Let’s Get Ready for Winter Break

It’s that time of the year. The weather grows colder, the holiday season approaches, and the study grind for finals begins. One thing to look forward to post-finals, is winter break. From December 20 to January 15, you’ll have no obligations, and some time to relax before the spring semester craziness begins. But before you head home, on vacation, or wherever you may be spending your break, it’s important to ensure that your dorm/apartment is prepared for your time off.

Housing Closing Procedures

Residence Halls

Residence Halls close on Wednesday, December 20, and all students must leave their rooms during the entirety of the break. For students planning on staying close to campus, don’t fret, rooms at the RIT Inn and Conference Center have been reserved for
you, just ask your RA for more info. If your roommate this semester is planning on moving out (or if they already have), it is important to ensure that your room is prepared for someone new to move in. This will consist of removing your personal belongings from their side of the room. In the hustle and bustle of finals week, many students forget to empty their garbage prior to leaving for winter break. We’re sure you can imagine how lovely the room will smell upon your arrival back to campus if you forget to do so! Aside from throwing out last minute trash, it is imperative that you close, lock, and pull down the shades on all of windows in your room. This will help prevent pipes from freezing. Just like your garbage, it’s just as important to remove all leftover food in your mini fridge prior to your departure from RIT. Lastly, don’t forget to unplug all electronics, and lock your door when you leave!

Apartments

Just like the residence halls, on-campus apartments also need to be prepared for your absence during winter break. Aside from preparing for a new roommate, locking windows, taking out garbage, and moving unplugging all electronics, it is important to adjust your apartment’s temperature prior to your departure. Your heater should be set to automatic, and the room temperature should be set to at least 65 degrees. While adjusting your apartment’s temperature, be sure to leave the HVAC covers in place, and do not turn off the valves to the HVAC unit. With most campus apartments having multiple roommates in one unit, it is important that you create a comfortable living space to ensure new roommates are welcome.

Dining Services

All of the dining halls will close December 20th, 2017, and will re-open at the start of spring semester 2018. For a full list of hours and operation, please visit the RIT Dining Servies website. 

Good luck on finals, and have a wonderful winter break. See you next semester!

Ready or not, here winter comes!

By now, you’ve already trudged through the snow and winter doesn’t even start officially until December 21st. But that’s the typical Rochester weather: cold, and unpredictable. We haven’t even gotten close to the worst of it. The average high temperature in December is 37°F, the average low is 24°F, and the average snowfall is 22 inches. Already dreading it? Well, ready or not, here winter comes and here’s how to prepare.

Think About Your Wardrobe

If you’re living in Rochester, you need a whole separate winter wardrobe. The most important thing is having a warm winter coat. Quality boots are essential. More pairs the better, to match all different kinds of styles and places you’re heading to. Having a set of hat and gloves is also important to keep yourself warm as you’re walking to class. Gloves are specifically a must, especially if you are carrying anything. Touchscreen winter gloves are the smartest to invest in, so you don’t have to take them off to use your phone.

Need to go shopping? Stock up on RIT winter gear at the bookstore at Barnes and Noble. Another option is to take the RIT Retail bus to Marketplace Mall in Henrietta. However, don’t clear out your existing closet just yet. Rochester weather can be quite unpredictable. Although it is usually cold, sometimes it can rain or be a little warmer. You might want to keep your umbrella, raincoat, and light jackets around, just in case.

Most importantly, during the cold Rochester winter, it is important to remember to dress in layers. You’ll want to bundle up when walking outside, but the minute you sit in a heated classroom, you’ll be sweating. Layers are the perfect solution to this problem.

Prepare Your Living Space

It is important to also prepare your living space for the Rochester winter ahead. Stock up on food and snacks at the market, in case you get snowed in. Investing in a few blankets is never a bad idea, especially because dorm rooms can often get cold in the winter. You might also want to invest in a humidifier: it will prevent you from getting chapped lips, dry skin, and sore throats by bringing moisture into the air. Lastly, you won’t regret purchasing a boot tray. It prevents slush and mud from getting all over your apartment. With these essentials, you’ll be ready to conquer a Rochester winter in your apartment.

Load Up on Tiger Bucks

Next, load up on Tiger Bucks for the winter. You’ll want to use them for flu season, when you desperately need to stock up on tissues, lip balm, and medicine. Also, on those cold, brutal days, you’ll crave a big cup of Java Wally’s hot chocolate (with extra whipped cream and sprinkles). If you have enough Tiger Bucks on your account, you won’t have to worry about having enough cash in your wallet.

Decide on the Best Way to Get to Class

On the snowy, blowy days, you’ll want to avoid walking to class as much as possible. The tunnels can often come in handy. If you don’t know how to navigate through the tunnels, you may be interested in our past article, The Ultimate RIT Tunnel Guide.

