Wednesday, Nov 11, 2020
Danielle O’Connor '20 wins 107.7 The Bronc's Cruisin' from Commencement contest
by Rachel Stengel '14, '20
A Class of 2020 Rider University graduate now has a diploma and a brand new car. On Nov. 1, Danielle O’Connor '20 won Rider's annual Cruisin' From Commencement contest, organized by the University's student-run radio station 107.7 The Bronc.
O’Connor's grand prize includes a two-year lease on a new 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid LE and ToyotaCare, a vehicle maintenance and roadside assistance plan, for two years courtesy of Team Toyota of Princeton.
"I have wanted to enter this contest since I saw the car on campus my freshman year, and as I finished each year I thought about how I was one step closer to entering," O'Connor says.
Since 2016, graduating students have competed for the chance to win a new Toyota vehicle by submitting a video about their Rider experience. In her winning video, O'Connor, a musical theatre major, describes Rider as her home and "the greatest adventure of my life."
"As soon as I stepped foot on campus, I was immediately welcomed into the Rider family. During my audition, I could tell that the faculty and students wanted nothing more than to see me succeed," she says in her video.
The winner is determined by a panel of judges who narrow down the entries to 10 top finalists and use a rating scale to determine the highest scoring video. At the grand finale, typically held on Commencement day, the top 10 finalists are given keys, the winner receiving the only key that starts the new car. One by one, the finalists try their keys until the winner is identified by the roar of a new Toyota engine.
"107.7 The Bronc is excited to have once again been the only college radio station in the nation to have given away a new car to a graduating student to help get the next chapter in their life off to a fast start," says John Mozes, general manager for 107.7 The Bronc. "Nothing makes us happier, especially this year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic."
Rider's Commencement was originally rescheduled for Nov. 1, but has been postponed to May 2021 amid COVID-19 crowd restrictions. The contest took place during Rider's virtual Homecoming & Family Weekend, following social distancing and mask guidelines by the state of New Jersey.
"Coming back to campus for the Cruisin’ From Commencement contest felt like I finally had closure on my college experience and winning a new car was a pretty amazing bonus," O'Connor says. "Things may have been very different this year, but we all got through it together. One thing I am certain of in these uncertain times is the love I have for my Rider family and the Class of 2020."
Team Toyota of Princeton, who has sponsored the contest for five years, is proud to continue its partnership with 107.7 The Bronc, says Doug Zenzel, director of marketing for Team Toyota of Princeton.
"Congratulations to all of the finalists and especially winner Danielle O’Connor for displaying their dedication and relentless pursuit of education and campus involvement in these trying times," he says.