Five Ways to “Go Green” in your Dorm

Spring is officially here! Yes, yes, surely you just looked out the window closest to you and snarked a bit. The white blanket covering campus is a clear indication that spring had really only arrived in our calendars. But in the meantime, as we wait for green to peek out from underneath all the snow, here are 5 ways that you can turn your room more green:

1. Actually use the recycle bins provided by the school.

Okay, yes, this might seem super obvious. But admit it, how many times were you just too lazy to go over to the recycle bin on the other side of your room to recycle that can, when your own personal trash can was just right there. Recycling really is the very basis of living a more environmentally conscious life, and RIT makes it simple by providing all the on campus housing with adequate resources to be able to recycle their waste. So really, why shouldn’t you be doing it already?


2. Reduce your use of paper products.

Admittedly, using some paper plates and cups when you order take out with your roomates does seem like the easier option. Once you’re done, you can just toss everything and move on with your life. But that’s a lot of waste that adds up, and it’s trash that you’re going to then have to take out (the horror!) after it starts stinking up your room. Instead, you could buy a small set of reusable dishware and keep it on hand. It won’t take long to clean and just think of how much less waste you will be producing!


3. Get a water filter/water bottle.

Water is necessary. Plastic bottles are not. So rather than buying a bottle of water in the vending machines between classes when thirst suddenly strikes you, invest a couple more dollars and buy yourself a water bottle for on the go and a water filter for your dorm mini fridge so you can always have refreshingly cold water on hand for all those late nights. If you’re concerned with the quality of water you put into your bottle, you can also get water bottles with mini filters in them!  


4. Donate to and stock up next year at Goodbye, Goodbuy!

Look around – how many things in your room did you buy at Target this past summer thinking they were going to be absolute necessities and now you haven’t touched them even once? The purchases we make furnishing and decorating our college spaces can be some of the biggest waste-producers. So when move out rolls around, make sure that you donate what you can to the Goodbye, Goodbuy! bins that will be around campus – and when you’re looking to stock up for the necessities next fall – check out their sale. By giving these objects a second life, not only will the environment thank you, but so will your wallet!


5. Purchase a plant for your room.

Did you know that indoor air pollutants are among the top five public health concerns in the country? And we’re not saying that your room fits in that category, but admit it, that funky smell of move-in day never really went away. So rather than fighting with your roommate over what scent of Febreze to spray down the room with, consider getting a plant.

House plants can help to purify the air in your space. That little touch of green can also do wonders for your mood and productivity. Taking care of a plant really doesn’t have to be that hard, and it’s a great way to bring some life and freshness into your room. Learn more about some common house plants that are good air purifiers and are almost impossible to kill!


So how are you going to change up your space for spring? Let us know – you can tweet us @RITBehindBricks

Stay Safe this St. Patrick’s Day Weekend!

One of the biggest celebrations of the year is coming up: St. Patrick’s Day. In a sea of green, it can be tough to remember reality. The day can be a lot of fun, especially with the parade and St. Patrick’s Day festivities, but it is important to remember to stay safe.

How did St. Patrick’s Day even come about?

St. Patrick was the Patron Saint of Ireland. But, he wasn’t even Irish! There are many tales and legends about St. Patrick’s legacy in Ireland, but many of them lack in truth. According to stories, St. Patrick drove all of the snakes out of Ireland. However, this cannot possibly be accurate because there were no snakes in Ireland in the first place.

Festivities started in Ireland on the anniversary of his death. However, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations became popular in the United States when the Irish immigrated to America. Parades formed and the Irish gathered to party and celebrate their heritage in their new country.

A big part of this holiday is drinking. Unknown to many current partygoers, there is actually a reason behind this. During the original celebrations, Christians would put aside their food and alcohol restrictions for lent just on this specific day. Because this was a one-day pass, the Irish Christians would usually go all out.

Activities in Rochester on St. Patrick’s Day:

Feel like starting the day early? At 9:30am on St. Patrick’s Day, there is a 5-mile run. Johnny’s 20th Runnin’ of the Green starts at the Blue Cross Arena. You’ll be done before the parade starts, so you can still enjoy all the Irish festivities!

