During this past week’s town hall meeting, President Shirley Ann Jackson raised a question about the relevance of The Poly on RPI’s campus. Jackson’s commentary struck a chord, and really forced the staff to be introspective about the work that we continue to do. As a completely student-run newspaper that has been in print since 1885, it is important that we do what we can to stay current and engaged with the community at RPI.
Newspapers have played an extremely influential role on college campuses throughout history, and we see no reason why The Poly’s influence should be discredited. The Poly has been an important part of Rensselaer’s culture since 1885, and has served as the primary outlet for RPI students attempting to learn about journalism in that time. Rensselaer’s newspaper has chronicled the life of students in Troy since its inception, and its importance to the history and lifestyle of the Institute has been ineffable over the course of its 130-year history.
Furthermore, The Poly has served as the Rensselaer community’s primary source for information regarding policy changes in the Institute. The newspaper consistently reports on the meeting of the Student Senate and Executive Board, and frequently contacts school administrators for information on what is happening at the school. As a student newspaper, it is our primary objective to provide students with the latest news about the administration at Rensselaer.
In a school centered around engineering and the sciences, the school newspaper is one of the only outlets that allows students to cultivate skills in journalism and writing. The school offers relatively few options for students attempting to pursue the arts, but The Poly remains consistent in its ability to teach students journalistic integrity and writing skills.
We don’t mean for this to be an assertion of our ego, but it stung to think that the efforts put into The Poly wasn’t being acknowledged by the president of our institution. It is true that college newspapers have lost some pull simply due to the availability of news online. However, it would be a blatant lie to say that The Poly has not struggled to stay as relevant in the digital age. However, our motto is “serving the Rensselaer community since 1885,” and we intend to continue doing just that.