Save the Last Dance

Students move to the “Cha-Cha Slide” during the second annual Rider Rumba, which took place last week in the Student Recreation Center Lobby.  Participants raised $2,500 to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mercer County.  The grand prize, a two-day trip to Florida, was awarded to senior Laura Vendetta.By Jess Decina

Dancing for four hours isn’t easy. Ask any student who participated in the second annual Rider Rumba, which took place last Thursday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center.

The dance party benefits the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Mercer County. The mentoring program pairs up student mentors, or “Bigs,” with children in need of peer guidance.

This year’s Rider Rumba, originally conceived by the Emerging Leaders Coordinator and Assistant Dean of Campus Life Cassie Iacovelli, raised a little more than $2,500.

For raising $445, senior Laura Vendetta took home this year’s grand prize, a Florida getaway. Vendetta raised the highest donations during last year’s contest as well.

More importantly, Rider Rumba has 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 way for many students to get involved with BBBS-Mercer.”

“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. “They were thrilled to be mingling with the Rider students [and] thoroughly enjoyed the extra attention. In addition, seeing how much fun the students were having as a group is a great motivator for any child who dreams of going to college some day.”

The program has been a rewarding experience for freshman Stephanie Rosato, who spends time with her “little” by helping her with schoolwork.

“I have a feeling that as our relationship starts to develop, we will be able to have a deeper connection,” Rosato said. “I believe we’re both in each other’s lives for a reason and I really do not want this connection to just stop after one year of commitment. So hopefully, we will be able to stay friends for a long time.”

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