DotCIO releases laptop details

THE T440s, DEPICTED, is the new laptop for this year’s Mobile Computing Program. The Division of Chief Information Officer released information about the program on Thursday, June 19. The new laptop has been both lauded and criticized by many.

On Thursday, June 19, the Rensselaer Division of the Chief Information Officer released details on the Mobile Computing Program for the 2014–2015 academic year. The annual program includes a laptop, various accessories, software, warranties, and technical support.

The laptops included in this year’s package are Lenovo Thinkpad T440s Ultrabook computers, with an Intel Core i7-4600U processor and 8 GB of RAM. Storage includes a 256 GB SATA-3 SSD, making this the first year that the DotCIO has elected to utilize a solid-state hard drive over a traditional spinning disk. The computer additionally includes a six-cell lithium ion battery, rated for up to nine hours on idle. The total cost of the program, including warranties, services, and accessories, is $1,620.

Current students have already weighed in on the matter. A few students on the social networking site Reddit noted that the battery life should be better than in previous years. Many also mentioned that the switch to solid-state drives is a positive change.

This year’s program has not been free of criticism, however. A number of students have expressed worry about the lack of a dedicated graphics processing unit, or GPU, and the implications that lack would have on running graphics-intensive programs, such as computer aided design software and games. Other students have noted solid state drives’ inherently smaller amount of storage space compared with that of many current laptops. Previous laptops from the MCP have incorporated hard drives with up to 500 GB of storage space, albeit in spinning drives. Some students have also suggested it would have been beneficial to allow for a choice between two laptops—a heavier, more powerful laptop, or a lighter, less powerful, tablet-like laptop.

Many of these concerns have been responded to Representatives from the Help Desk stated that during their testing, the laptops were able to be used for many graphically intensive programs despite the lack of a dedicated GPU. Additionally, with regards to the limited storage space, many students suggested using external hard drives for storage purposes, citing the fact that computers utilizing solid-state hard drives are often faster than their older counterparts.

Students who wish to bring their own laptops are allowed to do so; however, they are encouraged to make sure that their own laptops meet Rensselaer’s minimum specifications as listed on the DotCIO website. Distribution of laptops for participants of the Mobile Computing Program will take place during the Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond events at the beginning of the Fall semester.

The Mobile Computing Program was introduced for the 1999–2000 academic year as a way to “standardize the toolkit,” enable cross-campus computer usage, and reduce class preparation time. The original package included an IBM Thinkpad 600E running Windows 98, powered by a Pentium II processor.

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Editorial Notebook

Reflections on campus activities

Hello to the entire Rensselaer community! A very special greeting and welcome to all incoming first-year students, whether RPI is your very first college or your fifth.

For me, the biggest thing that I love about RPI is the literally hundreds of opportunities students have to get involved with various activities and events on campus. I truly believe that there is a place (or many places) here where every student will not only feel welcome, but may even have some of the best times of their lives. I assure you that this is true for you too, but the only way you will find your place is to put yourself out there beyond your comfort zone for a day or two and try some brand new experiences. You might just find that you could change your life.

A quick side note: while the main focus of my piece here will be to urge incoming students to get involved, it is really for anyone on campus who feels a need for more likeminded people in their lives.

Rensselaer is a unique environment due to its diverse community that is, at least in my opinion, neither too large or too small, in the vein that there is enough room for everyone to have their voice heard but at the same time enough choices for various types of people to find their place. I implore you to take advantage of this as soon as you arrive here in the fall.

If you still don’t believe me that no matter who you are, you are in the right place, I will share my story of how I went from “just” a freshman like you to where I am today.

I arrived here last fall with the usual first-year anxieties fears and excitements, you’ve probably got them too. I also came here with a so-called “plan” for myself and how my four years here would play out. However, my plan was suddenly derailed when all the NRB day trips I had planned to attempt to sign up for were full. Instead, I went on a trip involving something I had little knowledge of, and at the time even less interest in. That trip was The Poly’s Press Pass.

I found that I loved being involved with producing and publishing media content for campus more than most other things I had ever been involved with in my life. By my fifth week at school I had already raised controversy across campus with an opinion piece, had many of my photos published, and had begun to take on an entire section of the paper.

You’ve reached this point and now it’s become clear: The entire article is just a big huge recruitment push for The Poly.

But actually, it is the farthest thing from that; this is just my story. Yours will and should in all likelihood be drastically different from mine. I just want you to believe that your story is here waiting for you and don’t come to campus twice as worried as before because you’re not going on the “cool” trip or living on the “best floor.” All you need to remember is that there are more than 1,500 other new students in the exact same boat as you, and beyond that there are many among the just under 7,000 students here at RPI who probably enjoy similar things to you—things you may have never done before or never even heard of before. All you need to do is come and be yourself and put that self out there. The rest will come naturally, it usually does.

Your calling might be Greek life, or maybe a service club, or it could be a club that doesn’t even exist yet. The whole “We have over 200 clubs here on campus and if you still can’t find one you like you can make your own,” isn’t a line simply used to recruit students. New club creation really does happen and more often than you might think. Yes, it is a ton of work, but if you’re passionate about this new activity it won’t seem like it. Among the small sample of students I have encountered in my first year here, two of my friends have created clubs that are in various stages of development.

Many could be concerned that getting overly involved in any activity will negatively affect their schoolwork. While I know that this is definitely possible, I also believe that if you do not pair classwork with other activities you will not gain nearly as strong time—management skills as your peers that do. For me personally, I did drastically better in school second semester when compared to first even though I was taking much harder classes and was now tackling a senior staff position at The Poly.

If you have a single takeaway from reading this, let it be that you will belong here at Rensselaer; you probably just don’t have a single inclination of that right now. One way to find your inclination may be talk to your Student Orientation staff member; there’s good chance they will be able to point you in the right direction. After that, make a promise to yourself that the Activities Fair is now a mandatory event for yourself. Finally, have your RPI story start at day one of your time here even if you feel the farthest thing from comfortable, otherwise you may struggle to start chapter one down the road.

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Hill and Tatum move across the street

21 Jump Street sequel spins different perspective on the crime-fighting duo in college

JONAH HILL AND CHANNING TATUM COMMANDEER a football helmet go-kart at a college campus as undercover cops in their latest movie, 22 Jump Street . The movie was released on June 13.

