Category Archives: Editorial/Opinion

EDITORIAL NOTEBOOK

Learning in college ends up different from high school

Frequest transitions from topic to topic discourages retention of material, diminishes feeling of achievement

As I continue to trudge through the mid-semester lull of RPI, right before exams start, on the brink of stressed but not getting panic attacks, I’ve come to the conclusion that my experience at RPI is really starting to feel like the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it”. Read more...

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Editorial Notebook

Familial love is a permanent, enduring love

Valentine's Day may not always have a fairy tale ending, but love is about more than romance

As Valentine’s Day approaches each year, I always witness two prevailing attitudes: one of fullness, and one of emptiness. For those who feel as though emptiness has taken their heart hostage this year, know that there is one source of love that has existed since you entered this world that will exist indefinitely. This love is the love that comes from family, and it promises to fill what may at times feel like an incurably deep void inside. Whether or not you have a loved one to shower with gifts and affection this year, there are people in your life who wish to do those things for you, and those people come from your family. Read more...

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DERBY

Union facilities reorganized, student Activity Fee approved

Yearly Executive Board agenda transition proves difficult

Hello again RPI! It’s good to be writing to all of you this week, especially since this past Monday the Student Senate approved the Activity Fee recommendation for next fiscal year (that would be Fiscal Year 18). This is a great load off of my shoulders. Now that the Executive Board has finished budgeting and the Student Senate has approved a recommendation, next year’s Activity Fee goes to the Institute for final approval. Since working with club officers, staff members, and students to make the budget every year is one of the main functions of the Executive Board, the only thing we have left to do is wrap up the school year. We are going to spend our last two months finishing projects we began this year and leaving our plan for what’s next to our successors. Read more...

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TOP HAT

Four-year journey to the top

From humble beginnings as a Senate committee leader, Ilori is proud for reaching the pinnacle of student power

The question I’ve been asked the most over the past few months has been some version of “what is it like to be Grand Marshal?” and “what do you dislike or like most about the role?” I normally throw out some pithy response: the main difference for me is that I have more meetings and get asked the same questions a lot. I don’t like wearing a top hat because it’s not exactly casual apparel. But if I sit down and think about it more, I can find more substantial answers. Read more...

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Administration

Science & The New Polytechnic

First of all, the title of my column isn’t meant to suggest that we need a new version of “The Poly” – in fact, I feel honored to share some of my thoughts with you here. The title actually reflects on how the School of Science is committed to realizing President Jackson’s vision of “The New Polytechnic” as articulated in the Rensselaer Plan 2024—as an intellectual construct that embodies new ways of thinking and new ways of tackling some of the most important global challenges of our time. More on that later… first, here’s a little background about me. When I arrived at Rensselaer during the summer of 1989 as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry—the Department didn’t have “Chemical Biology” as part of its name then—I felt a deep sense of responsibility and excitement about becoming a part of this great institution, and I wanted to make sure that I did my best in both teaching and research in order to live up to its reputation. I had heard a great many things about how highly regarded the student body was, and that the faculty were known for inventing new ways of teaching, such as “studio” courses. They were also national and international leaders in their respective fields of research. Wow! Well, it’s 2017, and I’m even more excited about the success of Rensselaer, and amazed at how much progress we have already made together. When President Jackson appointed me Dean of the School of Science in January of 2015, I was honored and excited to have the responsibility of making sure that the School of Science continued to grow and thrive, provide the best instruction and a great student experience, and grow our international research reputation to new levels. Read more...

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Editorial Notebook

Avoid procrastination this semester

Ever since coming back to RPI following Winter Break, I’ve felt a sense of dread about going to class. My motivation has been slipping, and I haven’t felt any drive to do work until it is absolutely necessary. I’ve talked to a few other freshmen about this, and it seems to be a common thought. As I finished my first semester, I felt like I cleared some sort of monumental hurdle; a hurdle which made it ok to stop trying in school. However, as we progress further and further into this spring semester, I realize that this is not the case. Read more...

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Editorial Notebook

Tinder measures desirability

Since its release in 2012 as an online dating app, Tinder’s popularity has skyrocketed, with a reported 1.4 billion swipes per day and 2.4 million matches per day (https://poly.rpi.edu/s/qc11z), The app is popular for good reason, it gives users the safe feeling of not having to face rejection, combined with a simple concept; if you like someone, swipe right, if they swipe right too, you can talk, eliminating the often all-too-real struggle of trying to interact with people face-to-face. Picture trying to figure out how to introduce yourself to that someone who catches your eye—you design the perfect introduction in your head, carefully plan conversation topics, jokes, and witty lines. You decide to approach them, your heart rate speeds up as you walk up to them, you panic, make quick eye contact, give that tasteful head nod and carry on your way. Social intricacies aside, the premise seems simple, you see everyone who meets your preferences in the area, and are able to swipe away. However, underneath that simple clean interface, there appears to be other factors at play. Read more...

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EDITORIAL NOTEBOOKS

Let no worker go unnoticed

Engineers depend on the skills of many individuals

The interconnectedness of our modern society is an amazing and beautiful thing to behold. Many processes mesh to bring us modern technologies. My favorite example of this, and the reason why I want to be an aeronautical engineer, is the plane. Read more...

