Think About It: Power of one v. masses

By JP Krahel

It’s a bit ironic, if you think about it. If you look on page 10, you’ll see some well-articulated thoughts on Rider’s attempt to get more people to stay the weekend. Now, pull out last week’s issue, or the issue before that, and you’ll be able to read about the current housing crunch and Rider’s recent decision reversal. “Either we’re going to kick you out, or else you’ll be in an overcrowded dorm, but either way, we’d love you to stay the weekend and have a good time.”

That was a gross oversimplification, but at the end of the day, this is a pivotal time in Rider’s history. We’ve got several capital projects either completed or in the works, a rapidly expanding student body and a somewhat unseemly past that we’ve got to distance ourselves from. The University simply has got to make a change, and we are absolutely doing so, whether you like it or not.

The question is not one of momentum, but of direction. Will we go from a small-sized suitcase school to a somewhat larger-sized suitcase school? Will Rider become a place where the people who go home on weekends are the oddballs, rather than the norm? Can we become a respectable school in the eyes of the world?

Most importantly, who makes that decision? Some would say that the members of the administration have made up their minds about what the school’s going to look like (i.e. large student body, upperclassmen living off-campus), and that’s the end of the story. They’ve certainly got a point. After all, you and I are only here for four years, five tops, but the brass stays on seemingly forever, and they get paid to do it. How could we stand up to that?

Not to get too melodramatic, but we already have stood our ground, in at least one respect. Student response has forced the hand of Rider’s administration and gotten it to keep its promise to rising upperclassmen. You can stay on campus next year if you want. Of course, it may be uncomfortable to live in a triple, but a promise is now being kept, thanks to you.

Now, I don’t claim to know what actually went on behind closed doors, and I certainly don’t want to paint an inaccurate picture of the upper echelons of the management here. They’re good people. In fact, the housing decision reversal has given me more faith in them than ever. If you want something changed, and if enough people are with you, the people in charge will listen. Put bluntly, you can help shape this school if you want to.

The way I see it, the biggest issue is taking care of business on your own, rather than hoping for your representatives to do it. No offense to SGA, but student government is always composed of people who are interested in student government, or in résumé padding. You pay the same tuition your rep does, and you’ve got every bit as much of a voice. If an issue is bothering you, send an e-mail. If something is being done well, send one, too. Given what we’ve seen of the administration’s at least somewhat understanding attitude, if Rider does eventually sell its soul and become an oversized suitcase school, it’ll be as much my fault and yours as anyone else’s.

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