Hot off the heels of great acclaim for The Lego Movie and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller deliver the sequel to their equally well-received 21 Jump Street. Before even getting to the movie, I can say that you do not have to watch the first film to enjoy this one. Lord and Miller worked hard to separate this film from its predecessor. This film is completely different, and people I saw the movie with who hadn’t seen the first didn’t feel like they were missing any information in order to enjoy the film. With that said, I would recommend watching the first just because it would be difficult to enjoy as much as this film, just because it is such a better movie.

The film starts with Morton Schmidt and Greg Jenko—Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, respectively—trying to stop a notorious drug dealer and failing spectacularly. They are then reassigned to their previous assignment, which has had its location moved across the street from its former address of 21 Jump Street to 22 Jump Street. Schmidt and Jenko’s new assignment is to blend into a college as students and stop the supply of a dangerous new drug.

Now for those who have seen the first movie, you might be thinking, “This is the same thing as the first one.” Honestly, you’re not entirely incorrect. The duo screws up, get reassigned, and then sent to a school to stop a drug ring. In fact, the police chief, played by Nick Offerman, even states that they will be doing the same thing they did before, but with a higher budget. This line vastly understates how much is different in this film. First of all: new conflicts. In the previous film, Jenko was out of place in the new high school hierarchy where the “jocks” are not necessarily in charge and Schmidt is even considered cool; however, with the huge change to college, Jenko fits in rather well with one of the fraternities on campus, leading Schmidt to be excluded and forces a different dynamic between the two protagonists. The change in setting definitely adds a fresh perspective, but the relationship between Schmidt and Jenko is where the film shines. Their partnership leads to many great scenes and interactions, much improved from the first film.

It’s sometimes hard to grade comedy because of its rather subjective nature, but as a sequel, it’s perfect. It’s different from the previous film without disregarding it entirely; it has better scenes between the two main characters, plus, an absolutely fantastic ending. Truth is, it’s an incredibly fun movie, and a great sequel. You would be hard pressed to find a more hilarious film this summer.

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PSS: so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu

ON SATURDAY, MAY 24, RPI BID goodbye to the 1,613 members of the Class of 2014. East Campus Athletic Village was host for the 208th Commencement exercises. It rained briefly during part of the ceremony, but was sunny for the picnic afterwards.

President Shirley Ann Jackson spoke about the importance of the technological and data driven society that we are moving towards. She went on to say that members of the Class of 2014 need to be active participants in this changing culture.

This year’s commencement speaker was IBM Chairman, President, and CEO Virginia Rometty. Rometty was also given an honorary engineering degree from RPI. She added to what President Jackson said by stating the importance of embracing the new data driven society.

Two additional honorary degrees were given to the so-called “father of the World Wide Web,” Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, and geneticist Mary-Claire King. King discussed the importance of being a scientist in today’s culture and roles that scientists play. Berners-Lee followed King by telling the new graduates that they should take the lessons they learned in their childhood and carry those lessons with them as they move on in their lives.

After the speakers, Associate Professor of Science and Technology Studies Dean Nieusma was recognized as this year’s recipient of the David M. Darrin ’40 Counseling Award, an award given out annually by Phalanx Honors Society “to recognize a faculty member who has made an unusual contribution in the counseling of undergraduate students.” The J. Erik Jonsson Award, which honors the student with the highest academic record in the class, was awarded to Christina Caragine ’14. Other awards were given out.

The graduating class then walked up and across the stage by school and major to receive their degrees. Following the ceremony, the President’s Picnic for the Graduates was held by the Voorhees Computing Center, the Greene Building, and Russell Sage Labs.

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Staff Editorial: Welcome Class of 2018

The Poly staff welcomes the Class of 2018 to Rensselaer! This will be your home for the next few years, and we can’t wait to meet you. Hearing “2018” makes us feel so old, though—we came to RPI in 2013, 2012, 2011, or even before!

We’d like to start by telling you to make sure you take advantage of the opportunities Rensselaer offers. There are tons of cool research programs to get involved in; you can look into a co-terminal or accelerated Ph.D. program and get advanced degrees in less time, if that’s something you’re interested in. Your fellow students will include some very smart people.

You’ll see that our President of the Union and Grand Marshal have talked about all the benefits of the Rensselaer Union and extracurriculars. The Poly staff wants to stress the importance of extracurricular interests—all of us have learned so much through being on the newspaper! Our paper is completely student-run to the point where we don’t even receive money from the Union for it. This means that we have complete journalistic freedom, which is something we’re incredibly proud of.

Over the next four years, you’ll hear fables of old, great student leaders. You’ll hear of Uprise at Five, when students protested against the housing and meal plan requirements for sophomores. You’ll hear of a Grand Marshal who disappeared from RPI just months after a controversial Student Senate motion. You’ll hear of “GM Month”, when elections took a month to be decided in Spring 2010, and the elections chairman’s long memoir. The history of RPI is incredibly interesting, and we’re not just talking about who founded what and when buildings were built; we’re talking about the students who have made changes and the names they have made for themselves. Maybe, one day in your tenure here at RPI, you too will become a part of history.

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Payday 2 gets a payday in the summer sale

Co-op shooter provides fufilling team-based experience, endless hours of enjoyment

ONE OF THE PLAYABLE CHARACTERS, DALLAS, HOLDS UP a cop at gunpoint while carrying a loot bag.

I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to rob a bank. Once or twice, I’ve daydreamed about cracking bank safes, my criminal crew at my six, bags full of precious gold bars shining on my face. I feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins as we sprint to the escape van. The dream culminates in that crisp comfort that only swimming in Benjamins offers. That doesn’t make me psychotic or clinically insane, does it? Either way, after this year’s Steam Summer Sale, I picked up Payday 2, a game where I can rob banks with friends.

Now listen when I say that this game is both the bee’s knees and the cat’s pajamas; it’s a fantastic co-op experience, especially if you can get a full crew to go heisting. Payday 2 is a cross between an RPG and first person shooter game, complete with skill trees and an armory of weapons. Each of the skill trees affects a different aspect of gameplay, whether it be stealth, run and gun, or team support. I personally like being a team player, so I invested in abilities that affect my whole crew. I can mark special units, such as snipers and riot shield soldiers, which highlights them and enables my team to deal extra damage to them.

