It’s been nearly two years since I joined Rensselaer, and I can still recall the excitement that I felt on my first day. Reflecting on the Institute’s focus on enhancing the overall student experience, the balance of excellence in both academics and athletics, and the vision of the entire Rensselaer community made the job an opportunity of a lifetime.
And now, I am feeling that same sense of excitement since Rensselaer celebrated the grand opening of the East Campus Athletic Village on Saturday, October 3. I hope that all students enjoyed the grand opening festivities and took a moment to soak in the atmosphere of the facility—the most extensive athletic construction project in the Institute’s history, which is as well done as any in Division III.
To give you a glimpse of what you will see when you walk through the doors, you will see a new Robison Athletic Hall of Fame that features the greatest highlights of Rensselaer Athletics from years gone by. You will see a beautiful gymnasium that features three courts for basketball and plenty of open space for other functions. You will see a café that will be open regularly and will have plenty of healthy choices for all patrons. You will see comfortable sitting areas where you can take advantage of wireless Internet access while getting some work done.
ECAV also presents us with new opportunities to improve the student experience. A cornerstone of the student experience, athletics at Rensselaer currently engages more than 75 percent of our undergraduate students in an array of intramurals, club sports, and varsity team sports. The construction of ECAV facilitates more time and space for exercising in the Mueller Center or for playing pick-up games in the Armory or on the turf fields. The green space that was the ’86 Field is also wide open now, as is Anderson Field.
When it comes to school spirit, we hope that more students will continue to come out to a game and root for the home team. Students can attend all of our intercollegiate games—save men’s hockey—for free. The stadium and the arena allow for even more fans to attend games and show their support for the Engineers, and we want to hear your voices. We have extremely dedicated student-athletes who play hard to win. And we have won—we were very well represented in the post-season last year, and have high expectations again for this year.
The opening of ECAV also served as the perfect time to streamline our athletics nickname, logo and marks. We will now have one unified nickname—Engineers—that, as most of you know, has been a constant part of Rensselaer Athletics for many years. You will see the brand on many of the student athlete uniforms as well as merchandise and paraphernalia around campus. We also hope to see you donning the new marks soon—and with pride!
As of last Monday, the Athletics Department will be in our new office spaces in ECAV. All phone extensions will remain the same. Our new mail stop will be ECAV. There will be no more athletics staff in the ’87 Gym; however, several sports and coaches will remain in the Alumni Sports and Recreation Center (the Armory), specifically, Shannon O’Brien, Swimming; Karl Steffen, Baseball; and Colin Tory, Track. We are very excited about, and we thank you in advance for your patience as we take time to settle into our new home.
ECAV will be invaluable to the entire Communiversity as we become an active year-round institution, attracting national and international groups to campus. The facilities will not only attract sports fans, but also participants and audiences for concerts and other community activities.
So, we hope that you will join us for the beginning of a remarkable journey that will transform the Rensselaer student experience for many years to come. The facility was built for you—the students—as well as our faculty and staff.