This weekend, Saturday Night Live gave RPI a brief mention in its “Weekend Update.” According to the show, “The director of health care at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York State banned beer pong this week after several students got swine flu from playing the popular drinking game”—something that various other media outlets have been reporting.
Although The Poly does enjoy the humor that RPI is receiving, we would like to clear up the relationship between swine flu, beer, and Rensselaer. According to Medical Director of the Student Health Center Leslie Lawrence in his October 9 H1N1 Update, “Unfortunately, some of our current cases were apparently contracted during a weekend drinking game. Do not share drinks.” He went on to describe how alcohol does not kill the virus. Nowhere did he state that beer pong was banned.
We at The Poly commend Lawrence for his frank, weekly e-mails concerning H1N1. While it is important to be aware of RPI’s reputation, it is a good rule of thumb to prioritize student health over appearances. RPI can’t control what students do, but can and should provide helpful suggestions, which is how this whole misunderstanding happened. The Poly likes the updates and hopes they keep coming with the openness and regularity we have come to expect. These updates will hopefully not be twisted or misinterpreted by outside media in the future, but since the clip has hit the web, go ahead and get a laugh out of this latest chapter in RPI history.