Most game setups involve entering a bank, failing stealth, taking hostages, getting attacked by law enforcement, drilling into a vault, stealing the goodies inside, and making a getaway. Don’t get me wrong; it’s endless looting fun. But one of my favorites is a three part mission called Rats; on the first day, players can unlock an achievement called “I am the one who Knocks” for cooking three bags of an illicit substance without letting any law enforcer in the house (you’ll know what the substance is if you get the achievement reference).

I know what you’re thinking, “Chris, the game is almost a year old; why are you reviewing this now?” Well, my dear, valued reader, since the game went on sale on Steam, its concurrent player base increased by 285%, going from 16,806 players on June 9 to 63,749 on June 30, exhibiting crazy growth. Additionally, the release of The Big Bank Heist and Gage Shotgun Pack DLCs contributed new interesting game play concepts to the game and attracted inactive players back. So I think that this renewed interest warrants another take.

I highly suggest this game to those that have played Borderlands or Left 4 Dead before. Nothing beats burning money and filming it, or walking into a mall and breaking everything you can possibly get your hands on. Even that last sprint to the escape chopper makes my hair stand up. The game is challenging and requires teamwork. You will inevitably mess up. But if you successfully make it out, you’ll get your payday too.

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New dean of engineering announced

As the summer progresses here at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, not much has changed. However, the School of Engineering has named a new dean, Shekhar Garde.

Garde joined the Rensselaer community as an assistant professor in 1999. He was appointed as the Elaine and Jack Parker Chaired Professor in 2006, and has been head of the chemical and biological engineering department since 2007. He earned his bachelor’s of science in chemistry in 1992 from the University of Bombay, and went on to receive his doctorate in chemical engineering at the University of Delaware in 1997.

He was appointed the new dean of engineering on July 1. Dr. Garde’s research studies include molecular theory, simulations of biological systems, thermodynamics and protein hydration, to name a few, and has 85 papers published in leading scientific journals.

In addition to his research, Dr. Garde worked on the Molecularium Project, a project devoted to get elementary school children interested in atoms, molecules, and their interactions. Two animated movies have already come out of the Molecularium Project—Riding Snowflakes and Molecules to the MAX!

In the upcoming semester, be sure to look for more of Dr. Garde’s research and his work with the Molecularium Project and the School of Engineering.

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Editorial Notebook

Challenging the feminist movement

I do not support the current feminist movement. Now, before getting your panties in twist and calling for my head, let me explain. I support equality and that’s what feminism used to be about: social, economic, and political equality. However, feminism has veered off in an entirely different direction, and I cannot support it.

When did feminism become about hating men? This new direction of feminism has produced a group self-proclaimed “feminists” who are really just a group of testy, men-hating women. More often than not, the same women I see complaining about sexism and being objectified by men turn around and treat men in a similar manner. My friends and I have noticed the disturbing trend of women treating men as if they are emotionless and disposable. If women expect to be treated by men as their equals, then we should start by treating men as human beings capable of feeling emotions and critical thought.

Men are now being attacked for their personal preferences. Too many times I’ve seen posts online saying things like “real men like curves.” So if a man isn’t interested in a girl with “curves,” he’s not a real man? What if he doesn’t like girls with tattoos? Or girls with unnatural hair colors? Men are entitled to their own opinions and should not be bashed for not being interested in a woman simply because she doesn’t fulfill his desires.

Some women are also being attacked by so-called feminists for not being ambitious. If a woman aspires to be a stay at home mother and take care of the household, that is no one else’s business. Women have different dreams and aspirations, from climbing the corporate ladder or pursuing politics to just raising a family. What is best for you may be different from what is best for another woman, and it is not for you to decide whether her goals are worthwhile.

I recently read an article online written as a letter from a regretful woman to her younger self. In the letter she warned herself not to let the “good guy” get away in favor of someone more interesting, but less stable. I thought the article made some valid points and decided to read the comments on the article. I was unpleasantly surprised. Many women had written hostile responses, crying “sexism” and accusing the “good guys” of only wanting physical relationships. They had been so quick to anger they missed the point of the article entirely: be with someone who loves you and is good to you. Let me just say, you are not doing your fellow feminists, or women as a whole, any favors by responding this way. Instead of “empowering” women and supporting the movement for gender equality, you make women appear incapable of forming logical arguments and reason.

So, please, do your fellow women a favor and take a breath. Stop the man-hating, the attacks on men’s opinions, and the hypocrisy. Stop looking for sexism where it doesn’t exist. Redirect all that passion and energy into reaching your dreams. Work your derriere off and show men you are just as capable of achieving anything they can…because you are.

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Prison problems provide powerful plot

THE CAST OF ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK DANCE around in prison.

Netflix has really stepped up their game with their original content. Personally, Orange is the New Black is hands down my favorite show of theirs, and possibly one of my favorite series of all time. Even though there have only been two seasons, I am completely hooked on OITNB! I finally caught on to the show during Winter Break last year, and couldn’t wait until the new season. The second season was released on June 6, which has lead to many sessions of binge watch-ing (although I am trying to make the season last until next year) and I have to say that this sea-son is even better than the first.

My favorite part of OINTB is learning about each inmate’s backstory through flashbacks and discovering exactly how they got into Litchfield Prison. The second season seems to focus less on Piper’s story and has given the audience a better view of all of the ladies’ stories along with how each woman’s past affects the current state of the prison. I was kind of disappointed with the first season’s backstories because I felt as though they were somewhat uneventful. This season, though, the stories didn’t fail to disappoint me. My personal favorite was Morello’s: it was so unexpected and explained so many things! It now makes sense why Christopher has never come to visit her, but I’m a little stumped as to how Morello appears so normal when in reality she’s a crazy stalker who also committed credit card fraud. So, props to her I guess.

I definitely liked this change up in the plot because, honestly, Piper is annoying and whiny. However, her stint in SHU (Security Housing Unit—solitary for those who aren’t savvy with the OINTB lingo) along with her rocky relationship with Larry has changed her for the better as a character. Now, I can watch her story without wanting to roll my eyes the entire time and I actually felt bad for her while she was going through the loss of her grandmother. On a side note, I felt this weird sense of satisfaction when Larry cheated on her with Polly because of how terrible she was to him during the first season. I totally saw it coming though since Larry is so dependent on Piper for his emotional and sexual sanity.