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Editorial Notebook

Residence hall activity unites students in exchange of ideas

Beginning the week of October 23, I was sitting around in the wonderful Cary Residence Hall. I was thinking, “let’s start something new for everyone who lives here.” Let’s make posters that ask a random question or prompt each week. Then we’ll tape it into the corner of where the girls’ wing meets the guys’ wing. Read more...

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TOP HAT

Quality of political discussion easily digresses

Difficulty of holding calm conversations about national issues increases due to election

Having lived outside the US for nine years before coming to RPI, I wasn’t really ready for the media maelstrom called the 2016 Presidential Election. While my friends and I followed the news—my parents normally would go through the process of scheduling times to go into the embassy to send in their absentee ballots—there’s a totally different level of fanfare, drama, and coverage that surrounds you when you’re actually in the States. And I definitely am not one of the people who predicted one, let alone all, of the different twists and turns that took place over the course of this election cycle. Read more...

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DERBY

Club officer training summit yields high turnout

86 students attend workshops as part of campus event hosted by the Executive Board

Hello RPI! Happy third week of classes! I have a few updates and things to share from the Executive Board of the Rensselaer Union. This weekend, we held a club officer training workshop in the Union; at the E-Board meeting last week we replaced the ID scanner for the Clubhouse Pub, approved new email lists for clubs, and began planning for future projects in the Union. Read more...

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Questions asked of a Greek student

I won’t lie, I’m in a fraternity and I am sick and tired of being judged. I’m tired of being asked if I consume massive amounts of alcohol on the weekends or if I’ve ever committed sexual violence. I’m tired of people not believing that I’ve never smoked weed, gone on an acid trip, or taken pills to help myself study. I’m tired of potential employers asking questions about whether I frequent kegs on the weekends or cheat on my exams, instead of asking about my internships with Fortune 500 companies and data startups. Read more...

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STAFF EDITORIAL

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. Read more...

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STAFF EDITORIAL

Democracy needs everyone’s voice

Whether or not you agree with his policies, Barack Obama’s last public speech in Chicago left us with plenty to dwell on. As we return to campus and settle into routine, the editorial staff of The Polytechnic thinks back to a particular line of Obama’s speech: “... for all of our outward differences, we in fact all share the same proud type, the most important office in democracy: citizen… that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime.” Read more...

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EDITORIAL NOTEBOOKS

Prioritize health in your life

Exercise, sleep, relax, hydrate, and avoid skipping meals

I pulled my back over winter break. It was one of those moments I would’ve forgotten if it hadn’t happened; I was just passing my break like usual. I had been sitting at the dining table, with my knees pulled up to my chest, just relaxing and talking to my family. But this put me in pain for a week. I couldn’t walk—each step sent a jolt up my cardboard back. I couldn’t sit or stand in one position for too long—I would start cramping up more than when I moved. I couldn’t focus—I was taking pain relievers like a 40-year-old. For that matter, I had to take them to sleep; otherwise I would roll around, uncomfortable in every position. When it was all over, I was finally able to walk away, though with a greatly shifted perspective. Read more...

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Editorial Notebooks

Participating in the March on Washington empowers

When I arrived home from Washington after the march, I received nothing but support from my closest friends and family. But from others, it was different. In Washington, there were a few Trump supporters protesting the Women’s March, and I also encountered disappointing people on the street. Many called the march disrespectful and a waste of time. The march was, hands down, the best experience of my life. Read more...

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DERBY

Filling Union staff vacancies

Hi RPI!

Happy second week of the spring semester, and happy last second week of classes to all my seniors out there! There were a few things happening within the Executive Board over these past two weeks. First off, congrats to Caitlin Kennedy ’20 and Majken Rasmussen ’19 on being officially confirmed as Executive Board members by the Student Senate on Monday night! They will be filling two vacancies as members at large. After the vote on Monday night the Executive Board has returned to full strength. Read more...

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STUDENT GOVERNMENT

Subcommittees tasked with initiatives

This past semester was an exciting one for the Student Senate’s Student Life Committee! The committee, which is tasked with creating projects, proposals, and legislation relating to “student rights, residence life, quality of life and well-being,” has made substantive progress in a number of different projects, all with the common objective of improving the RPI experience for all students. For the fall semester, four subcommittees were established to tackle these projects: the Study Spaces Subcommittee, the Counseling Center Subcommittee, the Student Rights and Policy Subcommittee, and the Pharmacy and Residence Halls Subcommittee. Read more...

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Across the pond

I’ve written a number of editorials on how the education you receive at Rensselaer is only as powerful as you make it. In all honesty, it’s probably the easiest thing to complain about at RPI: we’re consumed by studying to a degree that prevents us from remembering that the world is larger than Troy. I think it’s important to take the value of our education into perspective, and to understand the context in which you can apply it. Oddly enough, that context is much larger than the capital region, and even the United States. Read more...

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EDITORIAL NOTEBOOKS

Questioning Trump’s actions

Truth is under attack. Donald Trump seems to believe that repeatedly shouting falsehoods makes them true. He aims to distort what is and is not truthful so that everyone is left in doubt as to what is factual. Trump’s goal is to convince you that reality is unknowable. Read more...

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