TV Series Review

Sci-fi series gets darker in Black Mirror

A not-so-new British mini-series gets a boost in popularity and relevance through Netflix

DISCONNECTED STORIES MAKE UP the series that is Black Mirror . This episode, “Fifteen Million Merits,” is a departure from the usual setting, taking place in a far off future where people must ride bicycles for electricity and are forced to watch televison.

Geoff’s Take

While trying to write this review, I struggled to give a good synopsis of what Black Mirror is, or what it does well to earn a review. It’s not necessarily a new show, having started airing in 2011; though, as a British television show, it is new to America and was released on Netflix somewhat recently. As well, I could compare it to The Twilight Zone in that the show is made of separate stories of speculative fiction, but that would be doing Black Mirror an injustice, since it sets itself apart completely with gruesome and adult themes that you would never have seen in The Twilight Zone. I think the only fair comment I can make is that it is one of the most thought-provoking television series of recent years.

Made up of six hour-long episodes, spanning two seasons and a Christmas special, Black Mirror is by no means a long winded series, but, perhaps, in part because of the lessened amount of episodes, each one is poignant and evocative in different ways. The show comes from the mind of one man, Charlie Brooker, who created the show and either wrote or co-wrote all but one episode of the series. He chose the title Black Mirror to explore the space between the rewards and consequences of technology, specifically pointing out our phone or computer screens as black mirrors. And, on this front, he is absolutely correct. Each episode takes place either in our modern world and focuses on our current advancement, a near future like our world with a few specific advancements, or a wildly foreign future with mostly dystopian aspects. What I find so powerful about the show is the intense focus on the individual and how he or she is broken by society or the technology present in this world, even when that’s not its intended purpose. And though I don’t consider this a spoiler, I have to say that this show is extremely depressing. You will not find a happy ending at any point in this show, but that definitely works to its benefit.

I think one of the best aspects of the show is not only its replayability; myself and friends have rewatched episodes multiple times, but also the level of discussion and opinions that come from the show. While the most popular episode may be “The Entire History of You,” about a future where people have implants that allow them to replay and show others what they see, my personal favorite is “White Bear,” which is probably one of the least popular episodes. My friends also have different episodes that they are more drawn to. Having each episode contained as a separate story allows for more varied opinions and ideas presented for each portion.

I think it’s hard to express just how cool, interesting, and engaging each episode is on its own merits without showing someone the show, so all I can do is recommend watching it, but I would suggest starting on episode three of season one, “The Entire History of You,” not just because it is a popular episode, but because order doesn’t really matter and this episode is a better representation of the show than the first two episodes, which are also very good. This is the must watch show right now, and I doubt you’ll see a better science fiction show any time soon.

Chris’ Take

The first time I was exposed to Black Mirror was when I walked in on a few of my friends watching the Christmas episode. It seemed harmless; a British television show that had a cult following. Black Mirror sounds interesting, but probably not something I’d watch on my own. But, oh, I was so wrong. I took a seat and experienced the whole hour and 10 minutes of mind-bending madness. Since then, I’ve watched every single episode, some more than once.

I won’t give away any major plot spoilers, but Black Mirror portrays many technological situations that we, as a society, may be facing in the near future. Every episode creates an immersive world with personable, empathetic characters, ones that aren’t too far from reality. But the outlook isn’t necessarily positive. Love, loss, and pride are all felt and build over the course of each 45 minute installment. Then, towards the end, reminiscent of The Twilight Zone, the protagonist suffers an earth-shocking twist which invokes unexpected abject horror. As the credits roll, the viewer sees their trembling face reflected back in the black mirror that they watched the episode on.

After absorbing the contents of the Christmas special, I had to lie down on my bed in a fetal position and just let it all soak, for nearly a half hour. The next day, I also nearly cried during the first episode of the second season. I’m not one to get emotional with watching TV; I don’t cry when I watch sad movies (there is only one exception). But, Black Mirror put me in those characters’ shoes. It made me feel the loss of a loved one. It made me question the perspective of justice. It made me feel true, abhorrent dejection. Honestly, I’m not the same.

As a cynical person, this show hit home. Inherently, are humans good? When we develop the technology, will we do the right thing? Will we, will anyone understand the moral grey areas involved with our quickly advancing electronics? I’m not too sure, but one can always hope.

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Men's Hockey

Freakout! brings school spirit despite disappointing game

RENSSELAER JUNIOR DEFENSEMAN CHRIS BRADLEY CONTROLS the puck during an attack by Yale freshman forward Ryan Hitchcock during Saturday's 38th annual Big Red Freakout! game. The Engineers fell short to the Bulldogs, 4-1.

Last Saturday, a crowd of over 4,700 Rensselaer faithful packed into the Houston Field House clad in RPI red for Men’s Hockey’s Big Red Freakout! game against the Yale Bulldogs. Besides the Blackout drubbing of Union last October, this was the biggest game of the season and excitement abounded prior to the opening puck drop. The Engineers fell hard early, though. In the first period, Yale went on a power play with just two minutes and 53 seconds gone by. Twenty seconds later, Yale center Carson Cooper scored with assists from forward Mike Doherty and defender Nate Repensky. This resulted in a collective sinking feeling in the just recently eager RPI crowd. Then, a little more than two minutes later, forward John Baiocco took the puck from defenseman Dan O’ Keefe, beat his defender, and flicked the puck over junior goalie Jason Kasdorf’s outstretched glove to give the Bulldogs an early 2-0 lead from which the Engineers could not recover.

The lone highlight of the night for the Engineers came late in the first period when freshman forward Viktor Liljegren scooped up the rebound off a freshman defender Drew Melanson miss and fired the puck past Yale goalie Mark Lyon.

A reinvigorated Rensselaer crowd watched their team take the ice for the second period, down a goal and in possession of the momentum. But just a minute and a half into the second period Doherty quelled RPI’s hopes, scoring a shot through the legs of Kasdorf to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead. Five minutes later, defenseman Rob O’Gara crossed the puck to left wing Frankie DiChiara for a one-timer past Kasdorf to put Yale up 4-1. The Engineers couldn’t score following this Yale goal, ending the game with Yale on top, 4-1.

Kasdorf saved 24 of 28 shots that came his way but was bested by Lyon who saved 25 of 26 to earn the victory.

In defeat, the Engineers fall to a record of 9-22-1 while the Bulldogs improve to an overall record of 15-7-3. Next up for the Engineers is a road trip this weekend to western New York to take on Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference rivals Cornell University and Colgate University.

