Top 5 reasons to take RIT tunnels

RIT tunnels have developed quite the reputation over the years. One RIT user made a subreddit for our tunnel system stating, “They’re infamous, but I’ve never…seen one. As a commuter, do they: A) Serve a purpose for me, B) Are they accessible to me, C) Are they laughing at me from underground”.

Although the concept of tunnels laughing from underneath our campus is quite enjoyable, that seems just a bit far fetched. So instead, we’re here to help dissolve some of the mystery that surrounds the RIT tunnel system and give you practical tips as to why you should take the time to figure it out.

  1. Avoid inclement weather
Giphy

Though this one might seem like a no-brainer, it turns out that snowisn’t the only weather pattern that RIT students need an escape from. Don’t get us wrong, the tunnels are great when there are three feet of snow on the ground and you don’t want to put on three layers of coats to get to Gracie’s. However, last year, we learned that wind can be just as powerful of an enemy as snow. When last March a windstorm hit Rochester with winds of almost 80 mph, wind tunnels really became a thing on campus. The gusts were so strong that the Quarter Mile had to be closed down between the SAU building and Eastman. So for those student who decided they didn’t want to walk to class halfway bent over due to wind resistance, the tunnels became a great escape.

  1. Protect yourself from HzV

Whether you are a HvZ human who needs asylum from the zombies and a way to get to class, or you are just a normal RIT human who want to hide from the madness that HvZ can become, the tunnels can become your best friends during each semester’s game. Taking the tunnels, you are much less likely to get impaled by a NERF dart or sock, especially if getting up for your 8 a.m. makes you look like zombie, but you don’t actually want to be mistaken for one in the game.

  1. Get your daily dose of nerd humor
Behind the Bricks Map

Let’s be honest, we go to a school where bad puns and nerdy jokes get you major brownie points. So if you’re lacking inspiration or if you just need a funny pick me up, the tunnels can be a great resource to you. In particular, the tunnel that runs between the Liberal Arts Hall and Gleason College of Engineering has some fantastic treasures and nuggets of sarcastic wisdom presented inthe form of clever math puns.

SUPER IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: If you’re really confused as to how to find this glorious tunnel, check out the FMS website where they have maps of all three tunnel systems. And yes, there are THREE, you heard right, two tunnel systems on academic side and one on the dorm side. Despite RIT urban legends, we regret to inform you that a super secret passageway does not exist nor connect dorm and academic side tunnels. If anything, the existence of such clever graffiti sprinkled all throughout our tunnel system is a good reminder to look up from your screens, at least once in awhile, and appreciate the creativity of your peers.

  1. Learn about RIT clubs

You might be confused about why we list this as a reason to take the tunnels. Well, let’s say that you missed the annual RIT club fair during orientation, and now you are just so desperate for friends that you will join any club that is still taking members, but you’re overwhelmed and you don’t know where to start. The tradition of clubs painting murals in the dorm side tunnels began in 1980 and since then, numerous organizations have taken advantage of this PR method. The passageways are filled with countless murals and flyers, to the point that you will be overwhelmed with all your options, which in that case you might just be right back where you started. If you find a mural you like, make sure you take note of the club name and find them in the RIT Clubs website.

  1. Avoid the crowds on the Quarter Mile
RIT Quarter Mile

Sure, taking the tunnels might require you to be slightly more creative than if you resort to the straight path, Quarter Mile approach; however, you might just find that extra effort worth it. If you find a way to get to class using the tunnels, your journey will be a lot less boring and monotonous as you will not have to stare at the hoards of people on either side on you. Who knows, you might even find a new study nook in one of your tunnel adventures. Besides, if there is that one person whom you promised to text and you just never got around to it, it’s almost guaranteed that fate will have you bump into them on the Quarter Mile. So save yourself the awkwardness and take the tunnels instead.

 

If you want more information on route how-to’s and general tunnel spatial awareness, check out our Ultimate RIT tunnel guide.

To access the full size RIT Tunnel System maps, check out the Facilities Management Services website.

Ways to explore Rochester

For a lot of people coming to RIT, whether you’re a freshman, international student, transfer, or just haven’t been able to see the area you suddenly were thrust into, Rochester can be an intimidating place to explore. There’s so much to see and do around RIT that it can overwhelm some students who don’t know what to do on the weekends.

