“There’s nothing to do in Troy,” and, “There’s nothing to do at RPI other than go to class, study, and stare at my TV and laptop screens all day,” are a couple of phrases I hear quite a bit. There are many around here who will claim that the region is dull. With nothing to do but study, study, study, “it’s no wonder,” they’ll say, “that this school generates such top-notch engineers and industry professionals.” Of course, this isn’t true; it’s just another misnomer, and I’m going to take a stab at convincing you otherwise.
I’ll admit that three years ago, when I was a freshman, I sometimes doubted the amount of activity on campus and in the Capital Region. Like everyone else on Freshman Hill, I was aware of the many rush events being held, but I was never interested in being greek. Other than that, I didn’t really know what was going on that I could do. Rather than experiencing the opportunities presented by the Union, Troy, and the surrounding area, I spent most of my time outside of class hanging out in my dorm.
This isn’t to say that I had a bad experience. I had many great times, and several of my floormates became good friends who I live with today. Still, one often expects more from the student-life experience than a room to live in, and activities should come from the city, community, and surrounding region, not only from the school. Events and activities can help supplement the rest of the college experience and make it that much more memorable and enjoyable.
The fact is, there is plenty to do around here. My past weekend included watching Sheer Idiocy perform on Friday night, shopping at the weekly Troy Farmer’s Market, watching women’s tennis on Saturday, heading to Ballston Spa for the Irish 2000 Music & Arts Festival, and taking a short trip to an Asian market in Albany on Sunday. On top of this, I missed UPAC Cinema’s showing of Up Friday night, RPI’s second football game of the year, which resulted in a 17-14 win over Utica, and Troy’s Chowderfest on Sunday.
The Union and RPI athletics are an excellent first choice for weekend entertainment. Just off campus in downtown Troy there’s a fair share of restaurants, many shows at Revolution Hall, a weekly farmer’s market, and other occasional events. This Thursday, as part of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the Hudson River, the “Little Italy” section of the city is hosting a 1909 “Party in the Marketplace.” Friday follows it up with another Troy Night Out, which will include live music, art, activates, and fireworks.
With a little effort in transportation, students can take a trip outside of Troy for even more events and opportunities. The Times Union Center in Albany and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, just a short trip north on 87, often play host to big name bands and performances. In addition, Albany has even more restaurants, activities (the Tulip Festival in the spring comes to mind), and other cultural options. All said, RPI, Troy, and the entire region has something for everyone. As always, it is up to you to go out and have a good time. If you feel that something is lacking around campus, let us know, and we’ll see if we can help you out.