Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Some things are hard to talk about, but need to be discussed. A lot of love is in the air post-Valentine’s Day, but it is important to shed some light on abusive relationships. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month: it is important to know what exactly that means and how to handle a situation if it arises.

According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Teen Dating Violence (TDV) is “a pattern of abuse or threat of abuse against teenage dating partners, occurring in different forms, including verbal, emotional, physical, sexual and digital.” There are a lot of cases of TDV that aren’t reported or even recognized. As stated in the definition, TDV can come in many shapes and forms, which is partially why it is sometimes hard to identify. The line of claiming a relationship is abusive can be blurry; however, if it feels wrong, it is wrong.

For clarification, here are only a few amongst many examples of TDV:

  • Hitting, shoving, kicking, or any other form of physical violence
  • Non-consensual sexual activity of any form, including kissing and touching
  • Abusive talking, stalking, controlling behavior, or any other forms of emotional harm

Sadly, TDV can end in self-destructive behavior. It is easy to let a relationship and your feelings spiral out of control, but there are many resources available to help you whether you just want to casually talk about your situation, keep it anonymous, or report a case of TDV.

As part of a statewide “Enough is Enough” law, RIT’s office of Title IX does a Title IX Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey every other year, to “monitor trends and identify issues that may be occurring on campus.” The online survey will only take about 25 minutes. In the survey you will be able to anonymously share your “experiences with gender-based misconduct including sexual harassment and discrimination, sexual violence and more.” Take the survey now, it closes on March 4.

Always remember: the only reason to stay with a partner is because they make you happy. A partner should support you, help you grow, and should be selfless and kind. If you have a gut feeling something isn’t right, you should treat your feelings seriously; no matter the context of the situation or the opinions of others. Although this month is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, we should all be considerate of this issue all the time.

Love Yourself this Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day here at Rochester Institute of Technology, and you don’t have a special someone to spend it with. Don’t fret, spend this February 14th loving yourself, and engaging in self care. We’ve put together a list of ways to engage in self-love this Valentine’s Day!

Practice mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is one of the best ways to relax, and put your mind at ease. Practicing mindfulness can be done in a variety of ways. Whether you find a calm and quiet place on campus to sit and reflect, or lay down on your bed and think about life, mindfulness can be achieved by anyone!

Clean out your closet

Cleaning out your closet is an easy way to feel refreshed, and rejuvenated. While people constantly stress the importance about keeping your space clean, many forget that this includes your closet! For most of us, our closets act as a place where we throw stuff that we don’t know what to do with. Take today to clean yours out.

Treat yourself

If there is one day that you can justify treating yourself, it’s Valentine’s Day! Go get a massage, eat some chocolate, or binge-watch one of your favorite shows on Netflix. Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to do all of these things, so go ahead, and treat yourself!

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Spend time with your friends

If you don’t have a special someone this Valentine’s Day, fill the day with other special people in your life. Friends are a great way to distract yourself from negative thoughts. So this Valentine’s Day, go out to eat or see a movie with some friends!

Bake something

Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to bake something! What’re you craving? Brownies? Cupcakes? A cake? There are plenty of places here at RIT where you can buy ingredients. Visit Crossroads, the Corner Store, or the Market at Global Village to find everything you may need.

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Light a candle (as long as you’re off campus!)

Lighting candles is perfect for aroma therapy, or for setting a calming ambiance in your immediate environment. Candles are a great way to de-stress, and unwind. Purchase candles at Shop One, located in the Global Village Plaza. Just make sure that if you light candles, you are not in on-campus housing!

Turn off social media

Turning off social media, for at least a day, can be extremely refreshing. It’s amazing how much time you save when you aren’t staring at a screen! Use the time you save reading a book instead.

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Visit Henry’s

Henry’s is a dining location located on the fourth floor of Eastman. Many RIT students and faculty don’t even know that this dining location exists! Every Valentine’s Day Henry’s hosts a three-course festive meal, and the best part, they accept dining dollars! Use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to indulge in a gourmet meal right here on campus.

