by: Monica Jaramillo
In 2006, Rider University graduates saw the beginning of a new tradition. The five foot tall granite Rider Rock was added to the campus green by the Bart Luedeke Center. On this rock the words Rider University are inscribed and embedded in a glazed tablet. Rider University’s motto “In Omnia Paratus” rests just below it. These words have a strong meaning and it has a personal meaning to all Rider students. When translated into English the Latin phrase “In Omnia Paratus” means “in all things, go prepared.” At the Graduation ceremony, graduates had the privilege to walk by and touch the Rider Rock to symbolize their hard work and preparation for their futures. When a Rider student touches this rock it means that they are “are forever joined to the past and future generations of students and to Rider University.”
This tradition of touching the Rider Rock was initiated by the students so that they forever feel connected to the school and to honor the past, present and future students who will attend Rider University. Rider Students feel that through this rock, they are forever bound to Rider and will always remain part of the Rider family.
Upon entering Rider University, freshmen during the New Student Convocation go and touch the Rider Rock and on Graduation Day will touch it once again.
To some it is just a simple giant slab of granite that looks pretty on the campus green but it is more than that; it is a symbol and tradition that has a strong meaning and should act as a reminder for students as to why they are at Rider University.
Each freshman at the New Student Convocation is given a miniature Rider Rock to use as their own personal reminder. It is an exact replica of the real Rider Rock and each student has found their own individual use for it. Students have found interesting and creative uses for it.
Many Rider students have used their Rider Rocks as paper weights. Some use it simply as a decoration resting on their desk or book shelf- a daily reminder that they are part of Rider University family. A few students did not care much for the rock and gave it to their parents so that they can put it on their work desks or as a decoration in their office. Some regifted the Rider Rock and either gave it to a grandparent, family member or some other loved one so that they have a reminder of how proud they should be to know someone going to Rider University. The majority of Rider Students used their Rider Rocks for these reasons but there were some who found a more creative use for it.
Some Rider Students have used it as door stops to keep their doors open for friends to walk in and out freely. Some students have put their rocks in the most unlikely places.
“I put mine in my fish bowl so that my fish Bronco had some sort of decoration in his home,” said Sophomore Michaela Zippo. “Yes, I named my fish Bronco after the Rider Bronc!”
A fish bowl decoration is not the first idea that came into Rider students’ heads when they first got the Rider Rock. Some others also put their rocks in their pets’ cages, bowls and homes. A group of boys admitted to using the Rider Rock as a toy in which they used to play catch with because they could find nothing else to use. It’s amazing to see how a student’s mind works and to see the various uses for the Rider Rock.
No matter what it used for, the Rider Rock is a symbol of what it means to be a Rider student- and if it can keep all of your important papers weighed down, too, so be it!