Season two introduced a compelling new character: Vee. Who knew that one woman could shake things up so much in such a short period of time? Like many of the other prisoners, she had me fooled; I felt empathetic towards her because of the way she protected Taystee and her other “kids.” But, I couldn’t deal with how disrespectful and rude she was to Poussey and Red, and I’m glad that she’s now gone from Litchfield thanks to mastermind Rosa.

On a more serious side, season two of OITNB deals with a lot of important and relevant issues with the prison system. I was aware that there were some issues, such as poor food quality, but that’s to be expected when someone is in prison. Out of nowhere, OITNB shoved all of these terrible problems that I had no idea about at me, and I think that there more significant than most people care to realize.

I was absolutely disgusted when Litchfield decided to release Cavanaugh on what they call “compassionate release.” She was suffering from dementia, something that needs to be treat-ed in a hospital, but instead Cavanaugh is let go without any help, only to probably end up on the streets. No wonder there are so many homeless people who have no clue how to survive. The justice system let them down and leaves them to rot without any help because there are people like Figueroa who are embezzling money from the prison into their pockets.

This season of OITNB was a whirlwind of emotions and as with the first season, left me wanting more. We’re learning more about each woman as an inmate and as a person, making the show even more addicting. While the episodes were entertaining, there were also eye opening moments throughout the season. I can’t wait to see what trouble and fun season three has to bring.

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Rensselaer alumni speak at Troy 100 Forum

Troy community development forum also features former RPI vice president Coblentz

FORMER RENSSELAER CHIEF OF STAFF AND ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT FOR POLICY AND PLANNING LABAN COBLENTZ DISCUSSES the Tech Valley Center of Gravity, a makerspace in Troy. Various other speakers also talked about improvements to Troy’s attractiveness to businesses and startups.

On Monday, May 12, the Troy 100 Forum was held in the Heffner Alumni House. Keynote speakers included former Rensselaer Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President for Policy and Planning Laban Coblentz, James Peterson ’12, Colleen Costello ’12, and Columbia Development Companies’ Thomas Keaney. The forum focused on ideas for improving Troy.

The Troy 100 Forum, created in 2000, is held twice a year. Community members—including small business owners in Troy, city officials, and other Troy residents—were present to share their thoughts and learn what was going onv. Several RPI students and alumni were also present. An hour of networking was scheduled prior to the speakers’ presentations. Interspersed with the keynote speeches were “one-minute moments,” where community members made announcements and shared information about events and projects going on.

In a short speech before the keynote speakers,Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia noted that the Troy 100 Forum brings up new ideas for people to be aware of. Coblentz later spoke about the Tech Valley Center of Gravity, a makerspace downtown at Fourth and Fulton Streets, and its move to the old Quackenbush building, which will occur this fall. Renovations started May 28. Makerspaces such as the Center of Gravity, Coblentz explained, are a community resource. They are shared spaces with tools and equipment. Classes and workshops are held at the Center of Gravity, and people can come to the makerspace to learn a new skill or develop a new product. Coblentz claimed the Center of Gravity helps keep young professionals in Troy, noting that it has grown a great deal since it started in 2013.

Coblentz stressed that the Center of Gravity is not just for entrepreneurs, but for the community as a whole. He said that the Center of Gravity has over 180 members and 26 participating companies. Members pay a monthly fee, which varies with their student status and whether they volunteer for the organization. According to Coblentz, “We are rebranding the town” as a new way to do business.

Rensselaer graduates Peterson and Costello were the next keynote speakers. They have worked together to create a new product to lessen incidences of hospital-acquired infections. Costello said that they have received support from RPI’s Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship to pursue the creation of their company, Vital Vio. Costello was a biomedical engineering major at RPI and concerned about hospital infections, while Peterson was an electrical engineering major at RPI working on color changing LEDs. According to them, the Center of Gravity housed them as they got off the ground, and helped them obtain space downtown when they were ready to expand. The lights the two developed kill bacteria using a particular spectrum of light which is close to ultraviolet. This spectrum of light causes damage to germs while being safe for long term human contact, and is similar enough to white light to be able to be used for general applications. Costello called them “smarter lights for safer hospitals.” The lights are more expensive than regular lights, but Peterson and Costello have been selling them to hospitals.

Keaney was the final keynote speaker. He spoke about plans to renovate Proctor’s Theatre in downtown Troy and showed the community some of the ideas he and Columbia Development had. Keaney stressed that he wanted to listen to the community for this project.

The next Troy 100 Forum is on Monday, October 20, 2014, likely in Russell Sage College’s Bush Memorial Hall.

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Top Hat

GM encourages freshmen to get involved

Hello everyone! Summer is at its peak, and for many of us, our research, internships, and summer courses are at full swing. As the return to Rensselaer approaches, I’d like to extend a heartfelt welcome not only to our returning students, but to the incoming first years of the Class of 2018 as well! You are about to embark on a new chapter in your life, an experience that will allow you to grow as a student, a professional, and a leader; a journey that will connect you with lifelong friends along the way.

For those of you coming to campus for the first time, get ready for Student Orientation and Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond! SO and NRB offer a fantastic first look at all the Rensselaer experience has to offer, and NRB in particular offers a memorable experience for the rest of your time here. Personally, I’m excited meet you all myself in the Union After Dark event on Wednesday, August 20, and for Welcome Fest on Friday, August 22, where you’ll get a free meal and an evening of entertainment by the renovated Troy waterfront.

Of course, the start of the semester also means the start for classes. College work is certainly at a higher level than what you may have experienced in high school, but you’re never alone—there are others going through the exact same experience. Reaching out to professors and forming study groups are excellent ways to help you gain support that will allow you to tackle those first exams with confidence. By connecting with your peers and your teachers, you’ll create friendships and professional connections that may carry well beyond your time at RPI.

NRB week is only the beginning: take the initiative, and you’ll be able to find there are plenty of things to do outside the classroom. And if your academic life can support it, it is an incredibly rewarding experience to take it a step further; be a part of the planning of those events, those games, competitions and shows.

