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On Saturday, May 2, RPI senior place kicker Andrew Franks signed a free agent contract with the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League. The seven-round NFL Draft started April 30 and extended into the afternoon of May 2; however, during that time, none of the 32 teams selected a kicker.
Franks started as kicker and punter all four of his years at RPI. During his four years, he made 37 of his 56 field goal attempts, including 16 of 25 during the 2014 season. In addition, Franks set and reset the record for longest field goal at RPI three times. The record now stands at 54 yards, which he set against Hobart College last October. The kick was also the longest in Division III this season. Over the past two seasons, Franks also knocked in three-pointers from 50, 51, and 52 yards. His 37 field goals are the most any kicker has ever made at Rensselaer.
On kickoffs, Franks averaged 61.2 yards per kick and broke the school record for touchbacks his senior season with 33. As a punter, Franks punted a total of 102 times and landed 31 inside the 20-yard line.
In both his junior and senior seasons, Franks earned D3football.com All-America First team honors as well as the award for Liberty League Special Teams Player of the Year. In addition, Franks also earned Liberty-League All-Academic honors as a Biomedical Engineering major in his final three years as an Engineer.
As a newly-signed member of the Miami Dolphins, Franks will report to rookie camp this week and then will take part in training camp next month. In order to make the team, Franks will most likely need to beat out Dolphins starting kicker Caleb Sturgis. This is because most NFL teams only keep one kicker; some teams, however, keep one kicker for field goals and another for long distance kicks and kickoffs. For this reason, kicker is one of the, if not the, most difficult positions to be successful at.
Franks is one of just eight undrafted free agent kickers to be signed following the NFL Draft. During his training workouts with the Dolphins, he will be fighting for not only a position on the team, but also striving to gain recognition from the other teams, as well.
On Thursday, April 30, UPAC Concerts and the Rensselaer Union 125th Anniversary hosted their MSMR concert at East Campus Athletic Village, in the East Campus Athletic Village Arena, featuring MSMR and special guests Bell’s Roar and Titanics. The doors opened at 7 pm and the concert started at 8 pm. Tickets were sold at the door and also had been sold in the Rensselaer Union the previous three weeks by UPAC Concerts.
In high school, I regularly went to concerts, seeing bands like AFI, Dragonforce, and music festivals, such as Bamboozle, Mayhem Festival, and Warped Tour. So I’m used to packed venues and areas so crowded it takes 10 minutes to just get to the nearest porta-potty, let alone wait in line. When I walked into the ECAV Arena, you can imagine my surprise when I saw only a quarter of the floor filled with people, with people sitting on the pulled out bleachers. It was then that I found out that the concert was exclusive to RPI and Russell Sage College students and not the greater Troy area. RPI has about 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students combined; we are not as big as a state university or institution that has 20,000–70,000 students. Had it been bigger, I believe that the atmosphere would have been more vibrant and at least as big as the Matt and Kim and Passion Pit UPAC concert.
Bell’s Roar was the first act, taking the stage at around 8 pm. As I stated in my past review of Bell’s Roar and Mirk, Bell’s Roar is an experimental sound. Though the acoustics in the arena were much less than desired, it was a straight upgrade from Mother’s Wine Emporium, in the Rensselaer Union. Sean Desiree, the solo artist of Bell’s Roar, sang passionately and interacted with the crowd. Her remix of “Slow” moved the crowd and sounded much better with more people and a bigger venue; I enjoyed her act much more this time around.
The next act was Titanics, composed of duo keyboardist and vocalist Mark Lombardo and guitarist Derek Rogers. Titanics was a much more mellow act. If I were at the library, working on homework or relaxing in my room, they would probably be the band I’d listen to. However, when I go to concerts, I’m looking for high energy performances and music with an upbeat rhythm and full sound. As a result, Titanics’s chillwave and dream rock influences did not appeal to me. However, the band did put on an interesting light show, displaying contrasting cool and warm colors during their performance.
MSMR. Wow. A stark contrast to the previous opening band, MSMR jumped on stage full of vigor. Immediately, all the attendees in the venue moved towards the band in response to the energy they discharged. Their latest single, “Painted,” contains fast moving percussion and a catchy hook; as one of the first songs performed, it set the tone for the night. Vocalist Lizzy Plapinger demonstrated her brilliant voice and crazy dance moves. “Fantasy,” one of the first two singles the duo released, riled the crowd, while one of other similarly paced popular songs, “Think of You,” was passionate and moving. Later on in the set, Plapinger danced with Max Hershenow, the other part of the MSMR duo, adding to the spirit of the show. The set ended with their most popular song, “Hurricane.”
Though the opening acts had a different style than MSMR, the concert as a whole was entertaining. Additionally, the Arena as a musical venue was also odd, but it’s due to a lack of attendance, which I am disappointed about. However, that’s mostly due to its restriction to RPI and Russell Sage students. MSMR put on a lively and energetic show that I hadn’t seen from a band in some time, and I feel sorry for those that missed. I had a surprisingly entertaining time by the end; I’ll definitely be on the lookout for future shows. For more information regarding future shows, visit http://concerts.union.rpi.edu/.
The Engineers trailed after five innings in their first game of two against the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers last Saturday. A solo home run in the sixth inning by RPI senior starting pitcher Jared Jensen tied the game at two.
The game went to extra innings. In the bottom of the eighth, senior rightfielder Shane Matthews led off with a double and took third on a passed ball. Then, the Tigers walked Jensen and senior second baseman Tim LeSuer to create easier force-out opportunities. It didn’t work though, as senior shortstop Nick Palmiero singled to left field to bring in Matthews and give the Engineers a key 3-2 victory.
Jensen pitched a complete game, giving up just two earned runs on five hits and striking out six. Palmiero also doubled in the game while junior centerfielder Nick Annunziata recorded his 27th hit of the season on a single in the bottom of the fifth inning.
