School spirit iniative takes campus by storm

Rider students and staff, including junior communication studies major Jenny Bartkovich (above), Assistant Director of Campus Life for Service Learning Joan Liptrot and Coordinator of Service and Civic Engagement and Community Director Sue Perls (below), celebrated the “On Wednesdays, We Wear Cranberry” iniative.

By Christian McCarvile

To many, cranberry is a bitter-tasting fruit, which sits untouched in the fridge for weeks. At Rider, however, cranberry is the color students wear to show school spirit and represent their fellow Broncs.

After listening to feedback from many students that wished for more opportunities to express their school spirit, Director of Campus Life for Activities and Student Engagement Nick Barbati and the Office of Student Life initiated a new weekly campus event: “On Wednesdays, We Wear Cranberry.”

Barbati settled on the color choice of cranberry to be the centerpiece of this new campus tradition because it is the visual component of what links Rider students as one.

“You can attend Rider and be a variety of different majors or be a part of various clubs and organizations, but the paramount link that we all share is to our school’s history and the bonded experience of being Rider Broncs and our school color,” Barbati said.

The first event to kick off the initiative was held in the Student Recreation Center on Feb. 13, which featured Rider spirit portraits, caricatures, face painting and free t-shirt giveaways.

Freshman accounting major, Angel Sanches, said he enjoyed participating in the cranberry festivities which brought a newfound sense of excitment to members of the Rider community.

“The event has definitely increased my school spirit,” Sanches said. “I now look forward to Wednesday, so I can wear my cranberry [colors] and show my love for the school.”

Luckily for Sanches and the rest of the recurring events’ dedicated participants, Barbati said that he plans to keep “On Wednesdays, We Wear Cranberry” as a permanent Rider tradition.

Every Wednesday throughout the spring semester, students can participate in the initiative by posting a picture
of themselves wearing cranberry via their social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

By posting pictures wearing cranberry on Wednesdays, students can enter weekly to win prize drawings. Prizes include “Dear Evan Hansen” Broadway tickets, FireFly Music Festival passes and amusement park tickets. Students can check their Rider email updates from Christopher Johnson called “This Weekend at Rider,” to find out if they won.

New surprises and giveaways are to come with each semester as the initiative will continue to invigorate members of the campus community, according to Barbati.

Referencing quotes from pop culture phenomenons “Mean Girls” and “Orange is the New Black,” Barbati said that not only is cranberry the new black, it is the new pink and orange, as well.

Published in the 2/27/19 edition.

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