In an email to the Rensselaer community, the RPI administration announced plans for the Winter Tunnel. In their email, they described Winter Tunnel as “a way to further help our community bond through the winter months.” They went on to describe how a similar program has worked well at Rochester Institute of Technology and that it has long been something RPI has needed. “I have seen first-hand how well this program works,” wrote an administrator. “It will be a much needed moral boost to the community.”
Immediately, “throwaway” accounts took to social media site Reddit to rationally discuss the announcement. Accounts in the form of “descriptor” + “metal” asserted their hatred of the new plan on RPI’s subreddit. One account, /u/liquidgallium, said, “I can’t believe you’ve done this. First Summer Arch, now this? Do you expect us to live here full time?” Another comment, by /u/transparentaluminum, said, “Hmm… CLASS support, or thinly veiled scheme? Either way, it doesn’t sound good. I guess all I’ve got is the Union now… ” Many of the comments complained about the further lack of communication with the students. “I’m quite close to the administration, and this is the first I’ve heard about this program. Why haven’t the students been given information on it before forcing it on us?” asked /u/pizzagate.
Students interviewed in the Rensselaer Union by The Poly were also concerned. Many asked how they would be able to celebrate the holidays with their family and whether or not they would ever be able to go home at all. “Wait, so, does this mean we’re living at RPI 365 days a year? That’s terrible!” said one student. Another student said, “wow, okay, I guess I’m going to be in a constant state of stress. Maybe I should join that new varsity curling team.”
Update (3:24 am, December 9): After new information came to light, it appears the Winter Tunnel is not what The Poly initially believed it to be. The name is unfortunately the inverse of the controversial Summer Arch program, but there is no relation. After reading the email and not just the subject line, it appears that the Winter Tunnel is, in fact, a winter tunnel planned so that students can have a warm, sheltered way to walk to and from classes on campus.
The email concluded, “we are sorry for our poor communication with the student body. We hope this is a way we can apologize and give back to the community. Happy holidays everyone.”