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World News

Nigeria asks for crisis help

Boko Haram, which translates to “Western education is forbidden,” is a terrorist organization many compare to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The group’s presence became known to Western audiences through its kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in 2014. Founded in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno in 2002, Boko Haram’s roots can be traced to the establishment of a religious school targeting the children of impoverished Muslim families; the aforementioned school was used to recruit jihadis. The organization’s sphere of influence resides in northern Nigera, which hosts a large Muslim population made up of the Hausa and Fulani ethnic groups. Advocating for a strict interpretation and application of Sharia Law, Boko Haram seeks the establishment of an Islamic state in Nigeria.

Knowledge of Nigeria’s colonial roots is essential in understanding the nation’s present-day strife. Prior to the arrival of the British, northern Nigeria was defined by unification between the Fulani and Hausa ethnic groups in terms of religion, politics, and language. This conformity compared starkly with the eclectic array of ethnic groups, religions, political organizations, and languages one could find in the south. Suspicion of colonial missionaries developed into xenophobia against Western culture and education in the north. Following Nigeria’s independence in 1960, southern Nigeria found itself as the focus of British evangelical efforts and infrastructure developments. Subsequent corrupt and military regimes fomented further resentment in the north.

Fast forwarding to the present, one can see how easy it is for Boko Haram to recruit members with promises of change, food, and pay after such a history of disenfranchisement and unemployment. Boko Haram’s subsequent anti-government activities have escalated to armed conflict in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Benin. Despite being Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation, Nigeria is unable to combat Boko Haram alone. Nigeria’s neighbors have promised to contribute to a total of 8,700 troops for the development of a regional force to combat Boko Haram. The multinational force, which includes police and humanitarian officials in addition to soldiers, is to be headquartered in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena. In addition, the U.N. has promised logistical support, but the requests for necessary funds will require approval from the U.N. Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has urgently requested for U.S. assistance by drawing parallels between U.S. participation and intervention in operations against ISIL in Iraq. There are currently no plans to send U.S. troops to Nigeria.

At present, international attention is focused on the Middle East.

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Staff Editorial: Staying safe in snow

After weeks of nasty winter weather with no end in sight, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself and plan ahead in order to stay healthy and safe for the remainder of the winter season. Students living off campus should make sure to clear their sidewalks. When sidewalks are not cleared and the snow is above the knee many students will opt to walk in the street. Walking in the street can be incredibly dangerous when traction is poor and drivers cannot see around snow piles.

If your car is parked on the street, make sure you shovel it out promptly after snowfall. Any cars considered “snowbound” could receive 50 dollar tickets each day they are left with snow on them, doubling in cost after two weeks. In addition to cleaning off your windows, make sure you clean off your license plate, head and taillights, and clear your exhaust pipe of snow before driving. Be sure to keep a shovel, ice scraper, and snowbrush in your car when traveling in hazardous conditions. It is also a good idea to have either kitty litter or bags of sand in your car, just in case you lose traction while driving.

Plan ahead and dress appropriately for the weather conditions. If you will be spending extended periods of time outdoors, make sure your extremities and face are properly covered. Also, if your feet get wet while walking in snow and slush, dry them as soon as possible. Wear layers—you can always take them off if you get too hot when you’re indoors.

Finally, don’t neglect your health during the colder months. Many people experience depression during the colder months which has been linked to vitamin D deficiency. Eating well, working out, and spending some time outdoors can improve your health and help combat seasonal affective disorder.

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Event Highlight

RPI Players entertain with night full of surprises

Three student-directed, one-act plays deal shocks, laughs, twists; Sheer Idiocy to perform

This Friday at 8 pm, the calm before the storm will settle on stage. Then, the lights will go up, two tables, four chairs, and a Player will be revealed, and this year’s An Evening of Performance will begin. The show features a slapstick comedy with a twist that had me chuckling throughout; a more serious play that deals with rape, deceit, and jealousy; and The Game, where Life and Death play with the lives of two young artists. The show will also feature RPI’s improvisational comedy troupe, Sheer Idiocy, as the final, closing act.

I am no time-traveler, but luckily I was invited to attend two of the final rehearsals before they open at the end of the week. Those two nights, I was treated to all three Players shows. The first show of the night, Boise, Idaho, is directed by Jeremy Feldman ’16 and tells the story of a story within a story that may or may not be within another story. “It leaves you with some questions but you don’t have to take them too seriously,” explained Feldman. The show is quite confusing, but holds many of the comedic gems of the night, between the inherent comedy of the plot, golden one-liners, and salads tossed in someone’s face. The Narrator, played by Jacob Shatz ’16, brought the performance together with his witty banter, hilarious stubbornness, and his insistence that things happen for “no apparent reason.” The story revolves around Olston and Chastity, played by Reece Kearney ’15 and Pixie Sirois ’18 respectively, who are revealed to be Stacy and Stanley but who might in fact actually be Olston and Chastity; it’s complicated but worth it.

The second play of the night follows the first and brings the audience a more straightforward plot. Off the Grid reveals a creative writing teaching assistant, Mark, and his struggle to cope with the revelation that one of the papers he graded that detailed the story of one student’s rape, was true. Mark, played by Tristan Villamil ’18, is faced with differing opinions on the matter from his girlfriend Anne (Christina Hammer ’17) and his fellow TA Jack (Marc Barbret ’16) and, at times, doubts the paper’s validity. Mark struggles to try and teach Susan, the student, played by Jessica Spencer ’18, how to do things right. The play deals with a heavy subject and shows the difficult truth of doubt that may underlie a situation. However, it also speaks to encourage to lend support to others, no matter the situation. From the promiscuous Jack to the poignant Susan, the actors left me with an engrossing performance.

After intermission, the last Players act of the night took the stage. Directed by Emily Kosmaczewski ’16 with assistant director Emily Fernandes ’13, The Game tells the tale of siblings Life and Death, which has Life desperate to save two geniuses from suicide. The first, the Youth, played by Brendan Freilib ’18, is a clever poet who has lost his sweetheart and is determined to die. The other, the Dancer, played by Hannah de los Santos ’17, believes that she will never find love. Life tries to keep them alive by playing a game of dice with Death, who is in it for simply the fun. The siblings, Life and Death, played by Casey Adam ’15 and Rafael Ramos ’16, absolutely dominate the show with their personalities. The monotonous, cackling Death had me laughing along with him, while the impassioned, pristine Life gave me goose bumps with her performance, especially her final lines. The Game certainly threw the right combination and impressed with this skillfully delivered play.