If the tunnels can’t get you to where you want to go, there are other transportation options. Once you master the timing and routes, the RIT Busses can also come in handy in the winter, especially if you want to travel across campus. If all else fails, bikes can reduce the time you have to be outside. However, they’re tough to ride if it is very snowy.

Alternatively, take some time to figure out how to cross through buildings to get where you need to go. This will limit your time outside when you can’t use a bike, the bus, or the tunnels.

Be Prepared for Winter Driving

Driving to class in the winter can be a whole new struggle. The most important thing is to give yourself extra time to get to class. There will be more open parking spots and you will be able to park closer to your building. Although RIT does a good job at keeping their roads and lots clear, the brutal Rochester weather can often make it tough. Accidents in the winter happen when people rush. Give yourself plenty of time to drive slowly and to get to class safely.

Additionally, make sure you have a windshield brush and scraper. The last thing you want after a long day of classes is to walk out to a car with a mound of snow on top, and have no way to get it off. It is always smart to carry emergency items in your car in the winter. Tools, jumper cables, an extra coat, a can of gas, and anything else you can think of. You never know what will happen, but you’ll want to be prepared if something does. Keep in mind that RIT Public Safety is always happy to help if you have any issues this winter.

Have Fun in the Snow

If you don’t make the most out of the cold Rochester weather, chances are you will be miserable. There are many hilly parks in the area; a great way to enjoy the snow is to go sledding. In the city of Rochester, there is a small outdoor ice skating rink in MLK Jr. Memorial Park. It is cheap, fun, and will get you into the winter spirit. There are also a few ski resorts in the area. Take a day trip and try skiing or snowboarding. If you don’t already have your own equipment, the ski hills have rentals.

If you’re interested in staying on campus but still want to enjoy the snow, gather your friends for an epic snowball fight. Also,make a list of winter movies to watch with your friends, get cozy, make some hot chocolate, and start binge watching. On the weekends, embrace your RIT hockey 

spirit and support the Men’s and Women’s Hockey teams in the Gene Polisseni Center. If watching hockey puts you into the skating mood, the Ritter Ice Arena has open skate multiple times per week: check their website for each week’s times.

The College Activities Board also offers some special events open to students in the upcoming winter months. RIT SpiRIT Skate is on December 2 in the Ritter Ice Arena. It is a free open skate for those that wear RIT hockey apparel. There is a trip to see The Nutcracker in Buffalo on December 2. Also, the movie, Office Christmas Party, will be playing in the Ingle Auditorium on December 7.

Most importantly, don’t constantly complain about the cold. Mostly everyone feels the same way. It may be overwhelming, but the winter in Rochester isn’t so bad. There is an upside: the possibility for a snow day.

10 Inventions that Make Winter Wonderful

RIT is a school that prides itself in innovation, so much so that we have an entire building dedicated to the craft. Besides being known for its brilliant students, RIT (and Rochester, in general) is known for its brutal winters. If last year’s weather patterns are any indication of how this winter is likely to turn out, let’s take a moment to honor the brilliant minds that made winter not only bearable for us hairless apes, but who also made it fun!

Gloves
Before anything, we need to be warm. Jackets, boots, and mittens have been around since prehistoric times; without those basics, the native people of northern Canada would have frozen before you could say “mammoth.” When did people decide to give winter the finger and invent gloves? According to Fashion Time, the first remnants of gloves were found in Tutankhamun’s tomb. Considering he died in around 1323 B.C.E., that makes the oldest known pair of gloves somewhere in the ballpark of  3338 years old!

Snowshoes
Granted, Egypt isn’t exactly known for its brutal winters, but you know where is? Central Asia; and you know what came from Central Asia? Snowshoes! More than just tennis rackets for your feet, snowshoes allow the wearer to move across deep snow with ease by spreading the wearer’s weight out over a larger surface area than their feet alone, keeping them on top of the snow instead of knee deep in a drift. Snowshoe Mag dates the invention of snowshoes to sometime between 4,000 and 6,000 years ago.

Skis
Let’s jump even farther back in time, now, for a look at skiing. The term “ski” comes from the Old Norse word for — surprise — a stick of wood, “skíð.” The oldest ski remnants were found in northern Russia and date back to roughly 6,000 B.C.E.