In the second game, Rensselaer tallied two runs in the third and fifth innings and rolled to an easy 4-1 win. Junior pitcher Greg Echeverria went the distance for the home squad, allowing just one run on six hits and striking out seven in seven innings of play.
Matthews started the third inning rally for RPI with a lead-off double to the left field gap. Later, with one out, Jensen hit a sharp groundball past Tigers third baseman Phil Sammon to put the Engineers in front. Then, after Jensen stole second, LeSuer singled to left field to bring in Jensen and give the home team a 2-0 edge.
Senior leftfielder Tyler Listing added a one-out single in the bottom of the fifth and subsequently scored on a sacrifice bunt by LeSuer. Then, two wild pitches by RIT starting pitcher Brandon Cohall allowed Jensen to score his second run of the game.
A run by Tiger centerfielder CJ Bolorin in the sixth inning failed to ignite an RIT comeback and the Engineers won both games of the afternoon and secured the top seed in the upcoming Liberty League tournament.
In a back and forth affair on Sunday afternoon, the Engineers saw themselves fall behind early after a slew of RIT hits allowed the visiting Tigers to take a 4-1 lead into the third inning.
RPI responded quickly. Singles by Listing, LeSuer, and Palmiero earned the Engineers a run in the top of the third. Then, a two-out rally in the top of the fourth was capped by a Jensen three-run homer, his second of the weekend and seventh of the season.
The Engineers took a 7-4 lead into the bottom of the sixth after scoring two unearned runs off of a two-out error by Sammon and a subsequent RBI single by Palmiero. The lead wouldn’t last long, though. Five Tiger hits, including two two-out doubles, allowed RIT to score five runs and earn a needed 9-7 victory over Rensselaer.
In defeat, Matthews, Jensen, LeSuer, and Palmiero each recorded two hits, while sophomore first baseman Sam Lawrence, sophomore designated hitter Thomas Desmond, and Listing each had one. Desmond also recorded his 30th RBI of the season with his single in the top of the first.
RIT starting pitcher Conor Herlihy pitched a complete game, giving up seven runs on 11 hits and striking out five.
In the series finale, both teams scored twice in the first five innings of play. Then, in the top of the sixth, the Engineers broke open the game. Desmond singled to right center with one out in the inning. Sophomore first baseman Jason Ramos then doubled to left center to drive in Desmond and give the Engineers a 3-2 advantage. Sophomore designated hitter Matt Lawrence singled past RIT relief pitcher Tom Dillon to put runners on the corners.
Later, Matthews walked in Ramos and Listing grounded to second to bring in M. Lawrence and give the Engineers a 5-2 lead.
RPI senior starting pitcher Sean Conroy struck out nine in seven and two-thirds innings and gave up two runs on 10 hits. Later, junior closer Stephen Schiavone earned his second save of the season, allowing just one hit and no runs in the bottom of the ninth.
With three wins in four games against RIT, the Engineers finished with an overall record of 22-14 and a conference-best record of 18-6. This Thursday, May 7, RPI will once again host the Tigers for the first game of the Liberty League tournament. The tournament will feature a double-elimination format with Clarkson University and the University of Rochester also competing as the second and third seeds, respectively.
The Student Senate began Tuesday’s meeting with four petitions. The first was “Don’t Shut Down RPI’s Nuclear Reactor,” presented by graduate Nicholas Thompson. The Walthousen Reactor Critical Facility is a zero-power nuclear reactor used for education, training, and research by RPI nuclear engineering students. The City of Schenectady has pushed for its shutdown; however, many faculty members want it to remain in service. Thompson feels that this is a time-sensitive issue, as it is possible that the reactor could be shut down as early as this summer. Graduate Senator Mike Caiola asked if it would be possible to send a formal letter to the administration, should it pass, who have the final say on the decision. The Senate supported the petition in a 16-0-1 vote.
Next was the petition “Don’t Renew Sodexo’s Contract.” Michael Han ’16 said that this was a touchy subject, as Sodexo’s contract does not expire until 2018. James Wheland ’16 motioned to refer the petition to the Hospitality Services Advisory Committee. Joe Venusto ’17 said that while HSAC works with hospitality services, it is not the same thing as Sodexo. Seeing this, Paul Ilori ’17 amended the motion to charge it to the Facilities and Services Committee. This passed 17-1-0.
The third petition, Installing Water Bottle Filling Stations around Campus, was postponed to the next meeting, as the scheduled presenter was unable to attend. The final petition was Expand use of [the] Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, presented by Chuck Carletta. Since many students feel that EMPAC has not been useful to them since freshman orientation, Carletta proposed some new uses, such as TED talks and monthly movie showings. Jessica Krajewski ’16 and Whelan were charged with investing student usage of EMPAC and possibly expanding its use.
The Senate moved on to appointing new committee chairs. Joshua Rosenfeld ’16 was officially appointed parliamentarian. Krajewski was appointed as vice chairman of the Senate. Graduate Senator Jenn Church was appointed as the Senate Communications Committee chairman. Han was appointed as FSC chairman. Graduate Senator Spencer Scott was appointed Academic Affairs Committee chairman. Ilori was appointed Student Life Committee chairman.
There was then a motion to have some form of electronic voting for Senate proceedings, since the past and current Grand Marshal have had difficulties counting votes. Rosenfeld also pointed out that students can’t tell who voted for what just from meeting minutes. Church said that a whole system is unnecessary, as roll call votes and Roberts Rules of Order should cover everything. However, the motion passed 8-6-4 in favor of charging the Web Technologies Group with investigating a voting system.
Another motion was brought to the floor regarding the amount of time petitions take up of Senate meetings. The motion proposed creating a petitions committee that would handle petitions. According to the bylaws, this would infringe on the Rules and Elections committee’s jurisdiction, so the motion was changed to making it a subcommittee of R&E. Rosenfeld argued that creating this committee would defeat the entire purpose of the petition, which is to allow students to be heard in front of the entire Senate. At this point, the Senate decided it would be best to postpone the motion, and the meeting concluded.
