By Casey Gale
The sound of Pharrell Williams’ hit “Happy” could be heard echoing through the campus, as students and faculty sang and danced as stars in their own music video on April 22.
A crowd of about 100 convened outside of Cranberry’s to combat The Princeton Review’s assessment of Rider University, which ranked the school 18th on a list of least happy college students in the 2014 Best 376 Colleges.
Laura Seplaki, associate director of the Center for Leadership Skills and director of the Leadership Development Program, spearheaded the event after being shocked by the report.
“When I read that, I sat there and thought, ‘That can’t be true,’” she said. “I feel like there are so many positive connections that people have here on campus.”
Seplaki decided in March that she wanted to organize an event that would prove that Rider is a happy campus. The rising popularity of “Happy” and the unhappy Princeton Review ranking happened at the perfect time, she said.
“It just seemed like a happy marriage — like something that was just meant to be,” said Seplaki.
Among the notable attendees were the Rider Bronc, Magic Mike and the Rider Dance Ensemble. Students were encouraged to wear shirts that represented their clubs and organizations.
Blaine DeAngelis, a sophomore business major and member of the External Communications Committee for the Leadership Development Program, helped organize the event. DeAngelis said she felt the “Happy” music video was a good way to rally school spirit at the end of the semester.
“It’s important for everyone to get together and celebrate what a great school we have,” she said. “I don’t think people realize how happy everybody actually is until they have a reason to show that they are happy.”
In the week leading up to the video shoot, the Leadership Development Program students banded together to help promote a happy atmosphere on campus. The students performed random acts of kindness, such as leaving inspiring notes, befriending someone new or attending an event in support of a fellow classmate.
Louis Chetbar, a graduate accounting major, hopes that the video will show potential students that the campus is a positive environment.
“In the video, we are demonstrating our commitment to Rider pride, enjoying the opportunity to be here and showing others who are not as familiar with Rider that we are a happy institution that they should join,” he said.
The Rider University Network shot and will be editing the video, which will be ready for viewing on Youtube.