Alternatively, there is a Luck of the Irish 5k. The interesting thing about this race is that it is virtual. You can run or walk the race anywhere and anytime before St. Patrick’s Day. All your race materials will be mailed to you.

At 12:30pm on St. Patrick’s Day, Rochester hosts a St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade route runs down East Avenue and Main Street. Get there early, the streets fill with people fast. There will even be a Rochester Parade App. You’ll be able to see the parade route, the schedule for the day, and information about the event.

In honor of this special day, check out all of Rochester’s local Irish restaurants, stores, and pubs. Right near RIT, there is Shramrock’s Irish Pub, MicGinny’s on the River, and MacGregor’s Grill and Tap Room. After a long day at the parade, these are a few perfect places to grab a great bite to eat close to campus.

Tips on how to Stay Safe this St. Patrick’s Day:

Although it is important to have fun on the big day, it is also important to remember reality. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 1,800 college students die a year from drunk driving and binge drinking. Even if you don’t think you’ve had a lot to drink, don’t drive unless you stay completely sober. Rochester has just recently introduced Uber and Lyft into our area. It is a great and safe alternative to driving on St. Patrick’s Day. Have their apps downloaded onto your phone ahead of time, just in case you need to end up using them. If you’re driving with a designated driver, don’t distract them. There is a lot of driving accidents on St. Patrick’s Day. Even though some are out of your control, it is important to always be aware and prepared on the road.

In the case of an emergency off campus, dial 911. In the case of an emergency or situation that you need help with on campus, you can either dial 911 or call public safety. Here is a list of public safety’s phone numbers. It is a smart idea to save them into the contact list on your phone, so you have them prepared if you need them:


(585) 475-3333


(585) 475-2853


(585) 205-8333

Additionally, public safety now has their own app. Tigersafe is a campus safety app that provides students with instant access to campus safety resources. Download it in the app store today; it may come in handy when you really need it.

Have a great, safe, and (hopefully) warm St. Patrick’s Day Tigers!

International Women’s Day

Today, March 8, 2018 marks International Women’s Day! Rochester, New York is lucky enough to be filled with countless women who have made their mark on history. From suffragists, to activists in the Women’s Rights Movement, to members of Rochester’s Chamber of Commerce, today is all about honoring them.

Susan B. Anthony

Born in 1820, Susan Brownell Anthony is one of Rochester’s most famous women activists. Known for leading the Women’s Rights Movement here in Rochester, she was a pioneer crusader for the movement across the entire United States. Susan B. Anthony’s countless efforts and drive for change assisted in the implementation of the Nineteenth Amendment in our country. This amendment granted women the right to vote. Susan B. Anthony also led multiple campaigns against alcohol, and was president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House is located here in Rochester, and is the site of her famous arrest for voting in the year 1872. The house is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and is $5.00 for students with a valid ID. Susan B. Anthony’s gravesite is located in Mount Hope Cemetery in Section C, Plot 93. There are multiple markers throughout the memorial park that help visitors find the famous site.


Mary Jemison

Mary Jemison, another famous woman from Rochester, NY was a frontierswoman who was kidnapped by French raiders, and was eventually adopted by the Seneca tribe as a young adult. Born in 1743, Mary Jemison’s statue now stands in Letchworth State Park. After becoming completely assimilated into the Seneca’s culture, she decided to remain within the tribe, instead of returning to her British culture. After some time, Mary Jemison owned her own land, and had children. Her story demonstrates the suffering of the many captives among Native Americans, and their women specifically. Mary Jemison is buried at Letchworth State Park, and the site is open for all to visit.


Martha Matilda Harper

Martha Matilda Harper was born in 1857, and is often referred to as the “Greatest Businesswoman of all time.” She not only pioneered retail franchising, she invented an entire industry that still stands today. Martha Harper was bound to servitude from an extremely young age, and eventually learned hair techniques from a holistic doctor. She grasped everything she learned from the doctor, and in 1882, Martha Harper immigrated to Rochester, NY. The young entrepreneur and inventor went on to building an international network of hair salons. Martha Harper used the skills and secrets that the doctor had shared with her, and at the company’s peak, there were more than 500 franchises and countless products. Some well-known clients that Martha Harper had the opportunity of working with were Jacqueline Kennedy and Susan B. Anthony. Martha Harper died in 1950, and her gravesite can be found at Riverside Cemetery, here in Rochester.


