On August 21st, a solar eclipse will cross the North American continent from ocean to ocean for the first time since 1918. From Rochester, a partial eclipse will be seen where 70 percent of the sun will be covered starting at a around 1:14pm and ending at 3:52pm according to the Rochester Museum Science Center (RMSC). While we know how animals might react to the eclipse, it is important to understand how we can prepare ourselves for this magnificent event.
Cities are taking major precaution in light of the eclipse. One school in Pennsylvania is cancelling recess, roads are being closed in Georgia, and businesses all across the country are shutting down for the day. While these actions may seem severe, it’s all in effort to encourage viewers to take the proper time to prepare and enjoy.
Looking directly at the sun is never a good idea. One of the best ways to protect your eyes and enjoy the sight is to invest in Solar Eclipse Glasses. Getting a pair is as easy as shopping at your local Walmart, Best Buy, Lowe’s and other retail chains and public resources. You can also pick up a pair at RMSC for a suggestion donation of $2, but hurry because they are running out quick!
If you can’t get your hands on those glasses, you can easily create a paper projector that allows you to view the shadows indirectly. Whichever method you intend to choose, be sure to protect your eyes, view in a safe location, and enjoy.
SITO, the Student IT Office, is based out of a small office tucked away in a back corner of the Carey Building. There, a group of RIT students are working on a project far more important than their cramped office would let on. These are the people who are building and improving Tiger Center, RIT’s new student portal. There’s a good chance you have already used Tiger Center, especially if you started at RIT after the 2014/15 school year. You might have used it to enroll in classes, check for final grades, or used the new Dining Services account balance function.
These are functions previously exclusive to SIS and eServices. While Tiger Center is pushing to be a new, improved student portal, it is by no means replacing SIS or eServices. “We want to make Tiger Center more for everyday use,” said Alana Bichutsky, a SITO team member. SIS and eServices will remain in place for major things like official transcripts and finances, whereas Tiger Center will be a quick one stop shop for information you need on the go, like dining hours, class schedule, and more.
Who is the team responsible for all of this, anyway? This mystery group of people have been working to improve a system RIT students will use for years to come. Why haven’t you heard of them before? It’s not surprising you haven’t, since SITO is a behind the scenes operation.
SITO is a rotating group of co-op students from various backgrounds ranging from Software Engineering to Business Management. While the team has a few faculty and staff advisors, these employeestake a hands off approach to the team. “It’s a lot different than a lot of the co-ops for these majors,” said Kim Sowers, one of the SITO staff advisors, “because the students are self managed.”
This means the students set most of their agenda for their semester co-op. The current team consists of Alana Bichutsky, Scott Baron, David Egan, Kyle Scagnelli, and Jillian Duma. Bichutsky the team’s Business Analyst, decides the direction of the marketing. Duma, its Designer, decides what the UI is going to look like. Baron, Scagnelli, and Egan, the project’s current Web Developers, get free reign with the code. This is not to say they are entirely on their own (or not held accountable, for that matter), since the co-op team always has the staff advisors to draw on. These staff members love working with the student team, so there is a mutual respect. This whole project is a collaboration with the students on the front line and the staff in the background.
Since we mentioned it was a co-op position, allow me to answer the question I’m sure many of you are about to ask. Yes, they are hiring. SITO currently has a full staff for Fall 2017, but they are looking for co-ops for Spring and Summer 2018. So get those resumes ready, kids, because fall semester is coming up sooner than you think. A side note, speaking as someone who has worked a co-op on campus, it’s a best of both worlds situation. You can stay in your RIT Housing, stay close to all your friends, and you can actually afford to do all the stuff you want to as a college student.
The student team seems to agree that SITO is a worthwhile endeavor and a great job. It has a close knit group and a great deal of autonomy. These factors drew the current team to working for SITO. “At my last co-op, I worked at a huge Fortune 500 company,” said Bichutsky, “I knew I wanted work in a small company feel, so SITO was the perfect place, because I knew I’d end up working with four or five people closely and with great mentors here at RIT.” The fact that these students are working independently on a major RIT project is also a major draw. “I really enjoy actually having ownership of the product I’m working on,”said Egan, “I have previous co-op experience as well and I never really got to see what came out of my work.” He added, “I can actually see my work and use it.”