Rochester has so many great things to offer – from local restaurants to museums and art, the city is packed with so many places to discover! Into the Roc is a program run by RIT’s Center for Civic Engagement and Leadership. One of the coordinators, Bobby Moakley explained that Into the Roc gives the students of RIT the chance to discover the wonders of the city that surrounds them. People who participate in Into the Roc typically spend an evening during the week or weekend discovering the world outside of Brick City. They’re either doing community service with a local non-profit or they enjoy a few hours watching a local play, comedy show, exploring a museum, or discovering other cultural experiences in the city. Transportation is always provided and food is generally offered as well!

Another great way to explore the city, especially if you don’t have a vehicle, is to find out RIT’s shuttle bus times. The weekend shuttle service that typically travels around campus opens up to the rest of Henrietta for students who want to hop on and visit the Marketplace Mall, the South Plaza, Wegman’s, Target, etc. Parking and Transportation Services also works with the RTS Bus System to provide a late night bus to downtown Rochester on Saturdays. For more information, download the RIT Mobile App to get live bus trackers, schedules, maps, and updates! 

If you’re lucky enough to have a car on campus or know someone with a car (or you could request an Uber/Lyft, which has recently just come to the area) you have the ability to really get into the city and surrounding towns of Henrietta. Some great places to explore in Rochester are:

The Strong Museum – Strong Museum gives a historic and interactive look into toys, video games, and exhibits that make you relive your childhood. Yes this may be considered a children’s museum but it’s enjoyed by people of all ages!

Artisan Works – A renovated factory building that holds a large number of art pieces. They often have art shows as well!

Eastman House – The George Eastman Museum is the oldest museum in the world that is dedicated to photography. It also holds one of the world’s oldest film archives! It was the estate of George Eastman – the founder of Eastman Kodak Company – and opened to the public in 1949.

Mt. Hope Cemetery – Mt. Hope is a cemetery that dates back to 1838 and spans over 196 acres of land. Most notably, it is where Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass are buried.

Susan B. Anthony House – This was the home of Susan B. Anthony for nearly 40 years. She was a national figure for the women’s rights movement.

The Public Market – Instead of going to Wegmans, hit up Rochester’s very own Public Market! This is a great place to go to see a large variety of local food and drinks from various different vendors.

For more information please visit RIT’s Parking & Transportation website.

RIT Global Day of Service 2017

Do you enjoy helping others? If so, you’re in luck. Every year, Rochester Institute of Technology hosts a Global Day of Service in which thousands of Tigers will be volunteering at over 40 locations all over the world. It all will be happening this week on Saturday, September 16, so be sure to mark your calendar. Hosted by the RIT Alumni Association, being part of this amazing day is made simple. Regardless of where you may be in the world, volunteering opportunities are available. Not only will you be having fun with fellow Tigers, you’ll be giving back to countless communities that truly appreciate your help. Check out how you can help this Saturday in Rochester;

George Eastman House (9:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.)
If you’re interested in both history and helping beautify the Rochester community, stop by George Eastman House on East Avenue this Saturday. George Eastman House is one of the world’s oldest photography museums, that once belonged to George Eastman, the founder of Eastman Kodak Company. Volunteering will include basic gardening around this National Historic Landmark.
Address: 900 East Avenue Rochester, NY 14607
Website: www.eastman.org

George Eastman House

Foodlink (9:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.)

Foodlink on Mount Read Boulevard in Rochester ships their collected donations to organizations and individuals in need. Volunteering this Saturday will incorporate packing lunches for kids, sorting food, and categorizing labels.
Address: 199 Mount Read Boulevard Rochester, NY 14615
Website: www.foodlinkny.org

FoodLink

Ronald Mcdonald House  Sale (10:00 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.)

This Saturday, Ronald Mcdonald House will be hosting their largest fundraiser of the year. Known as the “Household Sale,” thisfundraising event’s proceeds are provided to families who are in need of housing whilst they are receiving healthcare in the Rochester area. This is a great fundraising effort if you are interested in directly impacting the Rochester community.
Address: 789 Elmgrove Road Rochester, NY 14624
Website: www.rmhcrochester.org

Ronald McDonald House Sale 2016

Sonnenberg Gardens (9:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.)

