Campus Traditions

The Office of Campus Life at the Lawrenceville campus and Assistant Dean of Students Office at the Princeton Campus sponsor many events throughout the year that have become much anticipated traditions.  Check out these short descriptions and you'll see these campus-wide events highlight Rider’s unique spirit in an atmosphere of unity and fun. 

FALL SEMESTER EVENTS

Cranberry Fest 
First held on May 4, 1979, this event celebrates Andrew J. Rider, the founder and first president of the Trenton Business College. Rider introduced the cranberry to the Queen of England and hence she nicknamed him "The Cranberry King of New Jersey." Rider also owned a horse named Cranberry which he purchased in England. This annual event is held each September to welcome everyone back to campus with an outdoor luncheon, activities, and free giveaways. The link to the "Cranberry King" is also the basis for our school colors of cranberry and white.

Awareness Day, Lawrenceville
Held each fall semester, this day allows each student organization to showcase their events and activities and recruit new members to join. Generally it will take place on the campus mall between the residence halls and the dining hall during the open period.

Midnight MAACness
Originally called "Cranberry & White Night," this event was the brainchild of the Rider men's basketball program. It introduced the campus community to the players and coaching staff, and generated excitement for the upcoming season. The inaugural "Cranberry & White Night" was held at the beginning of the 1991-92 season, which was then Head Coach Kevin Bannon's third year at the helm. When Rider joined the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) in 1997, "Midnight MAACness" was created to expand the program to introduce both men's and women's basketball teams at midnight on the first official day of practice allowed by the NCAA. Each year the Student Government Association, the Athletics Office, Office of Campus Life and the Student Entertainment Council provide lots of food, live entertainment, free giveaways, and spirit filled activities.

Homecoming, Princeton
In September, the Princeton campus celebrates Homecoming with their traditional Homecoming Pageant (Friday night) and Dance (Saturday night). The Pageant tests students’ talent and creativity as they vie for the title of Homecoming King and Homecoming Queen. The Dance is a fun formal event that allows students to dress up and look their best.

Family Weekend and Founders’ Day
These events are usually held on the first weekend in November. Family Day is designed to entice students' family members to come visit their "Rider family." This tradition is especially important to new students and is timed to assist them in their transition to college life. The first Family Day was held in 1979. Since 1981, the Residence Hall Association (then the "Association of Dormitory Students") along with the Office of Campus Life has teamed up annually to provide a day filled with events, good food, and school spirit.

During the Founders' Day On this day, the highest academic honor a student can achieve as an undergraduate at Rider is presented in the Bart Luedeke Center Theater. Four seniors, three juniors, and three sophomores receive the award named for the school's founder. Andrew J. Rider Scholars are selected from each of the University's colleges (College of Business Administration, College of Liberal Arts Education, and Sciences, College of Continuing Studies, and Westminster Choir College). This event is scheduled each year on Family Day so families can share in our academic successes.

Rider Thanksgiving Celebration
Since 1990, each year before Thanksgiving, faculty, staff, and students have been gathering to give thanks as a community for all our blessings. Originally held in the Chapel, it now takes place in the Bart Luedeke Center Cavalla Room. A turkey meal is served mid-day for more than 300 people, who listen to featured speakers' stories of thanks that are guaranteed to make you feel blessed. 

Java ‘N’ Jive, Princeton
Java ‘N’ Jive is a coffeehouse that usually takes place at the end of the Fall semester. It is a wonderful opportunity for students to relax before finals and enjoy a variety of live musical performances.

Celebration of Lights
This Rider tradition began in 1991 when a few members of the Rider community gathered at the main gate on a December evening to celebrate the many different holiday traditions during that festive time of year. Light was brought to a tree that brightened the darkness of night. The celebrations included were Diwali, Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, and Three Kings Day. More recent additions include Ramadan, Boxing Day, and Winter Solstice. A broad spectrum of the Rider community joins to plan the Celebration of Lights with the hope that it will move us all toward that time of peace, love, justice, joy, understanding, and unity that seems to prevail throughout the traditions of many cultures. 

Greek Awards & Recognition, Lawrenceville
At the close of each calendar year, the community takes time to give recognition to the numerous achievements of both Greek chapters and individual chapter members. A reception is held in December of every year to provide a chance for the Greek community to review and celebrate their accomplishments.

SPRING SEMESTER EVENTS

Winter Weekend
The first weekend of the Spring semester has become a tradition that consists of various events planned for students to remain on campus and get back into participating in activities. Previous events have included ski trips, movie marathons, bingo, and ice skating.

Martin Luther King Day of Service
Coordinated by the Office of Community Service, this annual event gets students and staff out in the community giving back in a variety of ways.  Don't miss the opportunity to celebrate the life of a great leader and be civically engaged in the surrounding community.

University Ball
Join faculty, staff and students at this semi formal event in our very own Cavalla Room!  This young tradition with great potential has dinner and dancing and is a great way to spend your Saturday when it's cold outside!

University Day, Lawrenceville
On April 13, 1994, Rider College received University status by the State of New Jersey. Each year on the Thursday closest to April 13, the Rider community comes together to celebrate. Throughout the day, activities are planned to showcase the successes of Rider students, staff, and faculty. A campus wide party and the presentation of the Nancy Gray Award, an award to recognize a member of the faculty, staff or administration that embodies the principles of campus leadership, school spirit, and community service completes the day's activities. 

Greek Week, Lawrenceville
Greek Week is an annual tradition comprised of sporting events, performances judged by University staff members, community service events, and educational programs that takes place during the month of April. The environment created by Greek Week allows the community to grow closer together and puts Greek Life in the spotlight of Rider University.

Senior Ball, Lawrenceville
The senior class holds a formal dinner/dance about two weeks before the end of the spring semester. Seniors scheduled to graduate that semester or the following summer may attend and bring a date to this off campus event. It is a great way to allow students to say goodbye and celebrate their successes.

LaLaNoBooza
On the first Tuesday of every May, during spring finals, students are invited to participate in a large, end of the year non alcoholic party. T-shirts are distributed, and students are entertained with live music and free food. Prizes include Sony Playstations, TVs, VCRs, and other large and small ticket items, which are raffled off every half-hour all night long. The students are entertained with a variety of activities, like tarot card readers, button makers, video games (with alcohol education messages), and "make your own music video." The evening provides much needed relief from Finals Week. 

Spring Fling, Princeton
Spring Fling is an annual end of the year event that occurs in April or May. Taking place on the Great Plains of the Princeton Campus, this event traditionally offers food, music, and inflatable rides. Many student organizations also contribute booths like sand art, tie-dying, and pot your own plant. Special events in the past have included a hypnotist, a caricature artist, and a henna tattoo artist.

ONGOING EVENTS

Bronc Buffets
There are usually four Bronc Buffets held each semester. These events were designed to provide alcohol free Friday night activities for students to participate in. Student clubs and organizations may request to host a Bronc Buffet and do so on a first come first serve basis. They generally have a theme, games, prizes and giveaways and of course, lots of food! They are held Friday’s from 10:00 pm to 12:00 am in Daly Dining Hall.

Bronc Bingo
A new Rider phenomenon that is held about three times per semester on Friday nights. Bronc Bingo can see up to 300 student participants and is growing in popularity. Students play to win prizes and enjoy this mellow weekend activity starting at 10 pm in the Daly Dining Hall.