A look back in time: Rider University’s run in with the Norovirus

By. Ankit Choubey

Lawrenceville, N.J. – With the year coming to a close and many students, professors, and other faculty stressing out over many of the formalities that must take place in order to close out the academic year properly, and with that the changing weather patterns of new jersey cause many people to fall sick during this time of year. It was not to recent when Rider University was faced with a daunting task presented in the form of the Norovirus.

Norovirus is a virus that causes gastroenteritis, which causes a persons stomach, intestines and other digestive tract organs to become inflamed. A person that has the virus exhibits many symptoms, which range from normal upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. The virus is highly contagious and can infect anyone person at any given time. The virus is spread through contaminated food, water, contaminated surfaces, and people that have the virus.

The Norovirus outbreak at Rider University affected close to 200 students within a short time frame of ten days. The outbreak had started on February 8th and spread quickly like wildfire amongst the Lawrenceville campus.

“There wasn’t really a lot preplanning, especially since it was a rapid outbreak, said Vickie Weaver, director of Public Safety, who also added that “…drawing from past experiences it really helped us prepare.”

The rapid succession of events lead to the hospitalization of many affected students. The office of public safety and student health services set up an auxiliary overflow clinic with 12 beds in Conover residence hall on the other side of the campus. “The shift manager noticed same symptoms kept showing up amongst students,” explained Weaver, “…he communicated quickly with first responders and other colleagues.”

When asked about how the outbreak changed the landscape of the student health office, director Lynn Eiding said that, “It hit us hard and hit us fast, we had to be here 24/7 and our staff wanted to really help students that were here during the day that showed symptoms.” She also added that, “there was a lot of activity that was taking place, the university uses a national response frame work when responding to events like this.

The virus’s outbreak also showed up during the time where many cases of the influenza would have shown up through out the campus. As a response the university enacted an onslaught of sanitation through out the campus. Dining halls had signs displaying that every table was cleaned and sanitized. The main dining hall on campus, Dalys Dinning hall, prohibited self-serving of food and had many of the staff members serving students food as a precautionary measure.

In addition to restricting the way students were served their food, dining halls resorted to barricading the food in addition to the sneeze guard that were already in place to protect the food with lunch trays. Students were given bottles of hand sanitizer and instructed to keep clean and wash their hands in order to prevent the escalation of the situation. Cleaning crews were kept on standby for rapid clean up if a student got sick in the midst of students. The cleaning service staff, UNICCO, were also instructed to be especially meticulous in the way they were supposed to clean to not only protect themselves but the individuals that use the facilities. Students that lived on campus were also instructed to let Resident hall staff know if they or a roommate were sick or showing signs of the virus so cleaning staff could come in and thoroughly clean their rooms to further reduce the chance of spreading the virus and so the affected individual(s) could be treated.

“We were very fortunate about having students washing their hands, some students went home, which helped in slowing down the spread of the virus. Professors for the most part were lenient in the sense that they didn’t force students to show notes of their absences,” explained Eiding.

When asked to comment on the protocol followed during the time the health services director had the following to say, “We drew from the H1N1 protocol, and we made some adjustments. She also added that, “we work with a collaborating physician; we wrote a protocol that had to be approved by the physician. There was a specific assessment that was given to each student and each student was assessed an hour or so later after they came to us.”

The university’s communication department kept students, staff informed of any developments through out the situation on a regular basis. Along with the university’s communication department, many news channels reported on the outbreak through out the first few days of the event, some of the channels include WABC New York and Fox News from Philadelphia, even the news media giant CNN reported the case. Both Student Health Services and Public Safety directors stressed that communication played key role through out the duration of the outbreak.

With many things going on during the first few days the two offices that handled the situation at hand in full stride. Eiding had explained how, “There was such a quick response, public safety saw the same symptoms that kept showing up in more than a few students which drew some attention to the situation. The students and cleaning crew were really instrumental in preventing the spread of the virus.”

Eiding also added that, “we saw a large number of kids initially, it was weird because we saw a lot of kids at one night with the same symptoms.”

Looking back at what the university as a community had to deal with; Director Weaver commented by saying, “I think it was a professional, well organized response. I commend all the responders as well as the students.” Director Eiding also added by saying, “We had all the food service people on board. Public safety was on point, they really should get the gold star for their response to the situation.” and that, “administration was on top of the whole situation also.” Both office directors agree that all of the staff within their individual offices handled this outbreak in a well-organized and professional manner, and draw from their past experiences to make subtle improvements to an already flawless university emergency/medical emergency response team.







An evening with Senator Frank Lautenberg

Lawrenceville, N.J. – An all American man, words that describe a man with over 30 years experience dealing with the men and women of Capitol Hill, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg exemplifies the qualities of an experienced and successful American.

The native New Jerseyan graced Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ with his presence on Wednesday night, April 11, 2012. The event concluded a series of political speakers brought to the University by the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics.

The senator was born in Patterson, NJ in what was a semi-impoverished home with a father that worked the silk mills of Northern New Jersey. Seeing the tough hand his parents were dealt, Lautenberg learned the vital key to success is a great education, a lesson not only learned by his family’s financial state but by the words of his father encouragement. Lautenberg recalled the time when his father had taken him to his workplace to essentially teach him a lesson so his future could be much more prosperous than his families current financial situation and work situation.

