So if there is ever a complaint I have about resident life on campus, it's that for the most part, the majority of the dorms at Rider University's Lawrenceville campus do not have elevators, which can be pretty problematic for anyone who becomes physically incapacitated. For example, I live on the third floor of Hill Hall, which isn't bad because I happen to like my room, but if I want to do my laundry, I have to go down several flights of stairs and floors to get to the basement which may or may not have occupied machines. It's a little inconvenient, right? Now, imagine I just got injured playing a sport, doing some other physical activity, or I just feel sick. Now it's even more of an inconvenience.
My friend was coming up to my room a couple days ago and she complained that if she ever hurt her leg, these stairs would be the death of her, and I agree! It got me to thinking, what if I had a friend who wanted to visit me, but couldn't because these higher floor rooms aren't wheelchair accessible? You could argue and say that I could visit them, but what if they're not even a Rider student? Not very accommodating, is it? I decided to check the Rider residence website to review how many buildings have access to elevators at the Lawrenceville campus and out of 14 places, only two: Ziegler and West Village, have access to elevators.
Two. Only two.
Now, I understand that Rider University wants to make other locations seem more attractive to incoming freshman, parents, staff, etc., so doing construction for locations such as the Bart Luedeke Center is "necessary," but isn't wanting to promote an atmosphere of wanting to stay on campus for all four years more important? Next year, Rider University mandates that any freshman living 30 miles or more from campus are obligated to live at Rider for two years.
So, in other words, not until junior year can these people decide to live elsewhere. Obviously, the university wants students to stay on campus, but yet the buildings they least renovate are our own residence buildings! I'm no expert but it feels counter-intuitive to make Rider seem attractive to students by updating buildings other than the ones new students will be forced to live in.
Over the summer, many people may have heard about a detrimental article and survey published that criticized Rider University's dorms.
In my local area, this article went viral with countless students and parents commenting on the truth behind the statistics and opinions. The common consensus? Everyone essentially agreed that Rider University's dorms are sub-par. Friends that have visited me have agreed that their own university had "much better" dorms. Now, don't get me wrong, I still love residence life and dorming is fun, even as a senior, but I can't disagree that the dorms themselves need improvements that do not seem to be in any near future. There is no way, in my opinion, that none of the staff members of importance at Rider didn't see the article, because it was quite popular. I expected some sort of announcement to be made in regards to it in order to improve image, reputation, and student life.
I'm not telling Rider to go ahead and start doing construction on every building all at once and force students to deal with it, but making improvements like elevators would be a great addition and start to a multi-layered plan. It's time we raise the bar for student resident life on campus.