The O-Team

While the incoming freshmen move into their new homes for the next year, there is another group of students who have already been preparing for their arrival.
The Lawrenceville campus’ O-Staff is a group of seven students who are designated to aid the new students’ transition into college.
Aside from helping the transition, O-Staffers also serve as great mentors who can provide freshmen with ways to get involved on campus and any other activities that Rider has to offer.

By Heather Fiore and Emily Eiermann

Photos by Peter G. Borg/Rider University


Diana Passarelli


Major: Human Resource Management Business
Reason for joining: “I wanted to make a difference and touch someone’s life like the O-Staff had done for me. I remember how infectious their smiles and optimism were, how they helped my peers, eased every stress, and simply treated us as if they were our friends rather than our authorities.”
Orientation memories: “It was my freshman year that I had finally put myself in new and challenging, but exciting situations.”
Best advice for incoming students: “If you choose to listen to other people’s views and compromise as a diversified group, then together you will achieve.”


Dan Viola


Major: Fine Arts
Reason for joining: “I am what you would call ‘The Returner.’ I did O-Staff last year and it impacted my overall life so much that I couldn’t help but go out for it another time.”
Orientation memories: “Orientation is actually what solidified my confidence in going to Rider for the next four years. If I was bored during freshman year, or doubtful, I knew that I could ask an O-Staffer for finding events on campus or I could see what one of my orientation friends were up to.”
Best advice for incoming students: “Get involved, but don’t get too involved that you’re not getting done what needs to be done.”


Emily Mackin


Major: Secondary Education and English Literature
Reason for joining: “I have tons of energy and even more Rider pride. I wanted to share all of that with the incoming students and their families. I like being a resource and a mentor for incoming students.”
Orientation memories: “I was terrified to be coming in mid-year when other freshmen had already adapted to the college environment and had solidified their group of friends. But I was welcomed with open arms by everyone from the girls in my wing to my advisors and professors.”
Best advice for incoming students: “It’s okay to make mistakes. Now is the time to make mistakes.”


Danyelle Johnson


Major: Communications
Reason for joining: “I felt that I should give back to my Rider community by aiding new incoming students in feeling comfortable at Rider, which would be their new home for the next few years, and make an impact on their experience just as my orientation leaders had done for me.”
Orientation memories: “I spent lots of time meeting new people and making my transition into a Rider Bronc, which was both enjoyable and successful.”
Best advice for incoming students: “Always stay focused, yet remember to have as much of an enjoyable experience at Rider as you can.”


Chelsea Bradshaw


Major: Elementary Education and Psychology
Reason for joining: “Susan Makowski, one of Rider’s admissions counselors, definitely made my decision an easy one. Ever since I met her during my senior year of high school, she has encouraged me to get involved.”
Orientation memories: “I tried to meet a lot of people and find a group of friends that I felt comfortable with and focused on my classes. In the meantime, I kept my eyes and ears open for clubs and organizations that might be fun to join in the future.”
Best advice for incoming students: “Step out of your comfort zone. There are constantly events to partake in, so get involved!”


Brian Williams


Major: Finance and Accounting
Reason for joining: “Being able to help others even when they have even the simplest questions is something that I have always been happy doing.”
Orientation memories: “During high school, I was a much more reserved and quiet person, but from joining different clubs and Sigma Phi Epsilon, I was able to break out of my shell and become much more involved.”
Best advice for incoming students: “Get involved. Whether it be a club, sport, or Greek life, find your niche, and run with it. The experiences you have with different organizations will make college much more enjoyable and memorable.”


Keenan Bailey


Major: Political Science
Reason for joining: “It was so good to see and hear all of the excitement that the students had. It was very rewarding to know that I was a part of these students’ very first college experience.”
Orientation memories: “I was absolutely excited to come to Rider that I took 11 tours! My freshman year was perfect. I was homesick for a while, but once I got involved on campus, I forgot all about going home every weekend.”

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