Students install rainwater chlorination system

MEMBERS OF ENGINEERS WITHOUT BORDERS POSE in Panama over Winter Break where they worked to install a treatment system for collected rainwater.

In 2010, the Rensselaer Engineers Without Borders chapter was formed and applied for its first project: creating a water treatment system for a community in Panama on Isla Popa II. Since then, the club has selected key members each year to travel over Winter Break to the community. The first three trips involved assessing the community’s situation, and concluding the most important needs. After drafting designs, filling out pages of paper work, and conducting chlorine tests, RPI’s EWB was ready to begin implementing their plans to build a rainwater catchment system. In last year’s implementation trip, they were successful in working in tandem with the community to build such a system. The water collected, however, was not treated. The latest Winter Break’s trip was meant for the creation and implementation of a chlorination system tank to be added to the existing structure.

Upon arrival, EWB members Tim Andrews ’18, Mike Kubista ’17, Elizabeth Kwon ’18, Frank Sokolowski ’18, and Mariana Cintron ’19 found the rainwater catchment system in disrepair. “We went mostly with the intent of building the additional system, we anticipated a few repairs that would need to be made. I don’t think we were prepared for the extent of repairs we would need to do before actually building the system. So this caused some problems because we didn’t have all of the materials, the tools that we needed, so a couple of days were spent assessing what changes had to be made,” says Kwon.

The team worked with the community leaders to gather materials and teach the locals how to conduct repairs. When questioned over how the team dealt with these challenges, Andrews replied, “Throughout the project we had help from several of the community leaders. The person in charge of the community, his name is Ambrosio, he was a big help. He supplied us with the wood that we used for building the tank stands, with some of the construction…Daniel, who is the president of the school, he also helped us with the construction. Their labor was actually factored into the community contribution for the cost of the project, which was cool, there were several other community members who helped with the construction of the system [as well].”

Despite the poor condition the system had been in, the community continued to utilize it and never once ran out of water. Beyond structural stumbling blocks, the team discovered complications with the new designs they planned to make for the chlorination system. “We weren’t able to find the 55 gallon drum that we anticipated getting, so we had to modify the designs and change it to fit the 40 gallon tanks that were available,” Kwon informs. According to Sokolowski, whose main job on the trip was monitoring the chlorine levels, the team recalculated the original 5.25 percent chlorine bleach with the 55 gallon tank to the available 3.5 percent chlorine bleach with the 40 gallon tank. Fortunately, the resulting amount of bleach was a round 10 milliliters—a simple and easy to measure amount for the community to facilitate themselves. “One thing to stress is that when we asked for Ambrosio’s water, he went to go get it himself, [and] when we got it back, it completely killed everything on the bacteria circle test. I tested out the chlorine, and it turned out to be way too high for human consumption. It’s very important to realize that although chlorine can be used to treat water, too much can be toxic,” Sokolowski recounts.

In addition to the complications they encountered with the design, the team also faced the obstacle of conveying the importance of treating water to the community. The team performed petri film bacteria tests, which incubate with body heat for typically 24 hours. Following these tests, they discovered that there were colonies of E. coli and total coliform growing in the untreated water. “Since we had this tangible proof, we were able to convey to the community members why chlorination is so important in their water and why we’re stressing the need for this chlorine treatment tank,” says Kwon. It became apparent, especially with the case of the bacteria petri films, that water treatment education for the community was a necessity.

“We taught Ambrosio and Daniel how to use the system in the right way,” Andrews recounts. “At the end, after we showed them how to treat their water, we had Ambrosio do it himself, to show us that he was able to do it on his own. As he was measuring out the chlorine and going about the process of treating the water, he was almost sentimental about the fact that he was making his own water clean, and that was a really cool experience, because it showed that what we were doing was having an impact in the community on the members who live there and drink that water. It was neat.”

With another successful trip behind them, the members of RPI’s Engineers Without Borders look toward the closing of this project. Next year they will return for the last time to Isla Popa II, where they will conduct a monitoring trip to assess how well the community is treating the system and how the system itself is faring. “If we decide that all of the goals that we had set had been met and the system is actually meeting their water supply and water supply needs, we’ll close up this project and go onto a new project in a new community,” Andrews says.

While much of the travel team’s expertise was born of their pre-existing knowledge of design and science they obtained in school, the lessons learned and experience had on this trip to Panama were invaluable. “I think one of the biggest things that we all learned was that you can’t plan for everything. We really took away experience and learning on [our] feet, and learning as you go, so when you reach an unexpected problem, you can get creative with your solution,” said Kwon.

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Searching for life on Mars

Exploring questions posed by the Fermi

Pondering the meaning of life is a dangerous, dangerous game. Asking questions like “why are we here?” and “are we alone?” makes some people feel uncomfortable and nervous. These are tough questions that great thinkers throughout history have continuously struggled with. Being uncomfortable thinking about these questions is a natural human reaction, and one I personally love to experience. For me, these questions keep me grounded and put my day to day worries in perspective.

On dark, clear nights, it’s hard not to look up into the sky, gaze at the stars, and wonder, “Are we alone?” I’ve pondered both answers, and both terrify me. Currently, there is not a speck of reputable information that points to intelligent extraterrestrial life, but a lack of evidence proves only that we need to keep looking. Maybe we are alone, hurling through a ceaseless void on a hunk of rock. We might be the first and the last civilization the universe ever knows. Once we are gone, no one will be left to experience the wonder. Maybe we aren’t alone, equally terrifying. A galactic empire could be just beyond our sights. They might already know about and be observing us from afar, waiting for the right moment to say, “hello, neighbor.”

With such a vast universe, it seems inconceivable that we have not found any life at all. The idea that scale and probability favor life despite our lack of contact with other civilizations is known as the Fermi Paradox. With so many opportunities, even if the chances of life are extremely small, the sheer number of habitable planets should even out. So why haven’t we seen an advanced civilization yet?

There are many possible explanations for the Fermi Paradox. One I find fascinating is The Great Filter: the idea that we haven’t encountered intelligent life because there is no intelligent life. The proposition is that there is a “filter” preventing life from reaching advanced stages of civilization. It is possible that we have already passed that filter. Life could actually be very, very hard to create, and our planet is the lucky one. We might actually be the first, and wouldn’t that be cool? The other possibility is that The Great Filter lies ahead of us. Maybe civilizations have reached higher levels of technology, but were then obliterated before ever finding us. Nuclear war, global climate change, and superbugs spring to mind. We might be nearing the end of human civilization, steadily approaching our Great Filter. That’s a little less cool.

Having a bit of an existential crisis? That’s okay. Before I let you go, we need to talk about our purpose in life. Why are we here? Think about it for a moment, because I have absolutely no idea. I don’t know our purpose, and I don’t think anyone ever will. Feeling worse? Sorry about that. But I take comfort in not knowing our purpose. It means I can play this game in whatever way I want to play it. When I make decisions, I ask myself if it will make me happy, now or in the future. If the answer is yes, I go with it; if not, I move on. Some days will be better and some worse. At the end of my life, I’ll ask myself if I had fun and if I was happy. If I can answer yes to both, then nothing else really matters.

