Most people think of college as an escape from home, somewhere to make new friends and get away from nagging parents and other annoyances. So why is it that so many people at Rider go home on the weekends? The answer is simple: There isn’t much to offer on the weekends, making it a “suitcase school.”
I’m one of those people who goes home often. Although I have friends at school whom I interact with on a daily basis, they unfortunately all go home on the weekends. So, the only choice I really have is to go home as well, or be alone doing not much of anything due to the lack of events.
Although Rider advertises events such as comedians, Broadway shows and concerts, it’s hard to get the motivation to go to them when you have no interest whatsoever. Many students I hang out with say that these events are silly, which I agree with.
To me, they’re silly because most of the students haven’t even heard of half of the comedians, Broadway shows or music artists that come here. Why on earth would they be interested then? Some people might argue that just because students aren’t familiar with these performers doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to enjoy it. However, students would be more motivated to actually go if they’re familiar with a Broadway show or a guest that’s performing at Rider.
Another problem a lot of students have with staying at school on the weekends is the fact that a lot of them don’t have a car on campus, especially the freshmen. Although it is possible to make friends with students who do have cars to go to places like restaurants, the mall, or anywhere else, not all students want to do that. Not every student wants to constantly drive out of their way just to spend a day at the mall or a night at the movies. They’ll wind up spending more money than they want to, especially on gas. It’s better to have events right on campus that will keep them busy and doing stuff that they’re actually interested in.
Rider offers the campus shuttle service that brings you to the mall, the Princeton train station, Wal-Mart and various other stores. Sounds great, right? Not quite. This shuttle not only takes an unnecessarily long time to get you where you want to go, but only takes you to these places (not counting the train station) on Saturdays. What about Fridays or Sundays? The shuttle should be going to more places besides the Westminster campus and the Princeton train station. Although public transportation is offered, many students would rather not navigate the system on their own. Not only that, but for the most part the public bus is never on time, and because of the constant stops it makes to let people on and off it takes forever to get to where you want to be.
It’s definitely possible to get more kids to spend the weekends at school. Rider needs to hear from the students about what events they want to take part in. They need to have students write in with suggestions, or even take a poll of what they want to see more of at our school. We need more students to organize events because then there will be more diversity amongst the events that are offered. For example, have a rock band play a concert one semester instead of rap. If there were more events organized that students are interested in, more people would actually want to stay at school. College is supposed to be about making a new life for yourself and living on your own all the time. Students shouldn’t be going home every weekend. They should be enjoying their freedom and working on becoming independent adults.
Sophomore English major
Printed in the 9/18/13 edition.