Care Fair brings Rider community together 

By Kaitlyn McCormick 

RIDER’S first-ever Community Care Fair brought sunshine to an otherwise cloudy day with ice cream, free T-shirts, fun music and, most importantly, the spirit of showing up for one another. 

Hundreds of students, faculty and staff funneled through the blocked-off portion of the Campus Mall on Sept. 28 to collect their new Care Fair T-shirt sporting a graphic of A.J. The Bronc surrounded by community members and to meet with the numerous organizations tabling outside of the Student Recreation Center. 

Rider’s new committee 

The event was meant to kick off the official start of Rider’s Community Wellbeing Committee, an evolution from the Safety Preparedness Committee that banded together last spring after a swatting incident on Rider’s campus caused 52 fear-stricken minutes of lockdown and brought forth a reevaluation about wellness and safety on campus. 

“We want to make this an annual event and promote kindness and support for the campus community,” said Mike Reca, vice president for facilities and university operations and lead voice in the committee’s structure. 

The committee will consist of around 20 individuals, split equally amongst students, faculty, administrators and staff, where discussions will be had about better ways to handle the community during any emergency, according to Reca. 

The point of the new committee and the Care Fair was to ensure that “No Bronc walks alone,” the slogan plastered on the back of the T-shirts being distributed. 

Putting faces to names 

Students raced to get their free shirts decorated with “kindness matters” hearts, dropped their raffle tickets into buckets for chances to win gift cards, a speaker or a mountain bike and joined the long line for Mr. Softee. 

Many also wandered around the tables manned by members from all corners of the university. 

Representatives from Rider Public Safety, the counseling center, facilities management, Office of Information Technologies and more showed up with pamphlets, posters and smiling faces to create connections with Rider students. 

“I think a lot of the times we don’t always get to know what’s happening in the counseling center or other resources that we have available to us because they come through an email or through an announcement where we might not see it right away,” sophomore music education major Alexa Farah said. “So this is a great way to get that sort of publicity.” 

Another sophomore music education major, Sean Haugh, explained that, as a tour guide on campus, events like the Care Fair are beneficial. 

“When I’m giving a tour to prospective students I can talk about these different things and these different experiences so that they can see what Rider’s like,” Haugh said. 

Gauging the turnout 

Within the first thirty minutes of the fair, Reca said that they had already run out of the 300 T-shirts allotted for the day and guessed that the total turnout would rise to 500. 

Rider President Gregory Dell’Omo also made an appearance in the crowd. 

“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” Dell’Omo said, extending congratulations to Reca and the team that made the event possible. “To see [this] kind of turnout is fantastic.” 

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