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Two months with Fujifilm’s X100T model

THE X100T CAPTURES a man telling officers during protest on Michigan Avenue: “It’s cops like him [who] make good cops look bad.”

A little over two months ago, I got a Fujifilm X100T; a small and unassuming digital camera. At the time, protests regarding the police shooting of Laquan McDonald were taking place in Chicago, and I decided to take the X100T out for the first time to capture them. It was a gray, drizzly, cold day, but the camera held up well. The X100T is not weather-sealed, but it is small enough that I was able to tuck it into my coat whenever a sprinkle of rain passed overhead. The temperature was near-freezing, making it necessary to wear gloves. I was worried that they would make it difficult to operate the X100T’s controls, but the buttons and dials are well-spaced and easy to reach, invalidating my concern.

As I began taking photos, I discovered my greatest annoyance with the X100T: its menu system. As someone who is used to Nikon cameras, I expected that it would take some time to adjust to the Fuji system, but it seemed convoluted. The terse titles of options in the menus are frequently misleading, and options are often located in unexpected places. However, after configuring things to my liking, I am able to use the Quick Menu to access frequently-changed settings such as ISO and flash. Another issue is that the X100T battery drains much faster than a DSLR. I’ve been able to mitigate this by keeping it turned off and only turning it on as I raise it to take a picture, but it is something that takes a bit of getting used to.

The image quality of the X100T is terrific. It produces beautiful colors and skin tones. On a Nikon camera, I have to do a bit of post-processing on the RAW files to get a nice result. With the X100T, I am frequently blown away by the in-camera JPEGs. The colors are accurate and people look great. The camera has a fixed 35mm-equivalent lens. It produces sharp images, even at its largest aperture of f/2. There is almost no chromatic aberration. The camera performs extremely well in low-light, high-ISO situations despite its small size.

One of my favorite features of the X100T is its hybrid optical and electronic viewfinder (OVF and EVF, respectively). A switch on the front of the camera toggles between them. The OVF has overlays for the focus point and other basic information, as well as a box that aids in compensating for parallax by outlining what the sensor will see when a picture is taken. A unique feature of the X100T is a small insert in the bottom-right corner of the OVF that can display a magnified view of the focus area, but I usually disable it because I find it distracting. Toggling over to the EVF, there is a focus peaking mode that highlights the in-focus areas of the image, making it criminally easy to focus manually. The EVF also supports face detection for focusing and metering, and it simulates the exposure of the image based on the configuration of the aperture and shutter. Both the OVF and the EVF are refreshingly large compared to the Nikon viewfinders I’m used to.

When I carry the X100T around, I seem to be able to blend in more easily than I can with a bulky DSLR. The X100T looks like an older rangefinder camera, and people don’t pay much attention to it. I can easily take pictures on the street and I don’t get questioned or approached as I sometimes do when I use a bigger DSLR. It’s also easy to use to take pictures in casual settings with friends and family. The mechanical shutter is almost inaudible, and it has an electronic shutter that is completely silent. Its size makes it easy to drop into a bag or sling over a shoulder without a second thought. The X100T is a great camera to bring while walking around.

While it’s not a replacement for a DSLR or larger mirrorless camera, I find myself grabbing the X100T by default when I’m heading out. It is small, light, and fun to use, while giving me ample control to capture moments as I see them. It’s not a good choice for sports or other fast-paced photography, and its fixed lens, though wonderful, is not well-suited to all situations. However, it excels at getting out of the way and letting me concentrate on taking photos. The X100T is an excellent camera, and I’m looking forward to many years of photography with it.

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RPI overcomes deficit vs. Brown

SOPHOMORE DEFENSEMAN MIKE PRAPAVESSIS SKATES aggressively past a Yale Bulldog near the Engineers’ net. (file photo)

Down 3-0 12 minutes into the second period of play against Brown University on Friday night, the Engineers took their adversary’s fortune with a grain of salt when they fought back to claim a 4-3 advantage by the end of third period. Their lead would go unanswered by the Bears for the remainder of the game, spelling another win for the team. However, in their game against Yale the following day, the Bulldogs unleashed a similar fury on Rensselaer, resulting in another 3-0 deficit; but unlike before, the Engineers were unable to abate their disadvantage, ultimately losing 0-3. Going into this weekend against St. Lawrence University and Clarkson University, the Engineers stand at 14-8-6 overall and 6-2-6 in Liberty League. Brown fell to 4-13-3, 2-10-2 and Yale improved to 12-5-4, 7-4-3.

Right off the bat on Friday, at 2:39 into the first period, Josh McArdle sent the first of three goals past senior goaltender Jason Kasdorf. Though no scoring persisted until the following period, once the intermission had ended, the Bears picked up right where they had left off with a power play tip-in at 5:45 by Tommy Marchin to set up a 2-0 advantage. Alex Brink made the third shot at 12:00 after his teammate’s attempt was blocked by Kasdorf.

As the end of the second period approached, RPI began making its impression on Brown with a pair of power play shots by sophomore Viktor Liljegren at 14:21 and sophomore Jared Wilson at 18:26. Heading into the third period, the Bears maintained a narrow 3-2 lead, if only for a few minutes of play. Liljegren came in for the tie at 7:59 and sophomore Lou Nanne scored the Engineer’s fourth goal at 8:50, giving his team custody of the lead that would morph into a 4-3 win. Brown tried to recapture the lead, especially near the end of the third period, pulling goalie Tim Ernst and focusing on the offensive, but they made no progress.

Ranked 16th in the nation on the eve of their matchup against 11th ranked-Yale, Rensselaer lost for the first time in six games before a completely packed audience at Ingalls Rink. With the majority of the fans on their side, the Bulldogs knocked down the Engineers by 6:55 of the final period.

The first goal of the evening was sent down the ice from the left circle by Rob O’Gara. Later in the second period, for his second collegiate goal, Anthony Walsh slammed the puck to earn Yale another point. No goals were made during the second period, despite a total attempt of 47 shots. To cinch the deal, Cody Learned swept the puck past Kasdorf at 6:55 into the third period, scoring the third point for the Bulldogs and the final one of the night.

The St. Lawrence University Saints will visit the Engineers for a game at 7 pm on Friday in the Houston Field House, and Saturday marks the 39th Annual Big Red Freakout game against Clarkson University, same bat time, same bat channel.

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R&E proposes voting changes; IFC rush begins

GRADUATE STUDENT MIKE CAIOLA DISCUSSES the graduate council’s plans for the First Annual Graduate Symposium, which will be held on May 1 of this year.

After a welcome back greeting from Grand Marshal Marcus Flowers ’16, the Student Senate convened for the first time this year at 7:03 pm on Wednesday night. After postponing the minutes approval for the Senate meeting that evening, committee reports ensued, beginning with the Rules and Elections Committee. Chairman Victoria Tong ’16 proposed a modification to the current voting process, suggesting the implementation of an “instant run-off voting system” that allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference.

The currently unchaired Student Government Communications Committee was called upon next for a report after the R&E. Flowers implored those interested in running to submit their responses to him to fill the vacancy following the resignation of graduate student Jen Church, who now serves as the Senate-Executive Board Liaison.

Due to concerns raised over the datedness of faculty profiles on the Rensselaer Undergraduate Research Program website (, members of the Academic Affairs Committee performed a complete scan of the site over the break and plan to update the outdated profiles for students seeking research experience with faculty. The committee has also obtained a list of the fellowships promoted by the Institute, including deadlines and eligibility; however, it is uncertain whether the list is current or not, so the information will be reviewed and updated as necessary.

The Union Annual Report Committee met on Saturday to finalize the Fiscal Year 17 UAR. The committee is awaiting final details and hope have the report ready this week.

The Facilities and Services Committee received approval for its weR Gold water bottle project; however, its McNeil Room tables project had been declined. An alternative fundraising idea is being formulated.

The Web Technologies Group raised the concern of Shuttle Tracking server malfunctions, as well as discussed Concerto and Flagship Docs that are still undergoing maintenance and upgrading. Also, a new project is underway from the request of the Department of Admissions. The objective is to create a self-guided tour application by prospective RPI students. This concluded the committee reports.

The Senate-E-Board Liaison reported that budgeting has been finalized, and the appeals received would be heard on Thursday, January 28. Every aspect had increased, but didn’t exceed 2.5 percent overall cost increase.

The Graduate Council announced they saw good attendance at their Winter Graduate Fest, wine and cheese night, and hockey night events. They also expressed excitement over the upcoming First Annual Graduate Symposium on May 14, where graduate students will be able to showcase their work.

Fraternities are pushing towards a larger spring recruitment period, according to newly elected Greek senator C.J. Markum ’16, representing the Inter-fraternity Council. One means of doing this will be by extending the rush period from two to three weeks.

Near the end of the meeting, discussion was held regarding a student’s inability to attend classes in West Hall. The student has a disability that prevents him from reaching his classroom, and, at the time of the meeting, it was unclear if RPI had made accessibility accommodations for him. Since the matter is of a legal nature, the Senate moved to suspend action until a response is procured by the administration. Senator Paul Ilori’17 emailed the senate following the meeting, stating that the student was being accommodated. The meeting adjourned at 7:53 pm.

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You don’t need to feel down

How cheering others up can cheer yourself up

There is too much. Too much looking in the mirror for what isn’t there instead of realizing it doesn’t need to be. Too much of this; too much of that. Too much half empty and not enough “that’s just right.” For all the people in the world, there’s already enough down in the dumps for you to be there too.

Now, you may not agree with me. You might say, “Stephanie, you’re crazy! You don’t know me! You don’t understand how terrible my life is. My life stinks, so I’m sad.” And I would say, “That may be the case, but I’m here to help.” What if you weren’t the sad one anymore? What if you told yourself that you were going to be the one who made people happy? Because I’ll be honest— it’s fun as heck being the one who makes people laugh and smile.

It makes me sad that there are so many people I interact with on a daily basis who can’t see the good in any situation. Too much complaining. Too much self-depreciation. Too much looking at what went wrong and not at what they can do better next time.

So what if your spinach soufflé tasted a little too salty? Make it better next time! Who cares if you have to rewrite your homework if you did it wrong? Wouldn’t you want it to be correct? Sometimes, I feel as though people are looking at the wrong side of the cloud and then get upset when they can’t find the silver lining. “But Stephanie, there must be a better way!”

And there is. I’m one of those people that likes to smile and laugh all the time, and I wish there were more of us. Maybe some days are too much for me; I’m tired, I’m busy, I’m bored. Things didn’t go my way today. But, when I get the chance to be myself and do funny voices or make dumb jokes or do something that makes someone else smile, my day lights back up.

Those of you who do find yourselves complaining about or upset by the smallest things may think that’s just how you are. You may feel lost or like you should give up and let yourself be upset. Maybe you don’t realize it. Maybe you can’t tell that you are as happy as you would like and you don’t know how to change that. You are not alone. At least, I don’t think you are. Because, as corny as it may sound, I’m here for you.

Well, sort of. I don’t know you. Maybe I do, but mostly likely I don’t. Although if you are down, or feel sad and like there’s not much you can do about it, there’s nothing I would like more than to cheer you up. Maybe you don’t want to cheer up. And that’s okay. But I have always liked making friends more than just about anything. So if I can’t cheer you up, I’ll settle for making you my friend.

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Inspired writer spins her own story against established works

Writers are certifiably crazy. It’s an absolutely essential qualification for the job. If any adult were to stroll up and tell me, “I’ve got dozens of imaginary people running around in my head, I create worlds for them to grow in, and I control how they live their lives,” my initial thought would be along the lines of an insane asylum having very poor security.

“I’m a writer.” That clarification will immediately cause me to dismiss their admission of insanity and challenge with my own: I write fanfiction.”

That’ll send the poor soul running. Everybody knows that the only thing crazier than a writer is a fanfiction writer.

For the sane and naive, fanfiction is a form of fiction that takes inspiration from creative works such as books, movies, and TV series, amongst others. It often features the original work’s characters, but any number of changes could have been made to give the story a new spin. These changes can range anywhere from a glimpse of an unknown past to a take on how things could have continued past the dreaded, inevitable “The End.” In the hands of a fanfiction writer, the rules are rewritten—nothing is impossible. Beloved characters once destined for Death’s embrace can be given a second chance, universes can be warped at will, and a happily ever after can be revoked just as easily as given.

Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, that’s because it is! With great power, comes great responsibility, and fanfiction is no different! In the right hands, I’ve seen wonderful masterpieces come to life; yet, far more frequently, I see the disastrous results of what happens when this limitless power is used terribly wrong.

Harry Potter, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Supernatural, One Piece—whatever your favorite fandom might be, the thought alone of its name being slandered is enough to scare many away from the idea of reading or writing fanfiction. That’s because, unfortunately, the common misconception about fanfiction is that all of it is bad.

As a well-seasoned reader and writer of fanfiction, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that simply isn’t true.

Just like regular fiction, there exists a whole spectrum. There’s a variety of genres, styles, and quality of writing. No story or author is quite the same, and sometimes it takes a good amount of searching to find that one diamond in the rough. Sure, there are probably two My Immortal’s for every one unpublished masterpiece, but the search is what makes the find that much more special.

So, if you’ve never explored the world of fanfiction, I issue you a challenge—give it a shot! Tap into the infinite possibilities at your fingertips, be it through setting out to find that one gem or aiming to create it yourself. Fans are the make-or-break factor of fanfiction, after all.

Who knows? Fanfiction could be your perfect cup of tea, and if you fancy yourself to be a wicked wordsmith or a religious reader, crack open your laptop and dive right into the wonderful chaos.

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Engineers place in the middle at Middlebury College

Field athletes dominated against the eight teams competing at Middlebury College in Vermont on Saturday. Victories by sophomore jumper Matt Vitagliano and senior throwers Tyler Yeastedt and Andrea Ukleja paved the way for the third and fourth place finishes by the men’s and women’s teams, respectively.

Vitagliano earned 20 of the mens’ 135 points with his two winning marks for the afternoon of 6.25 meters in the long jump and 12.80 m in the triple jump. Fellow triple jumper’s sophomore Luca Scheuer and freshman Joseph Osaheni claimed second and third, boosting the score by another 14 points.

Conquering the shot put with a 14.71 m mark and 35 lb. weight throw in 16.05 m, Yeastedt continued the winning trend he began at the start of the season.

“My goals for this year are to put together some good performances at our conference meets and put the team in a good position to win,” said Yeastedt. “I’d like to break RPI’s shot put and weight throw records, which are at 16.18 and 18.38 meters, respectively.

“My favorite track memory has to be from last year’s discus competition at nationals. I went into the meet seeded 18th and [improved] by over 10 feet to finish fourth and become an All-American. It was a great feeling, and it keeps me motivated to get back there this season and try to win a national championship.”

With a gap of over 1.7 meters separating her from the runner-up, Ukleja relinquished her opponents in the 20 lb weight throw with a distance of 14.64 m. Second place turned out to be Rensselaer sophomore Renee Nuzzi, who helped her team garner 22 points out of the possible 34 for the event. Ukleja was also second in the shot put with a throw of 10.83 m.

In the high jump, junior Erik Trinkle produced a leap of 1.88 m to place third, while senior Nathaniel Ogilvie took fifth in the pole vault. Freshman Lauren Parker also placed third in the high jump.

On the track, sophomore Jaime Lord came in second with a time of 2:19.9 in the women’s 800 meter. Junior Jodi Wrzosek gained four points by running the fifth-fastest time in the event. Unlike Lord, Wrzosek was in the first flight of the 800.

“My race this past weekend went well,” said Wrzosek. “It was hard leading my heat, and I went out faster than I wanted to, but overall was very satisfied with my race. I hope to qualify for [the Division III Eastern College Athletic Championship Meet] in the 800 m the next time I run it. My goal for this season is to hopefully PR…which means breaking 2:20.”

Junior Maddie Dery placed second in the women’s 1000 m in 3:04.3. Senior Erin Evke and junior Taylor MacEwen placed fifth and sixth, respectively.

The Middlebury Panthers captured the meet on the men’s side, and Williams College won the women’s team standings. Coming up next for the Engineers is an indoor meet hosted by Dartmouth College on February 6.

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Work begins on new CDTA transit station on Fourth St.

THE PROPOSED TRANSIT STATION, ONCE COMPLETE, WILL improve bus connections between Troy and the rest of the Capital Region. The station is slated to cost $3.5 million dollars with New York State Governor Cuomo pledging $650,000.

The Capital District Transit Authority announced in December that it will proceed with the construction of a brand new transit hub in downtown Troy. The hub, which is planned to be built at the intersection of Fourth Street and Fulton Street as an addition to the Uncle Sam Parking Garage, is expected to drive additional visitors to the downtown Troy area from throughout the Capital District.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state is providing $650,000 to the project, which is a significant portion of the $3.5 million total cost estimate from a Times Union article published in September on the venture.

Upon completion, 4,000 passengers are expected to pass through the hub each day, with 11 bus routes serving the hub. CDTA intends to introduce the Bus Rapid Transit system to downtown Troy simultaneously, which will improve the speed and efficiency of multiple routes by cutting down on the need for certain stops.

The plans also discuss substantial changes to the surrounding roads, including reversed-direction, dedicated bus lanes. These lanes are expected to help alleviate traffic congestion and improve the safety of the area.

The indoor structure is planned to be climate controlled and contain spaces for passengers to wait, relax, and, potentially, shop. In an interview with The Troy Record, CDTA Executive Director Carm Basile explained that the structure would be “not much, basically a comfortable place for people to sit and wait for buses on a [cold] day like today.”

In a press release from the CDTA website, the Mayor-Elect of Troy, Patrick Madden weighed in on the plan, saying, “The Uncle Sam Transit Center is a vital component of the revitalization of Downtown Troy. I want to thank the Governor, state, and local officials for their continuous efforts to revitalize Upstate New York.”

Bryce Properties, which owns the Uncle Sam Parking Garage, will partner with the City of Troy and CDTA on the project. “This project will be a major step forward for Fourth Street and the city of Troy,” said David Bryce, owner of Bryce Properties. “It fixes a lot of things and will make the CDTA experience that much better. I’m delighted to play my part in Troy’s continuing resurgence.”

The Polytechnic reached out to the Department of Auxiliary, Parking, and Transportation Services at RPI for their thoughts on the development plan. “We are extremely pleased to hear that the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) has plans to improve the Uncle Sam Mass Transit Hub stop in Troy, NY,” said Director Alexandre da Silva. “[The] Rensselaer shuttle system expanded its Saturday west route two years ago (with much success) to accommodate stops at the Uncle Sam Hub so that students/faculty/staff could take advantage of convenient and complimentary transportation from campus to downtown Troy as to support attendance to the Troy’s farmers market.”

Da Silva also discussed RPI’s existing relationship with the CDTA, allowing members of the Rensselaer community to “ride any CDTA route by the showing of their ID card, to include rides from campus to downtown Troy during regular service hours.”

On the future possibility of changes to the bus route to accommodate the new development, da Silva explained that his department “continually monitor[s] requests to update our routes and match resources to support future programmatic improvements. Parking and Transportation will carefully monitor competing requests, i.e.: Summer Arch and increased enrollment, and strategically mold our shuttle routes through the next few years.”

Currently, no timelines exist for the hub’s expected completion date, but CDTA has expressed the intent of breaking ground on the construction in 2016.

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Setting big goals for the upcoming semester

GM encourages all RPI students to challenge themselves within the community

Hello everyone, and welcome back to RPI. I hope you all enjoyed your time away from classes, and any holidays you may have celebrated over the last few weeks.

While on my break, I took a lot of time to think about what it is that I want to accomplish this semester, both as a student and as Grand Marshal, and I got to thinking about the purpose of our time here at Rensselaer. The clear goals are that we attend classes, gain knowledge and experience in our fields, and move on to graduate school or the industry. However, what we as students need to remember and understand is that while those may be our goals, the way we get there is our opportunity to be creative, adventurous, and expose ourselves to new ways of thinking. Those new perspectives come from sharing our experiences with other people, and I truly believe that nobody can relate to us better than other college students. So while you may feel like you are leaving your comfort zone by being an engineer talking to an architecture student, I challenge you to go beyond that and ask why a student would choose a liberal arts major. See their passions, what changes in the world they aim to create, and what their idea of a fulfilled life is.

Better yet, I invite you to help me grant that opportunity to as many students as possible. With the announcement of Summer Arch, I did not get to focus as much as I would have liked on opening up connections with our neighboring schools, but I aim to make major steps towards that this semester. Tell me what sort of experiences you have heard about on other college campuses, and what you think we can do to bring it here, or find it nearby. Tell me what you value as an experience here that you want other students to see and enjoy, so that we can highlight that as a part of our ever-changing student culture. If you are interested, please let me know, as I am already in contact with the student government leaders at both Russell Sage College and the University of Albany.

Now, as far as the regular affairs of student government, I would like to re-introduce the current Senate leadership:

We have the Academic Affairs Committee, chaired by graduate student Spencer Scott, working on projects related to our school’s presence in local media, as well as support for students seeking scholarships and grants. Next, we have the Student Life Committee, chaired by Paul Ilori ’17, working on policies for student use of various facilities, and student information on inclement weather decisions. We have Michael Han ’16 working on projects for student study spaces around campus and green campus initiatives as chair of the Facilities and Services Committee. Further, there’s Justin Etzine ’18 working on software solutions for shuttle tracing, and supporting our RPI Ambulance club with web design, among many other projects. With decisions for the upcoming fiscal year being made, Jen Church is chairing the Union Annual Report Committee, and is reformatting the report to have both a detail-oriented version and a quick summary version. For meeting times, please see the board outside the Student Government Suite, or email the committee chair of the committee.

Lastly, while we have had recent changes within the Rensselaer Union, I want everyone to understand a few things. First, the Union was made by the students, for the students, and is run by the students, for the students. The Student Activities Office supports the endeavors of students with their years of experience, and gives students the opportunities to invest in themselves. As such, we must appreciate both our students and staff that help us maintain the Union, and keep our spirits high.

The Union always has and always will belong to the students.Have a great start to the semester.

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Automakers display new models, technology

Underscored auto show makes an impressive display with top of the line equipment


The New England International Auto Show, held in Boston, MA every January, is an opportunity for automakers to show off their new models and technology to consumers and the media.

Often overshadowed by other large expos occurring around the same time, such as the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the New England International Auto Show does not usually offer much in terms of concept cars and car reveals. However, this year, Jeep decided to reveal their 2016 Jeep Cherokee Overland at the event. The Cherokee Overland is a new trim level for the Cherokee, offering the most luxurious feel of any trim level. The Overland comes with most of the options available on the Cherokee, as well as 18 inch polished wheels, heated Nappa leather-trimmed seats, a premium audio system with navigation, and body-color trim, that gives the Cherokee Overland a monotone look. The Overland trim package sits at the top of the range, both in features and price, offering the luxury of a Grand Cherokee in a smaller package.

On display in the Toyota booth were the newly redesigned 2016 Prius and RAV4. The new Prius is designed to have a fun driving experience, provided by a lower, more aggressive stance. Toyota proudly stated that the front emblem has been lowered to the same height as on the Scion FR-S sports car. With its sporty appearance, Toyota managed to reduce the drag coefficient of the Prius to 0.24 (previously 0.25) and increase fuel economy to a combined 52 mpg for the Prius, and 56 mpg combined for the Eco model. The 2016 Prius is noteworthy as it is the first vehicle built on the Toyota New Global Architecture. This new platform boasts lighter weight and improved crash ratings, and will serve as a modular base for other Toyota vehicles.

Toyota also showed off their redesigned 2016 RAV4, which brings some much needed improvements to the crossover. The appearance of the RAV4 remains largely unchanged, as most of the improvements take place under the hood. The throttle response seemed dramatically improved from the 2015 model, while the steering felt tighter and more responsive. New for 2016, Toyota will offer a hybrid version of the RAV4, which comes with standard all-wheel drive. The interior received an update, with a new entertainment system and better quality interior components. These features make the 2016 RAV4 feel well thought out and more comfortable than the previous model.

One new feature offered on nearly all 2016 vehicles is the Bird’s Eye View camera. This system, which appears to be nearly identical between manufacturers, utilizes an array of cameras on the vehicle to provide a 360 degree view of the vehicle’s surroundings. In most of the equipped vehicles, the Bird’s Eye View is displayed on the center console screen. The driver can cycle through the available views on this screen. Drivers may find this feature helpful in new crossovers, where visibility can be decreased due to tinted windows and lower roof lines.

Overall the real star of the shows was the 2016 Ford Focus RS. Ford did not include the new Focus RS in their very short presentation, despite it being one of the most highly anticipated sports cars of 2016. This hot hatch is powered by a 2.3L turbocharged 4-cylinder, delivering 350 HP and 350 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. Priced to compete with cars like the Subaru WRX STI and Volkswagen Golf R, the 2016 Focus RS is shaping up to be a huge success for Ford.

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Panthers, Broncos prepare for historic game

For the third year in a row, the Super Bowl will feature the number one seed from both conferences. The Carolina Panthers, the champions of the National Football Conference, and winners of all but one game this season, will make their second Super Bowl appearance this Sunday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, led by their polarizing quarterback Cam Newton. Their past appearance was against the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots in Super Bowl 38, which ended in a 32-29 victory for New England. On the other side of this year’s Super Bowl 50 is the Denver Broncos, who will be making their eighth Super Bowl appearance. Their record in the big game is just 2-5, and none of the five losses were close, including the most recent blowout at the hands of the vaunted Seattle Seahawks two years ago. In an AFC playoff that featured five very competent teams, Denver, the team that played both its games at home emerged as the victor with aged quarterback Peyton Manning at its helm. Manning offers the game’s most compelling storyline: the chance to end a Hall of Fame career with a win in the Super Bowl. Broncos great John Elway ended his career in the same way in Super Bowl 33 against the Atlanta Falcons, the last time Denver won the season’s final game.

Over the years, most teams that have made it to the Super Bowl won gracefully and usually by a lot. Not this year. This year both teams made “winning ugly” a habit, particularly at the beginning of the season. This meant relying on their defenses to score (each defense scored five times during the regular season) as well as holding on to wins when their offenses sputtered and turned the ball over. For the Broncos, it also meant playing just up to the level of their competition in many games. In their fourteen wins this season, the Broncos won eleven by less than ten points. One game during which they failed to play their best was a game against Cleveland in which Peyton Manning threw three interceptions and needed an interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Aqib Talib to get into overtime (the Broncos won 26-23). For the Panthers winning also meant struggling to hold onto leads that they created for themselves in the first half. In a game against the Giants in week 15, the Panthers made it look easy in the first forty minutes of the game, outscoring New York 35-7. After Eli Manning led the Giants down the field to make the score 35-14, the Panthers lost momentum and allowed the Giants to come all the way back in the fourth quarter. While the Panthers showed their resilience by winning on a last second field goal by Graham Gano, that field goal showed just how difficult it was for them to hold onto leads. It was games like these that prompted most football writers and analysts to deem Carolina the worst 11-0 team in National Football League history back in November. However, the Panthers didn’t care. They just kept winning.

For the Denver Broncos, a win against Green Bay back in November was perhaps their best this season. On defense, they held 2014 Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers to just 77 yards passing and held Packers running backs to less than three yards per carry. They also put tremendous pressure on Rodgers, sacking him three times, and forced three Packer fumbles. On offense, Peyton Manning threw for 340 yards while running backs C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman combined for 161 yards and three touchdowns. While the defense played this well on many occasions, the offense seldom did.

In their two playoff games, the Broncos knocked off the Steelers and Patriots, neither of which was playing their best football, by a combined nine points and did so mostly on the strength of their defense. On Sunday, the defense will need to set the tone for Denver and slow down a potent Panthers attack in order to give the offense a shot to win the game. If they don’t, the game could be a blowout. But the Broncos will also have to be as efficient and balanced offensively as they were against the Packers thirteen weeks ago to defeat the favored Panthers.

The Panthers, for their part, didn’t play their best game until last week’s conference championship, knocking off a skilled Cardinals team by a final count of 49-15. However, they also scored two significant victories this season against the defending conference champions, the Seattle Seahawks, which showed their ability to win tough games against quality opponents. The first victory was an impressive comeback from behind in week five at Seattle that showed just how good the Panthers were. The second came at home in the second round of the playoffs as the Panthers went up by 31 points and held on in the second half to knock off a Seattle team that had secured its last two playoff wins on the basis of the fear that it inspired in its opponents, which had both held double-digit leads in the fourth quarter before falling apart in the face of their fearsome opponent. This, too, the Panthers nearly did, allowing Seattle to close within seven points before buckling down and securing a 31-24 win in the final minutes.

While both defenses have been stout, the Panthers have been vastly superior on offense over the course of the season, outscoring the Broncos by nine points per game. Quarterback Cam Newton put together a MVP caliber season, throwing 35 touchdown passes and rushing for 10 more and turned the Panthers’ offense into the most versatile in the NFL. However, the Broncos have one of the greatest quarterbacks ever in Peyton Manning and an offense loaded with talent at each position. As a result, the game will come down to the matchup between the Panther defense and the Bronco offense. Will the running game be able to put enough pressure on Carolina to stop the run so that Peyton can have open looks to his speedy wide receivers? Or will the Panthers’ defense slow down the Broncos capable, but inconsistent attack and create turnovers to give Newton and the offense good field position? I’m predicting more of the latter as the Broncos’ defense plays well but not well enough to power its limping offense past the Panthers, who earn their first Super Bowl win on Sunday. My prediction for the final score is Panthers 28, Broncos 20.

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Union Facilities seek approval for Playhouse repairs


After a successful season of budgeting, the Executive Board opened up the first meeting of the semester to Rensselaer Union club appeals. There were no appeals for a change in budget amounts, but rather appeals for reallocation of funds. The RPI Players, represented by President Emi Phillips ’17, submitted a proposal to reallocate $549 from an account which budgets to restock consumables, such as paint, to an account that budgets for the purchase of new equipment. This submission had nothing to do with its club budgeting for the next fiscal year, but rather an issue with the budgeting for this current year’s. In a 13-0-1, with an abstention from Players member Jeremy Feldman ’16, the motion to reallocate those funds was approved.

Continuing with more Players business, Joe Campo presented to the board the inspection recommendations that were made for the RPI Playhouse. A motion to approve the facility spending of $1,800 for Playhouse rigging was proposed. After a long-needed inspection by BMI Supply, they recommended the fire curtain’s “cut-line” release to be replaced with a natural fiber release line, the manual winch to be replaced with an electric winch, the replacement of missing hardware in the rigging, the removal or redesign of obstructions, and other necessary implementations. The money being proposed for this project is being redirected from the Players’ already existing budget to a new account. The motion was approved with a 9-0-1 vote, with Feldman’s abstention once again.

Greg Bartell ’17 opened up discussion over the E-Board’s policies regarding outside services. Bartell stressed that the Policies Committee was not looking to rewrite how the Union contracts with public businesses, but looking to draw up guidelines about releasing information. It was decided that this discussion would remain tabled while a workshop about nondisclosures would be organized for the E-Board members.

Business Operations, the committee of the week, brought to the E-Board’s attention a new plan for apportioning basement space for different Union clubs. There would be an application that students would fill with pertinent information, such as an inventory of what their club would be storing there. This plan would ensure that Union-owned and club-owned equipment would not become misplaced or taken without permission. The motion to charge the BusOps Committee with establishing a procedure for renting basement space passed 13-0-0.

Along with this new plan to apportion rental space, BusOps is heading a plan to redesign the Games Room. Although students of the School of Architecture were consulted, a design contest will be opening up to the entire student body. Lastly, the BusOps Committee is encouraging students to fill out a survey concerning the Union. If you enjoy the services provided by the Union, or if you want to see things changed, go to to voice your comments, suggestions, or ideas, and for a chance to win a free sweatshirt from the Collegiate Store.

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Anthem explores the importance of individuality

Concise story-telling provides large impact on readers and scholars with universal concept

First released in 1938, Ayn Rand’s novella Anthem differs substantially from most of her earlier works in its length; while novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead weigh in at 1,200 and 700 pages, respectively, Anthem is presented in a relatively palatable 70 pages. Initially conceived as a play, the primary motivation in the work was presenting the author’s relatively new philosophy. Consequently, with each breath Anthem contributes itself to presenting the author’s opinions in the most dramatic fashion possible. The novella admittedly sacrifices the depth of ideas that are presented in Rand’s longer works, but as a novella Anthem strives to catch 75 percent of the ideas in 10 percent of the pages.

The novella is posed as a series of journals written by a man named Equality 7-2521, in which he depicts a society that has systemically staunched individuality. Within the journals, the prose replaces the word “I” with “we” to imply that the society in the novel has wholly replaced the concept of individuality with that of community. Equality’s journals depict a sense of self-flagellating remorse as he chastises himself for enjoying some people over others; in the words of the protagonist, “it is a transgression, the great Transgression of Preference, to love any among men better than the others, since we must love all men.”

The backbone of the plot comes in the form of Equality’s drive for knowledge; throughout his early years of schooling, Equality was reprimanded for his desire to understand the sciences. While Equality prays that he will be allowed to research for the good of the community, he is ultimately assigned to be a street sweeper as penance for his belief that he might be smarter than his peers. However, the protagonist ultimately engages in his research in secret, which allows him to rediscover technology that has been lost since the formation of the society in the novel. Although he initially intends to share for the good of the people, Equality is chastised for his nonconformity.

Rand’s unique writing style lends itself to a nuanced brutality; her diction never shies away from raw, self-reflective acknowledgement in the depth of the protagonist and a pointed, aware criticism of the society within the novel. Each page is littered with a series of evils and sins that have been indoctrinated within Equality; his self-loathing is detailed in screaming color with his wildly frequent declarations of apology to the society. Furthermore, the dialogue also reflects the distinctly strained communication that results from a group of people who have lost the word “I”; the mechanics of the book are as clever as the philosophies.

While Rand is often criticized for her polarized stances on social issues, she manages to drive her points about the importance of individuality home with a reckless fierceness in the space of only a few dozen pages. The story manages to develop in a markedly authentic way, and despite its depth, it rarely ever feels rushed. The author has managed to create a digestible and original insight into the idea of humanity.

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Hobart College Statesmen overtake lead to defeat RPI

At 4 pm on Saturday, Rensselaer confronted Hobart College in Geneva, NY, where they swallowed their sixth failure in the Liberty League with only a three-point deficit. In the first half, Hobart successfully interrupted the Engineers’ pace. Not only did they steal the ball from Rensselaer five times, but the Engineers also made several poor passes and ‘contributed’ 10 turnovers to Hobart. Senior Chase Almond and freshman Tom Horvat made several good assists, rebounds, and shots, but also a couple of turnovers. Although RPI tied Hobart with four three-point shots and had a higher two-point goal percentage, they only scored 25 points while Hobart scored 35. The first half ended with a good layup play by Horvat in the paint. Because RPI made fewer attempts and shots, they greatly fell behind in the first half.

In the second half, the Engineers took a more active role in the game and improved their performance. RPI was able to suppress Hobart at the beginning of the second half. Contributions from Almond, Horvat, junior Jonathan Luster, and freshman Marcus Giese helped the Engineers overtake the lead at 3:49 in the second half with better shooting percentages. Later, RPI capitalized on their opponents’ turnovers and chances for free throws. At 6:15, Rensselaer maximized its lead to 44-38 with a free throw by Giese. However, after several missed layups by both RPI and Hobart, Hobart took advantage of the troubled waters and caught up at 8:17 from only one point behind. A three-point shot by Horvat, assisted by sophomore Asa Barnhill, managed to suppress Hobart again for two more minutes. But, ignited by a strong three-point goal at 10:06, Hobart finally found their pace after a one-minute deadlock in the game where no players scored. Then, Hobart retook the lead at 11:38 after sophomore Luke Ruddy made a three-pointer assisted by junior Pete Drescher. Afterwards, Rensselaer took a more active strategy to capitalize Hobart’s turnover and three-point goal chances, tying the game twice at 12:26 and 13:40 respectively, and even overtaking the lead until the final two minutes of play. Under the intense atmosphere, Horvat missed a three-point goal. The ball was rebounded by Ruddy and passed to freshman Sean McKinless at last, who seized the chance to score a three-point goal. RPI could not manage to win back its lead, so Hobart narrowly won 61-64. Had the Engineers made better use of the benched players like Hobart did, perhaps they would have increased their odds of winning.

RPI will play its tenth Liberty League game away against Clarkson University this Saturday. If they win, their season record will jump from 3-6 to 4-6.

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Four average men take on the big banks

New film follows bankers during the tough financial crisis of 2008

THE BIG SHORT STARS ACTORS Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling as they take on the big screen with their performance in this finance-centric film from late 2015.

While it may be a bit late to discuss movies I saw over break, seeing as it’s award season I feel as though I have a good excuse to discuss films still relevant at these shows. The critical darling I want to discuss this week is The Big Short, a film that follows the financial crisis of 2008. Now please, before you leave, this movie is not a financial high-intellectual type movie. Wait, you’re still walking towards the door? How about the fact that this film stars Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, and Ryan Gosling? You’re still not interested? How about the fact that it’s made by Adam McKay, the guy whose biggest films are Anchorman and Step Brothers.

There, now that I’ve got your attention, let me talk about how weird this film is. McKay, a comedy movie maker, brings something new to the biopic table that I’ve never seen before. He skillfully takes the complexity and heartbreak of the 2008 crisis and tells it in an entertaining format; he breaks down the persistent issues that allowed it to happen with a focus on the players who saw it coming. These players are mostly no-name investors played by some big names—Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, and Brad Pitt are just a few of the actors portraying the small minority of the hedge fund managers able to predict the fall of the housing market, and make it out well off by betting against it. First, I’ll start by saying that a run down of the story is pointless. I won’t be able to explain the housing crisis half as well as this movie, so you should just go watch it. But what I can explain is why I like it.

McKay, rather than sitting down the camera and having a few on screen financial experts sit in a room and explain the problem, shows and tells the story in an entertaining way. You get to see the people whose mismanagement of mortgages allowed the creation of a housing bubble, the innocent people screwed by these practices, as well as an attractive celebrity in a bubble bath, explain what a collateral debt obligation is. The Big Short does a great job of not dressing up boring stuff so it can be digested, but actually setting up the information to serve the story in a way that is both entertaining and easy to understand. In that way, it is a unique film, and one I highly recommend.

As a person who lived through the US financial crisis, I find it a bit embarrassing to say that I was incredibly uninformed about how the recession happened and why it did happen, however, I feel as though I came out of watching The Big Short as a much smarter viewer, and with this surprise film from McKay, I think he has left a legacy on how biopics should be presented. If you have lived through the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis, as anyone who has read this probably has, you should watch this film, and I hope you get as much out of it as I did.

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Engineers split 1-1

Women’s ice hockey split the weekend 1-1, first losing to Colgate University 5-3 on Friday night, and following with a 2-1 win against Cornell University on Saturday.

The Engineers struck first Friday night, when senior forward Lauren Wash played senior forward Mari Mankey from behind the net, allowing Mankey to score just four minutes into play.

The Raiders fought back and managed to beat freshman goalie Lovisa Selander three minutes later, tying the game at one apiece. At 10:43, Olivia Zafuto was assisted by Annika Zalewski to put Colgate ahead 2-1.

A scramble in front of the net at 7:29 into the second period allowed sophomore forward Shayna Tomlinson to tie the game for RPI. At 11:48, Chelsea Jacques was called for hooking, giving the Engineers a much needed power play. Junior forward Laura Horwood took that opportunity and edged the Engineers ahead at 13:33, putting the score at 3-2. Colgate tied the game yet again just a minute later after a goal by Kayla Haus.

The tie remained until just after the first minute of play in the third period, when Zalewski scored for the Raiders. Unfortunately, the Engineers were not able to tie up the game, and, instead, the next goal came from Breanne Wilson-Bennett at 9:28 after she intercepted a pass, which gave the Raiders a two goal lead.

Contrary to Friday, Saturday’s game against Cornell proved to be a low scoring game. The only two goals during regulation time came in the second period. Cornell scored first at 6:54, with an unassisted shot by Taylor Woods. At 17:00, junior forward Katie Rooney stole the puck in the neutral zone, and, after skating around the net, snuck the puck past Cornell goalie Paula Voorheis, tying the game.

The teams remained tied and were forced into overtime. Just 1:44 into overtime Rooney came up big again and scored the winning goal for a 2-1 victory over Cornell. This puts the Engineers 9-13-4 overall and 7-7-2 in the Liberty League. Next weekend, women’s ice hockey takes on Clarkson University and St. Lawrence University, both on the road.

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Tigers, Herons challenge Engineers and win

Despite holding leads in both of their away games over the weekend, women’s basketball ultimately fell short of victory to both the Rochester Institute of Technology Herons and the William Smith College Tigers by a combined seven points. In the first game, despite RPI shooting 46 percent from the field compared to a mediocre 34 percent for RIT, the game was decided at the free throw line. While RIT attempted 42 free throws, making 28, RPI earned just 11, scoring on eight of them. In the second game of the trip, the Engineers struggled on the glass, collecting 18 defensive rebounds and allowing the Herons to nab 15 offensive rebounds. This resulted in four more second chance points for the Herons as well as an advantage in free throw attempts. The final scores were RIT 68, RPI 64 and William Smith 61, RPI 58.

Freshman Sam Krumbhaar converted her first three field goal attempts and later scored off of a steal to give the Engineers an 11-6 lead. But Tigers forward Tara Lynch scored five points and guard Maria Edwards added a three-pointer to give the home team a 19-15 lead after one quarter.

The Tigers extended their lead in the second quarter as the Engineers missed shots and turned the ball over. After Krumbhaar scored early in the quarter assisted by sophomore forward Shaina Iton to trim the RIT lead to 2, Rensselaer didn’t score again for five minutes, allowing the Tigers to increase their advantage to 10 points. Then, a tip-in by forward Amanda Olsen and a triple by guard Taylor Burns pushed the home team’s lead to 15 shortly before halftime. At the break, Krumbhaar had 15 points, but the Engineers trailed 25-36.

In the third quarter, the Engineers fought their way back into the game. A driving basket by senior guard Bailei Tetrault cut the Tigers’ lead to 40-37 midway through the third quarter. Momentum switched again, however, when RIT scored six points on free throws in the final two minutes of the quarter and added a driving layup with one second remaining.

RPI battled back again in the fourth, and a layup by sophomore guard Kate Goodell made the score 54-51 RIT with 4:25 left in the final quarter. The game would get no closer though, as the Engineers offense failed to take advantage of RIT’s missed free throws, allowing the Tigers to come out on top, 68-64. Krumbhaar finished with 26 points to lead all scorers, while freshman forward LaKissa Martin had ten points. Sophomore forward Shaina Iton led the Engineers with eight rebounds.

In game two of the trip, forward Kendra Quinn-Moultrie scored 19 points to lead the Herons, while Krumbhaar scored 14 for the Engineers. Iton grabbed six boards and blocked three shots, and Tetrault tallied six assists. William Smith forward Gabrielle Eure recorded the lone double-double of the game, scoring 12 points and hauling in 10 rebounds.

Just as they did the previous game, the Engineers took the lead early, sprinting to a 15-9 lead late in the first quarter. But William Smith scored seven unanswered points to take the lead, capping the run with a basket and free throw by Eure.

The teams traded baskets in the second quarter, with senior guard Ellen Boucher scoring a layup to make the score 28-26 William Smith before halftime.

The game remained close in the third quarter. Eure got another basket and a free throw late in the third quarter to make the score 44-38 Herons, but senior guard Ashley Clough answered by burying a three-pointer to end the quarter.

In the fourth, the Engineers took a 45-44 lead on a put-back layup by Krumbhaar. Later, Martin drilled a three-pointer to make the score 55-54 William Smith. After the Herons scored two baskets in a row, Iton hit two big shots to put Rensselaer back within one again, 59-58. But those would be the final points RPI scored, as they fell three points short in Geneva.

Up next for the 5-13 Engineers is a road trip north to face Liberty League rivals Clarkson and St. Lawrence.

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Rensselaer Union sponsors trip to Northeastern

Northeastern University’s co-op program shares similarities to Arch

RPI STUDENT REPRESENTATIVES TRAVELED to Northeastern University in order to learn about Northeastern’s unique co-op program, which is similar to Summer Arch.

Seven Northeastern University students and six administrators welcomed student and faculty representatives from Rensselaer to their campus in Boston, Mass. on December 8. The purpose of the visit was to inform RPI’s community about Northeastern’s co-op program, which has been compared to RPI’s new Summer Arch program, and how it impacts the 80 percent of students who choose to participate in it.

Experiential learning has been a defining component of the student experience at Northeastern for over a century; most students fulfill the requirement by integrating two to four co-ops into a personal five-year plan, which they map out early on with the help of one of Northeastern’s 80 co-op advisors. Students spoke highly of their co-op advisors, who form close relationships with students by providing moral support and wisdom often gained from previous industry experience. Most engineering students plan three co-ops with the help of the School of Engineering’s 20 co-op advisors

Beginning with the second semester of their sophomore year, students may enter the co-op program. If they choose to do so, they alternate between an academic term and a co-op term. Spring and fall terms are six months long, from January to June and July to December respectively. When the traditional spring term ends, the Summer 1 term from May to June begins for students to either start or finish courses they are taking, depending on whether or not they are in the co-op program. Following the conclusion of Summer 1, Summer 2 runs similarly from July to August.

Co-op preparatory classes are offered to teach how to be confident and skillful in the workplace. From there, students enter the interview process by competing against their peers for co-ops and internships with over 3000 companies Northeastern partners with. Students can graduate in four years, but most graduate in five in order to take advantage of the co-op program without risking an overload.

Flexibility characterizes every student’s plan. Students must incorporate experiential learning into their plan of action, but are not required to take part in a co-op. The requirement can also be satisfied by studying abroad, solving real world problems outside of class, doing research, or doing service-learning. Many students would rather take a term off, which could include spending with family, and they receive no penalty for doing so.

The concerns addressed were similar to those expressed by Dartmouth, which also operates on a year-round schedule. Administration concerns included maintaining buildings and finding instructors for the summer. The stress of living independently was the top concern among the students, since this meant being away from friends for months at a time, cooking and cleaning for themselves, and essentially, just being in the working world. Off-campus housing was also discussed. Students spoke of landlords near Northeastern who are aware of the co-op rotation and therefore permit their tenants to sublet when they are away on co-op.

Athletics and Greek life were of lesser concern because they have adapted to the cycle of students leaving for six months at a time. Club and Greek executives planning to leave for co-ops train their replacements in advance of their departure and sometimes elect co-presidents. During the summer months, since clubs and Greeks remain active, they often choose to elect underclassmen to positions of authority which helps prepare them greater responsibilities later on.

The NUterm is another optional program offered by Northeastern, which allows freshmen to take eight credits during the Summer 1 term, then spend the remainder of the summer on vacation.

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Staff Editorial: Making wellbeing a winter driving priority

Although December felt more like spring, winter is now truly upon us. It’s cold and windy, and we’ll probably see the campus covered in a blanket of snow soon. For the freshmen from warmer climates, make sure you are prepared. An actual winter jacket is a must. Boots, hats, gloves, and scarves are recommended for the bitter cold days. Marching from the Burdett Avenue Residence Hall down to West Hall for class can feel like the Night’s Watch patrolling north of The Wall.

For those with cars, it’s sometimes hard to push our reckless college tendencies away. We have an urge to drive fast and some of us might need to try some doughnuts in the snowy parking lot. At the risk of sounding like your parents, The Poly urges you to stay safe when it snows. The best thing to do is stay off the roads until the snowplows can come through. Most of us have taken Physics 1, so we should know that a body in motion stays in motion on a near-frictionless surface. Solving for our car, we find these situations tend to end up with a car stuck in a snowdrift on the side of the road. If you do need to venture out, maybe to Vermont for some fresh powder skiing or riding, take it slow. Proceed cautiously through intersections and around bends. Especially watch out for other drivers, who may or may not be capable snow drivers. Even once the streets are cleared, snowmelt during the day can cause ice patches to appear in unexpected places.

While this may make it sound like The Poly wants you to stay inside, nice and snug, we truly wish for your safety. Risking hypothermia or a crash every time you go to class is ridiculous, so urging common sense, stay safe this season!

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