RPI has several environmental clubs, each of which puts on different events and has different opportunities offered each year. Many events are coming up since Earth Day and Earth Week are on the way. RPI also has an environmental living and learning community, Vasudha, which puts on events, offers a class that counts for humanities or social science credit, and offers early leadership opportunities. I was in Vasudha my freshman year, and it provided me with many experiences and networks that defined the rest of my time at RPI and beyond.
Student involvement is a big part of Vasudha, though individual members can choose how much they want to be involved. Part of this includes event planning alongside upperclassmen and a dedicated teaching and learning assistant. Last fall, a Thanksgiving dinner was planned and executed by the students, complete with artistic decorations. An annual barbecue at the beginning of the fall semester brings together upperclass Vasudha members and the new first-year class. Movie nights are often run by the students based on interest; the Vasudha lounge has a TV and seating space.
Vasudha also goes to Darrin Freshwater Institute, which is an RPI lab at Lake George to tour the labs and learn about the invasive species research being done up there, hike the beautiful mountains overlooking Lake George, and kayak in Lake George. Vasudha also co-sponsors academic-related events such as the STS Sustainability Studies Film Series and Sanctuary for Independent Media events.
Upperclass Vasudha students often find themselves involved in RPI’s environmental clubs, which include EcoLogic, Engineers for a Sustainability World, Engineers Without Borders, Society of Environmental Professionals, Student Sustainability Task Force, and Terra Café. EcoLogic puts on EarthFest annually around Earth Day; the event includes vegan smoothies, tie-dying, and more—all free. Other environmental clubs and organizations table at EarthFest, often with creative displays. This year’s EarthFest is on April 24 with a rain date of May 1. Other upcoming events include Vasudha’s co-hosted meal with the Oakwood Community Center on April 13 and SEP’s Let’s Talk Classes on April 15. More details can be found at http://poly.rpi.edu/s/kew42. SSTF, which focuses on sustainability at Rensselaer, is working hard at getting a Green Revolving Fund for RPI.
If you are a potential RPI freshman, check all of these clubs out at http://sstf.union.rpi.edu/?page_id=33. Learn more about Vasudha at http://vasudha.rpi.edu/. Being part of environmental clubs definitely enriched my time at RPI and helped me figure out the direction I want to take post-graduation!