EMPAC underutilized as a space for student media

The Rensselaer community is blessed to have a beautiful campus. There are countless scenic views—and sitting upon a hill is the grandest of them all: the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center. It’s a breathtaking building, and it provides students with one of their favorite aesthetics. Despite its appearance, however, it has historically seen lackluster usage.

We, the Editorial Board of The Poly, would like to see more utility from Troy’s architectural wonder. Things are certainly on the right track: there have been whisperings of more reservation availability, and the recently-implemented EMPAC+ program offers students free entry to EMPAC-curated events. But there’s still more that could be done. On one hand, we would like to see students make an active effort to go to EMPAC; Poly reporters attending the recent Dan Savage and Tesseract events found that their company was largely comprised of adult residents, and not students. On the other hand, student apathy isn’t entirely to blame. Events could be more directly catered to students, and we have a few suggestions.

One potential use for EMPAC could be video game nights. While EMPAC+ offers the chance to play video games on the mega screen after attending 10 events, one night per month for such recreational activities wouldn’t eat into time for other curated events. In addition, UPAC Cinema’s current venue in DCC 308 seats many viewers—but an occasional, tasteful showing in the EMPAC Theater would be a pleasant change. And, most significantly, we believe that all student concerts should be hosted in the EMPAC Concert Hall; Priem intended for the building to be a space where students could freely indulge in the arts. What would better suit EMPAC’s design than that?