I joined Student Government as a freshman, and it’s been an amazing experience. This year’s Student Senate is led by a highly motivated group. Already, each committee chair has been working hard over the summer to prepare for the fall. We’re working on projects ranging from campus prescription delivery and residence hall feedback, to a public listing of research positions, to collaboration with Sodexo for student input and ideas, to assessments of classrooms that commonly receive feedback and scrutiny. These are all projects and initiatives you can become involved in—our committees are open to membership, and four voting Senate seats will be available for election in the fall.

If Student Government isn’t your thing, there are many other opportunities. You can pledge a Greek house, of which we have over 30 active on campus. You may want to play a sport—RPI has many opportunities available, and a strong athletic community between intramural sports and casual clubs to varsity teams. We also have other clubs ranging from Chess to League of Legends, to the RPI Players, Sheer Idiocy, and other performing groups, to community and humanitarian groups such as Engineers Without Borders and the Relay for Life Committee. With over 200 student organizations on campus, it won’t be hard to engage your interests.

Finally, the greatest advice I can give you is to embrace change. As you’re exploring your studies, and as you join clubs and groups, it’s easy to avoid the unknown and the uncertain, but there’s so much you can learn by trying new things. Reach out to that club you’re interested in and know nothing about, run for a student position, try a new sport. Follow your instincts, learn from your mistakes, and know that your path is never set in stone. College is about challenging yourself and figuring out what you’re passionate about. This experience is yours, and these years at Rensselaer are your years; with the right initiative you can make them some of the best of your life.

If you have any questions about RPI, about student government, or want to know other things to do on campus, feel free to email me at gm@rpi.edu. Good luck with the start of your semester and the end of your summer!

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Jersey Boys performance hits the right note

ACTORS PERFORM Four Seasons classics in the film Jersey Boys.

For anyone who is a fan of the Broadway production Jersey Boys, the movie will not disappoint. The movie, like the Broadway production, follows the life of Frankie Valli from barber’s apprentice to the voice of the Four Seasons. Being a big fan of the Four Seasons myself, I will say that I was very impressed and thought the movie was phenomenal and did justice to the Four Seasons story.

The movie stars a relatively unfamiliar cast which adds a separate dynamic to an already great movie. For anyone who enjoyed the Broadway performance, this is a must-see movie. The plot stays true to the Broadway rendition while adding some parts to better the film.

For anyone who is a fan of the Four Seasons music, the actors don’t disappoint in singing many of the classics. They were able to sing the Four Seasons music almost as if they recorded it themselves.

The movie is a tribute to Valli’s life and all of the hardship and pain that he had to undergo in order to follow his dreams. Valli has to deal with many hardships throughout the entirety of the movie, but, for any viewer, it was hard not feel for his pain through every obstacle he tackled.

This movie features some of the greatest Four Season hits such as “Sherry,” “Walk like a Man,” “My Eyes Adored You,” and many more. The music performed in this movie is a one of a kind and can be enjoyed by anyone.

This movie starts with Tommy DeVito (the founder of the Four Seasons) discussing how he came upon Frankie Valli and started the group, similar to how the Broadway play is. The movie allows for all four members of the Four Seasons to act as a narrator in order to share their point of view on the story. As everyone states, their point of view adds a new dynamic to really connect with the members of the band. In the end, you can’t help but cheer.

For anyone who is unfamiliar to Frankie Valli or the Four Seasons, I would still recommend seeing the movie. Jersey Boys can open you up to a different era in music. I would recommend that any fans of music see this movie regardless of whether you are a fan of Frankie Valli.

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Incident blotter: Cleaner trips fire alarm, suspicious two-liter at ECAV

Information provided by Public Safety Investigator Terrance Burns

Tuesday, May 6

• Parking

Car damage: Caller reported vehicle hit and damaged by RPI softball. Car was parked near Robison Field next to the Robison Pool.

Thursday, May 8

• Quadrangle Complex

Medical: RPI Ambulance dispatched to Quad for subject. Subject drank too much, had side pain, and was vomiting. Patient was located in the area of the archway. Patient transported to Samaritan Hospital by RPIA.

• 14th Street

Intoxication: RPI student was sitting on the grass, highly intoxicated, and vomiting. Student was conscious but not responding to questions. Troy FD transported student to Samaritan Hospital.

• East Campus Athletic Village

Fire alarm: Panel indicated a general fire alarm in ECAV main arena area. Cause was accidental tripping of the alarm by a cleaner working in the area of the rafters. System reset per TFD.

• Crockett Hall

Intoxication: Highly intoxicated subject not responsive. Unknown source of alcohol. DOSO was notified by the RD of Crockett. Subject was transported to Samaritan by TFD.

Friday, May 9

• West Hall

Lost and found: Caller reported losing wallet at West Hall on May 2.

• Crockett Hall

Robbery: Caller reported three black males mugged her and another female. Robbers displayed small black handgun. Neither of the victims were injured. Robbers were last seen headed up Burdett Avenue towards Troy High. TPD responded. DPS notified and responded. DOSO notified.

Monday, May 12

• Amos Eaton

Illness: E&SS supervisor reported that one of her workers noticed a student lying on the floor, requesting an ambulance on the second floor of Amos Eaton. Student was transported to Samaritan by RPIA. DPS contacted DOSO and advised of the incident.

• Greene Building

Injury: Caller reported having fallen on Sage Avenue, while walking back from the credit union. Caller did not request medical attention, but was uncertain as to whether the incident needed to be reported to DPS. Officer reported caller refused medical attention, and that a coworker will transport caller to Samaritan at a later time.

• Public Safety Office

Injury: Caller stated that nose was bleeding and wanted medical attention. Subject transported to Samaritan by RPIA. On-call dean notified.

• Sunset Terrace

Medical illness: Subject fainted after applying topical medication into eye that was not prescribed to subject. Subject was transported to Samaritan by RPIA. On-call dean notified.
Wednesday, May 14

• Sherry Road

Investigation: Reporter stated that approximately 7:30–8 pm, a subject came into the residence they are renting and started questioning them as to why they were there. The caller was concerned the subject may come back again.

