This weekend, RPI students participated in on-campus events such as Exploring Engineering Day and Winter Carnival. They also witnessed the continuation of an amazing winning streak by the Engineers, currently the longest in the nation. These events are just two examples of how RPI students organize, plan, and run large community events on campus—the Winter Carnival was even founded by students. RPI has a great tradition of student involvement on campus, and the spring semester brings yet more student-run events to campus, including Grand Marshal Week, UPAC spring concerts, and Genericon.
Among the events taking place over the weekend was Exploring Engineering Day which was founded by the Director of Women in Engineering and Diversity, Barbara Ruel; however, it is led by a group of students that she supervises. The group is responsible for reaching out to other student groups on campus, such as the academic honor societies, Engineers Without Borders, and the Society of Women Engineers. These groups develop 40-minute activities to teach young kids about their fields of study relating to science, technology, engineering, and math. Presentation topics ranged from building geodesic domes to teaching kids about Turing machines.
Also in the past few days, Matt & Kim, along with Passion Pit, played at the Houston Field House. This concert—another student-organized event—was a huge success, running out of student tickets and selling a great deal of tickets to the surrounding community. UPAC Concerts took on the financial responsibility for this concert, and more importantly, were the ones who contacted the bands. Student-run events like this will continue to happen throughout the spring.
Genericon will begin on March 1 and continue until March 3. This event was founded nearly 30 years ago by students as one of the first multi-genre conventions. The annual event draws over 1,000 attendees to the Darrin Communications Center. In addition to attendees, the students also manage to attract big names in the anime and science-fiction communities. This year, Kyle Hebert, one of the most famous anime-dub actors, will be doing a Q&A on the third day of the convention. There will also be a variety of traditional and video game tournaments, panels, contests, and video watching rooms.
Overall, spring semesters feature a large amount of student-organized and student-run events. We would highly recommend everyone going out and getting involved in some of the student traditions.