With only a three-week cycle to practice and refine the acts, the shows delivered Sunday and Monday night were, in my opinion, absolutely impressive. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them for multiple unique reasons and they ultimately had me feeling quite satisfied. An Evening of Performance 2015 opens Friday, February 20 and runs the whole weekend with showings extending into the next weekend on February 27 and 28. The show is already fabulous, even without the added bonus of the ever-enjoyable Sheer Idiocy, and I would definitely recommend attending.

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Men's Basketball

Basketball loses by two

JUNIOR FORWARD CHASE ALMOND PREPARES to make a shot during RPI’s game against Clarkson on Saturday, February 14 at ECAV Gymnasium. The Engineers lost 57-59 in the matchup.

In the early goings of the game, Clarkson University connected on their first four shot attempts and raced out to an 8-2 lead. Later, a steal by Golden Knight forward John Coleman resulted in a two-on-one for Clarkson and an easy layup for Coleman assisted by Golden Knight guard Felix Abongo. RPI kept the game close in the opening 10 minutes of the game, though. Consecutive baskets by junior forward Brian Hatcher made the score Clarkson 14, RPI 10.

Starting midway through the first half, the Golden Knights went on a 10-2 run to open up a 24-12 lead. RPI senior shooting guard Josh Dugas broke this run with a pull-up 3-pointer at the 6:15 mark in the first half.

The situation continued to get worse for the Engineers late in the first half. Clarkson followed Dugas’ three with another 10-2 run, capped by an Abongo 3-pointer off of a Coleman pass. At the end of the first half, Dugas fired up a last second jump shot and scored to pull the Engineers to within 15 at the break.

In the second half, the Engineers rallied. Sophomore guard Nate Kane drilled a 3-pointer then muscled inside for a hard-earned basket to cut the lead to 39-28 three minutes into the second half. Then Dugas found Hatcher open on the left wing for a much needed triple.

The lead swelled back to 13 after Coleman scored twice. Junior forward Tyler Gendron answered with a 3-pointer of his own to pull Rensselaer to within 10. Later, with 10:36 remaining Kane pulled down a rebound at the defensive end and passed it ahead to a wide open Gendron for an easy fast break deuce. Down 12 again with six and a half minutes remaining, sophomore guard Jonathan Luster drove into the middle and found an open Dugas in the corner for another Engineer 3-pointer. Then, only a minute later, Hatcher blocked a Golden Knight guard Jeremy Liss layup and subsequently scored a basket and free throw on the offensive end.

Poor free throw shooting by Clarkson gave RPI a chance to take the lead, and they did. Once again, Hatcher drained a three assisted by Dugas to give the Engineers a 54-53 edge. Clarkson stole the lead right back, however, as guard Charles McAllister made two free throws.

With a minute and a half left, Coleman spun to the hoop and scored to give the Golden Knights a 57-54 lead. After a Chase Almond jumper cut the lead to one, Clarkson made two of four foul shots to finish off the upset-minded Engineers.

In victory, Coleman led all scorers with 18 points, while Abongo finished with 13 points and six rebounds. For the Engineers, Hatcher scored 15 points, nabbed nine boards, and blocked three shots. Dugas led the Engineers in points with 16 and assists with four. Lastly, big man Almond shot 7-of-10 from the field and finished with a solid 14 points.

Clarkson improved to 18-5 with the win while Rensselaer fell to a record of 6-17. This weekend, RPI will play its final two games of the season, first at Vassar College on Friday, then finishing at home against Bard College on Sunday.

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Editorial Notebook

Keeping cool on campus

Help for sweltering students

Normally in this column I talk about some issue in sports, but this week I’m going to talk about the poor heating control in RPI campus buildings.

I’ve heard that some of the classrooms on campus don’t have enough heating. Take Jonsson-Rowland Science Center for example. Sometimes the classrooms can be so cold that it isn’t necessary to remove any of the layers you were wearing for the walk outside to class. In those instances, I can understand why people would want the heat to be turned up. We are paying $60,000 per year to come study here; we shouldn’t have to sit in class shivering while our professors teach differential equations.

However, more often the heat is turned up too much in classrooms. I have a class in the third floor of Sage this semester, and when I walk in there, I notice a tangible rise in temperature from even the hallway, which is at about the right temperature. Then, within 30 minutes, I’ve taken off both outer layers and am still sweating. It makes me wonder if I should wear shorts underneath my sweatpants like the basketball players do so I can be warm enough on the walk to class but take off the extra layer so I don’t overheat when I get there.

The temperature must be between 80 and 90 degrees on any given day in that room and all the other ones like it. It’s February. We shouldn’t be overheating in class. Maybe in August and late May, but not February. Windows shouldn’t need to be opened to cool the room down; however, that’s what routinely happens. I remember I kept my dormitory window in Cary Hall open throughout the winter months last year because the room was too hot otherwise.

So what do I suggest? Turn the temperature down to about 70 degrees. This way students and professors will be more comfortable in class and thus, more likely to perform well in their respective roles. On the reverse end, I won’t even go into the positive environmental impact of turning the heat down. Instead I’ll just speak from an economic standpoint, which I strongly dislike doing. By turning the heat down to a more comfortable temperature, the Institute will save money on heating costs. Those savings can then be used for other investments, such as research or maintenance costs. It’s a win-win. A no-brainer as they say.

As contrary to common sense as too much heat in the winter is, it doesn’t end there. During the summer months, the temperature in many buildings is too cold. Last summer I worked in the Materials Research Center and found that, on many days, I needed to put on a jacket to stay warm enough. Now I certainly won’t say turn off the air conditioning, but at least allow the warmth of the summer air to naturally keep the temperature above freezing in the labs. Again, this would also save money and decrease carbon emissions.

For now though, let’s focus on the heating. We’re all sweating here, so please, do everybody a favor and turn the heat down.

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Club Highlight

Smash contests makes waves

On Valentine’s Day, the RPI Smash Club wasn’t out buying flowers or chocolates. Well, they might have been but for the most part, campus’ smashers were setting up CRTs, GameCubes, and Wii Us in Mother’s Wine Emporium. Featuring the typical Super Smash Bros. Melee as well as the newly released Super Smash Bros. for Wii U singles and doubles tournaments, 2 Fish was the sequel to December’s 1 Fish.

Saturday’s Smash tournament featured both RPI’s own competitors but also smashers from around upstate New York. To encourage participation, as a special Valentine’s Day deal, couples were allowed to enter doubles tournaments for free. Seven couples took the tournament up on its offer and spent some of their special day up-smashing and wavedashing.