Do something nice for another person/people

Doing something nice for another person can be done any day, at any time. Whether you volunteer somewhere on Valentine’s Day, buy a friend a cup of coffee, or compliment a stranger, you’ll immediately feel the gratification from being kind to another!

Get in a good workout

Want to know what will put you in a good mood? Releasing some endorphins at the Student Life Center! The SLC will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, so if you have time, swing by for a quick workout!

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As Valentine’s Day approaches, don’t feel like you need a special someone to have an amazing day. Putting some time aside for yourself is extremely important to do everyday, but February 14th is the perfect excuse to try it out! Have a guilt-free day as you engage in your own self-love!

New Year, New You!

It’s officially 2018, Rochester Institute of Technology! Along with the new year comes new year resolutions. While some of us have set goals to study more and procrastinate less, some of us have set goals to be the healthiest version of ourselves in 2018. Our team here at Behind the Bricks is here to support your health goals, and provide you with a guide to help keep you on track!

Student Life Center

The Hale-Andrews Student Life Center (SLC) is available to all RIT students. The building offers a wide range of facilities, so everyone can find something they enjoy. While the Wiedman Fitness Center is packed with cardio machines, weight training equipment, and friendly staff to help you, going to the gym isn’t the only option for getting healthy. The Judson/Hale Aquatics Center hosts open swim times in which the RIT community is welcome to enjoy the lap pool, hot tub, and whirlpool. The Gordon Field House (attached the the SLC) has three large courts available for student use if prior reservations haven’t been made. You can rent various kinds of equipment from the cage for whatever you want to play! There are also racquetball courts, squash courts, outdoor tennis courts, and an outdoor turf available for use. Is it too cold for you to run the loop of campus outside? Don’t worry. The SLC has an elevated running track above the basketball courts for you to take advantage of! As you can see, there are countless options available to RIT students when it comes to getting active. Make your 2018 New Years Resolution to get up, and get active! For facility hours and more information, please visit the Hale-Andrews Student Life Center website.

Dining Services

When it comes to being healthy, the food you put into your body is just as important as getting active. RIT Dining Services offers healthy alternatives at all dining locations for students who have made being healthy their 2018 New Years resolution. Gracie’s offers “Simply Eats” which is allergen friendly, and gluten free. Aside from the meat, all other options are vegan. Moving onto Brick City Cafe (located in the Student Alumni Union), the salad bar located in the middle is always available to students. In the mornings it is filled with fresh fruit and yogurt options, and in the afternoon it is filled with endless salad toppings. After filling your container, just bring it to the cashier to be weighed. Crossroads (located in Global Village) offers pre-packed salads for students who are on the go, but still want a healthy option. The sub line also offers wheat options for all subs. Across the courtyard from Crossroads in Salsaritas. Now before you think, “How can you eat healthy at Salsaritas?” just remember that anything is possible! When ordering, skip the burrito and tortilla chips and opt for a salad. The base of your meal will be lettuce instead of rice, and you can pass on the cheese and sour cream. Voila! Now you have a healthy burrito bowl alternative. Lastly, many people don’t realize how much added sugar and calories are in many specialty coffee drinks. All coffee shops on campus offer almond milk and soy milk alternatives for those who do not want dairy.

Open Skate

One last way to get active this new year is by attending Public Open Skate and the Frank Ritter Ice Arena. It’s only $2.00 for RIT students to attend, and $3.00 to rent skates. Open Skate is the perfect place to grab some friends (from on or off RIT campus)  and have some fun, while being active! Check out https://www.rit.edu/fa/arenas/ritter-arena/public-skate for more information regarding pricing, hours, and rink location.

RIT offers all of the support you need to be healthy this year. From countless ways to get your body moving, and endless healthy alternatives at dining locations across campus, it’s up to you to make a healthy lifestyle change! Use the new year as an excuse to get back on track, and conquer your 2018 health goals!