Lastly, if you’d like to help beautify the community, Sonnenberg Gardens will be having volunteers rake, mulch the grounds, and garden.
Address: 151 Charlotte Street Canandaigua, NY 14424
Website: www.sonnenberg.org

Sonnenberg Gardens

Regardless of where you are located in the world, and your interest in helping the community, there are countless ways to help this Saturday, September 16. Grab some friends, and get ready to meet fellow Tigers who are ready to help on RIT’s Global Day of Service! Check out their website for requirements, clothing suggestions, and more information at http://alumni.rit.edu/GlobalServiceDay.

Transferring to be a Tiger | Writer’s Cut

RIT Official Tiger

After graduating from a high school in the suburbs of Rochester, I went to a college about two hours away from home. There, I was a marketing major. After about a year, I decided I wanted to pursue graphic design instead; I loved playing in Photoshop and dreamed to create advertisements. However, there was one problem: I hadn’t taken an art class since middle school. I made a bold decision to leave my four-year university and head home to my local community college. There, I started to explore fine arts and graphic design. I built up my portfolio and applied to new colleges. Two years after walking the stage at RIT for my high school graduation, I ended up back here as a second year Graphic Design major.

Pre New Student Orientation

After having gone to two different colleges already, I really hoped my next college would be the one I graduate from. To tell the truth, I struggled on where to transfer to for a long time. I was picking between RIT and another university, both with their different ups and downs. Thankfully, it was a really easy process transferring into RIT; the ease of the admissions process increased my urge to go here. My academic advisor, my program supervisor, RIT housing, and everyone else I met while applying was super helpful and accommodating.

Being a transfer student is intimidating. There are strength in numbers, and the freshmen are able to feed off of each other for guidance and support. However, when you transfer to a new school as an upperclassman, all of your classmates are already comfortable with their professors, can easily navigate their way around campus, have class experience, and know a lot of people. I was especially nervous to go into a major with a great reputation; I had developed a comfort zone at my community college, but I wasn’t being pushed. I wanted to develop my skills as a graphic designer, but also feared not being able to keep up. Regardless of my fears, the transition into RIT was as simple as possible, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more; I simply hoped for the best when I arrived on campus.

Orientation

Shayna and her friends during at the firework ceremony during student orientation.

For New Student Orientation, I  had to arrive the Tuesday before classes started. After I moved in and say goodbye to my parents, I headed to the Ritter Ice Arena to meet my orientation leader and my transfer orientation group. Orientation week was long and overwhelming. I was in a group with only transfer students, but we participated in all the freshman NSO activities. At times it felt juvenile, especially because all transfers had already “been there done that”. However, I knew stepping out of my comfort zone was crucial. Therefore, I decided to embrace the activities at the NSO.

Orientation is designed to help new students get comfortable with their school before classes start. NSO at RIT did serve this purpose, but also did more than just provide me with helpful information. By stepping out of my comfort zone, I was able to make a bunch of friends who were also transfer students. I found it really easy to form relationships with other transfers, especially because we all had at least one thing in common. The relationships I had formed at orientation really helped me feel at home in a new environment. Without the support of my new friends, the beginning of my semester would’ve been much tougher. In the end, I am happy I decided to attend the full week of orientation events. Even though not all of the events were top notch, orientation gives you time to develop relationships and form friendships which will hopefully last you your whole college career.

Post Orientation

I am extremely glad I had the opportunity to meet other transfer students. Some of my closest friends here now are those of which I met at orientation. Their support and kindness has made my first couple weeks of classes much easier. My first couple classes were tough. I didn’t know much about RIT, yet all of my classmates knew other people and seemed to have the class routine down. Thankfully, once my professors and classmates knew I was new, they were overly accommodating and helpful.

I decided it was best in my situation to get as involved on campus as I could, right away. Now, I am part of two clubs, am on the Women’s Tennis Team, and have a lovely job as a writer for Behind the Bricks. My schedule is busy, but I like it that way. I intend to stay involved on campus, but also want to ensure my studies are my priority. Before I walk the stage at the RIT graduation ceremony, I hope to have developed relationships with my professors, have made lifelong friendships, and have gotten the opportunity to do some cool internships and graphic design pieces. I am happier than I have ever been. I am overjoyed to have transferred to be an RIT Tiger and I cannot wait to see what other opportunities RIT brings me.