Even though it is called the Student IT Office, it is not like ResNet or ITS. So, don’t show up at the office with a busted laptop. The team was born shortly after the launch of SIS in 2012 out of a desire to improve the student experience at RIT. The new SIS system, the one we know today, was designed to replace a legacy mainframe system. At a campus packed with thousands of tech majors, many students were unhappy with it. SITO was created to provide students not only with an opportunity to provide insight into how they wanted to interact with SIS, but to also provide students the opportunity to develop software to be used by other students based on student suggestions.
Each team since then has taken their turn improving the system as a whole. Working a semester at a time, these student teams add to the platform in their own ways. Some teams will add obvious front end features, such as the Dining Services hours or improved user interfaces. Others will build the infrastructure of the site that may be a little less obvious to the user, but improve the user experience nonetheless. This team of students has been, by all accounts, a success at this. So much so, that there is a desire in the administration to create more such student teams to tackle big problems.
The SITO team agrees wholeheartedly that more student teams are a good thing for RIT. “I feel like we’re on the forefront,” said Baron, adding that he believes that, “one successful SITO semester after another will lead to more student teams.” The general consensus in the room was that this idea of a student team building a student-facing product gives the University the ability to not only solve problems, but to better educate students.
Working in such a diverse team allows SITO to not only create an exceptional product, but to grow as professionals. RIT could have easily found a veteran group of full time web developers to build the platform. However, that’s not the point of the office. The team is there to give RIT students a chance for a seat at the table, and more importantly, learn. Working as an interdisciplinary team while still in school allows these students to experience a slice of the working world. “I think it’s a great experience to be working with other disciplines,” said Duma, “because when you go to a company, you’re not gonna be working with people who are just [your discipline].” This was a sentiment echoed by Scagnelli, who said “It’s great to be with so many disciplines in one small little area, you get to learn more things like business and design instead of just strictly [web] development.”
Of course, when you put a team of students in a room with a project and say go, their tendency is to tinker. They want to see what’s under the hood of the project and will come up with creative ways to test the program’s resilience to make sure the program can handle whatever is thrown at it. One of the ways that this manifests itself is through one or two easter eggs. One was a reference to the Star Wars series, accessible by entering the Konami Code on your keyboard after logging in.
The SITO team may not receive a ton of glory, but they are doing important work for the RIT community and paving the way for future student teams. The model seems to be working out quite well. Giving them the ability to work on a student team like SITO or even Behind the Bricks allows them the opportunity to do so. What better classroom than a real team, with a real project and real users?
Among other things, July is National Grilling month. You can see why – long days, amazing weather, and of course the Fourth of July. If you ask me, grilling is nothing short of an art form. You need practice, patience and most importantly having the right tools for the job. You can make due, but grilling is one of those things that when it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
There are a few things that you’ll need no matter what kind of grill you are using:
Steel spatula: When it comes to grilling, you can expect higher heats that what you would get on a stovetop. This makes it important to have a steel spatula without any plastic coating, which could melt.
Grill brush: An often neglected part of grilling is keeping the grill clean. There’s nothing worse then opening up a grill only to find a crust of month old charred beef on it. So be a sport and make sure to clean off the grill when you finish.
Steel tongs: Some things, like hot dogs, bratwurst, or vegetables, are difficult to get with a spatula
Food thermometer: A grill is inherently less precise than an oven. It’s always a good idea to check meats you put on the grill before eating them.
Apron (optional): Preferably with a dad joke or pun written on it.
Finding a Grill
If you live on campus, you are not allowed to bring your own grill with you. However, charcoal grills open to all students are located throughout Perkins, Colony, University Commons, and near the Residence Halls. There are no restrictions on when you use them, just be courteous with noise levels and remember to clean off the grill when you finish.
If you are off campus, make sure to talk with your landlord or other housing representative about what you can and cannot have. A grill may already be provided. If you need to purchase one yourself, most hardware stores carry several models of grills.