In an age where music artists are burdened with the pressures of making songs entirely for the radio and mainstream success, there are still some producers and musicians who can find a way to shine with their unique talents and abilities. Kill Paris, one of these gifted musicians, solidifies his own identity in the funk electronic genre with his newest release Galaxies Between Us, which came out on April 14. With solid bass lines and outstanding guitar riffs, the album gives off a feel good vibe that is easy and satisfying to groove to.
Kill Paris, despite being around the music scene for the better part of a decade, has somehow eluded a full LP release until just last month. Countless originals and remixes flooded dancefloors and various music forums online, but this marks his first full length project. To this reviewer’s excitement, Kill Paris does not disappoint in his debut LP. From the very first song to the conclusion, the relaxation and groovy vibes don’t stop.
The first song on the 10-track album, “Arrival,” opens the album perfectly. The mysterious and atmospheric opening to the song brings the listener right into the feel of the album. Then, halfway through the song, Kill Paris hits us with his fantastic synths and melodies that draw the listener into the upbeat mood. The following two songs, “Gonna Get High” and “Summer Daze,” are some of my favorites on the album. They feature amazing sound production and melodies that will get stuck in your head for days. After my first listen, I was almost powerless to go about my day without humming the melodies to myself.
The fourth song on the album, “Operate,” is undoubtedly the best song on the LP. Featuring on the track is singer Royal, who provides absolutely fantastic vocals that fit the production almost perfectly. The drop is light but delightful, and the sounds incorporated into the song are unique and memorable. If I were to recommend just one song for the average listener to give a chance, it would be “Operate.” In this masterpiece, Kill Paris’s unique songmaking abilities combine with oustanding vocals to make one of the best electronic songs this year.
The following two songs take a step back in terms of quality and feel. “Space Forest” and “What I’m Feelin’” are both really relaxed songs that bring us down from the upbeat tune of “Operate.” Despite the fact that they both still feature great production value and interesting chopped-up vocals, I regret to say that Galaxies Between Us reaches a bit of a lull at this point.
In the LP’s seventh song, Kill Paris picks up the slack. He reunites with his old friend Marty Rod to create the roaring tune “Blame It All On Your Way.” Marty Rod featured on Kill Paris’s hit song from 2013 “Falling In Love Again,” and he returns here for an amazing part. Although the production is a bit forgettable, the lyrics and chorus make the song a hit.
Concluding the album are the songs “Interlude,” “You Don’t Love Me No More,” and “Tropical Dinosaur.” Although not nearly as memorable as some of the other songs on this release, they all feature phat bass lines and amazingly formulated riffs and melodies that complete the vibe of the album.
At the conclusion of the final song, the listener has just completed a true musical journey. Some electronic music albums struggle to establish a consistent feel while still having the individual songs maintain their own unique touches. Kill Paris’ Galaxies Between Us, however, allows the listener to relax, groove a little bit, and just truly enjoy an easily flowing album for around 45 minutes. This musical journey is available for free through his label Sexy Electric, and I highly recommend checking it out.
RPI Relief began the RPI Relief: NEPAL campaign on April 28 which will continue through Wednesday, May 13. The RPI Relief: NEPAL campaign is raising money to help the victims of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25, 2015. The earthquake affected people in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, and Nepal. Aftershocks reaching magnitudes of up to 6.7 caused further damage. According to official reports, the death toll has surpassed 7,500 and over 17,000 people have been injured.
The brothers of Alpha Phi Omega manned a donation station for the campaign Wednesday, April 29 through Friday, May 1. Individuals that wanted to donate but did not have cash on hand could pledge to donate and received an email with a link to donate to the United Nations Children’s Fund. During its three days of tabling, Alpha Phi Omega raised $600 in cash and $150 was pledged. In addition to the $600 raised during tabling, an unnamed faculty member donated $1,000 to the cause.
RPI Relief is working with RPI Hospitality Services to raise money for the RPI Relief: NEPAL campaign. Students have the option to donate unused FLEX dollars at Blitman Dining Hall, Burdett Avenue Residence Hall Dining Hall, Commons Dining Hall. Father’s Marketplace, the McNeil Room, and Rathskeller. FLEX dollars can be donated in one dollar increments. Additionally, six dollars of every eight dollar lunch or dinner purchased by individuals without a meal plan at RSDH or Commons will be donated from today through May 13.
As part of the RPI Relief: NEPAL campaign, RPI Relief will be holding a Climb for Nepal event on Friday, May 8, 5–7 pm at the Approach. Participants can buy tickets that they carry up the Approach to enter in raffles for prizes including tickets to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, hockey tickets, and a free parking pass for the 2015–2016 school year in North Lot. Any individuals who want to participate but are unable to go up the Approach can pay an extra five dollars to have a member of RPI Relief carry their tickets up the Approach for them. Raffle tickets can be purchased in the Dean of Students Office in Academy Hall 9 am–5 pm, May 6–8, or at the event. There will be food for sale and music provided by UPAC Sound. Donations for the RPI Relief: NEPAL campaign will go to The United Nations Children’s Fund, the American Red Cross-NEPAL, and All Hands Volunteers. As of Tuesday, May 5, $1,700 has been raised.
Students of RPI, it’s time to talk. There has been a serious issue plaguing the students of this great school for several months now. Many of you are probably aware of this atrocity, but it’s time we get everyone on the same page. This unfortunate occurrence which I am referring to is the flooding of the RPI Fade page of seemingly nothing but memes.