5 Ways to Stay Healthy at RIT

With the holidays coming up, RIT students and faculty returning home for Thanksgiving are ready for some home-cooked meals and relaxing before the few weeks before finals. The last few weeks can be quite hectic! Sometimes students who are surrounded by constant classes, studying, homework, meetings, and maintaining a relative social life, can forget to retain a healthy lifestyle. Some students don’t believe in the need to develop healthy living styles now – but eating ramen and microwavable mac and cheese while pulling all nighters may have severe consequences to your health. Developing healthy habits in your life as a college student will only make it easier to stay healthy throughout your life. Here are five tips to stay healthy at RIT!

1. Exercise – There are plenty of ways to get exercise on campus and walking the quarter mile every day is a good start. However, the Wiedman Fitness Center in Hale-Andrews Student Life Center offers a seven day schedule to all RIT students. Even just working out for half an hour a day could improve your overall health! Hale-Andrews also offers a five multi-purpose courts, a dance and aerobics studio, an elevated 1/8 mile running track, conference and classroom space – you can even go for a swim in the Judson/Hale Aquatics Center! Check here for the hours to all the facilities provided around campus including Wiedman Fitness Center, the Judson/Hale Aquatics Center, the Red Barn, and more!

2. Eat right – Probably one of the easiest ways to stay healthy and yet a bit difficult in the life of a busy college student. You might not realize your intake of food and how it’s affecting you! A lot of college students fail to eat right – why else would everyone know the definition of the “freshman 15”? Even after freshman year, some students still struggle with maintaining a healthy diet and RIT has many healthy options at every corner of its food and dining services.

Though there is always a large availability of food here on campus – Gracie’s, The Commons, and more –  with the help of RIT’s Dining Services’ website, students can see the vast majority of healthy options that their college has to offer – with even more guidance on nutrition labelling!

3. Get on a good sleep schedule – All nighters are quite common on a college campus. Seeing students walking to class half-asleep is no fun, and teachers don’t want you to fall asleep in their classes (but some of us have done it!) All nighters are tempting when cramming for a test when the stress and anxiety levels are running high. That weekend to celebrate, you might just go stay out late until the early morning hours having fun with your friends. The goal here is to try to not make that a habit. Sure we all have like to have fun and we all sometimes have to cram for a test, but trying to make a decent sleep schedule is hard for a lot of college students. Students aresaid to need at least seven to nine hours of sleep at night. You might be thinking that there is no way you’d ever get that much sleep based on your homework and cram sessions, but sleep deprivation can lead to decreased brain function, fatigue, headaches and weight loss or gain. Losing out on a good night’s sleep is never the right answer! Instead, try to stay on a schedule by avoiding caffeinated drinks before bed. Keep track of the hours you sleep with an app on your phone which can help you regulate your nightly routines. Best of all, even if you’re feeling tired during the day – check out RIT’s own Nap Map to find out the best place on campus to take a short power nap to help you get through the day!

4. Hydrate – Drink your water! It’s a sentence we’ve heard plenty of times yet many choose those caffeinated and sugary drinks to fuel them throughout the day. However, water replenishes your body – keeping you more focused and energized throughout the day. All of that sugar and caffeine can wear your body down, making it more difficult to focus and stay awake as it only gives your short bursts of energy. Drinking water will improve your overall health and keep you moving throughout your day so find a reusable water bottle and take it to class!

5. Relax – Probably the most difficult thing to do as a college student. Relaxing never seems to be an option but the truth is, is that you need to take moments to just breath. Taking breaks and having downtime is essential to staying healthy. If you’re stressed from studying, take a moment to read a book or hang out with your friends, even take a nap! Stress management is like time management – just another thing students learn as they grow. Stress and anxiety is a major problem in young adults and especially college students, which can be detrimental to your health. Take a moment in every day to just step back and breath! Find ways to help yourself relax – it can do wonders for your physical and mental health.