Operating a Charcoal Grill
If you are used to a propane grill, it’s always a good idea to know how to use a charcoal grill. Charcoal grills are commonly used in parks and other public places. More importantly, these are the grills you will have access to on campus.
Get the Materials
Your first step is to go out and get the stuff you need to actually light the grill. You’ll need several things.
a bag of charcoal
A long grill lighter
a poking stick
possibly lighter fluid (I say possibly need lighter fluid because you can buy easy-light pre treated charcoal
All these materials save the poking stick are available at Wegmans or the hardware store. The stick can come from the woods.
It’s always a good idea to have a bucket of water handy, just in case.
2. Find your grill
Grills on campus are located near Grace Watson Hall and Res Hall B as well as in all RIT apartment complexes.
3. Clean the grill
Take your grill brush or your steel spatula and THOROUGHLY scrape down the grate. You don’t need to operate on it and the heat will kill any and all germs, but crusty old meat is just nasty on its own.
4. Add charcoal
You’re going to want a roughly pyramid-shaped mound of charcoal to start out. You will need to spread it out once it is lit.
5. Light the charcoal
With pre-treated charcoal, all you need to do is drop in a match in and stand back. With untreated charcoal, you are going to want to liberally apply lighter fluid to the pile of charcoal, with particular focus on the center of the pile. From there, light the pile and stand back. The lighter fluid is extremely volatile, so it will burn vigorously.
If you can’t get the charcoal lit on the first try, reapply lighter fluid and repeat the process.
6. Let the charcoal burn
The charcoal will burn like a campfire for some time once lit. This is normal, you just need to wait it out. You know the charcoal is ready when the flames die down and the coals glow red.
7. Spread the charcoal
Take your poking stick and spread the charcoal evenly across the grill. This will ensure what you are cooking gets even heat.
8. Begin Grilling!
9. Add more charcoal when necessary.
Once you have these basics down, you are ready to grill! Just find a recipe and grab some friends, and enjoy the summer!
After much anticipation, Uber and Lyft will be available in Rochester starting 12:01 am on Thursday, June 29th, 2017. With limited transportation options available to RIT students, this service is one that should be highly taken advantage of. To become familiar with the two ride hailing companies, here’s what you need to know: How does it work? To gain access to Uber or Lyft, you have to download an app to your smartphone. The Uber and Lyft apps are available for free download in the Apple and Google Play app stores. Once you open the app and enter your information, you plug in the address of where you want to go and summon a ride. From there, you’ll be able to see the price of your trip before you accept it. Next, you wait. If your driver has any difficulties locating you, you have the ability to text or call them to tell them exactly where you are. Once in the car, sit back and enjoy the ride.
Ride hailing etiquette While ride hailing is an easy option for travel, make sure the feeling is reciprocal by being a good passenger. Uber offers drivers the option to give you a Passenger Rating. These ratings come in handy for drivers when identifying who to pick up. The better your rating, the more likely you are to get picked up. Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide offers a comprehensive list of proper etiquette when using a ride hailing service. Here are some noteworthy ones:
Be Timely: Order your ride when you’re 100% ready to go. The driver may be around the corner, so don’t make them or other passengers wait. Driver Confirmation: Confirm the driver’s name, face, vehicle and license number before entering the vehicle. Speak Up: Share your thoughts politely if the driver is using a non-preferred route, driving too fast, etc. If they don’t listen, provide specific feedback. No Mess: No feet on the seat, eating, drinking alcohol or any beverage, smoking e-cigarettes, barfing, changing diapers or messy behavior. Take your trash with you. Tipping: Tipping for great service is the best way to show appreciation to your driver! Both services offer the ability to tip right from the app. Get out there, Tigers! Rochester is full of adventures just waiting for you.
The first thing you see when entering the Student Alumni Union (SAU) is a big rainbow flag with a panel besides it that states, “The Rainbow or Pride flag was designed in 1978 by Gilbert Baker as a symbol of unity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. This flag is raised to honor past, present, and future gender and sexual minorities at RIT, as well as the allies who support them.”