Snowboards
Snowboarding
, on the other hand, is a much more recent invention. It was invented in 1964 when a young surfing enthusiast named Sherman Poppen decided to make a surf board for the snow so he could shred it up in the Rockies. Initially, the invention, whose prototype was made of a pair of skis bolted together, was called a “snurfer” — a clever shortening of “snow surfer.” The popularity of the idea grew and manufacturing began shortly after its conception. Sadly, Poppen’s idea died out about as quickly as it had taken root, and it wasn’t until 1970, when another surfer from upstate New York, Dimitrije Milovich, decided to redesign Poppen’s model. Milovich’s inspiration came in the form of a lunch tray and a new, shorter model of surfboard. His design featured a shorter board with gravel and glass laminated to the top to give it some grip and nylon straps to keep your feet in place. His idea was better, but still not quite right. In the following years, several other snurfing enthusiasts tinkered with and improved on the design until it eventually became what we know it to be, today.

Earmuffs
Time to credit one crafty kid. The invention of earmuffs goes back to Farmington, Maine, in 1873 and Chester Greenwood, who decided he’d had enough of the cold and that something had to be done about it. To chase the chill away, Chester created his “Greenwood Champion Ear Protectors,” which were made of beaver fur on the outside of the earpiece, velvet on the ear-side, and a band of soft wire connecting the two pieces. He later refined the model to include a thicker band and spring hinges at either end to hold the fabric parts more snugly to the wearer’s head. His idea was patented March 13, 1877, and the rest is history.

Sleds and Toboggans
The word “toboggan” is a funny-sounding word that likely comes from the Mi’kmaq word for sled (tobâkun) or the Abenaki word for sled (udãbãgan). According to Canadian Icons, the French Canadians adapted the word sometime in the early 1800s to “tabaganne,” from which today’s “toboggan” evolved. While toboggans have been around longer than the Internet seems to know, they are thought to have originated in Northern Canada as the brainchild of the aboriginal groups living there. The Mi’kmaq or Micmac lived in what is now Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, a part of the Gaspé Peninsula, and eastern New Brunswick and the Abenaki inhabited parts of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Sleds as we know them today differ from toboggans in their steerability and the runners on the bottom of the sled, and are a much more recent invention. Samuel Leeds Allen, the inventor of the Flexible Flyer, patented his steerable sled August 13, 1889. You may have seen these kinds of sleds hanging up somewhere in your grandparents’ garage — the wooden sleds with metal runners, just like something out of an old fashioned winter scene. They may be a bit slow compared to newer sleds and toboggans, and they may be a little on the fragile side, but if you ever get the chance to ride one of these sleds, it sure is a treat.

Cough Drops
As fun as winter is, there comes a time for almost everyone where the weather gets to you and you find the cold to be both inside and out. You wake up, your throat hurts, then it turns into a tickle and eventually a cough. Fortunately, someone made cold and flu season a bit more bearable for us all, and that “someone” is James Smith, of Poughkeepsie, New York, and his two sons, William and Andrew. James Smith was the father of “cough candy,” which appeared in an advertisement in a local paper a few years after its invention, in 1852. His sons inherited the business after their father’s death, in 1866, and carried on the recipe, though there were many impersonators who tried to butt in on the profits. Eventually, they developed a distinct package that became one of the first factory-filled products in history.

Facial Tissues
Before we had the wonders that are disposable facial tissues, people used handkerchiefs, which, I imagine, when someone came down with a case of the sniffles, wouldn’t last too long before you needed a new one. Now, of course, many people prefer the disposable option of the little bits of soft paper we call facial tissues. Who decided to create these little wonders, and how long did humanity have to wait for a trusty ol’ Kleenex? As it turns out, disposable facial tissues have been around for centuries, in Japan, where they are called washi. It wasn’t until 1924 that Kimberly-Clark introduced Kleenex, though their original intended use was for removing cold cream, rather than blowing one’s nose. Consumers, however, were having none of that cold cream business, and by 1926, somewhere in the ballpark of 60 percent of users were using the Kleenex for wiping their noses, while the other 40-ish percent used them for other tasks, such as napkins and toilet paper.

Hot Chocolate
Winter just isn’t complete without hot chocolate. It’s the perfect pick-me-up after a long afternoon of whizzing down hills on your toboggan or a brisk walk back from class. Although our favorite lady, Swiss Miss, didn’t join the party until the 1960s, hot chocolate has been around since 2,000 to 1,000 B.C.E., when the Olmec of Mesoamerica, in what is now southern Mexico. Their practice for making the chocolate beverage they called “xocolātl” was to grind cacao beans into a paste, mix it with water, and pour it between bowls to make it frothy. The drink gave sustenance and provided a pick-me-up, leading the Olmec to believe that the drink possessed mystical qualities. From the Olmec, the drink was passed to the Maya and the Aztecs. When Cortes conquered the Aztecs and their chocolatey drink, he brought it back to Spain, where it spread throughout the rest of the world.

 

And the rest, my friends, is history. Happy winter!