Fund-raising with fancy footwork

By Jess Decina

For the second year running, students will be shaking, shuffling and shimmying for a good cause.

What sounds like an awkward dance party is actually Rider Rumba, a dance contest that raises money for the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Mercer County. The mentoring program pairs up “Bigs,” like freshman Stephanie Rosato, with children in need of peer guidance.

“As a Big, I meet with [my Little] once a week and I tutor her in whatever classes or subjects she may be struggling in,” Rosato said. “I absolutely love every moment with my Little. I have only known her for two months now, but we get a long really great and she seems to confide in me a lot.”

Last year’s Rider Rumba, conceived by the Emerging Leaders Coordinator and Assistant Dean of Campus Life Cassie Iacovelli, raised a little more than $5,600. The top prize, a cruise for two, went to senior Laura Vendetta. This year’s grand prize is a Florida getaway.

More importantly, the event helped pique students’ interest in BBBS, with more than 30 students becoming “Bigs.” According to Sue Dunning, director of the BBBS program, the Rumba creates “a great sense of community that ideally fits the goals of BBBS.”

“Not only can they come out and raise money for a great cause, but they get to eat, win prizes, dance and meet some of the Littles in our program,” she said. “The Rumba also provides us with an opportunity to attract more Bigs for children in the Rider University neighborhood.”

Students can sign up and collect donations through the Rider Rumba site,, Dunning said.

“If 300 students raise $50.00 each, that equates to $15,000,” she said. “That money will support many one-to-one mentoring matches for the year.”

The second annual Rider Rumba will take place on March 27 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the SRC Courts.

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