Senior Managing Editor
- News Editor March 2020 to December 2020
- Associate News Editor October 2019 to March 2020
- News Coordinator October 2019 to October 2019
With the ongoing pandemic and no Spring Break this semester, Senior Managing Editor Medhini Mankale ’23 suggests policies for the Institute to implement to prevent student burnout.
As part of an ongoing attempt to maintain a semblance of the normal college experience, many clubs have adapted their activities to operate fully online. The Polytechnic interviewed club officers about forging friendships online, pursuing projects virtually, and planning for the future.
On Tuesday night, students were notified that previous emails approving their remote learning requests for the upcoming Spring semester were sent “in error,” and that the actual decision regarding remote learning requests would be communicated by December 18, one week after the on-campus housing application deadline. This announcement sparked outrage in the student body and a joint email by student leaders condemning the action.
In an email to the Rensselaer community, President Shirley Ann Jackson announced plans for the Spring semester. Freshmen, sophomores, and seniors will return to campus, with freshmen and sophomores living in on-campus housing. According to Jackson, this will cause “some increase in on-campus housing density.” All seniors will live off-campus and still follow the Fall semester density standards which include having two people per bathroom. Students will also not be allowed to live in Greek houses. Additionally, all winter sports, including hockey, are cancelled.
President Shirley Ann Jackson revealed updates to the University Pandemic Protocol trigger levels during the Fall Town Meeting. Now, trigger level one will be enacted after there are more than 30 confirmed COVID cases in two weeks, resulting in an immediate switch to remote instruction. When the amount of confirmed cases exceed Rensselaer’s ability to isolate and quarantine students, the updated trigger level two will be implemented. With the activation of trigger level two, the semester will be extended by a week, and students must vacate campus within 72 hours and continue the semester online.
Severe thunderstorms over the Northeast region of the United States have left many Rensselaer students without power.
Services from the Health Center and the Counseling Center will be expanding, as confirmed by Executive Director for Health and Wellness Dr. Leslie Lawrence during the Town Meeting on July 1. Students arriving to campus from certain states will be required to quarantine for two weeks, and all students on campus will have to undergo continuous testing.
Monday marked the end of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As young Asian-Americans, we wanted to examine the role of Asians in America: how we came to this country, how we lived, and how we can move forward as a group, particularly in today’s social climate.
Executive Director for Health and Wellness Dr. Leslie Lawrence outlined a plan during the Spring Town Meeting to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when students return to campus.
After transitioning to distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rensselaer professors provide their perspectives on online teaching and the lessons they will bring back with them when on-campus learning resumes.
Advaith Narayan ’21 and Anissa Choiniere ’21 have been elected Grand Marshal and President of the Union, respectively. The announcement was made on a live stream through the Union’s Instagram account, and a rundown of the election results was sent out in an email shortly thereafter.
Major errors that could invalidate this week’s elections were at the forefront of discussion in the Student Senate meeting on Thursday. These errors included votes cast by those who should not have been able to vote, as well as the use of Google Forms to fix the incorrect categorization of students by class cohort.
Elections for grand marshal, president of the Union, undergraduate president, and positions on the Student Senate will be held online from April 29 to May 1 using the platform Simply Voting. This platform was chosen by the Elections Commission due to its similarity to the Rensselaer Union Voting Suite, as well as its security and accessibility.
Students were informed that classes will be held online for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester in an email sent from University President Shirley Ann Jackson at about 6:30 pm on Wednesday. In addition, “all undergraduate students in Rensselaer Residential and Greek Commons [are required] to move out of these residences by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020.”
An email sent at about 1:30 pm on Tuesday from University President Shirley Ann Jackson informed students that in-person instruction will be suspended until at least March 30 due to concerns regarding the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Enjoy this brief gallery of a breathtaking walk, titled “Ice Me Out,” from this year’s BSA Fashion Show in anticipation of our upcoming in-depth article. The walk expressed two sides of luxe: opulent, glittery fabrics mixed with edgy streetwear looks and silhouettes.
The Rensselaer Union website is currently undergoing maintenance to increase its functionality and address some issues. The site’s present status renders some information regarding clubs and Union events inaccessible to the greater student body, causing students to resort to social media such as Reddit and Facebook.
While Big Red Freakout and Winter Carnival went on without a hitch, administrators placed severe restrictions on some students’ biggest events of the year, citing concerns with coronavirus. “It’s discriminatory and wrong,” said Multicultural Leadership Council member Sundjata Suma ’20 while discussing the issue in a meeting.
Freshmen staff writers Medhini Mankale and Sarah Shiang reflect on their first Big Red Freakout game.
“Hail! Dear Old Rensselaer” was endorsed as the official fight song of students by the Senate after a petition advocating for this change reached 275 signatures.
The main issues brought to light through the report include low pay, comparatively low usage of Union resources, and tense student-advisor relations.
Recently, Design for America had two major events—the annual Design Expo and a fall Dinner Party—that highlighted the work that DFA members do to better the community.
The Facilities and Services Committee presented a follow-up report to the senate about facilities concerns found during the Light Walk. In addition, the Arch Task Force introduced a mental health module to its Arch preparatory course, and the Hospitality Advisory Services Committee announced several projects that will begin implementation next semester.
The Rensselaer Orchestra, conducted by Matthew Chamberlain, performed at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center on Saturday. The orchestra played pieces from various eras of classical music, with compositions from Jean-Baptiste Lully, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Franz Schubert, and Pyotr-Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
The Executive Board approved the annual art show held by the Black Students Alliance and the Union recognition of Women’s Club Basketball and Women in Business on Thursday.
As I walked into the Playhouse to catch the open dress rehearsal of the RPI Players’ Pride and Prejudice, I was greeted by the production manager, Isabel Donelson, and various other crew members rushing around making sure everything was in place.
The addition of two counselors, drop-in counseling, and the ability for students to book their first appointments online were some of the recent changes to the Counseling Center presented by the Student Life Committee on November 4.
The avant-garde Turkish dance duo Taldans performed one of their earliest pieces, titled Dolap, on Thursday at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center. Mustafa Kaplan and Filiz Sizanli make up the group, which was formed in 1996, the duo choreographed Dolap in 2000, and Thursday evening's performance was an example of the cumulative effect of working on a single piece for nearly twenty years. Dolap was the kind of piece that excited the audience with the dancers’ physicality and trust in each other. It lent itself to many interpretations and plenty of discussion, especially regarding Taldans’ strange choice of prop: a refrigerator.
The Grand Marshal–President of the Union brunch was held in the McNeil Room as part of an activity-packed Family Weekend. During her address to the students and parents, President Shirley Ann Jackson stated how proud she was to have “a Union run by the students.”
The Arch Core Committee approved the recommendation to eliminate six-week courses during the Arch.
So far during my time at Rensselaer, many people have asked me about the television shows I enjoy watching. Usually the answers vary depending on who’s asking. I, however, always make sure to mention Over the Garden Wall, the animated miniseries created by Patrick McHale that aired on Cartoon Network in 2014. In fact, this is a show that I often call “essential fall viewing,” because the aesthetic of the show meshes so well with the changing colors of the leaves outside and the spookiness of Halloween, but, this show can, and should, be enjoyed at any time of the year.
The Active Minds “Stronger Than the Stigma” event, held October 9 on the ‘86 Field, was a great way to showcase the various mental health resources available on campus.
During their meeting on Thursday, the Executive Board confirmed the absorption of the Indian dance teams RPI Rounak and RPI Bhangra into the existing dance team within the Indian Students Association, RPI Rudras. During a closed portion, they also approved a budget for Men's Club Basketball.
During the Executive Board meeting on Thursday, the RPI Tennis Club, RPI Fishing Club, and the Multicultural Leadership Council all had their requests for additional funding approved.