With more than 100 unique entries for the tournament, it was an absolute success. Both doubles brackets saw 15 team entries while Melee single saw 56 entrants and Smash for Wii U singles had 44 entries, up from 1 Fish. World-famous smasher Mew2King made his typical appearance at the school’s tournament to his usual success. M2K saw a sweep of the wins in all events with partner Dark Wizzy for Wii U and Snarf in Melee. Many of RPI’s students placed well, with Hungry Pigeon, EZVIP, Trilok, and Adam K, among others, placing in the top 10 in their brackets.

The tournament was streamed live on M2K’s twitch account until it was switched over to the tournament’s co-host Pastime Legends’ twitch feed. The tournament, one in a series of tournaments, will be followed by Red Fish on April 4, so be sure to check it out next time the smashers decide to have a throw down on campus.

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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

RPI splits weekend

JUNIOR FORWARD LAUREN YOUNG NAVIGATES around an opponent.

Women’s basketball had an exciting overtime win against the Skidmore College Thoroughbreds in a Friday night showdown in Saratoga. Once again, Rensselaer mounted a late comeback. Junior guard Ashley Clough led the charge, scoring 14 points in the second half on six of nine shooting, including the game tying 3-pointer with 23 seconds to play in regulation. Senior guard Amanda Lynch also came up big, scoring six of the team’s final 11 points. After 40 minutes of play, the game was tied, 66-66.

In overtime, junior guard Lauren Young tied the game at 69 with a nifty layup. Then, baskets by Lynch and Clough gave RPI a four-point lead, with one minute remaining. After Skidmore failed to score, senior guard Bailei Tetrault secured the win the game with two free throws and the Engineers won 75-71.

Last Saturday, the Engineers returned home to face Clarkson. Both teams entered with identical 9-4 Liberty League records. Rensselaer fell behind in the first half, allowing the visiting Golden Knights to take a 43-27 lead into the break.

Once more, the Engineers fought back. A lead of 21 for Clarkson midway through the second half was too much for RPI to overcome, though. Two late Clough 3-pointers pulled the Engineers to within six in the final moments. When the final buzzer sounded, the score was Clarkson 72, Rensselaer 66.

In two games, Lynch totaled 46 points and Clough finished with 43. Young led RPI in rebounds both nights, pulling down a combined total of 19.

Next weekend will be the final two regular season games for RPI. On Friday, they will travel to Vassar College, before heading back to Troy to host Bard College on Sunday afternoon. In order to advance into Liberty League Championship contention, RPI will need to win at least one of the two games.

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Top Hat

J-Board overturns Student Activity Fee decision by Senate

Take travel precautions in hazardous weather, Student Life presents future plans

Happy Wednesday, RPI, and welcome back from a relaxing, well-deserved long weekend! We have a busy week ahead of us, and yet another traditional event this weekend, but before talking about campus life, I would like to take a moment to explain the current situation surrounding the Student Activity Fee, and how the Student Senate and Union Executive Board intend to move forward.

Last Thursday, the Senate ruled the motion for the Student Activity Fee as having passed 13-5-6. This decision was made with an understanding that such a vote required two-thirds of members who are both present and voting. However, it was pointed out by students and alumni that this precedent, adopted since the 43rd Student Senate, may be incorrect. To ensure the proper decision was made, I asked the Judicial Board to interpret the language present in the Union Constitution. J-Board determined that this motion did not pass. Their decision also has implications for the voting rights of the Grand Marshal and President of the Union in certain decisions.

Because the Senate voted while misinformed, they will be deciding whether to reopen the Activity Fee motion for discussion, via a Motion to Reconsider at this Thursday’s meeting. If the Activity Fee is reconsidered and passes, it will be sent to the Board of Trustees following standard procedure. If it fails or is not reconsidered, the E-Board will make alterations to the proposed fee and budget in accordance with Senate feedback, and will make a new proposal as soon as possible. In either case, this means you have more time to give feedback; if any students have thoughts, please email suggestions to me at gm@rpi.edu, to Erin Amarello ’15 at pu@union.rpi.edu, or talk to your senators.

Finally, the Student Life Deans and Directors will be presenting progress on the Student Life Performance Plans this week at 7 pm in Rensselaer Union Room 3602—the meeting room adjacent to the Shelnutt Gallery. At this meeting, they will be giving an overview of the Student Life Division’s plans for the upcoming year. Performance plans detail current, ongoing projects, as well as upcoming initiatives and programs, with a focus on the continued promotion and advancement of the Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students Initiative. The Senate will be present, and I have requested RPI TV to record the meeting. This meeting is open for all students to attend and to give their feedback, critiques, and input.

Outside of Student Government, as if Freakout! isn’t enough, this weekend marks yet another of our great annual traditions, the Winter Carnival! This year’s theme is AVALANCHE. The event starts at 11 am with Winter Olympics, Photos with Puckman, performances by various student groups including the Rensselaer Music Association, and, of course, free food! At 3 pm, Amarello, Anthony Barbieri ’15, and I will be judging Cardboard Sled Races put together by various campus organizations. At 4 pm the Carnival will feature womens’ hockey as they play against Cornell University, and the event will conclude with an open skate at the Houston Field House from 7–9 pm. Winter Carnival is a can’t-miss event—even if you won’t be there all day, come up to ECAV and have fun in the (all-too-present) snow!

On that note, this will be a cold week marked with several days of subzero temperatures. While we are fortunate enough to have warmer conditions than Boston or Buffalo, the trek across campus can still be a hazardous one. I would like to again remind our students and staff to stay safe, to avoid driving in questionable conditions, and to guard themselves against wind chill as we leave home each morning. With luck, we should finally have some warmer weather soon! As always, if you need anything, you may email me at gm@rpi.edu, or come to my office between 12 and 2 pm on Wednesdays or Thursdays. Have a nice week, RPI!

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Men's Indoor Track

League champions

On Saturday, February 14, men’s indoor track and field competed at the Liberty League Championship in Rochester, NY. Four teams took part in the event: RPI, Rochester Institute of Technology, Union College, and St. Lawrence University. The Engineers edged out their competitors by racking up a team total of 186 points, the next closest, St. Lawrence, scored 162.

On their way to a first-place finish, RPI won a total of seven individual events. Freshman Bryan Hayes sprinted to victory in the 200-meter dash, recording a top time of 23.08 seconds. In addition, he also won the triple jump competition by finishing with a spectacular distance of 13.06 meters. By winning twice, Hayes was chosen as the track performer of the meet.

