Embracing Winter: Winter Activities to Check Out Around ROC

Winter is upon us. Whether you’re a Rochester native, sitting around knowing it’s only going to get colder and snowier, or whether this is your first time seeing snow, the winter can be a time where going outside feels like the most daunting task in the world. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s dark – bleh – we get it, not exactly shorts and tshirt weather.

However, cabin fever can be a real thing, so if you’re feeling cooped up or you actually love being outside, winter snow sports and activities are your answer. Rather than trying to hide away from the winter (it’s not going anywhere anytime soon) – embrace it. What better way to do so, than to take advantage of the cold and snow and participate in activities that require those conditions.

Ice Skating

Ice skating is probably your quintessential winter sport, the first thing that comes to your mind. It’s a great option for most people because even if you have never ice skated before, it’s not too expensive to try and you can usually figure it out before too long.

Your easiest option, if you don’t want to leave campus, is our very own Frank Ritter Ice Arena. You can visit their website for public skate hours as they change weekly. If you decide to go – the arena is only $2 for students and $3 for rental if you need them – what a steal! Make sure you also keep your eyes peeled because they sometimes offer free skate during the year. If, however, you are feeling more adventurous, you can go downtown to skate at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park outdoor ice rink. It’s located in the East End District of Downtown Rochester and adjacent to the Strong Museum. You can get there by bus 24 that runs from RIT, so you can get there even if you don’t have a car. An ice skating pass is $5 and skate rental is only $3, so the trip won’t break your bank and it’s a great opportunity to get to know the city better. Bonus points if you get to ice skate while it’s snowing outside – it really starts to then look like a scene straight out of a Hallmark movie. The park also does special events like free skate on NYE with live music.

Snow Tubing

Finding this activity was such a great surprise! Glacier Ridge Sports Park in Spencerport offers Glacier Hill Snow Tubing. It’s only about 20 minutes away from RIT and you can get 1 hour passes starting at $12. The hill is open mostly on the weekends only, but it seems like a fantastic way to spend a Saturday afternoon with some friends, gliding down snow-covered hills. It’s also a great option if you’re not feeling particularly sporty that day but still want to experience some great winter snow fun. You can visit their website to book your adventure.

Downhill Skiing

This list would not be complete if we didn’t mention skiing. Would winter even be complete without skiing? Whether you’re a seasoned skiier or you’re just looking to dip your toes in for the first time, Bristol Mountain is probably your best bet for skiing close to Rochester. It is only about a 50 minute drive from RIT. They currently even have a Friends & Family Night special where a group of 3 can ski or ride for $75 from 4pm-close on Saturday & Sunday nights ($25/person). That also includes discounted rentals and an advertised free 5pm lesson which is based on terrain and instructor availability – so while we cannot vouch that they are always available, it still seems like a very good deal. 

Cross Country Skiing

If the thought of downhill skiing terrifies you or if you’re simply looking for a more low-key outing, you could consider cross country skiing. It’s way less intimidating and the boots are way more comfortable. Cross country skiing is also a lot easier and faster to pick up. This sport can be tricky, however, because not all places have ski rentals.

Mendon Pond trails are highly regarded because they get groomed for the Pittsford-Mendon high school team. However, they don’t provide any rentals. The Genesee Country Village & Museum also has cross country skiing on Sunday afternoons and although they encourage to bring one’s own equipment, they usually have some on hand. For a full list of places to cross country ski in ROC visit this website.

Winter Running

Winter is often the time when even those of us who love to run tend to fall off the bandwagon because it’s just so cold and dark. On top of it, the gym is stuffy; there are numerous excuses. So if you’re looking for some mid-winter running motivation, you should check out Yellow Jacket Racking. This year, they have organized the Snow Cheap Winter Trail Series, a series of short mid-week races that happen through January and beginning of February. Each trail race is 2-4 miles each,  and locations alternate between Seneca and Webster Park. The races occur in the dark (headlamp required), snow or no snow, so come prepared. You can sign up for all the races at once or just a few individual ones on their website.

Mendon Ponds Winterfest

Now if the thought of winter sports just makes you shudder and you can’t think of anything worse than winter running, fear not – we have an activity for you too! On January 14th, Mendon Ponds Park is holding their annual Mendon Ponds Winterfest. The event is FREE – always great for college students and you can go to learn about and try out winter activities such as ice fishing, snowshoeing and ice boating. You can always just go for the nice winter walk too.

