Rider community bonds over bonfire and festivities

By Thomas Regan

After President Gregory Dell’Omo’s inauguration, a bonfire was lit on the Campus Green, kicking off Rider’s first ever Rock Fest.

With doors ajar, students, faculty, staff, alumni and administrative members poured into Cranberry’s and the Pub and out onto the Campus Green to celebrate Rider’s excellence and the inauguration.

Attendees had the option to mountain climb, zip-line, enter several blow-up obstacle courses or ride a mechanical bull.

Sophomore TV, radio and film major Mattew St Onge said the event was an expression of campus unity.

“I felt like it was one of the best events hosted at Rider in a long time,” St Onge said. “It was the first time in my two years at Rider that I’ve seen good portions of the faculty, staff and student body really interact with each other in a fun and social environment.”

The event began with some students painting pallets that would be used in the bonfire, and for senior arts administration major Bethanie Russakow, this experience really helped set the tone for the harmony of the evening.

“I liked how the whole campus came out to celebrate,” she said. “It was cool because all student groups and clubs were able to be part of the event by painting pallets to go into the fire.”

The event drew approximately 750 attendants throughout the evening, according to the university. In the Pub, there was live music, including student and faculty bands. On the Campus Green, there were bands hired by the university who played top hits.

The food, which was free with a voucher, included chicken tenders and fries, hot dogs, and fried Oreos.

St Onge believes this event on the day of inauguration helps move the university forward after the cutthroat beginning of Dell’Omo’s presidency.

“I would absolutely say it was a positive step for his tenure and the university itself,” he said. “Seeing that companionship among those in the university really gave us the ability to unite ourselves behind President Dell’Omo.”


Printed in the 4/13/16 edition.

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