For those of you that are unaware, Fade is a social media app that, similarly to Yik Yak, allows users to post content anonymously on their phones. People in the surrounding area can then see this content. The main difference between Yik Yak and Fade is that Fade allows for pictures as well as a sentence or two. The point of such an application is to allow those around RPI to post pictures of interesting and funny things that they see around campus. However, due to the “internet” culture that surrounds RPI, people see it fit to post memes and pictures of iFunny posts.
I, for one, enjoy a dank meme, but there is a time and a place. If I wanted to check out funny internet pictures with witty captions, I could go to any of the dozens of websites that literally do nothing but this. If I want to see interesting and funny pictures of things that are going on around RPI, there is only one place for this and that is RPI Fade. This epidemic wouldn’t even be that bad if there were the occasional post of a meme. However, on most days, the page is comprised entirely of internet culture jokes with silly captions! The worst of it all is that most of the meme posts are praised, as they receive a high amount of upvotes.
So this is where I speak to the students of RPI. Please, let RPI Fade be used for its original purpose. It’s time that we, as a student body, utilize RPI Fade for its actual purpose. Here are some ideas for things that you can start posting to Fade.
You see someone at the gym repping out 500 pounds like a complete monster? Post it to Fade. See someone using a machine all wrong? Discreetly post it. Perhaps you run across a spontaneous campus happening like the helicopter that landed at East Campus Athletic Village. Snap a picture and let Fade know. If you get a cut-off finger in your Sodexo meal, let the world know how disgusting it is. This kind of stuff is so much more interesting for the average student than a meme that has been downloaded from the internet. Even feel free to throw in a witty caption as long as it’s your own content. Together, we can fix this tragedy. We can take advantage of this unique application and make it something that is hilarious and entertaining. We, as a united campus, can fix this! Up with the original RPI content, down with the dank memes!
Avengers: Age of Ultron is the next film in the new wave of of Marvel Entertainment films released in the last few years, and is, once again, another adaptation of their comic book stories into action on the silver screen. It is sometimes funny and sometimes serious, but it manages to balance the two well to create an atmosphere that is both welcoming for newcomers while still satisfying the die-hard “stay-up-all-night-on-the-comment-threads” fans.
As someone who has seen most, but not all, of the related Marvel films but hasn’t read the comics, Age of Ultron presents itself as somewhat of a multi-faceted movie. Its slapstick humor—sometimes inserted into the middle of intense battle scenes—helps keep the atmosphere light and fun, in stark contrast to many of the recent films produced by DC Comics universe. References to previous films and comics abound, though some characters are not specifically named. Occasionally, the dearth of context clues or explicit exposition left me wondering what was going on, especially as someone who is unfamiliar with the newer characters.
The film starts off in the woods of Slovakia, where the Avengers—still as we saw them in the last movie, which took place three years previous—are raiding a Hydra outpost to retrieve the scepter which Loki wielded in the previous Avengers film. It is during this fight that we are introduced to two new characters—Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, portrayed by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen, respectively, who start to give the Avengers trouble.
After they successfully retrieve the scepter, billionaire genius Tony Stark, again excellently portrayed by Robert Downey Jr., discovers and utilizes an artificial intelligence in the scepter to create his “Ultron” global defense initiative program.
Predictably, this goes wrong.
The team then must chase down and save the world from the rogue AI, Ultron, whose belief of the only way to evolve is to destroy humanity, and by extension, the Avengers. Their journey takes them from Seoul to South Africa and explores intrapersonal and internal conflicts that threaten to tear the team apart. James Spader delivers a distinguished performance as the voice of Ultron with his self-aggrandizing, villain-type dialogue.
The film’s 141-minute runtime gives director Joss Whedon enough time to explore not just the main plot, but also the backstory of the lesser-known characters—helped along by some hallucinatory brain-meddling—as well as throwing in a sprinkling of romance.
This isn’t to say Avengers: Age of Ultron is without its faults, however. To the end, Ultron’s motivations remain unclear, other than “destroy-the-world-because-people-are-bad,” which, at this point, has become an overused trope. By extension, the underlying premise of the movie becomes rather stale, when viewed from afar. The special effects, while mostly on-par with most films these days, is spotty at times, with fairly glaring usages of CGI pulling the viewer out of the film. The movie itself, without the context of the other Marvel films, would likely be difficult for non-fans to understand, and offers little closure, instead ending with “The Avengers will return.” In addition, the entire part where Thor, portrayed by Chris Hemsworth, journeys into a pool of water which somehow causes him to realize how to solve a number of issues had me confused.
Despite these faults, it is clear that public opinion remains strongly in favor of these movies. Age of Ultron grossed $191.3 million in its opening weekend, just shy of the No. 1 $207.4 million record set by its older brother, the original Avengers film, in 2012. On this movie, they aren’t wrong; this film is definitely a good one—it manages to cater to both die-hard and new fans, as well as shucking the increasingly “grimdark” direction that Hollywood has been taking with its recent films.
In the end, Avengers: Age of Ultron is a fitting sequel to the previous film, and a good culmination and integration of all of the preceding films of the franchise. I know I will be looking forward to Whedon’s next Marvel.
I think for many, including myself, this film was a no brainer. It’s the new Avengers film, it’s going to be cool, it’s going to be funny, it’s going to be entertaining. I think people are very much used to the good in the Marvel movies, so I think I’ll focus a little more on the bad of the film.
First, this movie felt CGI heavy to a level I was not accustomed to compared to the other films in the series. Going from Loki as a villain to the completely computer-made robot that is Ultron was a bit jarring, and when you see the set pieces as well, you’ll understand why I feel the way I do. Going off of Ultron, his transition from good to bad was almost instantaneous, and I felt like a fair amount of the film was rushed to the detriment to the main characters. I felt as though Ultron and none of the main Avengers sans Hawkeye got significant screen time.