Those are our recommendations for winter activities – have you visited any of these places? What are your favorite winter activities? Let us know in the comments on our Facebook page! 

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!

RIT Summer Bucket List

The First Day of Summer is here!

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.

Run the loop

Whether you are interested in getting your fitness back on track, or have some spare time during the day, running the loop around RIT is a great option. Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of the 3.14 mile running path. For more hiking and running trails, check out: http://ritbehindthebricks.com/experience-the-fall-through-rit-jogging-and-nature-trails/.

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!

What’s Happening Around RIT This Summer?

Are you going to be on or around campus this summer? Don’t worry. Just because the academic year won’t be in full swing doesn’t mean Rochester Institute of Technology won’t have plenty going on. We’ve compiled a list of things happening on and off campus this summer to keep you busy. Check it out!

JDRF One Walk: Sunday, June 11, 2017 JDRF

JDRF One Walk occurs throughout the year in over 200 different locations. The goal of the walk is to raise awareness of Type 1 Diabetes, and raise funds for further research. The event is scheduled to run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., starting at the Gordon Field House and surrounding campus roadways. This is a great way to give back to your Rochester community!

Student Life CenterGym

Has the hustle and bustle of the semester prevented you from sticking to your fitness goals? Well, summer is the perfect time to get right back on track. The Student Life Center remains available to students between the spring and fall semester. For summer hours and more info, visit here!

Take advantage of RIT’s hiking and walking trailsHiking

Did you know our university is packed with hiking and walking trails? They all vary in length and scenery. Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of these hidden trails. Take a peek at our article for more information.

ZenVisit the RIT Zen Garden

It’s hard to stay zen when you have three exams, two papers, and five homework assignments all due in one week. Now that summer is here, try and take some time to relax. RIT’s Zen Garden is located to the left of the Eastman building, and is a great place to catch up on a book. Bring a friend, or take in the beauty by yourself!

Rochester Lilac Festival: May 12-21Lilac

There are only a few days left in the Rochester Lilac Festival, so be sure to get over to Highland Park! This festival is a great kick off to summer, and includes great food, live music, and beautiful lilacs, of course!

GardenVisit the RIT Community Garden

This is another area of RIT that many students don’t know about. The RIT Community Garden is located behind the Tennis Courts (next to the Gene Polisseni Center). If looking at the garden isn’t enough for you, there are various opportunities available to get involved. To learn more about summer opportunities to give back to the RIT community, visit the RIT Community Garden’s Facebook page.

Throw a BBQBBQ

There are plenty of stationary grills located just outside of Grace Watson Hall. This secluded area is great for hosting a get together, while enjoying some grilled food. Before firing up the grill, ensure you are taking the proper safety precautions.

Park AvePark Avenue Summer Arts Festival: August 5-6

August 5 and 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Park Avenue Summer Arts Fest truly showcases Rochester culture. The festival features over 300 artists, vendors, and exhibitors from all over the United States. It’s worth the drive over! Learn more about the festival here!

Whether you are taking summer classes, completing an internship in Rochester, or just hanging around the area for summer, take advantage of the happenings around Rochester Institute of Technology’s campus! From all of us here at Behind the Bricks, have a great summer!

Gallery Hop returns!

Did you miss the RIT’s first Gallery Hop last month? Not to worry, because College of Imaging Arts and Sciences (CIAS) is hosting their second Gallery Hop event! The William Harris, Bevier and University Galleries will be showcasing the second part of MFA theses by students from various schools in CIAS. The MFA theses exhibition series provides a platform WH_2017for the students to share their skills with the public. The effort put in by each student has resulted in some amazing projects.

The first gallery, William Harris Gallery, is located on the third floor of Frank E. Gannett Hall. It will be displaying five MFA theses from the Imaging Arts, Photography and Related Media program in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences. The media includes photography, videos and more. The exhibition “alt. facts” will continue to display the works of Jee Young Bang, Dustin Brown, Katie Efstathiou, Robert Gordon and Chen Wang.

Bevier Gallery, located at the second floor of James E. Booth Hall, will be presenting artwork by students from the School of American Crafts and School of Art. The space gives an impression of eight solo BG_2017exhibitions held under one roof. The participating artists are Shane Caryl (Glass), Carter Hopkins (Furniture Design), Joe Lee (Ceramics), Samyuktha Valluru (Metals), Xinhao Yang (Metals), Julia Manson (Metals), Ryan Florey (Ceramics) and Lingfei Zao (Fine Arts Studio).

