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Athletics offer myriad of opportunities

Have you ever wondered why the stadium lights on the East Campus Athletic Village, Harkness Field, Anderson Field, and Renwyck Field shine so brightly so many nights each week? Could it really be necessary for those facilities, along with ECAV Arena, to be illuminated for a minimum of five nights a week? And is it really that critical to have the Armory, the ’87 Gym, and ECAV boast hours that run from the early morning to the late evening nearly every single day?

For 75–80 percent of the student population reading this, you know the answer is a resounding yes, because those campus fields and courts, along with the pool, ice rink, and other facilities, are being used by you for intercollegiate athletics, intramurals, and club activities.

When considering the students, faculty, and staff who wish to remain active outside of the classrooms, labs, and studios, there are no shortages of areas for them to occupy their time and stay connected to their classmates and colleagues around campus while getting a much needed break from academia.

Intercollegiately, Rensselaer has 23 teams to compete on or vehemently support with pride, whether it is the Division I hockey programs at Houston Field House, men’s lacrosse or soccer at ECAV Stadium, track and field or field hockey at Harkness Field, swimming and diving at the Robison Pool, the basketball teams in ECAV Arena, the tennis teams on Sharp Courts, or any of the other teams who represent the Institute. The many successes of our intercollegiate athletic teams and outstanding student-athletes are well documented on a weekly basis within these pages.

Club-wise, RPI boasts a plethora of organizations under the direction of the Rensselaer Union, some of which center on competition against other schools, while others are to align students with similar interests. Many of those that face other institutions have enjoyed a great deal of success, including wrestling, which customarily sends individuals to Nationals, and ultimate frisbee, which recently competed at Stanford University for national accolades. Either way, clubs are available for all campus community members to get involved on an individual basis.

As for intramurals, the opportunities are seemingly endless. There are so many different sports that run in both fall and spring semesters and they are open to everyone on campus, not just students. And many are taking advantage of the opportunity to participate!

On average, the intramural department has 3,500 students involved in all sports yearly, and that includes 1,500 unique students who participate in anywhere from nine to 12 sports per semester. Among the sports offered are indoor and outdoor soccer, softball, ultimate Frisbee, walleyball, volleyball, ice hockey, basketball (both five vs. five and three vs. three), dodgeball, and racquetball. There are also tournaments in billiards and table tennis as well as some of the other programs.

Those facts absolutely dwarf the sports offered and the chances to participate prior to the construction of ECAV. Up until the 2009 completion of ECAV, the most extensive athletic construction project in the Institute’s history, there were only five sports offered per semester with limited teams and roster sizes.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in the facilities available for all teams and clubs and intramurals,” said Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton. “In the past three years, it is quite evident that everyone has benefited from Dr. Jackson’s vision to construct ECAV as a way to meet many of the student life demands of our campus community.”

Of course intramurals haven’t grown only because of the facilities and those who participate just on the field. In their current state, intramurals also allow for participation outside of the competition, as they employ more than 50 students who serve as referees and supervisors. There are also nearly 10 coordinator positions that call for real-world management skills such as overseeing individual sports, supervisors, and refs. They are also responsible for creating and coordinating regular season and playoff schedules, on-site evening supervision, and updating league scores.

It is also much easier to get involved either as a supervisor or as a participant with the intramural’s current website, which was launched in the fall 2009 semester. We are continuing to evolve and present the RPI community with the best possible tools for convenience and enjoyment in a proficient manner. Accommodating our student’s busy schedules is an important aspect.

As some may recall, prior to the creation of the latest intramural website, everything from team registration to player additions was a long, drawn-out process that led to confusion and frustration. Things were done by hand and had to take place during office hours.

Now team rosters are created online and captains can register a team or add a new player 24 hours a day. Team members can also see daily updates to standings and scores. And all a supervisor needs to do is bring a laptop to check IDs against team rosters. There is no more printing of vast amounts of rosters, forms, and schedules.

Now with everything going through the website, all scheduling is done efficiently and any and all changes can be seen in an instant.

The Athletic Department is proud to work in conjunction with the Rensselaer Union in supporting the intramural program. The partnership has led to an increased student workforce, new equipment, and the ice hockey intramural program saving a substantial amount of money. The result has led to the prevention of any increase in fees and in many cases led to lower team registration costs, some up to 50 percent.

Clearly the efforts of many have made Rensselaer intramurals a unique, dynamic, and well-received program that benefits all RPI community members. So if you have not tested your mettle on the “RPI Fields of Friendly Strife,” come join the over 75 percent of the student body that currently is, and enjoy an opportunity to stay active, meet new friends, and compete in a sport you either already love or have never tried before.

Joseph Campo, Associate Director of Intramural Sports

Kevin Beattie, Associate Athletic Director