In the 400-meter run, sophomore Max Drexler came away with a winning title, crossing the finish line with a time of 50.53 seconds. Then, senior Dylan Landry outraced his competitors and won the 800-meter with a time of 116.55 seconds. Junior Bobby Parker rounded out the track portion of the event for the Engineers by winning the 3000-meter race with a time of 8 minutes and 44 seconds.

In the field, junior Tyler Yeastedt won the weight throw with a top distance of 18.04 meters, while junior Aaron Clippinger soared to a winning long jump length of 6.54 meters. Yeastedt earned field event performer of the meet, honoring for his impressive shot put performance.

Three Engineer athletes also earned needed points for their team by coming in second. Senior Devan Hayes finished close behind Yeastedt in the weight throw with a final distance of 17.81 meters. He also finished second in the shot put with a length of 14.16 meters, just eight hundredths of a meter behind event winner Scott Kasson of St. Lawrence.

In the high jump, sophomore Erik Trinkle finished with a best jump of 1.88 meters, just five hundredths of a meter behind winner Jared Athias of RIT. Lastly, freshman sprinter, Devin Sullivan finished just over a second behind running mate Drexler in the 400-meter run.

Next up for men’s indoor track is a road trip to the College at Brockport on Saturday, February 21. The following weekend, the Engineers will return to Rochester to compete in the New York State Collegiate Track Conference Championship.

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Derby

UAR Committee revises report

Annual Winter Carnival offers frozen fun

Hey RPI,

I hope that everyone had a lovely Valentine’s Day and made the most out of our snowy long weekend. If you didn’t know, February 13 was the annual RPI Spirit Day, and it was a ton of fun. I always love seeing the spirit of the student body and alumni across the globe. The Rensselaer Union participated, of course, and we took our annual photo on the front steps with all the employees and some student government officials decked out in all the RPI gear we own. Check it out on our Facebook page, and feel free to join in the fun next year! While our men’s hockey team could not pull away a victory this weekend against Yale at the Big Red Freakout, the turnout this year was great, the energy of the crowd was contagious, and I love my new RPI Big Red Freakout blanket.

Last week in our Executive Board meeting, the Board approved three club proposals. The Senate was approved to purchase card readers to go along with their new digital voting system for elections. The Polytechnic was approved to purchase food for their production nights, adding nourishment to their extremely long shifts to put together this paper for us every week. Finally, RPIgnite was approved to purchase hats to sell to their fans to help improve the publicity and branding of their club. The Union Annual Report committee chair, Shoshana Rubenstein ’15 then presented the UAR to the Executive Board, before presenting to the Senate on Thursday. The UAR for Fiscal Year 2016 was not passed by the Senate, and so in the past week the UAR committee has been working tirelessly to incorporate information to answer student questions related to the budget into the report. A new revision will be presented to the Senate this Thursday for approval. This week there was not an Executive Board meeting because there was no club business to attend to, but we will be meeting again next Tuesday, February 24 from 8–10 pm in the Shelnutt Gallery.

This upcoming weekend, Winter Carnival presents Avalanche! On Saturday, February 21, from 11 am–9 pm, come up to the East Campus Athletic Village to enjoy our annual winter celebration with RPI students, faculty, and staff. From 11 am–3 pm there will be games, food, Winter Olympics, photos with Puckman, sled dogs, and many student performances. The games are run by our student clubs and each game has tickets to give away to participants. You can then redeem all of your hard won tickets for prizes or use them to enter the raffles which are drawn at the end of the day. From 3–4 pm, there will be the annual cardboard sled race, judged by the Grand Marshal and yours truly. At 4 pm, you will find me cheering on the Women’s Ice Hockey team in the game vs. Cornell University for their senior night game. Then, after the game, from 7 pm–9 pm, there will be open skate in the Houston Field House. The entire day promises to be a ton of fun! The Winter Carnival Committee has been working very hard over the past few months to put this event together, and I can’t wait to see all of you there.

Have a wonderful week, try to stay warm, and as always, if you have any questions, comments, or just want to talk about Union-related activities, feel free to stop by my office hours on Wednesdays at 8:30–10:30 am, or shoot me an email at pu@rpi.edu.

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Men's Hockey

No. 9 Engineers lose to eleventh-ranked Brown

The RPI Engineers took on the Brown University Bears on Friday night, in front of 3,086 fans at the Houston Field House in Troy for Military Appreciation Night. The night looked to be an interesting matchup, as both teams have struggled this season. The Engineers came into the contest 9-20-1 overall and 7-9-0 in conference play, while the Bears had posted a 5-17-1 overall record with their conference record standing at 2-13-1. With both teams lacking in the win column, Friday’s contest looked to be a game that saw two teams both trying to get going in the right direction.

After the opening puck drop, it didn’t take long for the Engineers to find a goal. After only 1:19, a bad angle shot from senior forward Mark McGowan put a rebound right on top of the crease to be found by senior forward Jacob Laliberte, who buried it in the back of the net. The fast start to the game was answered by Brown as they were able to match the Engineers’ speed. The Bears slipped past the Engineers’ defense a few times leading to some close calls until just about halfway through the period. The Bears scored their first goal of the night off a breakaway opportunity. Just under three minutes later, they would score again as they broke into the zone once more. A shot from the top of the circle found its way past RPI junior goalie Jason Kasdorf and gave the Bears a one goal advantage. Despite a physical first period from the Engineers, a number of defensive breakdowns led to numerous scoring opportunities for Brown, allowing the Bears to go into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead.

The start to the second period looked much like the first, with the two teams swapping roles. Brown was able to score early, in the fourth minute of the period, as a low shot from the circle once more beat Kasdorf. With the last two goals, probably two that he’d like to have back, Kasdorf was replaced by senior goalie Scott Diebold following the Bears’ third tally. The following play matched the intensity of the first as both teams traded rushes and opportunities until the Engineers were able to break through with just under six minutes left to play. A passing play from senior defender Curtis Leonard and senior forward Zach Schroeder got the puck to junior forward Milos Bubela at the point where he fired a laser through McGowan’s screen and into the back of the net. RPI’s second goal would be the last of the period and would pull the Engineers within one as they headed into the third period.

Not to break the trend of early period goals, Brown would come out of the locker room and score just 51 seconds into the third period taking a 4-2 lead. The Engineers would narrow the lead to one just before the midway point in the period. Bubela was able to turn the puck over below the Brown goal line and find a breaking junior forward Mark Miller with a nice pass who then found the twine behind the Bears’ net-minder. Freshman forward Viktor Liljegren was credited with the secondary assist. Down 4-3 with half a period to play, the Engineers were by no means out of the game, but at 12:18, RPI was issued a minor penalty for holding off of a questionable call. Brown would seize the extra man opportunity and net a power play goal with just over six minutes remaining in the game. Unable to narrow the deficit, the Engineers put all their cards on the table, pulling Diebold with 2:15 left to play. However, the Bears were able to stymie the extra attacker and put one final punctuation mark on their victory, scoring an empty net goal in the last second of the game.

The loss to the Brown University Bears brought the Engineers’ record to 9-21-1 overall and 7-10-0 in conference play.

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Rensselaer Union

Preliminary UAR released

On Tuesday, February 10, a preliminary version of the Union Annual Report for the 2015–16 fiscal year was released online to the Rensselaer community. The UAR is prepared prior to each fiscal year to the start of explain and publicize how Union funds are spent. It is created by the joint Student Senate and Rensselaer Union Executive Board committee of the same name, which is chaired by the Senate/E-Board liaison, a position of which is currently held by Shoshanna Rubenstein ’15.

Including important information, the UAR conveys includes changes to the Student Activity Fee, club recognition and funding, projected income and expenses for the Union in the upcoming fiscal year, and general changes and improvements during the previous fiscal year.

The proposed change in activity fee paid by undergraduate students is a 2.97 percent increase from the current fiscal year, bringing the cost per student to $658. Additionally, an increase to the graduate student activity fee has been proposed at a comparable 2.92 percent, bringing it to $353. The Activity Fee makes up 86 percent of the total income for the Union, and therefore, covers the operational difference created by the Union’s expenses that result from services offered. The remaining 14 percent of income is made up of revenue from the Union Bookstore (65 percent), Father’s Marketplace (13 percent), auxiliary businesses (13 percent) (i.e. SEFCU and Campus Unisex Hair Salon), and food service (9 percent).

Another important statistic to receive changes is the total club subsidy, which has a proposed decrease of 2.05 percent from the current fiscal year’s $697,448, bringing the new total to $683,210. Many student organizations face subsidy cuts of varying magnitude, with a small number losing all funding due to inactivity. Most clubs receiving large subsidy increases are newer clubs that have recently shifted to larger full operation budgets due to growth as a club.

While subsidies did decrease, approved club expenses increased by 3.81 percent and approved club income increased by 10.95 percent. All data on approved expenses, income, and subsidies for individual clubs can be found in Appendix A of the UAR.

Another aspect of student life that is directly funded by the Union are intercollegiate athletics. The total subsidy for intercollegiate athletics is proposed to remain constant from the current fiscal year at $1.6 million; however, many individual sports face increases or cuts to achieve this. Remaining constant year after year, men’s ice hockey will continue to receive the largest subsidy at $204,746. The data for all teams can be found in Appendix B of the report.

The final aspect of the UAR is the administrative budgets section, which is found in Appendix C. This section discusses what appears to be the largest proposed increase from the current fiscal year at 23.41 percent overall, and more specifically a 25.97 percent increase for the Administration Office line item. This proposed change has been met by the RPI community with a seemingly overall negative response since the UAR’s release. To put the change in perspective, the increase for the current fiscal year compared to the ’12 –’13 Union Budget for Administrative Budgets was 15.19 percent and the increase for the administration office was 18.19 percent. Students responding on the RPI subreddit seemed to disagree overall with the cut to club subsidies occurring at the same time as this increase. When responding on Reddit, Rubenstein stated: “To clarify, what seems like a $200k increase is a centralization of salaries for staff. In FY15 the salaries were in the Mueller Center budget and in FY16 they are in the Administration Office.” However, it does not seem that the Mueller Center budget was decreased accordingly, as it faces a .05 percent decrease from the current year, and, comparatively, the previous change going into this year was 1.68 percent increase. Rubenstein stated that the overall 25.92 percent increase when combining the two budgets resulted because “(the) Mueller Center had an increase due to facility expenses.” She also stated, however, “More specific information would need to come from the Mueller Center staff.”

A final version of the UAR will be presented to the Student Senate on Thursday, February 12, and will be voted on for approval by the body before it is presented to the RPI Administration. (In previous years, the report was presented to the vice president of student life; however, that position is currently vacant.) Finally, this UAR will be included in the final Institute budget, which will be reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees in March. The staff of The Polytechnic plans to continue looking into the previously mentioned contested increases, including attempting to review itemized budgets for both the Mueller Center and Administration Offices, and will report information on them as it becomes available.

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Staff Editorial: “Gotcha” tag alternatives

As The Poly staff hears more complaints from students about the Office of Residence Life’s “gotcha” tags, we would like to comment. Last semester, there were several break-ins in a number of residence halls. The result of these break-ins caused the administration to take a closer look at then current security measures and then made changes.

One of these changes was the introduction of the “gotcha” tags. Public Safety and RAs walk around the halls and check to see if the door is unlocked; if unlocked, they place a bright tag on the outside of the door notifying the resident that they are supposed to lock their door. These bright notices are left up on the doors for everyone to see. Essentially, the “gotcha” tags let everyone else in the hall know which doors were being left unlocked when the residents were away.

Many students have expressed dissatisfaction as to how these “gotcha” tags are being displayed and handled. It’s understandable that a door may be left unlocked every now and then, but to display to others that it was unlocked poses some problems and has left residents unsettled. There are better ways to handle it; instead of placing the notice on the outside of the door, the tag can be slipped under the door or taped to the door on the inside. RAs could visit the residents of the room when they’ve returned and talk about the situation with them. Perhaps an email could be sent to the residents. Any of these options would be a better alternative to the current method.

In the end, however, we feel that it is not solely Public Safety’s responsibility to leave these notices and alert residents about their unlocked doors. The best way to prevent your personal effects from being stolen is be diligent and lock your doors.

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Trip Review

RPI ski trip more uphill than downhill

RPI SKI AND SNOWBOARD CLUB HOSTED trips to both Okemo and Killington Ski Resorts. The Okemo ski trip left the reviewer disappointed due to poor mountain conditions and late trip times. The Killington trip showed huge improvements in the quality of trip.

RPI Ski and Snowboard Club had their first trip of the new year on January 31, called “Snow Fiesta.” We traveled to Okemo Mountain Resort for what I hoped to be some amazing skiing. Since I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, I was so excited to finally ski in Vermont again that I struggled to fall asleep the night before. My assigned departure time from the Armory was 6:45 am, after which we stopped at the Polytechnic Apartments, Blitman Commons, and the Houston Field House. I was very disappointed when we left the Field House nearly twenty-five minutes later than scheduled. It was still two hours to the mountain and I wanted to be skiing as soon as possible.

The travel time was further extended when I learned that the bus drivers were instructed not to go on a certain road that would get us to the mountain in two hours. I overheard someone say it was because there was a particularly steep section of road that would be far too dangerous for the heavy coach buses if it were icy. Instead, I was glued to my Google Maps application on my phone, desperately trying to figure out which way the buses were actually going. We ended up traveling north through Rutland before finally turning east and then south to the mountain. I was frustrated by the time we got there around 10 am, nearly two hours after Okemo opened.

We were given hand and toe warmers after getting off the bus to help combat the high winds and sub-zero temperatures. I’ve been skiing all my life so I know how to dress warmly to fight the cold, but nothing had prepared me for minus 25 degrees wind chills that somehow found their way through layers of fleece and my winter jacket.

Inside the lodge, it was evident that most people were not prepared for this weather either. The lodge was so packed that the only way to move around was to physically shove people out of the way. I needed to pick up my season pass at the customer service desk, and when I got there I found a line that snaked its way through the entire lodge. Fortunately, it was not the line I needed, but I felt extremely sorry for those families that were trying to refund their tickets after deciding the wind was too much.

I got on the slopes just before 11 am and immediately understood why half of the people at the mountain were in the refund line. But, I paid money to come on this trip and I was determined to not let this day go to waste. If I wasn’t completely in love with skiing, I would have changed my mind after the first lift ride. That ride was absolutely horrendous. Because of the wind, the chair had to run slower than normal, and made frequent stops because of people falling as they disembarked.

The highlight of the day was some advice I got from a ski patroller standing near a trail map. He advised me to take two lifts to the top, warm up in the summit lodge, and then stay in the trees as much as possible. The lift rides to the summit were almost unbearable, making me ski as fast as I could to the summit lodge. I used the hand warmers in the bathroom to heat up my boots so I wouldn’t lose my toes to frostbite.

The trees sheltered me from the wind and there was actually some good skiing to be found. It was demanding skiing; not for someone who skis only a few times a season, meaning not very many people could take advantage of it. The rest of the mountain was very difficult to ski because the high winds blew all the loose snow off and exposed the runs. The term “ice coast skiing,” a play on words with “east coast skiing,” was never more relevant. There were some trails that would have required ice skates rather than skis.

If I had known just how terrible the conditions would be, I probably would have taken a pass on Snow Fiesta. The wind and snow quality made the trip not worth it, even to me. Don’t let the Snow Fiesta experience discourage you from signing up for a Ski and Snowboard Club trip. I went to Killington Ski Resort this past Saturday and the difference from the previous weekend at Okemo was like night and day. Although the lift lines were sometimes long, the conditions were excellent and there was still fresh powder to be found in the trees on Ramshead and Snowshed peaks. The Killington trip more than made up the disaster that was Snow Fiesta.

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Women's Basketball

Women’s basketball team finishes strong

FRESHMAN FORWARD SHAINA ITON BACKS down her defender in a game against Vassar College last week. The Engineers defeated William Smith College last weekend 45-42, ending the game on an 11-0 run.

Rensselaer women’s basketball didn’t start well at Rochester Institute of Technology last Friday night. After the Tigers made two 3-pointers and the Engineer’s three turnovers, RPI found themselves down 8-0, just over three minutes into the contest. It wasn’t until the 13:47 mark in the opening half that the Engineers scored a field goal on a jump shot by senior guard Bailei Tetrault. Moments later, freshman forward Shaina Iton blocked an RIT forward Merissa Maiorano jumper. Junior guard Lauren Young grabbed the ball and threw it ahead to a sprinting senior guard Amanda Lynch who laid the ball in for the easy deuce.

RIT then went on another run, outscoring the Engineers 19-4 over a nine-minute stretch to open up a 20-point lead late in the first half. Later, a jumper by Maiorano swelled the lead to 23 with 24 seconds left. Rensselaer cut into the lead by getting a driving layup by junior guard Ashley Clough and a much needed final seconds 3-pointer from Tetrault before halftime.

The Engineers came out firing in the second half. Clough drove inside on RPI’s first possession and kicked the ball out to Lynch who drilled a jumper from the right wing. Later, Iton grabbed her own miss and scored a layup and free throw to pull the visiting team within 12 points early in the second half. With four and a half minutes gone by in the second half, Lynch refused to be denied at the rim. Her first attempt was rejected by Maiorano, but grabbing the loose ball, Lynch turned and flicked the ball over her defender for a hard-earned two points.

The run continued two minutes later when Lynch hit another RPI triple assisted by senior guard Michelle Reid to cut the lead to eight. Then, a RIT turnover resulted in a quick driving layup by Lynch.

RIT didn’t lose their composure following the 18-6 Engineer run to open the second half. Consecutive baskets by guards Ashlynn Palmitesso and Jessica Glaz brought the RIT advantage back up to double digits in a hurry. From then on, the Tigers matched RPI basket for basket and allowed the Engineers to come no closer than four down the stretch. In the final minute, the Tigers held on to the lead by making 11 of 12 foul shots (Glaz converted on all six of her attempts).

The final score was RIT 73, RPI 64. For the Tigers, Maiorano earned a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Palmitesso made six of her 11 field goal attempts and led the Tigers with 16 points. For the Engineers, Lynch led all scorers with 21 points, including 18 in the second half. Iton led RPI in rebounds with eight and added seven points. Tetrault finished with 14 points, her most in a game this season.

The Engineers struggled early on the following afternoon at William Smith College. Herons sophomore guard Melanie Patterson scored a layup that capped a 10-0 run for William Smith and gave the home team an imposing 22-10 lead. Again, the Engineers fought back. Tetrault stole the ball from Heron forward Courtney Chase and passed ahead to Clough, who found Lynch open underneath the basket for the lay-in. Forty-five seconds later, after a William Smith basket, Clough answered with a 3-pointer, assisted by Lynch. Then, Tetrault stole the ball again and hit Lynch cutting to the hoop for another layup.

At the end of the half, Tetrault dribbled past her defender and found Clough open on the wing for her third three-pointer of the game. At the break, the Engineers trailed by two, 25-23. In the first frame, RPI had shot just 9 of 36 from the field and 2 of 6 from the free throw line. William Smith didn’t fare much better, making just 11 of its 31 shots, only one of which was a three.

In the second half, the Herons started fast again, scoring eight of the first 10 points. Then, RPI once again showed its mental toughness, clawing its way back into the contest.

At the 16:42 mark in the second half, Young drained a 3-pointer to cut the William Smith lead to three. Later, Lynch stole the ball and passed it ahead to Young, who subsequently dished back to Lynch for a 2-point jumper to make the score 38-34 Herons.