In contrast to this lack of screen time for main characters and the main villain, I thought the film was awfully nice to the new inclusions: Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and the Vision. While I feel like they were good inclusions and made for some awesome scenes, I feel like most of these characters have been throwaway heroes that come in for their small spotlight in later films. Case in point; Warmachine and Falcon in this film. I don’t mind a larger repertoire of heroes, but an Avengers B team kind of sucks when it is constantly being compared to the all-star original team. The only good character focus I enjoyed was establishing Hawkeye as a member of the Avengers. While Hawkeye has either been a cameo villain in Thor or an actual villain-turned-hero in the first Avengers, it was nice to see Hawkeye not only as the glue the team of gods needs to stick together, but also as the mentor for the new heroes.
I won’t have to tell you how cool the movie is, or how awesome it was when Hulk/Thor/Scarlet Witch/Not Black Widow blew up a thing while doing a flip onto another thing, yadda yadda yadda. It’s certainly entertaining, but extremely underwhelming. The entirety of the film feels like a one-off without anything really important happening. Even the post credits scene was disappointing, and everything just seems like a set up for the next wave of films before the next Avengers. This film feels like Marvel is slowly creeping in new heroes to distract the fans from how far they are trying to stretch out the Thanos arc, and while it’s not bad now, I’m scared this will become a feature in the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe films.
On April 27, the RPI chapter of the fraternity Phi Gamma Delta, also known as FIJI, began their first ever Islander Week. Based around the FIJI nickname, many FIJI chapters hold tropical-themed islander events for charity or social reason. This year, the RPI chapter raised $1,425 for the nine families that were displaced by the fire on Fourth and Washington Streets in Troy, N.Y. on April 10.
On Monday, April 27, FIJI kicked off the week with an inflatable obstacle course on the ’86 Field, playing music and Frisbee from 8 am–5 pm. The fraternity set up a grill and tables in front of the course to sell virgin strawberry daiquiris, hotdogs, and hamburgers. Over two hundred people ran the obstacle course throughout the day, and even more purchased food or drink. On Tuesday, April 28, the chapter tabled outside of Russell Sage Dining Hall from 8 am–5 pm, once again selling non-alcoholic piña coladas, hamburgers, and hotdogs, while promoting their Evening of Performances at their chapter house, the former First Baptist church, in downtown Troy. The event took place at 5:30 pm in the sanctuary of their house. The show was free, but donations were strongly encouraged. The first act was Pumper, a pop-punk band comprised of RPI students, followed by Sheer Idiocy, and The Rusty Pipes.
On Wednesday, April 29, the brothers again tabled outside Russell Sage Dining Hall from 8 am–5 pm, promoting their ultimate frisbee tournament at 3 pm on the Anderson Field. From the tournament alone, the chapter raised $105. On Thursday, April 30, a dunk tank was set up beside the RPI Playhouse, facing Sage Dining Hall. FIJI brothers took turns sitting in the dunk tank and sold softballs to throw at the bullseye target. Over $400 was raised during the day. On Friday, May 1, the fraternity’s founder’s day, brothers once again tabled in front of Sage Dining Hall to promote the day’s event: duct tape a brother. Duct tape was sold by the foot and a member of the fraternity was taped captive on one of the columns by the Center for Industrial Innovation. Those that paid for duct tape could place their strips on areas that had already been duct taped.
In total, from tabling, food, drink, Frisbee, and square cash payments, the fraternity raised $1,425, just shy of $1,500. All of the proceeds will go towards the nine families that were displaced by the fire on Fourth and Washington Streets. The conclusion of FIJI’s Islander Week comes almost two weeks after their win as Alpha Phi Omega’s Meanest Man on Campus, raising $1,797.25 for Peppertree Dog Rescue. For information on the RPI chapter of Tau Nu Phi Gamma Delta, visit https://www.taunufiji.com/.
Classes are reaching their final stretch, and students are using every tool in their arsenal to tackle their final projects, presentations, and examinations. I’d like to take this chance to talk about some of my favorite resources, the first of which is the Advising & Learning Assistance Center, or ALAC for short.
ALAC offers a variety of tutoring opportunities for students who have difficulties in their courses, or simply want to stay one step ahead of the curve. There are free drop-in tutoring opportunities for many of the classes here, including that pesky IEA class so many of us fight through. Students can also find private tutors through ALAC, as the Center will only recommend students who have shown proficiency in the course they are recommended for. ALAC tutoring was how I survived being a first semester freshman in a Differential Equations class taught by a professor who had only taught graduate students before. It’s how I managed to get through Organic Chemistry I & II without five all-nighters a week, and learned Physics II without reading the textbook a hundred times. Check it out at http://alac.rpi.edu/, or ask at their office in Academy Hall.
Another resource I make use of is the Center for Communication Practices, or the CCP to cut down on letters. The CCP is an advising service for students to use for their reports and presentations, helping to ensure that technical reports are detailed yet concise, that presentations are engaging and informative, and improve the overall writing ability of students. Sign up for appointments online at http://www.ccp.rpi.edu, or try for a walk-in. They’re located on the first floor of the Folsom Library (so you’ll go down one flight of stairs from the main desk).
Now onto the business of the Senate for this week: we heard presentations on several petitions, and decided if we should take action, and if so, what sort of action should be taken. These petitions are: “Don’t Shut Down RPI’s Nuclear Reactor!,” “Do NOT Extend Sodexo’s Contract,” “Install Water Bottle Filling Stations around campus”, and “Expanded use of EMPAC.” Next week, at our meeting on May 12 in Elsworth, we will be addressing the petitions “Bring Beer Back to GM Week,” “Bring big-name concerts back to RPI,” and any others that may come up. Check out the current petitions, or post new ones at http://petitions.rpiwtg.com/.
Oh, and the best resource that we have for our studies is the person sitting in the seat next to us, who is going through the same challenges, may know a trick to make studying a better experience, and we all learn better when we can help someone else understand it as well.
As always, contact me at email@example.com for any questions, comments, concerns, or studying tips!
