Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The 940 new students arriving at their appointed residence halls for Move-In Day on Rider’s Lawrenceville campus might have found the sunny, warm and dry weather uncharacteristically nice for Labor Day weekend, but the spirit of helpfulness and community they also encountered is something they’re just going to have to get used to.
What can be an arduous process for freshmen at many colleges and universities – waiting in a logjam of cars before having to lug boxes, televisions and bed coverings up two or three flights of stairs – is rendered simple by Rider’s Bronc Buddy system, which sees packed SUVs cleared of their contents in minutes, safely deposited in the new students’ dorm rooms.
This unique component of the Orientation Program was established to assist new students and their families with the transition into college. The Bronc Buddies help new residents move into their assigned residence halls, escort new students to opening weekend events, and facilitate various activities for the new students.
This year, more than 390 upperclassmen, including fraternity and sorority members, student-athletes and other student leaders, participated in the program. Easily recognizable by their distinctive T-shirts, the Bronc Buddy program has become a popular and efficient part of the Move-In Day bustle – though incoming students are sometimes startled by the helpful rush.
“Some of the freshmen seemed a little overwhelmed at first by the process, but they’re excited at the same time,” said senior Political Science major Jonathan Padron, who participated as a Bronc Buddy for the third time, and one of several Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity members to volunteer. “We’ve seen lots of smiling faces and happy parents. They pull up to the building and they’re done in two minutes.”
The parents of the freshmen and new students are sent letters ahead of time so that they can anticipate the rush of helping hands. Even properly briefed, not every parent was quite prepared for the efficiency of the operation.
“I knew there was something like this, but I had no idea it would be so fast,” said Steve Snow of Union Township, N.J., whose daughter, Camille Snow, a Music Theater major, moved into Wright Hall. “It sure saved us a ton of time!”
Such efficiency allowed the Snows to enjoy the Family Food Fest on the Campus Mall, while more and more new students rolled up to their new residences, their trunks bulging with belongings. It’s not always the mini-fridges that challenge the Bronc Buddies, either.
“I went for a box of clothes, but it was very deceiving,” said Catherine Quinto, a junior majoring in Secondary Education and English. “It was the heaviest thing I carried all day!”
Quinto added that she and her fellow Delta Phi Epsilon sisters don’t mind the hard work, however. “It’s a great opportunity for our sorority to help out and meet some new people,” she said, taking a breather outside of Olsen Hall. “We also get to move in a couple of days earlier than the rest of the upperclassmen, so that’s nice, too.”
Cindy Threatt, associate dean for Residential Programs, said she looks forward to Move-In Day as much as any day on her calendar. “If there is any day I love working here, it’s this day,” she explained. “You rarely get the chance to make this many people happy in such a short amount of time!”