while now, discussion of a fall break has been circulating around the administration and student body. Now that a formal proposal has been brought forth, the idea of a break has not provoked the widespread excitement one might think it would. If passed, this break would consist of one day off — Monday, Oct. 12 of next semester. Within Student Senate, where this break has been debated for weeks now, many students, including myself, are opposed to the proposal for a variety of reasons.
While discussing this proposal in Senate, many who were in favor of it showed exasperation at the arguments being brought against it, saying, “It’s just one day, it’s no big deal!” But, to me, that’s just the thing. In all honesty, it’s really not a big deal — not a big deal if we get the extra day, also not a big deal if we don’t. The way I see it, why change things around when it doesn’t make much of a difference either way, and when not changing is usually easier than changing — especially in this situation. To me, that is the core of the issue and my main reason for opposing the proposal. Essentially, if it’s not broken, why fix it? Plus, it seems silly to even call it a fall break. One day is hardly what most would consider a break, but rather a long weekend.
Besides this, there are a variety of other concerns that have been voiced about the proposal to be considered. If passed, this break would take a day off from the beginning of winter break and push everything back one day. Classes would end Monday, Dec. 14, the Tuesday after would be a reading day, and exams would start on Wednesday, Dec. 16, and continue on until the last day of exams, which happens to fall on Dec. 23 of next semester.
Most years, the semester won’t run so far into December, but finals will be running unreasonably close to Christmas Eve this coming fall semester. Also, every few years this same kind of inconvenience will pop up. Granted, without the fall break, our last day of finals would be Dec. 22, which is still pretty late. Yet, it being as close as it is to such a huge holiday, that extra day can make a big difference. For some students who have long distances to travel, whether by car or even airplane, this inconvenience may prove to be a major one.
One of the key goals of this proposal is to synchronize the schedules of the Lawrenceville and Westminster campuses. Westminster has been pushing for this break for a long time. As was brought up in the formal Student Senate debate on Feb. 18, many differences exist between the two campuses and will continue to exist even if the proposal is passed. Besides that, I don’t see why these differences need to be viewed in such a negative sense, especially given the fact that our two campuses offer distinctively different programs.
Another popular concern raised was the possibility of the Residence Advisors having to suffer because they will be required to stay longer than any of the other students. The potential problems this could cause for many groups of Rider students do not seem to be worth merely one day.
Am I fervently against a fall break? No. Like I said, when it comes down to it, one day really doesn’t make much of a difference. The slight differences it will make, however, appear to be more negative than positive.
Kaitlin Pendagast is a sophomore communication major.