Inside Rensselaer
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Focus on: Rensselaer Union Activities Fair
A five-day train trip through seven states took on special meaning for two Rensselaer students recently, when they had the opportunity to work as runners
for the ABC News morning show Good Morning America (GMA). Last month, the network, along with USA Today, kicked off its “50 States in 50 Days” initiative to report from every state in the nation during the 50 days leading up to the presidential election.

From Sept. 10 to Sept. 19, Claire Woot de Trixhe — a native of Brussels, Belgium, who now calls Summit, N.J., home — and Joshua Bruder, a native of Bennington, Vt., traveled with GMA on-air talent and production staff as part of the tour kick-off.

The broadcast studio consisted of three locomotives and eight rail cars, two of which were antique cars.

The event was history in the making as the program was the first show to broadcast live from a train, according to network officials.

Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts, Chris Cuomo, and Sam Champion anchored the morning broadcast onboard the specially equipped Amtrak train. The train made stops in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Niagara Falls, N.Y. The anchors also interviewed newsmakers and talked with local residents about the important issues facing them.

The students followed a busy schedule that included 2 a.m. wake-up calls, running errands, preparing the train for broadcasting, making copies, and picking up production crew members, among others.

“I created an Excel spreadsheet that allowed me to assign numbers to everyone on board; we had to make sure that we did not leave anyone behind,” said Woot de Trixhe, a junior majoring in industrial and management engineering. “The most memorable part of the experience was learning about the television industry, and how to interact and adapt when working with people in stressful situations.”

“In the future, I want to design cars, but I also love transportation,” said Bruder, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering. “It was great to have the opportunity to travel on a train and see how it works. Who knows, one day I may even consider working for Amtrak in their engineering department. Things moved at a frantic pace, but it was a fun learning experience.”

The students had the opportunity to participate in the event due to their affiliation with Rensselaer’s Red & White Student Organization. The organization promotes the pride and preserves the traditions of Rensselaer through the embodiment of service and leadership while building student-alumni relations.

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Inside Rensselaer, Strategic Communications and External Relations
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 2, Number 16, October 3, 2008
©2008 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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