An earthquake of magnitude 7.8 on the Richter scale struck Nepal, and has resulted in a death toll of 7,500 and caused serious damage to the nation’s infrastructure, according to Nepal’s Prime Minister. The quake itself occurred on April 25, and is the most powerful earthquake in Nepal since 1934. Casualties in neighboring countries (i.e., India, China, and Bangladesh) have also been reported. Additionally, at least 17 climbers have been killed in the earthquake’s wake on Mount Everest; the effect of the earthquake on the height of Mount Everest is currently being analyzed by expert geologists. According to The Himalayan Times, there were as many as 20,000 foreign nationals in Nepal at the time of the earthquake. As such, there are numerous multinational disaster relief efforts being undertaken currently. The extensive damage to Nepal’s commercial and historical sites, however, has slowed relief efforts and produced long-lasting effects on the nation’s historical heritage.
The airport that much of international aid organizations utilize, Tribhuvan International Airport, has frequently closed and many of its workers have not been able to clock in due to the quake’s aftershocks. Despite the logistical challenges, many international organizations are rushing to Nepal’s aid. India in particular has airlifted thousands of its citizens and others on heavy lift planes such as the C130J Hercules. This operation has become the largest relief effort undertaken by India on foreign soil. China has rushed supplies and a 62-man team made up of veterans from the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake, which had a 70,000 death toll. Despite all the aid Nepal is receiving, Nepal will likely still feel the effects of the earthquake years from now.
Nepal’s earthquakes’ woes have been exacerbated by its poor infrastructure and economy. At the time of the disaster, Nepal was still rebuilding after a 10-year-long civil war. Average gross domestic product per capita was less than $700 a year and most people’s homes were constructed without the help of trained engineers. On top of all of this, much of the aid that Nepal receives has not gone to the most poor and vulnerable places. Keura, for example, is one of many mountain villages susceptible to landslides and other aftereffects. Treacherous and muddy roads prevent the village from receiving the aid it needs. Only helicopters, of which there are not enough, can transport necessary supplies to such villages.
In addition to the increasing death toll, there are injured and thousands that remain unaccounted for. Most of the few hospitals and schools are now too damaged and dangerous to be used. Nepal’s finance minister estimates that at least $2 billion is needed just to rebuild homes, hospitals, and schools. For the years to come, Nepal will need additional help in not only rebuilding, but also restructuring its economy and infrastructure to mitigate any damage a future disaster may inflict.
What’s up RPI? I hope you have been enjoying the weather lately. It took a few long nights, but I think I finally have the weather machine in working order again. First order of business is, well, business. In this week’s Executive Board meeting, we heard proposals from the Jazz Ensemble for their summer concerts program, UPAC for some budgetary adjustments, and the RPI Bowling Club seeking Rensselaer Union recognition. Unfortunately, due to scheduling, I don’t have the results of these presentations as my Derby is due before the meeting. I’ll be working to fix this for next semester by moving some things around. However, if you check out the RPI Subreddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/RPI/), you’ll be able to see an E-Board “Week in Review” post of what’s been going on after this week’s meeting. I’ve had a number of clubs and organizations reach out to me as the semester winds down seeking to come before the board. Time is short, so I encourage any group interested in presenting to speak with their outgoing representative or point of contact to see what the best steps to take are as the new board is selected. I promise we will do our absolute best to ensure all groups are given every chance possible to be heard.
With that said, Wednesday, May 6 is the last day to apply to be on the incoming executive board! In case you lost your application, physical copies are still present on the Union bulletin boards, there is a PDF here: http://poly.rpi.edu/s/x0m1c/ and a Google Form here: http://poly.rpi.edu/s/1odcx/. I have only been in office for a week and change, but I can honestly say that serving in this position has given me a radically different perspective of student government. Serving on the E-Board is a truly invaluable experience, and one that I encourage any student to seek out. By its definition, 12 representatives are chosen by the President of the Union, and three positions are delegated. Of the delegated positions, one will represent each of the following areas: the Student Senate, the Graduate Council, and the Undergraduate Council; all of which are appointed by their respective bodies. Among the 12 representatives selected by the President of the Union, there shall be at least one member each from the freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior, and graduate classes. There must also be five representatives who have been members of a club or varsity sport team, and two at-large members representing any membership within the Rensselaer Union. With this diverse structure, students of all experiences are encouraged to apply. This year, we will be taking on many projects that will make a lasting impact on the Rensselaer community for the better, making this an excellent opportunity to give back.
This weekend is packed with events going on around campus, so I hope you all get the chance to get out and enjoy them! I’ve heard nothing but good things about The Players’ performances of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which is showing this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 pm in the Playhouse. This Saturday, the Dance Team is having their Spring Recital, and UPAC is throwing a Field Day with laser tag and yard games on the ’86 Field. Men’s baseball will be home facing off against Rochester Institute of Technology or Clarkson University in the Liberty Leagues tournament on Friday. Other performances and events are abound! Be sure to check out the Rensselaer Union website and keep your eyes peeled for the details.
As always, if you have questions/comments/concerns, or even a joke you’d like to share, feel free to reach out to be at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or swing by my office hours (10 am–12 pm MWR) and PUb Chats (8 pm–9 pm MR). Just remember: One Monday remaining in the semester, and Clarkson still sucks.
Have a good one, RPI!
Ah, May; the weather is forecasted to have temperatures in the 80s and plentiful sunshine for the next five days. Lawns everywhere are dotted with people reading a book, tossing a frisbee, or just enjoying the weather. Daylight hours stretch from 5:30 am to 8:30 pm, granting more time to enjoy being outside. As for what to do with this time, here are The Poly’s recommendations.
