Inside Rensselaer
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Focus on: Commencement  2008
Starting classes, meeting peers, and exploring a new region can seem intimidating for many new college students. But it doesn’t have to be — at least that’s what staffers in Rensselaer’s Office of the First-Year Experience (FYE) believe. Beginning in 2002, the Institute began welcoming first-year students to campus early to allow them to participate in week-long series of events, team-building adventures, and festivities — called Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond (NRB) — designed to lessen the stress and help make the transition to college life comfortable. From Aug. 19-24, members of the Class of 2012 participated in the annual program.

NRB is organized around three general themes: adventure/team building, cultural/historical, and community service. The program features more than 100 activities and serves to connect new students with each other and to resources available on campus and in the local community. Highlights included: overnight camping trips to places such as Lake George and the Adirondack Mountains, hiking and kayaking trips, building homes with Habitat for Humanity, learning ballroom dance steps, participating in an Iron Chef cooking challenge, and various other engineering, science, arts, and music programs.

This year, Rensselaer’s First-Year Experience program was again highlighted by U.S. News & World Report as a “Program to Look For.”

“When students arrive on campus, we want to make the students’ transition to college life successful,” said Lisa Trahan, dean of the first-year experience and interim dean of residence life. “The ‘beyond’ in our program’s name represents the idea that freshman orientation and the college experience does not end after classes begin, nor is it confined to the boundaries of the campus. With an ultimate goal of achieving student success, our aim is to have students build healthy and meaningful bonds with each other that will last not only through their time at Rensselaer, but also into the alumni years.”

On Aug. 22, Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson and other members of the Rensselaer community personally greeted each member of the Class of 2012 at the Approach steps on 8th Street as they headed to downtown Troy for the annual Welcome Fest, a free community celebration for Rensselaer students, faculty, staff, and the Troy community.

Now entering its eighth season of programming, NRB’s success is made possible by cross-campus collaborations that continually support a seamless transition for Rensselaer’s newest students, Trahan noted. Additional Rensselaer groups involved in the programs include Residence Life, the Rensselaer Union, Alumni Relations, the Advising and Learning Assistance Center, numerous academic departments, and Rensselaer Union student clubs.
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Inside Rensselaer, Strategic Communications and External Relations
1000 Troy Building, 110 Eighth Street, Troy, N.Y. 12180 or to leibat@rpi.edu.
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 2, Number 14, September 5, 2008
©2008 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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