The Pride Flag installation in the SAU
As years progressed, this flag became a normal part of RIT life; greeting everyone who walked into the SAU with vibrant rainbow colors. It is the simple act of installing this flag that has spoken for RIT’s inclusive community, which was the vision Dr. Chris Henry Hinesley, the person who successfully led the Pride Project with the help of the RIT community.
Dr. Chris Henry Hinesley
The idea came to him after admiring the many flags that hang in the SAU in 2011. “I realized there wasn’t a Pride flag and started asking questions,” says Dr. Hinesley. The questions traveled, as many did not know how to answer such a question. This wasn’t something thought of before, but Dr. Hinesley persisted.
Eventually, this idea made it’s way to Carol Reed who streamlined it right to the Campus Aesthetics Committee. “It was perfect timing as the space was already going to be cleared,” mentioned Dr. Hinesley. He envisioned a small flag in a glass case to ensure it was protected from vandalism and theft, but the committee insisted on something bigger with no case.
In a time where LGBTQIA identities were accepted but still a difficult discussion, Dr. Hinesley worried about the response to this flag being put up. However, in the time since, he never heard anything bad about it. In fact, he’s known it to be a beneficial presence for current and future students. On the impact of students, Dr. Hinesley remembers, “students telling me when they saw the flag during campus visits, they immediately transferred or decided to come here.”
First visions of the Pride flag in the SAU
Since the flag has been installed, the LGBTQIA community at RIT has seen great change. A leader and an advocate, Dr. Hinesley finds himself busy working with departments across campus to ensure proper protocol is in place to respect the identity of students, faculty and staff. Adding preferred names into the system, creating gender inclusive bathrooms, and SafeZone training for over 1,000 people every year is just some of the ways RIT is creating a more inclusive environment for the community.
Throughout his time at RIT, Dr. Hinesley was most pleased by how supportive and open RIT is when it comes to implementing change that positively impacts LGBTQIA students. “There are a number of times where faculty and staff would approach me with questions to ensure they’re doing the right thing.” This attitude is what inspired the creation of Q Center Advisory Team (QCAT), where faculty from all across RIT can become more involved with the center. A complete list of those on the advisory can be found here.
As Pride Month continues, the flag in the SAU serves as a reminder to the kind of campus RIT is; one that strives for diversity and inclusiveness in its function and community.
June 21, the first official day of summer. With the first day of summer upon us, the Behind the Bricks team created the ultimate Summer bucket list for you to try and complete before the first day of the fall semester. We challenge you to try every single item out and track your progress using the hashtag #RITSummer. Good luck!
Eat at every dining location on campus
There are various dining locations that are open during the summer time at Rochester Institute of Technology. Whether you are craving a burrito, a gourmet cup of coffee, or a garbage plate, Dining Services has you covered. For a list of summer dining locations and their hours of operation, visit: https://www.rit.edu/fa/diningservices/hours-and-locations.
Try every Starbucks drink at Barnes and Noble in Park Point
The drink selection at Starbucks in Barnes and Noble in Park Point is endless, so it really will be a challenge to complete this by the end of summer! Whether you are interested in a frothy frappuccino or a refreshing cold tea, Starbucks is the place to go. While you’re visiting Starbucks, take a peek at the awesome summer deals going on in the apparel section of Barnes and Noble!
Volunteer at RIT FoodShare
RIT FoodShare is located at 113 Riverknoll, within the Apartment Area West office. FoodShare is constantly in need of volunteers. Open Monday-Saturday, stop in if you are looking for some volunteer work this summer! Check out https://www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/reslife/pages/foodshare for more information.
Count how many steps it takes you to walk the entire Quarter Mile
You can find this bullet on nearly every RIT bucket list out there, but hey, if you have the time, go for it! The Quarter Mile starts at the compass statue outside of Kate Gleason dorm building, and extends all the way to the infinity quad, just past the Wallace Center. The Quarter Mile is actually 0.41 miles long, not 0.25, so be prepared for a long walk!