Within reach with just your own two feet are a few nice places to relax. Grab some local produce from the Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market and eat it at the Riverfront Park along the shores of the Hudson River. Prospect Park is a great place to take a walk, picnic, and enjoy the stunning views over the valley. Poestenkill Gorge Park has dramatic rock cliffs, an abundance of trees, and some substantial waterfalls, and it’s a half-mile walk from campus.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a car or know a friend with a car, there are numerous options for day-trips. This weekend, May 9 and 10, Albany will host the annual Tulip Festival in Washington Park. Thatcher State Park’s Indian Ladder Trail passes along the top of a 1,300 foot tall cliff face, then plunges down a staircase to the base of a handful of waterfalls. Peeble’s Island State Park and Grafton Lakes State Park are great places to bring a group of friends and spend the day either hiking and picnicking (Peeble’s and Grafton) or swimming and spending time at the beach (Grafton).
A little farther out are Mt. Greylock State Reservation, Green Mountain National Forest, Lake George, and the Adirondacks in general; all of which boast spectacular mountain terrain and are great places to just get away to for a day. For the less outdoorsy type, there’s also options in a day trip to Saratoga Springs or Bennington, or a weekend trip to New York City and Boston.
If you’re just looking for a little something to do here on campus in a spare hour, there’s the hill next to the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (there’s two sides to it!), the Sage Building Quad, the ’86 Field, the area around the Voorhees Computing Center, the Quad Quad, the Union Patio, Freshman Hill, Anderson Field, and all of ECAV. Pick up a frisbee, football, soccer ball, lacrosse stick, rollerblade, tennis racket, tennis ball, running shoes, blanket to eat on, or even nothing at all and have some fun or just relax with your friends. The end of the semester is really stressful, and counterintuitively, spending some time not working will actually improve results on last exams, projects, or finals.
Next week marks the end of classes for the semester, and with it, the last issue of The Poly for the 2014–2015 academic year. Throughout this past year, we’ve worked to improve our offerings, both online and offline, and we’re planning on continuing this trend into the next semester and beyond.
Over the course of the summer, we will continue work on our new website, so stay tuned for changes on that front. Our current site runs off of WordPress, which is a bit more limiting, as it is meant for more of a blog-style site. The new site will have better front- and back-end systems, which will allow us to provide better integration between stories and tags, for example. In the interim, we are exploring options of using a more up-to-date WordPress theme, which better reflects our status as a media organization.
In this last semester, we’ve made quite a few changes to our paper, both visually, and in terms of content. We pioneered a new layout, and started writing some longer, more in-depth articles, and have expanded our online presence. In the last year, we’ve made increasing usage of our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts, and have started working with our current website to provide multimedia content and PDFs of issues online.
With the end of the academic year, of course, comes the inevitable exodus of graduates to their respective jobs and future endeavors. I’d like to take a moment to recognize some of our future alumni. Ethan Spitz ’15, one of our current contributing editors, has been on The Poly since Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond of his freshman year, in the fall of 2011. Since then, he has served as photography editor, copy editor, and web and systems director. Another of our future alumni is Vicki Lam ’15, who joined The Poly in the fall of 2011, and has since served as copy editor and business manager. Kirk Smith ’15, who also joined in fall of 2011, served as news editor for multiple semesters. All of them have contributed a great deal to make The Polytechnic into what it is today.
With the leaving of a number of our editors comes vacancies which we would very much like filled, so if any of you are interested in selling ads, working on business, taking photos, writing news stories or sports articles (you can get free access to games!), or doing graphic design and layout, don’t hesitate to drop in or shoot us an email! We’re always looking for helping hands (and it’s also a great résumé booster).
Looking forwards, we plan on releasing a summer issue mid-July, before we welcome new freshmen in the fall of 2015 with our NRB event, Poly Press Pass. I hope you’ll stay with us on our journey forward, for many issues to come.
On Friday, April 24, the result of the President of the Union runoff election was announced in Mother’s Wine Emporium. Nick Dvorak ’16 won the election, held earlier that day, with 85.32 percent of votes. 13.47 percent of the student body voted in the runoff election.
Dvorak ran a write-in campaign after initially withdrawing from the PU race. In the Grand Marshal Week PU election held on Thursday, April 16, Dvorak received 14.957 percent of votes and his opponent Greg Bartell ’17 received 35.9 percent. However, because no eligible candidate reached the 40 percent threshold, a runoff election was required.
Dvorak has proposed plans for possible changes to club and Executive Board operations. E-Board representatives will be expected to meet with their clubs at least once a month. Also, clubs will be asked to create four-year plans for budgeting. A four-year plan would theoretically enable clubs to plan major expenses years in advance. If clubs are having a problem with the PU or their E-Board representative, they can submit complaints or feedback via an online form.
Applications for the Executive Board are currently available and can be found in yellow folders on bulletin boards throughout the Union, as a PDF at http://poly.rpi.edu/s/x0m1c , and as a Google Form at http://poly.rpi.edu/s/1odcx . The deadline for E-Board applications is 11:59 pm on Wednesday, May 6.
On Friday, April 24, RPI’s Relay for Life was held in the Armory. Relay for Life, run by the American Cancer Society, is an annual event that raises money towards the fight against cancer by having participants walk, either individually or in teams, for twelve to 24 hours.
Sadly, this year’s Relay was disappointing. From an incredibly low turn-out to general disorganization throughout the event, the Polytechnic staff was dissatisfied with what could have been a spectacular event. Many of the events of the night, especially those conducted by Relay For Life, seemed to be more focused on the theme of the event, Disney, rather than the purpose which Relay for Life stands for. For example, the trivia game included questions about Disney characters and very few questions about cancer or preventative measures which is information that could benefit students.
No reporters or media organizations from The Polytechnic or RPI TV were permitted to enter without paying the entry fee, and therefore, no article could be written about the event. This is contrary to previous Relays for Life held at RPI, which The Polytechnic has covered over the years and even included a spread.