“He took my hand and said I want to show you something… you see that, that’s bad for you…you must never work in a place like this, you have to get an education,” Lautenberg said while explaining his fathers working conditions.

Six years later Lautenberg saw the loss of his father who was 43 years old at the time of his death with Lautenberg being only19 years old.

“Why should children that can learn, not be able to go to school? I believe in the system we have, it just has to be fairer, and it has to be better balanced. Our obligation is to make sure that there is equity in our society.” Lautenberg said after touching on how important education was in his development.

Soon after the passing of his father and graduating from high school Lautenberg decided to enlist in the United States Army. He joined the army as a part of the Signal Corps, mainly to help support his family and mainly because he “wanted to do something different.” Using the GI bill and the skills he had obtained in the army Lautenberg took his fathers advice on education and went to Columbia University.

“Thank goodness that the army helped me to get into Columbia University,” Lautenberg added while speaking about his college education.

He attended and graduated Columbia with a degree in economics, which lead to his business career as Chairman and CEO of Automatic Data Processing (ADP). He and a handful of friends made it possible for the company to thrive which paved the way for Lautenberg’s success as a businessman.

When speaking about the company Lautenberg explained how the experience was positive motivator towards his career. He had this to say about his experience, “It set a tone for me, ADP was an outstandingly successful company.”

With the success that he had seen form bringing his company from the ground up Lautenberg wanted to give some of the entrepreneur and business minded students in the audience a bit of advice. He went on by saying, “I would give a young person or an older person the same advice. Make sure that you treat your employees fairly, with respect, and with the ability to earn a living, because frankly for ADP that was the measure that built our company.”

Finally after being in business for a while latenberg decided that he once again needed to do something different. Having already served his country in WWII, he stepped up and decided to try his hands in politics specifically the senate and in 1982 he had won a seat in the senate as a New Jersey State Senator. When asked about this he briefly and strongly exclaimed that, “I belong with my country.”

When speaking about some of his accomplishments in the few years as senator, the senator spoke about how he was behind many of the restrictions on increasing the drinking age to 21 along with decreasing the BAC content form 1.0 to 0.08 for drunk drivers. This one feat that he was really proud of because it has saved many lives since it has been enacted as a law.

“We save 1,000 kids a year from dying on the highway, and then I dropped the drinking content from 1.0 to .08 and we saved another 500 people a year. So overall since the law was made we’ve saved 30,000 people,” the senator commented.

The senator also was part of the elimination of smoking on airplanes, and fights for students till this day while trying to lower the prices of student loans and college tuition in hopes of making higher education much more affordable.

When asked about his views on the current president and on the two wars the country is in the senator had this to say.

“I think that President Obama is a good president,” said Lautenberg adding that “he is almost professorial in his commentary,” and that “I think he has his mind in the right place.”

As far as the wars were concerned the senator spoke about how during the time of September 11, 2001, he was for the war and voted to go to war. He stated that based on the information that was being passed down from the upper echelons he acted in the way he thought was best. The senator also added that, “the wounds from these two wars are the worst out of any [other] wars.”

With a feeling of having so much more to offer, the 88 year old senator feels that he will still be in the senate for a while longer and shows no hopes of leaving soon, as “…a devoted believer in America.” He still feels we can change things and better ourselves as a country.

Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, a brief overview of an all American man.

Who is Frank Lautenberg.

Born to Polish and Russian immigrant parents on January 23, 1924 in the northern New Jersey town of Patterson, senator Frank Lautenberg has been making changes to the New Jersey landscape for many years. With a hard working father who worked many jobs including the silk mills of Patterson, the young man took his fathers example and worked and continues to work hard for the people. After graduating from highschool the young Frank Lautenberg joined the United States Army Signal Corps in World War II. Using the GI bill to finance his college education, Frank Lautenberg attended and graduated the Coloumbia School of Business with a degree in Economics in 1949.

Using his military background, hard working nature, and his economics degree Lautenberg along with a group of friends founded the nations first payroll service company, Automatic Data Processing (ADP), one of the worlds largest computing companies. In 1978 he served as the Executive Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for four years till 1982.

In 1982 Lautenberg was successful in making his move into politics, he was elected into the United States Senate as part of the Democratic Party. Senator Lautenberg served the Senate from 1982 till 2000 where he announced his retirement from the senate and was succeeded by Jon Corzine. In 2002 he rejoined the Senate to replace Senator Torricelli and was once again reelected to the Senate in 2008.

In his first three terms as Senator, Lautenberg, served the people of his state successfully. He had helped in banning smoking on airplanes, which was a huge problem in the 1960s and 1970s. He is also responsible for raising the drinking age to 21 which served to drastically reduce the amount of drunk driving accidents and incidents linked to under aged alcoholism. Another great feat of the senator was keeping firearms out of the hands of convicted felons and balancing the federal budget that helped in the stopping the financing of hostile nations that support terrorism. The Senator in the recent years has helped in many environmental issues such as protecting the ocean and the taking supporting the global warming issues. For students he has worked hard to make higher education affordable and updating the GI Bill for those who served the country. On Wednesday April 11th, the man behind many of the important policies for a better American society will be present in an interview style session held at Rider University by the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics.