Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Top Questions

What are the most popular student activities/groups?


One group I am involved with is the pep band. We hold rehearsals on Saturday mornings, and we get to play at all the home hockey and football games. We even get to go some away games for hockey, which are really fun! Some students leave their door open almost all the time, others I don't even recognize because I've never seen them before. Men's hockey games are huge. I met pretty much all of my closet friends at NRB, through the pep band, or by just hanging out in the hall. Last weekend, I continued my James Bond marathon with my roommate and a friend from down the hall. There are plenty of things to do on a Saturday night that don't involve drinking! These include going to the movie at UPAC, going to a show at the Union, or attending a hockey game.


There are so many student groups its really hard to determine what the most popular one is. I'm involved very much with the schools racquetball team. We have meets about 5 times a year with 15 other schools, about 250 people. We play racquetball and have fun together. Hockey games are pretty popular, though the team has been lacking lately. The evens offered are usually pretty fun. Dating scene is tough for some, thing to remember is not to try so hard, just let things happen. I met all my friends in classes. If I'm awake at 2am on a Tuesday, I'm probably playing video games. Big Red Freakout is our big traditional hockey game as a part of an alumni weekend, so good. I'm not in a frat so I don't know how important they are. Last weekend I went to a pub and a party with some friends, then did work and homework and went out to dinner. On a saturday night that doesn't involve drinking... play Wii maybe? I live off campus, so I do a lot of things off campus.


RPI has a fairly large social life. The greek system is fairly large, and despite what the administration may say, is safe and responsible (depending on the house). Hockey is huge at RPI (we're D1) but other sports kind of get left out. People party on weekends like normal colleges, but usually are doing homework until they go out.


There is soooo much to do on campus. The movies that UPAC puts on for Friday and Saturday nights are really popular. There are three show times so you can build a schedule around them. Hockey is the most popular sport. The hockey games are a big thing to go to. I LOVE being involved with the ski club. On the weekends we go on trips to local mountains. They even have equipment here at school that you can rent if you don't have your own. Most students really get along well with the other people in the dorms. My dorm is really social, everyone leaves their doors open and there are always groups of people congregated in rooms. There are a lot of guest speakers on campus. Most of them are academic, but every now and then there are some really fun ones. There is a drama club and they put on plays every month or two i think. The plays are well attended too. Surprisingly, a lot of people end up dating someone here. Even though the women are only 30% of the student body, most of them are really outgoing, and a lot of the men aren't, so it really evens out. My closest friends are on my same floor in the dorm, or down the hall, and around a corner. If I am up late on a weeknight it is probably because I procrastinated my homework to hang out with friends earlier and then after midnight realized I still had stuff to do for the next day. I usually work in the lounge area of my dorm, because there are fewer distractions than in my room. Most of the traditions here at RPI revolve around Hockey or Greek life. There are parties every weekend and occasionally small ones during the week. Frats and sorrorities aren't important, but a lot of people are involved in greek life, it is very big on campus, although it is mostly the frats. Last weekend I went skiing on friday night then to a frat almost no sleep...woke up at 7am to go skiing again, and then relaxed Saturday night and watched tv and a movie with friends. On Sunday I worked on homework and hung out with friends. On a Saturday night if you don't drink, you can go see a movie on campus, or you can usually see a performance, or you can go to a sporting event/game, or you can catch a bus(free with student ID) into Albany and go out to dinner, or to a movie, or show.


I would have to say RPI Hockey is the most popular sport. Being Division I and very competitive, the hockey games are very crowded and full of cheering fans. I am involved in Cheerleading so I cheer at football games but I also support the hockey team by selling raffle tickets with my team. I met my closest friends through Greek Life. Joining a sorority was a great decisions for me becuase I met so many people I would not have normally met if I had not joined. Being involved in Greek Life I often do go out to fraternities both during the week and weekend to visit friends and hang out. Theme parties are my favorite where me and all my friends get to dress up.


Activities. Number one: video games. Not for me, personally, but that's the one I see the most often, from World of Warcraft to Metroid Corruption to some version of the Legend of Zelda to Super Smash Brothers...what's the new one coming out? Brawl? Anyway, aside from that, there's a lot to do at RPI. My favorite is the Tae Kwon Do club. Everyone there is so nice, and so encouraging, even though I've never had experience with martial arts I feel like I belong there. It's just a lot of fun. As the night goes on, most people get to work studying...usually in groups. This makes it harder to focus but a lot more fun, so studying doesn't get too tedious. And, when it's the weekend and we're not all working, we can go to the DCC and see a movie--it's $2.50 and they even have midnight showings, so you can have the evening to do whatever and still go see a movie.


GROUND ZERO is a music venue on campus that ROCKS. There's also RPI Hockey, though the crowd tends to be more interesting nowadays than the game. Some dorms have an open-door policy, other's don't. Athletic events are typically unpopular- hockey being the exception. We have guests from other colleges and industry tycoons, a comedy group or two, a "playhouse" (that's theater) with a whole frat dedicated to it... a movie theater... we got activities covered. Dating can be tough. Where do you take your date in Troy? The pizzeria? And where are you going to find a date? I met my closest friends in freshman year. We were on the same floor, and either had compatible personalities or an overwhelming number of shared interests, usually both. I've got a lot of friends. At 2AM on Tuesday, I'm either doing homework, sleeping, or burning some midnight oil on an evil scientist type of project. Annual traditions include the Big Red Freakout (a hockey fan event), the walk for cancer, GM week (where we hold union elections), and a few other neat events. Family orientation day counts, I guess. I don't do frats. A lot of other people do, though, so, whatever boats your float. Last weekend I chilled out, prepared for an interview and acted as a host for my visiting parents.


You will probably hear near the top of any promotional material or speeches the number of clubs we have. It's a big number, to be sure. But what no one ever mentions is the dirty little secret that a lot of these clubs exist primarily as resume material. So that's what that "look at all our clubs!" nonsense is all about. Honestly, there is not a lot of stuff to do at RPI. In a sense, RPI itself does the best it can in this regard - the issue is the surrounding area. It is a wasteland. Don't let anyone tell you that the Capital District is underrated. They are wrong. It is not underrated. I've been "giving it a chance" my entire time here, and it has fallen flat at every opportunity. So that means "things to do" must grow out of the RPI student body itself. If you read what I wrote above about the RPI student body, you should have a growing sense of dread right now. In general, intellectually and spiritually unambitious rich white kids only know one way to have fun, and that explains why something absurd like 40% of our student body is greek. We have around 20 social fraternities, and you can't tell their rush calendars apart. I will say that it should be possible, if you work your ass off, to find enough stimulating activities to fill up your time. The problem is that the school culture as a whole doesn't value these things, so they will never permeate your life here. You will have to seek them out and it will be a chore. As I've stated, most students solve this problem by being boring and not caring.


The Union 200 is a phrase that is often used to describe the limited amount of people on campus that are involved. I think this is completely true. I find that I have been taking on roles because nobody else wants to. Clubs are dying from that as well. The only athletic event that is popular is Men's Hockey. We do not give much positive reinforcement. When the RPI team misses a shot, we groan. The stadium also gets quiet when we fall behind. We need to stick behind the team no matter what. How would you feel if you were getting booed by YOUR HOME CROWD!!!!!!!! Fraternities and sororities are unfortunately the most attended events at RPI. Not going to lie. I feel that is really sad because there is definitely much better things that you could be doing than getting wasted. Anyone who enters this realm should really beware, because the next step for you is Alcoholics Anonymous.


Most freshmen students in dorms leave their dorms open during the first few weeks and they are really enthusiastic to meet new people. As far as other class years go, the doors generally stay closed.


The social scene is getting worse and worse, thanks to Shirley Ann Jackson's curtailing of Greek events. Because of the neighborhood and the general surroundings, the social scene was centered around fraternities, with 30% of students going Greek. There are fraternity scenes for everyone- from your typical jocks to engineers to video gamers to social outcasts. Recently, Jackson has been trying to cut down on Greek life, leaving students with nowhere else to go. This has stirred a controversy among students, who are generally disgruntled about the poor social aspects of RPI.


RPI is a normal college campus with the full range of things to do both on and off campus. There are the frat parties and things of that nature that you can go to, or you can just hang out in your room. A big place that students go hang out is the Crossgates Mall, which is a ten minute drive from RPI. RPI is your typical college with plenty of things to do. The one thing that I am involved with at RPI is Judo Club. Of all the martial arts classes offered at RPI, Judo has the best sensei. I tried a few of the other martial art classes, but Judo is the best. I highly recommend coming to a few Judo classes, its a great workout and a great place to meet friends. Since the Judo club is only 15 people, we are very close knit group.


The dating scene at RPI is pretty poor, since it's less than 1/3 female. However, I feel that a lot of guys like to use this as an excuse for not having dated anyone. There are times when this certainly works against you, but overall I'm not always the most outgoing person in the world but I haven't had many problems meeting girls. In the dorms some people leave their doors open and others don't - it really depends on the person. Sometimes you'll get a community that doesn't even know it's neighbor's name, and other times you'll find a group of friends that spans an entire floor. It can be very hit or miss.


The biggest club on campus is the Ski and Snowboard club which organizes ski and snowboard trips to local mountains thoughout the winter season. We also have a Division 1 hockey team, which is the major sporting events on campus. We also have a relatively big greek life, which is popular with both sexes. I started RPI Swim Club my sophmore year, we are a club that meets twice a week to run swim practices for students who want to swim, learn how to swim and to play around in the pool. My other president and treasurer and I have all swam competitively since we were young and swam in high school; I swam at RPI for a year as well. We have on average about 20 people show up for swim practice. We play games and have fun too! When i lived in a dorm freshman year people on my floor kept their doors open for the first semester then second semester they were always closed. This seems to be true in the other dorm rooms, but generally the doors were always unlocked if people were in so you just opened a door to find someone. Hockey games are the big sporting events, and some of the theatre events can be big as well, especially the singing groups. My closest friends are my roommates and housemates, but next to them the people I am friends with I meet througha friend in her dorm. I am still best friends with people i met within the first week of being at RPI. The dating scene at RPI is difficult if you are a guy, there is a 4:1 ratio of guys to girls which makes it a little hard to find a date. But if you branch out and meet lots of people its easier. If I am awake at 2am on a tuesday night usually i am doing homework or partying. However, that rarely happens and i am usually in bed by 1. Every year there are 3 major events at RPI, one is fall rush for the fraternities. Its free food for all, chilling out in the sunshine and relaxing and meeting new people. Great way to get back into the school year. Two is GM week (Grand Marshall Week) which is where the student bodies votes for its president. During the week there are many different club based events that you can watch or participate in. There is also no class on wednesday and free food and a little carnival. The week is usually filled with students partying and enjoying a week of traditions, from different events to social events with the frats. There is fireworks on the friday night when the annouce the next GM! The third event of the year is Big Red Freakout which is a big hockey game event and impossible to get tickets for, the nice thing about Big Red Freakout even if you don't go to the hockey game the dinning hall has great food and there are big parties afterwards. Friday's and Saturday nights are big party nights at RPI. Parties are hosted by different clubs and organizations and frats. If you want to party its not hard to find one. Weekends that don't envolve drinking are either nights in, watching a movie or playing video games. Other things to do are go to the movies, or the local bowling alley. RPI doesn't really offer much else to do on saturday nights that doesn't evolve partying in some degree.


RPI kids do not like music. In general, kids here do not enjoy going to concerts for fun. I am a member of UPAC Concerts, and we put on a lot of shows, with minimal turn out. This year is nice because we got a field house show: The honda civic tour with Panic at the Disco. A lot of people will go to that.


RPI is all about frat life at night. And if you are 21 downtown troy has a lot of great bars at night. Most people party on weekends only, but if you want to go out every day of the week there's always something going on.


Depending on which freshman dorm you're in, people can be either very outgoing or completely antisocial. Barton is the most antisocial dorm ever, but some of the other ones are fun. You'll meet people in classes, at Commons and Sage dining halls, and during those awful hall activities you do throughout the year. I met some of my best friends through classes and going out. Greek life is pretty popular; there's somewhere in the neighborhood of like 30 fraternities and like 5 sororities. However, I'm not involved in Greek life but I'm still very social. If you're not a drinker, you can go watch movies on campus (and yes, they are pretty new releases), or catch a show in the Union or something. There's also a games room and stuff too. Plus, Crossgates is right nearby so you can go watch a movie or grab dinner out or go shopping.


This is the one area I would imporve on at RPI. Most of the social life is greek. Not to much to do if you are not greek.


Besides the people, the best thing about RPI is that there’s always something to do on and around campus. There are more clubs on campus than anyone could ever be a part of, and the Capital region gives you a lot of options for ways to spend your weekend. Even if you don’t have a car, you’ll usually be able to find a bus that will take you to where you need to go, and it’s not hard to find someone that will give you a ride either. Crossgates mall is one of the bigger malls in the Northeast, and a lot of people will go there and the surrounding area since it’s so big commercially. There are also a lot of concert venues nearby, like the Times Union Center, the SPAC, Northern Lights, or Revolution Hall right down in Troy. Also, RPI usually puts on one concert a year in the Houston Field House, where the hockey team plays. This year we have Panic! At The Disco and Motion City Soundtrack, among others. For clubs, there are something like 150 of them for you to join. Most of these get some sort of funding from the Rensselaer Union through the activity fee, so most of them are also free to join/participate in. If you can’t find something that strikes your fancy in those 150 clubs, the Union welcomes you to create your own. If enough people share your interest, it’s likely that you’ll be able to make a club that will be around for a long time. My freshman roommate created the racquetball club here, and it still has strong membership now even after he graduated. About 30% of the students here participate in Greek life, but you don’t need to be a member of a frat to get the full experience of RPI. It’s not like people in frats won’t talk to you if you aren’t in one, relations are generally very good between those in Greek life and those not. It’s just another thing that they do, as opposed to the only thing that they do. People definitely drink on campus, but no one will ever force you to drink. People are generally pretty tolerant of not drinking around here, as they figure it’s just more for them if you don’t drink. Partying usually happens on the weekends, both on campus and downtown, but you can find something going on most days if you’re looking hard enough (or willing to host). People at RPI don’t have as much of a reputation for partying as other schools because the course load doesn’t usually permit it as much. When we’re not studying, we do know how to have a good time, though.


There are supposedly over 150 extracurricular activities on campus, but most of us have never heard of a good number of them. However, even the smallest clubs have a few devotees, and if you look hard enough, you're sure to find something that interests you. If you really can't find a club you like, then there's probably some kind of event going on on hosted by one of the clubs, or one of the fraternities or sororities, that would be fun. Greek life has been one of biggest recent controversies on campus, with Shirley Ann Jackson wanting to ban Greek life from campus after a series of incidents involving drugs and alcohol. However, after many alumni voiced their opinion to retract their financial support for the school, as well as an outcry from then-current Greek students, the decision didn't go through and Greek life carried on. One of the interesting things about RPI is the male to female ratio, which is still about 3:1, though the current freshman class has 31% women, beating out my class' former record of 29%. There's a slew of jokes about how easy the girls have it, but truthfully, it's just like any other school, and just because there are more men than women doesn't mean we'll want those particular men more! It's also interesting because that seems to exclude those who date people from other schools, as many I know do (having carried over a relationship from high school, transferring, or just meeting someone from elsewhere at an event). I'm involved in two extracurriculars, RenXchange and racquetball. RenXchange is probably one of the most interesting opportunities on campus, because not only do you get to interact with a lot of students, but you also get to talk to alumni about their experiences at RPI (and believe me, some of them LOVE talking about their times here!).

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