Welcome back! Yea, yea, yea — too bad I only left two weeks ago. Anyway, I hope you all had a fine time wherever you were, with whomever you were doing whatever you did.
My last column of 2000 seems like a distant memory, with no ties to the present except for the few e-mails I received over the break in response to my call for a wish list of sorts. One in particular pointed out several grievances with the current social and academic setting at Rensselaer. The first being the use of “Rensselaer” not followed by “Polytechnic” and “Institute.” While I personally wear an old-school jersey that denotes all three initials, I also understand the shift to a less Northeastern-U.S. name. The way I see it, RPI will always be RPI; but to be “world class” and have “global reach,” the administration has recognized that only the first three of all ten syllables are actually recalled by west-coasters and Asians. Having tried to teach the whole thing to countless European students last spring, the need to truncate became obvious to me very quickly. However, the ‘Tute can expect a lifetime supply of empty donation envelopes should the Bullet and its trio of letters be lost in the history books, with no reference to our prided name.
Perhaps the timeliest criticism came in regards to the CDTA bus service that utilizes the Sage Avenue side of the Union as its hub for public transportation to the outside world. Just weeks before the break, a resident of Eaton Road—and member of the faculty—alerted Carol Wagar, parking coordinator and CDTA liaison, to the fact that buses were idling for close to 25 minutes at times. This has caused increased noise and air pollution that flows up Eaton Road, contained by the canopy of trees that line the street. While residents understand a bus cannot turnover in 60 seconds, they feel anything in excess of 10 minutes is just that—excessive. Unfortunately, with ridership so low, it seems that a solution actually being considered is to terminate the “hub” status and provide just one stop in that spot, with the central terminal moving to another location. This will provide little or no layover time for drivers to catch a break or use the facilities—a contractual problem for CDTA. Sound sticky? It is. But interested and creative minds are needed to solve this problem, with care for the rights of residents and safety of students seeking public transportation. If you have an opinion or idea or just want more info, please e-mail Ted Mirczak, vice president for administration, at email@example.com, or me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One final gripe, which the author of this column referenced in his opening, dealt with the brevity of our semester break. It makes perfect sense that since we base the schedules and bureaucratic red tape at RPI on the real world model, we should only allow vacation time equal to that of the real world. But are we not then missing something? Like a genuine opportunity to get a job during the break to pay for the beer no longer supplied by a multitude of fraternity parties? I have definitely noticed the pinch on my wallet since the greek system has collectively scared away from the bashes of years past. Perhaps this is the result of an administrative initiative to promote more Kamikaze, Cider, and ’70s parties … perhaps it is just the fallout after a rash of national tragedies. Either way, all it takes is some education and forethought (in the form of TIPS training and sober hosts and drivers) to ensure a fun and safe evening for all in attendance.
In closing, come to Senate meetings Mondays at 9 pm in Union 3202 (BYOB!), or else next week I will lecture on the inability of government to serve an apathetic populace.