The Importance of World Mental Health Day

A majority of our time as a student at RIT is spent going to classes, catching up on homework, studying for quizzes and tests, and busying ourselves with extracurriculars that largely consume our days. Have you ever woken up just truly feeling tired from it all? It’s extremely important to acknowledge the truth about mental health and how it is just as important as your physical well-being. World Mental Health Day is just one day out of the year where we can spread awareness of mental health and advocate for mental health education and against social stigma.

Years ago, many people were not really aware of mental health and how negative experiences and constant strain could really wear a person down. It’s significant to note that since 1992, World Mental Health Day has been observed around the world, while many countries celebrate an entire week dedicated to spreading the awareness of the importance of mental health.

At RIT, there are several places on campus to go if you or someone you know needs someone to just talk to. The mission for several groups is to provide every student with a safe place so that you never feel alone and provide a great amount of resources. Mental health is incredibly important and if any student ever feels like they cannot talk to someone, if the stress of school is weighing them down, or anything in between, RIT has several different groups to assist any student that reaches out for help.

On campus, RIT’s Counseling and Psychological Services located in the August Center is just one of the places a student can go to talk to an assigned therapist. In their own words:

Counseling & Psychological Services (CaPS) provides short-term counseling to registered full-time undergraduate and graduate students on the Henrietta campus as well as registered part-time matriculated students.  Services provided are based upon a determination of your goals for counseling.  If CaPS is unable to meet your needs, they will work with you to identify an appropriate resource.

If you are unsure if CaPS is a right choice for you, there are more answered questions in their FAQ – CaPS has been a helpful group on campus for students. Whatever you need to talk about, CaPS will work with you or help you find another group at RIT that is more suited to you.

One group is the Center for Women and Gender located in the Campus Center, room 1760. Their mission is to “foster an educational environment in which all community members can be personally, academically, and professionally successful without regard to gender, racial/ethnic origins, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, or spiritual beliefs.” Some people may not know that the Center for Women and Gender can provide counseling and/or refer you, if appropriate, to another group on campus such as CaPS, the Student Health Center, or Planned Parenthood. Unlike CaPS however, the Center does provide some counseling for relationship concerns.

In school, many can struggle with stress in the face of challenges such as moving to a completely new place and being away from home. Students may have problems with roommates, they may feel like crumbling under a heavy class load, or you’re feeling under pressure from becoming more independent. It is difficult to handle that kind of stress – feeling insecure, having relationship problems or problems at home, especially as students are trying to find their place. The most important thing is to know to never give up! Stress management is difficult for college students, and acknowledging your mental health is just the first step to learning how to handle whatever is in your way.

To find more resources on campus, check out the Tigers Care page!

If you need help, or are concerned for a friend, reach out to Public Safety at:

Call: (585) 475-2853 | Text: (585) 205-8333| Emergency Only: (585) 475-3333

Grilling essentials

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.

Basic Tools

There are a few things that you’ll need no matter what kind of grill you are using:

  • Steel spatulaWhen 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 tongsSome things, like hot dogs, bratwurst, or vegetables, are difficult to get with a spatula
  • Food thermometerA 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.

  1. 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!

Men’s Health Week

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:

  • Five multi-purpose courts
  • Seven racquetball courts
  • Squash court
  • Two dance studios/fitness rooms
  • Mini-gym (basketball, volleyball, multi-purpose court)
  • Elevated 200-meter jogging track

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.

Mental Health

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!

RIT Wellness

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:

  1. Health & Wellness Seminars (WHWS)
  2. Dance (WDAN)
  3. Fitness (WFIT)
  4. Health & Life Support (WHLS)
  5. Recreation (WREC)
  6. Outdoor Education (WINT)
  7. Martial Arts (WMAR)
  8. ROTC (WMIL)

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 Better Me

https://www.rit.edu/fa/betterme/

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.