Visit Rochester’s Public Market
The Rochester Public Market runs all 52 weeks of the year, and is a great way to embrace the culture of our campus city. RIT even has shuttles going out there some weekends! Running since 1905, the Public Market is held on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Whether you are interested in picking up some fresh produce, or getting off campus, the Public Market is for you. For more information, visit: http://www.cityofrochester.gov/publicmarket/.
Try every smoothie on Ultimate Smoothie Blendz (USB) menu
Who wouldn’t want to be constantly refreshed and cooled down by delicious smoothies? With greens and protein options available, there’s a smoothie that will satisfy whatever you are craving. Pick up a smoothie at Beanz, or Crossroads!
Get a new hairstyle at Shear Global
Starting the Fall semester with a new hairstyle is the perfect way to boost your confidence, and make an impression. Shear Global is open Monday through Friday, and accepts walk-ins. If you want a trim, a blowout, or a completely new hairstyle, Shear Global has you covered. The salon accepts Tiger Bucks as a form of payment. Check out their website for more detailed hours: https://www.rit.edu/fa/globalvillage/services/shear-global-salon.
Try every flavor of ice cream flavor at Ben and Jerry’s
With more than 60 flavors, this is sure to be a challenge to complete before the end of the summer. Ben and Jerry’s is located in the center of the Student Union next to Brick City Cafe, and across from Nathans Soup and Salad. Next time you pass through the SAU, stop and try a new flavor!
Go camping at Letchworth State Park
In need of a trip off campus? A 40 minute drive from RIT will take you to the “Grand Canyon of the East;” Letchworth State Park. The park has something for everyone including; kayak rentals, cabin rentals, bonfires, hiking, you name it. If you gather a group of friends for a weekend, the cost to rent a campsite is relatively inexpensive. Embrace the great outdoors while you can!
Go to a concert in the Rochester area
Rochester is packed with endless concert venues. If you are interested in a smaller venue, check out the upcoming concerts at Waterstreet Music Hall. Want something a little but bigger? Main Street Armory is for you. Even bigger? Blue Cross Arena hosts popular artists and bands all the time. Rochester also offers plenty of free concerts. If you want to stay close to campus, Park Point holds a free concert series during the summer months!
Skate at Frank Ritter Ice Arena
Although this isn’t something to do outdoors this summer, open skate at Frank Ritter Ice Arena is always an option for inexpensive fun. Open skate is offered year round, and summer is a perfect time to try it if you haven’t gotten a chance to during the academic year. Visit https://www.rit.edu/fa/arenas/ritter-arena/facility-hours for summer open skate hours.
Eat a garbage plate
This may not be the healthiest option, but garbage plates are a Rochester staple. Crossroads offers a Garbage Plate as an on campus option, but Nick Tahou’s and Henrietta Hots have THE authentic plates you have to try.
Visit Salsaritas for Taco Tuesday
Who wouldn’t want to celebrate Taco Tuesday? Visit Salsaritas on Tuesday for a meal deal. Grab yourself some loaded tacos, queso and chips, and head outside to take in the Rochester summer sun. Open on Tuesday’s from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Taco Tuesday is a great option for lunch or dinner!
Go for a swim in the pools in the Student Life Center
The multiple pools in the Student Life Center are often taken for granted by members of the RIT community. The SLC offers a lap pool with multiple diving boards, a recreation pool with a whirlpool, and a large hot tub. Cool off from the summer heat by stopping in the SLC for a quick dip! Check out https://www.rit.edu/~w-criw/schedule.php for updated hours.
Do you think we’re missing something from this list? Send your ideas here!
June is Men’s Health Month, and this week (6/12 – 6/18) is International Men’s Health Week! According to Menshealthmonth.org, one of the main goals of Men’s Health Week is, “to increase the physical and mental health of men so that they can live fuller and happier lives.”
In the spirit of that, here are some resources and places on campus that can help (any and all) Tigers stay healthy and fulfilled.
