Last Saturday may have looked to most people like a dreary, overcast day with the occasional shower, but it was an exciting day on campus. Our football team won their season opener, 28-0, in the debut of the East Campus Athletic Village’s stadium. If you haven’t seen the new stadium yet, you should certainly head over this Saturday for the second game of the season against Utica Collage at 1 pm.
There is no doubt that we are getting a state-of-the-art sports complex in ECAV, which is officially opening on October 3. The facilities will be a great asset to our varsity athletes, but they are also designed to provide athletic opportunities for all students. Fields and gym space will become more available all around campus, less stress will be placed on the Mueller Center as many teams move to the new workout facilities, and lounge areas will be available to service residents living on the east side of campus and all students looking for a new environment to study and relax in. Unlike what you may have heard from fellow students around campus, ECAV and its workout facilities are not just for varsity athletes; they’re being built for everyone to use and enjoy. I hope that they generate some excitement across campus.
There are times when RPI seems void of the enthusiasm and school spirit that may be expected from a typical college experience. The new facilities are a chance for us to get excited about something. ECAV should be seen as a destination for an afternoon or evening. Head over early and spend some time at a tailgate run by Red Army, join your fellow students for an afternoon of football, or spend an evening this winter taking in a hockey or basketball game. Together we can create the atmosphere and generate the school spirit that has been lacking. With just a little effort, we can help start traditions or renew the spirit of old ones, which will last for years to come.
In the past, the organization of athletics on campus has felt a little bit disjointed. Figuring out whether you were rooting for the Engineers or the Red Hawks was hardly an exact science. Fortunately, the athletic department, under Athletic Director Jim Knowlton, has decided this year to unify our teams as the Engineers. There is also a unified logo, consisting of the slanted letters R-P-I, which is now being used for almost all athletic purposes on campus.
A unified image is a great step for the athletic program, and I hope to see it translate into a more unified student body, enthusiastically supporting the student-athletes who represent the Institute wherever and whenever they compete. I hope everyone takes the opportunity to enjoy the school’s athletics with spirit. I can’t wait to see you all cheering on your Engineers! Let’s go red!