The 2017 and 2018 Class Councils also donated $2,000 towards providing food for attendees to the event. However, volunteers who came to the event for the sole purpose of distributing the food were expected to pay the $20 entry fee and register as an attendee. The issue was solved with the workaround of entering through a back door, but multiple volunteers had already paid the entry fee.
Finally, we are concerned with the American Cancer Society’s discretion with the division of raised funds. Because a significant amount of money is spent on advertising, merchandise, and other costs unrelated to research, survivor assistance, etc., not as much money actually goes to the fight against cancer than could be spent. According to Combined Financial Statements released by said organization in recent years, the American Cancer Society has only spent approximately 60 percent of the money raised towards actual cancer research, prevention, detection, treatment, and patient support. Other related charities spend upwards of at least 80 percent of their revenue on the above services. Perhaps other, more direct donation options would be more beneficial to the ultimate cause: eliminating cancer.
We look forward to seeing next year’s event, in hopes that organization and procedures will be improved.
After Spring Break, my friends and I were discussing the new door that popped up on the side of Davison Hall. I told them that the new door allowed the Rensselaer Model Railroad Society to access the New England, Berkshire, & Western model railroad; a historically accurate model of the New England railways as they were in the 1950s. We heard that the club was running their trains on April 25 and that it was open to the public, so we decided to go take a look.
The new entrance felt more welcoming than the last time I had been to the display during Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond 2014. My friends and I wandered through the various towns and countrysides modeled by the club, observing the extreme level of detail and members of the club enthralled in their work. When we reached the very back where we met John Nehrich, an RPI graduate and member of the club since 1968, he immediately offered to give us a tour, since it was very clear we had no idea what was going on. Once per semester, the club members get together to run their trains and simulate what it would have been like to organize the rails. Passenger and cargo trains travel from station to station on a time table, filling out information at each stop to keep things running.
What I really love about this model is their effort to bring historical accuracy to a truly remarkable time in Troy’s history. Nehrich feels that the model railroad hobby has become inbred over the years. Clubs look at what other groups are doing and try to model that, instead of looking outside their basements and garages to the real thing. NEB&W prides itself in being the largest collection of historically accurate railroad models in the world.
Before adding or changing something, research is done using old photos, insurance maps, and sometimes a bit of guesswork. Nehrich says that doing all of the research and construction, rather than purchasing pre-built models, makes the rich history of the era more intimate. John gave me an unexpected but absolutely fascinating history of Troy. I think we as students see Troy as “just the town that RPI happens to be in,” when Troy was once a hugely successful town. I never knew that at one point Troy was the fourth richest city per capita in the United States, or that as many as 135 passenger trains in 1915 passed through the station that used to be across the street from Blitman Commons.
I really think that every student should find an opportunity to see this amazing model and learn about Troy’s prosperous past. Nehrich works in the Mueller Center and is available for Whistle Stop Tours on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I highly recommend his brief tour.
On Sunday afternoon, RPI Baseball hosted the College of St. Joseph (V.T.) Fighting Saints for a non-league game at Robison Field. Pitching dominated as both teams managed just a single run through nine innings of play. In the bottom of the 10th inning, a groundball by senior centerfielder Jared Jensen allowed sophomore pinch runner Matt Lawrence to score the winning run for the Engineers.
RPI senior pitcher Sean Conroy allowed just one base runner in his first three innings, and thanks to a subsequent double play, faced just nine batters in the first three innings. On the mound for St. Joe’s, Tyler Kunzmann matched Conroy by holding the Engineers for the first three innings of play. RPI did record hits in each inning, however, and got runners on first and third with one out in the third before Kunzmann squeezed out of the jam with a strikeout.
In the top of the fourth, centerfielder Nester Velazquez doubled into the right field corner with one out. Then, with two outs, Kunzmann helped his own cause by singling past Conroy to put the Fighting Saints on the board.
St. Joseph held a 1-0 lead until the bottom of the seventh. Senior second basemen Tim LeSuer walked to lead off the inning. He subsequently advanced to second on a passed ball. Then, after a sacrifice bunt put LeSuer at third with one out, sophomore right fielder Thomas Desmond hit a groundball to the right side. St. Joseph’s fielded the ball and threw it home, but the throw was late, and LeSuer scored to tie the game at one.
In the top of the ninth, the Engineers ran into trouble. Fighting Saints left fielder Miguel Calderon reached on an RPI fielding error. Velazquez walked to put runners at first and second. Then, right fielder Connor Martin singled to left field and pinch runner Alec Babyak ran from second to home. RPI freshman left fielder Christian Spagnuola fired home and junior catcher Chris Holomakoff applied the tag to the speedy Babyak. The play saved the tie for the Engineers and the game went to extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, junior pitcher Charles Parslow came on in relief of Conroy and retired all three batters he faced in the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Spagnuola singled past St. Joseph shortstop Jordan Matos with one out. Then, Lawrence pinch ran for Spagnuola. Sophomore Sam Lawrence pinch hit for Holomakoff and walked to put runners on first and second.
Senior designated hitter Tyler Listing walked to load the bases. With one out, Jensen stepped to the plate and hit a slow dribbler past St. Joseph pitcher Eric Carroll, allowing M. Lawrence to score for RPI.
Conroy gave up just four hits and one run and struck out eight Fighting Saints over nine innings of work. Parslow earned the win in relief and improved his record to 3-1. LeSuer tallied two hits, including a double, while Listing, Desmond, and Spagnuola each recorded one.
The Engineers also played two games at Western New England University on Saturday, winning and losing one each. In the first game, Jensen picked up his fourth win of the season, giving up three earned runs in five innings, while sophomore pitcher Adam Aponte earned a save, his second of the season. The Engineers also traveled to Williams College yesterday, defeating the Ephs by a score of 13-4. To round out their regular season, the Engineers will play two games at Robison Field this weekend against Liberty League rival Rochester Institute of Technology.