In the years of the distant past, before almost any of RPI’s current crop of students were in attendance at the Institute, UPAC Concerts brought amazing shows to campus, much to the delight of all. Great acts such as The Who and Bon Jovi were common fare at these concerts, which were looked forward to with excitement.
Flash forward to the present day, mid-October, 2012. This grand tradition of awesome concerts is dead; the best (and this term is used loosely) ones in recent memory were from Fall Out Boy and Girl Talk—not quite the same level as before.
The cause of this unfortunate decline is uncertain. It could be that the costs of such concerts are becoming ever more prohibitive, while UPAC Concerts’ budget is small. It could be that fewer artists/bands want to perform here at RPI; or perhaps the club is simply in need of more members.
One thing that has remained constant about UPAC Concerts’ efforts is their annual Battle of the Bands show (to be held this year on November 10 in the Rensselaer Union McNeil Room). This event is a great chance for local music groups to get their name out there and for student music-lovers to get a glimpse of the local scene.
On an opposite note, another event series on campus has been getting better over the past few years: the Union Speakers Forum. Back in the 2009–2010 academic year, the speakers for the Speakers Forum included two authors, a business CEO, and an Olympian-turned-environmentalist. These are all well and good, but not too interesting (with the possible exception of the last one).
However, many of the more recent speakers (and the talks that they gave) have been excellent and even relevant to RPI students. Last academic year, we had Jeopardy! contestant Ken Jennings and Mythbusters star Grant Imahara. This semester, we’ve had Thad “thief-turned-adventurer” Roberts, the man who stole moon rocks from under NASA’s nose. This Thursday, October 18, at 7:30 pm, the Speakers Forum will present the Winklevoss twins, who sued Mark Zuckerberg over the creation of Facebook, a story featured in the Academy Award-winning film The Social Network.
We at The Poly are thrilled to see such interesting and quality events in the Union Speakers Forum and commend the Union for its hard work in arranging the talks and choosing the speakers well. Additionally, we hope that something can be done to improve the quality of the concerts brought to campus by UPAC Concerts, whether it be increasing its budget, or getting RPI’s name out there as a great place to come and perform, or getting more students involved in the UPAC organization.