Lovely Warren

Lovely Warren was born in Rochester, NY, and was the city’s first female and youngest mayor ever. She is the current mayor of the city, and previously was the President of the Rochester City Council. This American politician and businesswoman got rid of the city’s red light cameras in line with her efforts to reduce the city’s poverty rate. Reelected in 2017 for another 4-year term after winning 60% of the vote, she hopes to engage in further development of the eastern Inner Loop, and hopes to also increase development in Bull’s Head on West Main Street.

There are also plenty of Rochester Institute of Technology women alumni, who have honorably contributed to our campus and society on many different levels. Check some of them out!


Nancy Jurs

Nancy Jurs is a nationally celebrated ceramics and fibers artist. She graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1963.


Cassandra Straubing

Cassandra Straubing graduated in 2010, and currently resides as the Glass faculty head and studio coordinator at San Jose State University in California. She also serves as the President of the board of directors for the International Glass Art Society. Her work has been displayed nationally.


Patricia Moore

Patrica Moore graduated in 1974, and is an industrial designer, gerontologist, author, and educator. Patricia Moore has been named by ID magazine as one of the 40 Most Socially Conscious Designers in the world.


Marilyn Bridges

Marilyn Bridges graduated in 1979, and is an aerial photographer. Her astonishing photographs have been displayed across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Her work is included in over 50 collections.


Brittney Lee

Brittney Lee graduated in 2006, and is known for her visual development on Disney’s “Frozen.” As of 2015, “Frozen” was the highest grossing film of all time. She has also worked on “Zootopia.”

Today is to honor the women who have made tremendous impacts on history. Whether suffragists, or Rochester Institute of Technology alumni, all have contributed to society in a variety of ways. Let’s use today to honor these women.

RITchies Awards 2018

It’s that time of the year again! Ball gowns, hairdos, photographers, red carpets, limousines. No, not your high school prom – it’s Oscars season! And in honor of the biggest celebration of filmmaking in Hollywood, we decided to hold our own RITchies and poll the RIT student body about a few of their favorite spots on campus.

Best Dining Area: Commons

This dormside dining location won by a landslide. What is it that students love so much about the Commons? Is it their late opening hours, wide selection of food, or the fact that they can deliver to dormside? Did you just jump at that last statement?! Yes – the Commons do indeed deliver to on campus locations! Check out the Dining Express website for more information about this RIT Award Winning dining location!

Best Nap Spot: Max Lowenthal Hall

RIT is serious about their naps. You don’t believe us? Last year, RIT made news around the country when students developed an interactive nap map. And the votes are in! The business building- Max Lowenthal Hall took the win, because even though it can be a bit noisy, the couches there have no match elsewhere on campus! If you want to find more nap locations on campus – visit the Nap Spot Map!

Best Coffee Shop: Midnight Oil

As college students, we recognize the redeeming power of coffee better than any other demographic (or at least we like to think so). It’s no surprise that our campus in riddled with fantastic spots for coffee, tea, and pastries. According to our polls, Midnight Oil took the win. It’s safe to say that it’s amenities like the cozy fireplace, delicious Starbucks coffee and drinks, as well as their wide selection of scrumptious pastries are all good reasons why this particular location pulled into first place.

Best Dorm: TIE between NRH and Ellingson

This vote was the only one without a clear winner – and we ended up with a tie! Now, we’re not saying the votes were rigged or anything – but those dorms do have the most residents. What do you think? What constitutes the best dorm for you?

To participate in polls like this in the future – make sure you are following us on Facebook (/RIT Behind the Bricks) and Twitter (@RITBehindBricks)! And if you want to keep up with the actual Oscars – you can watch them on your school Philo account this Sunday at 8PM ET!

Why you should get involved with Student Government

As human beings, we love to complain. Be honest with yourself – how many times have you heard or seen something and thought “Wow, I could do that so much better.” It’s not an uncommon thought to have especially in regards to decisions made that we feel are out of our control. But what if there was a way you could have a voice?