• East Campus Athletic Village

Suspicious package: Caller reported what appeared to be a suspicious 2 liter soda bottle in the D-Lot at ECAV. Caller was an employee of Environmental Services and waited for officers. Troy FD Battalion Chief requested TPD to assess situation. Object assessed by NYSP and determined not to be a threat.

Thursday, May 15

• Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies
Chemical spill: Caller reported a student caused a chemical spill in the south wing near freight elevator. No injuries reported. EHS notified, Clean Harbors on the scene. Fire report completed.

• E-Complex

Fire alarm: Fire alarm activated. Student contacted Public Safety and stated they were cooking and burned the pan. Alarm reset.

Friday, May 16

• Rensselaer Union

Criminal mischief: Caller reported suspect out of control breaking glass and doing damage at Father’s. Caller reported that suspect went up to the second floor and caused damage. Officers out with suspect on south side of the Union on the exterior. Sergeant requested TPD respond. Sergeant requested Physical Plant notified for broken glass. DPS and dean on-call notified. Arrest made, subject charged with harassment and criminal mischief.

Thursday, May 29

• Other on-campus locations

Investigation: Caller received a phone call from a family member of a student. Family member informed the lieutenant that student is uncomfortable around a certain male cohort who had been very forward toward student. Report filed. Investigation to continue.

Monday, June 9

• Rensselaer Union

Fire: Caller stated that there was a fire in the trash can in the second floor men’s bathroom of the Student Union. Fire was put out with a nearby fire extinguisher by officer. Fire alarm was not activated. DPS and TPD reports filed with classification of “suspicious fire”. DPS fire report completed. Troy Police investigative report filed. DPS On Call notified.

Wednesday, June 11

• 8th Street

Larceny: Caller reported a forced entry and copper pipes stolen from the church. TPD had an evidence technician on scene and evidence was secured.
Sunday, June 15

• Rensselaer Union

Fire alarm: Fire alarm accidently activated by E&SS worker. Reset per TFD.

Tuesday, June 17

• Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies

Larceny: Caller stated laptop was stolen from caller’s office. Report filed.
Friday, June 20

• Darrin Communications Center

Suspicious package: Caller reported two packages left on a table. One of them was marked as a pesticide and the other stated toxin and had a cancer warning on it. Caller was advised not to touch them. Message left for E&HS. The area has been roped off. The person responsible for the incident is on scene, information was taken and they spoke with E&HS. Graduate student took care of the packages. There were no dangers.

Tuesday, July 1

• Off-Campus Location

Larceny: Conducted vacant house check at 708 Jacob Street, and found a door forced open. Rensselaer County notified for TPD to respond. DPS made a check of the three floors and basement during interim, no one found within but copper pipe had been torn out on all levels. Troy Police ET collected evidence. Physical Plant paged to have the west side door secured.

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Derby

PU pushes campus activities

Hi, RPI! Whether you are still on campus just hanging out, busy with summer classes, research, an internship, or a job, I hope that your first month has been enjoyable but productive.I hope that you have made time for yourself to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather. If you are looking for things to do, the Rensselaer Union is holding many exciting events this summer, including movie nights put on by UPAC, the cheesecake festival/beach party, a bowling party at Uncle Sam’s, and other fun activities! Feel free to stop by the Rensselaer Union Administration Office for more details on programs or with program ideas for the future.

If you are an incoming freshman, here for Student Orientation, I just want to say “Congratulations, and welcome to Rensselaer!” You are about to begin a stage in your life unlike any other, where you will learn, along with your peers, who you are and what you want to do.You will come to RPI with questions and seeking knowledge. You will leave RPI as a professional, ready to enter the work force as the next generation of leaders. At Rensselaer, you will discover professors dedicated to the education of their students and professional staff committed to making your student experience everything you want it to be. They allow you the stability through which students are able to explore passions and become active members of campus and the surrounding community while learning all they need to lead successful lives after college in their chosen career. Together with your classmates you will develop into the leaders of tomorrow, capable of changing the world.

During your college experience, your primary focus will be on attaining your degree, but your experiences outside of the classroom will shape you just as much, if not more. Here at Rensselaer, you will find an incredible number of extracurricular activities to get involved in. These activities range from varsity athletics and intramural sports to performing arts and cultural organizations. A majority of these activities are supported and recognized by the Rensselaer Union, the center of student run activities on campus. Our Union is unique in that it is completely run by the students, for the students—from organizing events to budgeting each individual club. The Union operates with an over 8 million dollar budget overseen by the Union Executive Board, a group of students dedicated to allocating this money and the Union’s resources to best benefit the student body. With over 230 student organizations inside the Union walls lead and organized by your peers, you will have endless opportunities to try something new and explore your passions outside of the classroom.

During your first week of classes, the Union will be hosting an activities fair in the Armory, this will be the best opportunity to see all the different clubs and organizations present here on campus. Take this chance to try something new or continue your passions from high school! I hope that you enjoy Student Orientation and take this chance to meet as many of your new classmates as possible. Enjoy the rest of your summer! If you have any questions about the Rensselaer Union, the Executive Board, student activities, or just RPI in general don’t hesitate to ask me. My email is pu@rpi.edu, I look forward to meeting you!

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Sustainability

Green revolving funds provide renewable money

Common proposal solidifies long-term budget goals for future sustainabilities projects

The Student Sustainability Task Force is a student-led club at RPI whose goal is to collaborate with other clubs, faculty, and administrators to increase sustainability efforts on campus. SSTF has worked on many projects in the past few years, from trying to get a campus greenhouse to compiling data on how sustainable RPI currently is today. Under new leadership, the club has grown significantly over the past semester, in both the number of members and the number of projects. SSTF allows new members to join in on currently established projects or gain support and aid in the formation of new projects. One of the newest projects to come to SSTF is called the Green Revolving Fund Project.

A green revolving fund, or a GRF, is a sustainability fund that creates a long-term budget for sustainability projects on campus. One of the hardest parts, if not the hardest part, of completing a sustainability project is finding the initial funding for it. A green revolving fund would solve this problem. In addition, it would create a bigger community for sustainability on campus because more people would be interested in helping if they knew something big could get done.