With 9:14 to play, Clough mishandled the ball and was stolen by Chase, who passed it ahead to guard Ali Pliszka for a fast transition layup to give William Smith an eight point lead. In response, the Engineers rushed down the court and Lynch beat her defender for a quick layup. Under a minute later, Reid found Iton for a turnaround basket to bring the score to 42-38.

The RPI defense tightened on the Heron offense, forcing several low percentage 3-point attempts. Then, Lynch made two more jump shots to tie the score with 5:17 remaining, assisted by senior guard Courtney Reynolds and Iton, respectively.

Both teams defended their own baskets without mishap for nearly four minutes until Clough broke free and scored the go-ahead layup for Rensselaer with 1:25 to play. In the final minute, William Smith missed three chances to tie or take the lead. With six seconds left, Iton snatched the rebound off a forward Chloe Hayter miss and was fouled by forward Gabrielle Eure with 2 seconds left. A poised Iton made a critical free throw to give the Engineers a three point lead and RPI held on for a clutch 45-42 comeback victory.

In the final nine minutes of play, RPI outscored their hosts 11-0, winning on the strength of a dominating defensive stand and several clutch baskets. Lynch led all scorers with 20 points and nabbed a season-high six steals. Clough delivered an important 11 points and added five assists. For the Herons, Pliska led the way with nine points and four assists. Hayter made her presence felt by pulling down 17 rebounds, while Eure added eight points and 10 rebounds of her own.

By winning one of their games this weekend RPI moves to an overall record of 12-9 and a tally of 8-4 in Liberty League play. Next up for the Engineers is a Friday night trip to Saratoga to take on Skidmore College before returning to East Campus Arena on Saturday, February 14 to host rival Clarkson University.

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Campus Security

Public Safety leases new vehicles

PUBLIC SAFETY LEASED new Ford Explorers at the end of their previous three year lease.

The Rensselaer Department of Public Safety has obtained a new set of cars to be used by officers. Public Safety’s patrol cars are leased vehicles, and every three years they obtain new leases.

Public Safety decided to use leased cars a few years ago, in an effort to be more financially responsible. Director of Public Safety Jerry Mathews stated that, “after a period of time, [the cars] require a lot of maintenance.” Due to the spike in operating costs after around three years, it becomes prohibitively expensive to retain the cars. Before the department decided to lease its cars, it was very costly to constantly repair them. This also created the potential for cars to have to be taken off the road during shift hours, putting Public Safety down a car.

Mathews went on to say that the cars take on a lot of wear, being active for 24 hours a day, and that can cause them to take on more damage than a normal car would in the same three-year span. Mathews also stated that RPI receives special discounts through the state to lease their vehicles at a discounted price.

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Editorial Notebook

Finding a healthy balance

Schedule in time for happiness, memories

As an RPI student, when the semester is in full swing and I’m drowning in work, I often sacrifice my health and happiness in order to meet deadlines. I know I am not unique in this sense. Poly staff members regularly work on layout past midnight with senior board members staying until 6 am almost every week.

While planning a busy schedule, it’s crucial to set aside time for yourself. Do things you enjoy and spend time with people who contribute to your happiness. If what you’re doing neither makes you happy nor helps your career, it might be time for reflection and, ultimately, moving on. Balancing work and play can make you happier in the long run and help prevent you from becoming burnt out.

Your mental health and happiness are important but so is your physical health. Making time for your physical health can help fight the “winter blues”. Remember to take your vitamins, hit the gym, and eat your vegetables. Having a regular sleep schedule, if possible, can improve your mood and performance in classes. RPI charges exorbitant amounts for tuition and if you’re not present and alert in every class, you’re wasting both your time and your money.

I know that for most of us the primary reason for going to college is to secure a job, but remember that this is a time for making memories. Take a minute and consider if constantly driving yourself into the ground with work is really worth it. On your graduation day, will you look back on the years you spent here and regret how few memories you made or how few pictures you took? Sure you might have graduated with honors, but what else do you have to show for your time at RPI? Years from now, it probably won’t be the time you spent working in the library you remember but the friends you made and the time you spent together. For those of you walking in May, this is your last opportunity to make memories and the most of your time at Rensselaer—don’t squander it.

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Sustainability

New revolving fund, affinity group created

The spring semester is well on its way and so is the Student Sustainability Task Force. Here are some updates on their projects. Email sstf@union.rpi.edu with any questions or how to get involved!

Green Revolving Fund

The GRF was proposed to the Senate in the fall of 2014 to conserve energy and save money on campus at RPI. This fund would work by investing in energy-saving projects that would save the school money, which would later fund other projects. The GRF continues to evolve since the original proposal with a growing membership involving new students on the project. Meeting after SSTF meetings, members have discussed and started to research plans that interest them and that could save energy and money on campus.

A leader of the GRF, Dan Sze ’17, has proposed to create the Computer Energy Conservation Project, which would save energy on campus computers. Installing the computer program, Verdiem’s Surveyor, would allow for a greater flexibility in monitoring power management than the one currently in place. Currently, the computers in the VCC will turn off the monitors after 15 minutes without use and the hard disks will turn off after 20 minutes of no use, which is not very efficient. If the new program was installed in the approximately 300 computers in the VCC, it could save thousands of dollars, about $4500 a year, which would pay for the initial investment from the GRF in less than a year. The money saved by CECP would later be used to fund more GRF projects on campus.

Other projects being researched by the members of the GRF and SSTF include improvements on water fountains on campus, weatherproofing windows, and installing an anaerobic digester, among other projects. By referencing established green energy conservation projects on other college campuses, along with other knowledge they possess, the GRF members can outline and propose future projects to improve sustainability on campus. The members of the GRF hope the CECP will be a success and are looking forward to new ideas, members, and projects that will save energy and bring a greener campus to RPI.

SustainAffinity

The SSTF has also launched RPI SustainAffinity, an affinity group to connect current RPI students and RPI alumni interested in sustainability. Project lead and former chairperson, Elizabeth Anderson ’14, is working with Alumni Relations to develop the project. The goal of SustainAffinity is three-fold: to provide a network to help RPI students and alumni interested in sustainability careers learn their options, to create a sustainability community that reaches beyond RPI, to mentor current students, particularly environmental club leaders, and to reach their goals at RPI and beyond. “Like” SustainAffinity on Facebook for more information and get connected at http://www.facebook.com/SustainAffinity. Be on the lookout for more information regarding events at Alumni Weekend 2015 and in the future!

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