College campuses are a great place to start exercising your voice as an active member of the RIT community and student body. With the upcoming Student Government elections, we thought we would bring you our top three reasons as to why you should consider getting involved with RIT’s Student Government .

Collaboration and people skills

Working in groups isn’t easy. It’s also, sadly, inevitable. Wouldn’t it be great though if you could learn to collaborate when your grade isn’t on the line? As student government operates as a governing body (meaning many people) you will be in a situations where you have no option but to work with the people around you – otherwise, you won’t be able to make any concrete decisions or actions!
These people skills, also known as “soft skills” are crucial qualities that employers look for when hiring. And unless you are planning on being a solo entrepreneur for the majority of your professional career – you are going to need to work in teams which require people skills! Learn them while you can!

You can learn more about how your school operates

Universities can sometimes seem like this big scary monster machine that operates on its own accord. Decisions are made and you don’t even know why or who made them. Schools like RIT are intricately designed webs of influence and decision making. At Behind the Bricks, we often get as inside look into what makes RIT run, and you can bet that it’s so incredibly interesting. By understanding how things work, you’re also more likely to gain a greater appreciation for the school and  understand why certain decisions are made. Don’t be afraid to take a peek in!

You can make a difference

Yes, complaining about what’s wrong is the easier option most of the time. However, by getting involved in student government, you have the ability to actually be a part of a solution for a problem you see. That feeling is a hundred times more fulfilling than simply walking around and complaining. And how cool would it be to see an initiative you suggested actually get implemented at RIT and affect the lives of students, present and future? Did someone just say lasting legacy?

You are a student. You have a voice. Visit the RIT Student Government website to see what positions are available for the upcoming year!

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.

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Shopping: The Right Way

The day of romance, kisses, hugs, and most importantly presents is right around the corner: tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Let’s face it, most of us probably still don’t have a present picked out for our loved ones. We are all busy with classes, it’s hard to make time to the mall to find something special. But time hasn’t run out yet! Don’t settle for a quick run to Wegmans to get  boxed chocolate and flowers. We know there is a time crunch and the clock is ticking. Luckily for you, there is a store right in Global Village where you can get unique, cool, and meaningful presents.

I sat down with Wendy to see what Shop One is all about.

What is Shop One?

Shop One is a store for RIT-made arts, crafts and designs. The majority of the work in the store was made by someone affiliated with RIT. Most of the items are made by alum, but there is some student and staff created items as well.

“People often wonder ‘Why is all this stuff here?’, but it is because these artists have an RIT connection.” We try to have some fun choices here that are affordable for students to buy for themselves, their family members or their friends.”

Why do you think it is important to get unique gifts for Valentine’s Day?

“I think the first thing to do is to come in and explore. You might find something you haven’t even thought of. Each thing in here is personal, a lot of items are handmade. It isn’t that commercial mindset that often is a part of this holiday. There is such a wide variety of approaches at Shop One. If you want to give someone a gift, you think about why you like that person and why they are unique and you kind of want to acknowledge that in your present and it is a great way to show them that you appreciate them. If you go to a commercial store, there is a lot of stuff that is manufactured overseas and you might find something that is inexpensive, but doesn’t have the same feeling.”


What do you have in the store that you think could be great presents?

“We have these student made knitted hats, and the price is pretty good. We have these cool little zip pouches that you cankeep your ID in, and they’re hand made! We have a good selection of cards and Valentine’s Day cards. I think these are cool, we have these origami earrings. We have music boxes, those are really cool. We have some interesting stretch bracelets. We have higher end jewelry, of course, but many times student’s are looking for something a bit more affordable. A lot of the jewelry we have lies in a twenty to thirty dollar range, which isn’t too bad. Those are just some of the things student’s could buy, but I encourage everyone to come in an look to see if there is something that fits the person they are looking for!”


Check out this special deal Shop One is offering for Valentines Day:


The best part of buying your Valentine’s Day gifts at Shop One? They’ll wrap it for you. Head over to Shop One ASAP to find the perfect gift for your loved one.