In a GRF, the money saved from one sustainability project is used to fund further sustainability projects. For example, if the initial project was $50,000 worth of solar panels that saved the school $10,000 a year, then the solar panels would pay themselves off in five years. After those five years, RPI would be saving $10,000 a year. A percentage of that $10,000 would go to RPI, and a percentage would go the GRF. The percentage that went to the GRF could be used for more sustainability projects, which would save RPI more money, which would increase the amount of money in the GRF that could be used for more projects. The green revolving fund creates a long-term and growing sustainability fund to enable students to work with faculty and administrators to complete amazing projects.

Green revolving funds are becoming very common in colleges and universities across the country. There are currently 79 funds in North America, amounting to about $111 million, according to GreenBillion.org. Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University all have their own funds, with their own success stories. A large variety of projects have been done, including lighting upgrade projects, energy and water use reduction projects, renewable energy installations, composting, and setting up programs to incentivize students to use fewer resources. Any sustainability idea that saves money can be used. Generating electricity from ellipticals and treadmills is another interesting example of an idea that some students have had.

Currently, SSTF is trying to create a GRF proposal to present to RPI’s administration by the end of the fall semester. The members of SSTF are working on creating different sustainability project proposals, one of which will hopefully be chosen by the administration and completed if the GRF proposal is passed. A proposal for getting solar panels with the GRF is currently being worked on, but other project proposals need to be created before the presentation to the administration is made. Additionally, a lot more has to be done to complete the proposal, from further research on how other universities have done it to researching different funding sources. With some work, the GRF can become an incredibly successful program that will fund sustainability efforts for years to come.

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Directors’ Corner

A.D. promotes athletics

Welcome to Rensselaer! We are all thrilled to start the new year, and as the director of athletics, I want to highlight some of the excitement we hope you will participate in during the year.

First and foremost, we have many opportunities to engage in athletics and fitness across campus. Over 70% of our student body participates in intercollegiate, club or intramural programs, and we want you to be a part of the excitement. With 23 intercollegiate sports (two Division I hockey programs and 21 Division III programs), close to 50 club athletic programs and multiple intramural programs that run throughout the year, there exists an incredible variety of opportunities to become a part of the excitement and compete with friends and fellow students, staff and faculty! We also have open recreation in our athletic facilities throughout the week and encourage everyone to find time for health and fitness in whatever ways make sense for you. It is a great way to meet new friends and to help maintain balance during the upcoming challenging academic semesters.

Our varsity athletic programs compete in the Liberty League and the Eastern College Athletic Conference. The Houston Field House is home to incredible excitement each weekend once hockey season begins with the men and the women competing in the very competitive ECAC hockey league with the Ivies, Union College, Clarkson University, St. Lawrence University, Quinnipiac University and Colgate University. We have a large, passionate contingent of students who support our programs each week. Events like the Big Red Freakout!, White Out!, Greek Night, Multi-Cultural Night and many others make the events campus highlights each week! The East Campus Athletic Village, Robison Baseball and Softball Fields, Sharp Tennis Courts and Robison Pool host our other varsity events and the student body support makes a difference during their heated competitions. We need and enjoy your support!

I challenge you to get involved and participate in events that will challenge you physically and keep you engaged with your fellow students. Come out and support your RPI varsity teams—teams student-athletes will greatly appreciate your support. Lastly, have fun! You are at a premier institution with a plethora of exceptional opportunities. Take advantage of all you can—you will appreciate the life lessons that you will learn and the friends that you will make!

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Chemical spill in Biotech prompts fire, hazmat response

A chemical spill, later found to be a skin irritant, caused the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies to evacuate on Friday, around 1:15 pm. Troy Fire Department responded to the scene with several engines and a hazmat unit, and 15th Street was blocked off by Troy Police for over an hour.

A statement from RPI Strategic Communications and External Relations said:

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute evacuated the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies this afternoon following a small chemical spill. No one was injured. Rensselaer worked in full cooperation with the Troy Fire Department, and we thank them for their timely and professional response. The spill was professionally remediated. As a precautionary measure, Rensselaer has closed the building for the rest of the day. It will reopen tomorrow morning.

The Polytechnic found that the chemical spilled was beta mercaptoethanol, also known as 2-mercaptoethanol or BME. It is considered toxic, causing irritation to nasal passages, airways, and skin in small amounts and death in severe cases.

One subject was reported to have gone to the Student Health Center for evaluation and as a precaution.

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This week’s front page

May 7, 2014

front

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Year in Review: Looking back

During the 2013–2014 school year, the RPI campus saw many happenings. A scandal over posters; clubs held many events, even beyond those detailed here. The Mueller Center and Rensselaer Union got upgrades to make them better for students.

Around the campus

Last summer, Fathers saw some upgrades: some of these were to help meet the needs of more students instead of just serving as a snack shop. Over 200 students attended Lake George during the weekend of September 20–22, led by the Rensselaer Outing Club. Communications Specialist Holly Nelson joined the Rensselaer Union in September. On October 3, Advanced Multiprocessing Optimized System joined IBM Watson in the Center for Computational Innovations. The computational power of AMOS, according to President Shirley Ann Jackson, is among the top 12 computing systems in the world. Alfred White, Class of 1865, Lewis Combs, Class of 1916, Thomas Phelan Jr., and B. Jayant Baliga ’74 were inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame on October 4. On October 7, a large branch knocked down power lines in the Pawling region of Troy and left the neighborhood without electricity for roughly an hour. Many RPI fraternity chapters are in that area. Also in October, Max Brooks came to RPI and spoke about his book World War Z.

In early November, complaints about City Station came to a head. Graduate students who were residents there complained about policies regarding lock-outs, package delivery, and the full year leases. Later in November, President of the Union Gretchen Sileo ’14 announced that ID scanners would be installed in the Rensselaer Union. Davison Hall was announced to be a freshman residence hall next year, instead of a sophomore residence hall as it has been previous years. During the first weekend of March, Genericon was held in the Darrin Communications Center. 2,500 people attended Genericon. During Spring Break, the FIRST Regionals were held at the East Campus Athletic Village. On March 22, a student was robbed and assaulted on Bleeker Avenue. In early April, RPI Quidditch competed at the International Quidditch Association World Cup. Students complained on Reddit, Facebook, and elsewhere about the new Union logo, approved by the Executive Board on March 25. Theta Xi became a National Historic Place during the last weekend of April. A squirrel gained access to a student’s room on April 26 and attacked the student when the student tried to chase the squirrel out.