Shayna and her new tennis team.

To learn more about the transfer process at RIT, please visit the transfer students section of the undergraduate admissions website.

 

Happy Fight Procrastination Day

With all of the great facilities, activities and events RIT offers, it is easy to get distracted. However, procrastinating student responsibilities can leave you feeling disappointed at the end of the semester.

Here are six tips to help you resist the urge to procrastinate:

Make to-do lists

Making lists in advance will help you organize and manage your workload.

Set deadlines for yourself

For long-term assignments, plan ahead. Decide what you want to get done by a certain time and stick to your goal.

Study in an environment with minimal distractions

If you have a lot to get done, avoid doing work with friends. Put your phone away and pick a spot that will help you stay focused, such as a quiet spot in the library.

Treat yourself

Don’t pass Ben and Jerry’s, stop to get yourself a cone when you finish your work or achieve your goal- reward yourself.  

Get enough sleep

Pulling an all-nighter is not the answer to your procrastination problem. Without the proper amount of sleep, you have an increased risk of getting sick, making poor judgments, and forgetfulness.   

Plan ahead

Make plans for doing activities ahead of time so your last minute plans won’t get in the way of your study time.

Still feeling unproductive? There are many resources on campus to help you stay on track. Everyone has different academic needs. Therefore, it is important to find help at the right place for you. The Multicultural Center for Academic Success, the RIT Libraries, the Writing Commons, and the Academic Support Center are only a few of the options you can turn to on campus for assistance. Here is what Cha Ron Sattler-Leblanc, the Senior Director at the Academic Support Center, had to say regarding procrastination:

Services the ASC Center offers to help students stay on track for academic success

When you walk into the ASC Center, you’ll meet with one of our peer or professional coaches who can support you with custom strategies as well as accountability to put those to practice, and refer to other campus resources if necessary.

The ASC also provides, at no additional fee, academic success courses such as Insights on Success and Applied Study Strategies.  These courses can develop and strengthen your skills and support their implementation and practice over a term – a great investment in your academic career! (Did I mention, no additional costs?)

The Academic Support Center offers a number of different supports to help you STOP procrastinating!  Check out some of our great resources on time management over at ASC On-Line. If you NEED a break, these short videos can give you some great information and get you back on track.

We also offer a number of great tools in our study tool kit. Stop by the ASC (above Artesano’s) to get a copy or print off what you need here!

Why fighting against procrastination important

Procrastination is normal – but we need to recognize when it’s problematic.  Our brains and bodies need a little recovery time every now and again.  Be sure to pace yourself (and learn better planning skills!). You’ll find that by scheduling in a few reasonable, quality breaks, you’ll be in a better state of mind to get your work done.  You’ll have LOTS of opportunity to discover how you learn best in the coming years.  Perhaps it’s less about fighting procrastination and more about learning how to plan and manage!

How to avoid procrastination in your own life

Take control of distractions.  Consider all the alerts in your life: Necessary?  Put your phone on airplane mode, turn off the alert on email, and find some extensions for your browser to remind you to stay on task and keep you off social media.  I use one that’s too profane to share here, but it’s a great reminder for me to stay on task and recognize when I’m looking for a break – and choosing more effective ways to take those breaks.

And while this sounds counter-intuitive, if you have a ton to do, schedule a break.  Use a timer to stay on task and then use a little break or reward to give yourself some time to recover (if necessary, set another time to get back to work).  While we all have those times where we just have to hammer due to our bad judgement – take a little time to reflect, learn and do better next time. (And come talk to us at the ASC, and we’ll help!)

It’s easy to get caught up in a circle of procrastination, but if you fight against it, your life as a student will be a lot easier. Start your semester right. Happy Fight Procrastination Day Tigers!

 

Check out the ASC website for more information!

Viewing the Solar Eclipse in Rochester

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.

Meet the Tigers behind Tiger Center

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.

The Summer 2017 SITO Team

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 employees take 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?