Student Life Center
RIT’s Hale-Andrews Student Life Center features any and all of the recreational, athletic, and wellness related resources you need. In the SLC you’ll find:
And that’s not even everything! Adjacent to the SLC you’ll find the Judson/Hale Aquatics Center and the Wiedman Fitness Center.
Let’s talk about the Wiedman Fitness Center. This two-story 16,000 square foot gym features a full range of selectorized machines, free weights, cardiovascular equipment, and a large stretching area. As an RIT student, you have unlimited (within open hours of course) access to this incredible fitness center, so why not use it! If you’re not sure where to start, or have never been to a gym before, you can schedule an appointment with one of the Fitness Center Supervisors. You can learn more about this free service, as well as nutrition education, personal training, and other fitness services here.
Healthy Eating (and Drinking!)
You can work that core all you want dude, just remember… “abs are made in the kitchen.”
Eating healthy takes a bit of habit forming (or breaking), but will improve your health and overall well-being in the long run. Many people think that they’re all set with their health goals for the week because they hit the gym a couple times. Making sure to consume “good” food and drink is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
What is “good” food?
Be sure you’re getting enough protein and fiber, eating lots of greens, consuming good fats (like avocado and olive oil), and limiting sugar intake. Empty carbs, like cookies and Doritos might make you feel happy, but they won’t benefit your health in any way (especially if you’re trying to lose weight)! Everything in moderation of course, it’s okay to enjoy yourself and satisfy your sweet tooth every once in awhile.
Plan out your trips to Wegmans (because what other grocery store is there?) ahead of time. Create a shopping list that includes broccoli and excludes Mountain Dew!
Plan your meals ahead of time too. It’ll make it easier to purchase healthier choices. You can also practice financial wellness at the grocery store and limit your spending! Make sure you check out the Market at Global Village for organic, local, ethnic, fair trade, and sustainable foods and beverages.
Another important note: don’t drink your calories. Soda and other sugary beverages contain large amounts of sugar and other unhealthy syrups in each bottle or can. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men. An average can of Coke contains 7 teaspoons (35 grams) of added sugar. If you’re drinking a few sodas or other sugary drinks every day, try changing it up. Stick with water, milk or natural, no-sugar-added juices.
Taking care of your body is important, but never forget your mind. Mental health is an often overlooked part of wellness, and directly contributes to your success in college.
If you feel like you’re struggling with internal problems, or just need someone to talk to, be sure to find out more about Tigers Care. Housed in the Office of Student Affairs, Tigers Care is an RIT program that focuses on reaching out to those who are facing challenges and directs them to helpful resources on campus. It’s also about bringing people together through various programs and activities, to foster greater understanding and support.
College, if anything, is stressful. Effectively managing your stress goes hand in hand with a healthy diet and exercise. Working out can help take your mind off the massive test you have at the end of the week, and help to relieve some of that emotional strain from that girl who just won’t text you back. Most importantly, all work and no play only exacerbates stress levels. Take some time to treat yourself, relax, or hang out with friends. Everybody needs time to recuperate and socialize.
Keep your physical health in check and your mental health will follow!
As an RIT student, you are required to take a minimum of two wellness courses over the course of your education. The Center for Wellness Education is divided into 8 disciplines:
Health & Wellness Seminars (WHWS)
Health & Life Support (WHLS)
Outdoor Education (WINT)
Martial Arts (WMAR)
Within these 8 categories, RIT offers over 550 courses during the academic year! These include physical and exercise based courses like: Extreme Fitness, Functional Yoga and Indoor Cycling, to more mental and healthy lifestyle based courses like: Financial Fitness, Friends, Foes and Lovers, How to Become Smoke Free, and Stress Management. All of these courses can help you take steps towards a healthier lifestyle, and give you a baseline for your fitness and wellness goals.
Oh, don’t forget to try Swing Dance… and Ninja Training.
RIT’s Better Me program is a one-stop-shop for all your health related needs on campus. They offer various fitness programs and classes, nutrition counseling, and even cooking classes! The Better Me initiative is mainly focused on RIT faculty and staff. If you’re a staff member looking to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle but aren’t sure where to start, make sure to check out all that Better Me has to offer.