By Amber Cox
The flooding and subsequent discovery of asbestos in the floor of Alumni Gym caused the annual Midnight MAACness to be canceled this year. In its place, Cranberry and White night, a celebration of the men’s and women’s basketball teams, will be held in the refurbished gym Dec. 4.
“Given the circumstances in Alumni Gym, I think the committee of students and staff that have worked on this have done a great job of trying to exemplify the spirit of MAACness,” said Dean of Students Anthony Campbell. “I think it will give the students a chance to see what’s in store for our men’s and women’s basketball teams in the coming season.”
Nick Barbati, coordinator of campus activities, is excited about the event and believes it will be a very special night.
“Really, the goal of the event is to inspire students to come and root for the athletic teams and really feel energized, excited and proud of their school,” Barbati said. “We’re taking the first Cranberry and White Night and seeing what happens with it. It’s the first Cranberry and White Night in years.”
MAACness replaced Cranberry and White Night when Rider joined the MAAC conference in 1997. The Dec. 4 event is going to be a sort of pep rally but “not in the traditional type of way,” according to Barbati. The cheer team and dance team will perform, along with the Bronc Band. Last year’s basketball highlight video will play throughout the event, a dunk contest will take place and Rider is working on bringing in a drum line from a local high school to make a grand entrance.
“We are going to try to do some really cool things in terms of lighting and just to bring something new to the campus but still celebrate our athletic involvement, particularly with the women’s and men’s basketball teams,” Barbati said. “We’re not trying to make a mini MAACness, we’re coming up with something completely different.”
There will be two entrances to the gym on the night of the event, and the door the students walk in will determine what color shirt they wear.
“If you come in on one side, you are going to sit on the cranberry side, the other side is going to be the white side,” Barbati said. “The T-shirts, we recognized, is something that students really looked forward to. The back of them says the full schedule of the basketball games so people know when the games are, look forward to them, plan ahead for them, but also wear the shirts to the games. That’s so important. It makes the gym look awesome when everyone’s wearing the cranberry and showing their school spirit.”
The Student Entertainment Council, Student Government Association, Emerging Leaders and certain staff members all participated in creating the event.
“This is an excellent kick-off to the MAAC season,” Barbati said.
Cranberry Queen and senior class President Steph Premselaar thinks the event will be a success.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “It’s disappointing that we couldn’t have MAACness, but I think changing it will bring a new excitement to campus.”
Doors will open at 8 p.m. for the event. For previews of the men’s and women’s basketball season, see the Sports section.