University Gallery, also located in James E. Booth Hall, will be home to fourteen MFA theses from the School of Design’s Industrial Design program:
UG_2017Reema Aldossari, Priyanka Brambarkar, Yi Feng, Shi-Hsuan Kelly, Nicholas Miclette, Spar Patton, Wenjing Qi, Kaining Qiu, Elizabeth Stegner, Jiahe Tian, Hui-Yu Yang, Yue Zhang and Runhao Zhao. These projects show great innovation and creativity in the conceptualization, design and development of competitive products in collaboration with industry sponsors. Each display is comprised of detailed posters explaining the motivation and approach along with a prototype of the product itself.

The first Gallery Hop event marked the beginning of RIT’s own art tradition. Tonight, the RIT community will be able to meet these emerging artists/creators and get to know more about their work at the opening reception, held at all three locations from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

And the Spring Fest Concert is…

andygrammer

ANDY GRAMMER!

For those of you who may not be familiar with Andy, I have put together some information that might help you get excited for Spring Fest. For those of you who do know who Andy is, keep reading!

Andy Grammer is an American singer, songwriter, and record producer. His first self-titled debut album was released in 2011 and had the hit singles “Keep Your Head Up” and “Fine by Me”. His second album, Magazines or Novels, was released in 2014, with “Back Home” as the first single. Listen here! The album’s second single, “Honey I’m Good”, is his most successful song to date, ending up at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100.

On the new album, Grammer says, “My ultimate goal is to try to be real. It just so happens that I’m usually more happy than sad when I’m writing. And in general I think that life is pretty great, and it’s cool to be here, so that comes through in my music. I don’t have a dismal outlook, but I don’t aim to make positive music. It’s just what I am.”

Here’s some songs you may know by Andy:

  • Keep Your Head Up (2011)
  • Fine by Me (2011)
  • Honey, I’m Good (2014)
  • Good to be Alive (Hallelujah) (2015)
  • Fresh Eyes (2016)

On his influences, Grammer says, “I have three different places that I draw inspiration from. There’s the guitar guys like Jason Mraz, John Mayer and Jack Johnson; piano influences like Coldplay, The Fray and OneRepublic. I also really love how hip-hop creates complexity in words. I love Common, Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z and Kanye West.”

Here are some of Andy Grammer’s performances:

Thanksgiving Halftime Performance in Detroit, 11/24/16:

(fast forward to 2:30)

Dancing with the Stars Season 23 finale performance of “Fresh Eyes”:

Dancing with the Stars performance of “Honey, I’m Good”:

You can see Andy Grammer LIVE at Spring Fest on Saturday, April 29th at 8:00pm in the Gordon Field House! Tickets are now available at the RIT Box Office or online at RITtickets.com!

It’s Friday; Go Gallery Hopping at RIT

The College of Imaging Arts and Science showcases the works of MFA and BFA students and faculty every year. Tonight, the University, Bevier and William Harris Gallery will be opening their individual exhibitions as a part of RIT’s Gallery Hop event tonight at each respective gallery. The receptions are open to the public from 5 – 7 p.m. and refreshments will be provided.AMD2017©BTB_Galleries-0824-13-web

University Gallery hosts “Minding the Gap”, an exhibit celebrating the research and creativity of CIAS schools. Each school is represented by an undergraduate student, a graduate student and a faculty member whose work showcases the leading research areas at CIAS. The exhibition is not just demonstrative but also educational in nature. In addition to these CIAS student and faculty projects, a recent project by Imaging Permanence Institute has also joined the displays at University Gallery. The exhibition will be on display until April 14.

AMD2017©BTB_Galleries-0824-9-web

Right across the hall, Bevier Gallery will be showcasing the first of two MFA Thesis Exhibitions. This show will display pieces by seven students of the School of Art and School of American Crafts. Each of these projects is a symbol of individuality and artistry. The French artist Henri Matisse once said “An artist is an explorer”; Bevier Gallery is quite a beautiful place to explore! The show will stay on display through April 8.

AMD2017©BTB_Galleries-0824-4-web

The William Harris Gallery will be showing “Glad to be Wrong”, an annual exhibition featuring thesis projects by Fine Art Photography seniors from the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences. These works include photographs, videos and installation media to be exhibited through April 7.

This is the first time all three galleries have come together to give visitors a combined experience of knowledge, aspect and thought. Have an exciting Gallery Hop this Friday!