By Annmarie Mercieri
Four years of hard work, fond memories and difficult times eventually all lead up to the final week as an undergraduate at Rider University. Traditionally, seniors celebrate their final days before commencement by participating in activities together off campus through a Univesity-organized event. In 2007, Senior Week was dubbed Last Call.
However, the idea of Last Call 2008 seems to be on the fence. With rumors of this year’s final senior celebrations possibly being canceled swirling around, the Senior Class officers sent out an e-mail Wednesday to let the graduating students decide the fate of this year’s senior week.
“The senior leaders have decided to send out a survey,” said Senior Class Secretary Theresa Androvett. “It includes different options as to Last Call, which is normally the Wednesday and Thursday nights before commencement.”
The class of 2008 will have until Wednesday to complete and submit the survey.
“We don’t want seniors to think we’re canceling it; we just want to get the consensus of all the seniors before a decision is made,” Androvett said. “Based on the number of survey replies we will be capable of deciding whether or not we’re holding a Last Call 2008.”
Less than a month ago rumors began spreading that Senior Week might be canceled because of a lack of communication with students.
“A major problem is that a lot of the seniors aren’t aware of what exactly Senior Week is,” senior Stacey Hagenbush said. “However, I’ve waited four years for it and would be disappointed if we weren’t given the opportunity.”
Interest in Senior Week fell last year when only 120 students attended the activities. The senior class officers feared interest would also fall this year because of a lack of communication about Last Call 2008. The survey was partially designed to see if seniors would attend this year’s festivities.
“I think the survey is going to help because everyone is assuming that there will be a Senior Week,” senior Kenny Carlton said. “Not having the survey, or not informing us, will only upset the senior class.”
This week’s survey will let seniors voice their opinions by choosing what they would like to do during Last Call 2008 and how much they’re willing to pay.
Last year’s class had dinner at a restaurant, went to a bar in Belmar and had a barbeque outside of Poyda for $100 a person.
Seniors can rate their interests in a list of possible events and activities to partake in, such as a barbecue with administration and faculty, a Broadway show, a dinner cruise, white water rafting and others.
“No final decision will be made after this survey,” said senior class President Gina Medori. “We might send out a follow-up survey with narrowed choices based on the responses.”
Many agree that the decision is being put where it belongs: in the hands of the seniors.
“I truly think the survey will benefit us because I would be upset if we weren’t given the chance to decide,” senior Russ Mareno said. “It’s an important moment in our lives, those last days, and it’s our last hoorah. It’s our last time to celebrate those four years together.”
Many seniors concur with the decisions of the Senior Class Council. Kim Fleming believes that a lack of survey results can only point blame back onto the senior class itself.
“I think that the senior class has the responsibility to deliver what the expectations are,” she said. “If the survey says that the seniors don’t really have an interest in it, then I suppose that’s the way it is.”
Some seniors think an e-mailed survey may not yield the most accurate results, as not every graduating student will complete it.
“I feel that students disregard their e-mails and many will disregard the survey, leaving those who would like a senior week at a disadvantage since results will be lowered,” said Bianca Jerez.
Medori said the class officers are trying to gauge a pulse from seniors in other ways too. She started a Facebook.com group, 2008 Seniors!, in order to keep the students updated on events and give feedback to the officers.
“Obviously not every senior at Rider is a part of this group, but we’re taking small steps to get a vibe from the whole,” Medori said.
— Additional reporting by Paul Szaniawski