Happenings in Student Government

The Class of 2017 had freshmen elections in September. Final results for president and vice president were withheld following a highly contested race and potential miscounts.

Medical Director of the Student Health Center Leslie Lawrence spoke to the Student Senate on September 9. The excuse policy, possibility of an on-campus pharmacy, and other issues related to the Health Center were discussed at that meeting. The Student Life Committee took on these issues and continued to work on them; on November 4, the Senate as a whole discussed excuse policy changes. On March 24, SLC Chairman Kyle Keraga ’15 spoke about the excuse policy that SLC had come up with. SLC’s proposal was passed by the Senate. It is now in effect with only a few changes. On April 7, the Senate passed proposals for prescription delivery and flat-rate taxi service.

During the fall, President of the Union Gretchen Sileo ’14 sent out information related to food and travel policy changes in one of her weekly club officer emails. Also during the fall, a committee made up of members from each class council, E-Board, Judicial Board, and other bodies was formed to look through the Union Constitution and propose changes. On October 18, the Student Senate discussed potential elimination of Independent and Greek Senators. The committee continued to meet weekly, and, on February 26, an open forum was held to discuss the positions. As a result of this meeting, the Independent Council recommended on March 3 that independent senators be elected by the non-Greek student body at large; this motion passed. IC dissolved itself. The Union Constitution changes were passed by Senate during this meeting to go to a student body vote. Due to some issues that students had with the Constitution, GM Chuck Carletta ’14 split the motion into two.

Senate first proposed the idea of car sharing during their meeting on November 18. Facilities and Services Committee chair Tina Gilliland ’15 led a discussion about possible benefits of car sharing, including going to events, workshops, and lectures in the surrounding region. Students with job interviews could take a car from the car-share program to get there. On March 17, the proposal for car-sharing was presented to the Senate and passed. It was then sent to the administration to await a decision.

Club budgets were released just as Winter Break ended. Some club officers had not heard of the food policy changes and felt their clubs would be adversely affected. These clubs included UPAC, Players, and RPI TV, all of which are service clubs whose members must work long hours in order to produce what they do for the community as a whole. Additionally, the turnaround time for budget appeals was shorter than normal in order to get the actual budget (instead of a placeholder) to the Board of Trustees. Travel subsidies increased from 40 percent to 50 percent; clubs affected felt like this might help them some, but not necessarily a great deal. These two decisions were independent of each other. After a lengthy discussion at the February 3 Senate meeting, the Senate passed the Student Activity Fee recommendation.

On February 17, a new Rules and Elections committee chair was appointed because former chair Greg Niguidula ’15 had been removed after he had told Grand Marshal Chuck Carletta ’14 that he planned to run for GM. Carletta felt that it was a conflict of interest; while Niguidula would have needed to step down once elections started, Carletta removed him right away. Timothy Breen ’15 was the new appointment. Breen was confirmed 15-5.

A Judicial Board had not existed under former GM Kevin Dai ’14, but Carletta worked on making sure there was one. The Board is chaired by Anthony Barberi ’15 and also includes half a dozen or so members. Orlando Hernandez ’15 was confirmed as vice chairman on March 26.

Right after Spring Break, candidates were allowed to begin campaigning. Keraga, Niguidula, and Gavin Noritsky ’16 all ran for GM, while Frank Abissi ’15 and Erin Amarello ’15 ran for PU. Primaries were held on April 7 for GM and several alumni officer positions. Keraga and Noritsky advanced to final elections.

Final elections were held on April 10. That night, R&E was given information that some of the candidates, including Carletta, Sileo, and Abissi, had taken down posters stating that students should vote against the Union Constitution amendments. Results were withheld until the J-Board made their decision. All of the involved individuals, including Abissi, were declared ineligible to hold an elected and/or appointed position and given community service by the J-Board. Amarello was declared winner of the PU race. All five involved students sent The Poly apology letters for the April 16 issue. Keraga beat Noritsky in the GM race, announced with all but the three affected alumni races on April 14. Both the Senate and the E-Board put forth statements, although the Senate could not pass anything official. Alumni elections, save for president which was won by Dai, were postponed until April 21. Michelle Denny ’14 was elected alumni vice president; Katie O’Neil ’14 and Caitlin Blackburn ’14 were elected alumni secretary and treasurer, respectively.

On April 28, Senate confirmed the new E-Board representatives; on May 5, they confirmed the Senate cabinet and committee chairs.

Find the full articles on all of these topics online at http://poly.rpi.edu.

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Staff Editorial: End of year preparations

The end of the semester is fast approaching, and with finals around the corner, students should make sure they have enough time to prepare to move out for the summer. The Poly would like to make sure everyone has transportation to go back home and their valuables secured. Many options are available to all students.

Organizing transportation is the most important aspect of moving out. Make sure that you have talked to your parents about airplane tickets or a ride home. For those whose parents cannot help but live close, there are a variety of options. Students can discuss car-pooling options on the respective RPI facebook groups or on the RPI subreddit. Additionally, Megabus provides a means to get to Pennsylvania Station in New York City and access to more trains if Amtrak doesn’t offer the correct train for your destination. However, if you take an airplane, bus, or train, you won’t be able to carry all your belongings with you. But, there are many storage choices around campus.

RPI offers storage options in North Hall, Nugent Hall, Warren Hall, the Quad, and Burdett Avenue Residence Hall. Large furniture cannot be stored here, as space is limited. Make sure that items are packed in cardboard boxes and labeled accordingly with your name and address. Cardboard boxes can be purchased at the post office in Downtown Troy. For those not willing to make the trek or spend the money, there are usually cardboard packaging in the trash rooms in residence halls. In the RPI storage, belongings are secured under lock and key, but the Institute is not responsible for those items. Additionally, those items must be removed at the beginning of the fall semester. More information is available at http://reslife.rpi.edu.

Other storage options are available around Troy, through Storage Place, Spare Room, U-Haul, Storage of Cohoes, and Campbell Avenue Storage, to name a few. It is best to rent these places with another person or a group of friends, to make the cost more affordable.

The Poly would like to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer. Good luck on your finals, and congratulations and best wishes to the graduating seniors.

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