Inside Rensselaer
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Focus on: Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond
Starting classes, meeting peers, and exploring a new geographical area all at once can seem intimidating for many new college students. But it doesn’t have to be that way — at least that’s what staffers in Rensselaer’s Office of the First-Year Experience (FYE) believe. Created under The Rensselaer Plan in 2001, the Institute began welcoming first-year students to campus early to allow them to participate in a weeklong program of welcome events team-building activities known as “Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond.” From August 25-30, members of the Class of 2013 participated in the program.

The program serves as an official continuation of Student Orientation. The events are designed to help ease the transition to college life by connecting new students to each other and to resources available on campus and in the local community.

Some highlights of the week’s events included: overnight trips to the Adirondacks and Connecticut; volunteer opportunities with local organizations including the Latham Regional Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity; restoring a mural in Troy playground; interacting with a number of student clubs, including the RPI Players, Terra Café, musical and dance groups, martial arts, along with meeting Rensselaer faculty and students representing various departments.

“The transition for new students at Rensselaer begins prior to Student Orientation and continues throughout their first year,” said Janelle Fayette, acting dean of the First-Year Experience. “Both Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond and Student Orientation are geared to help students become acquainted with their classmates, faculty, staff, the campus, its resources as well as the greater Troy community; building the platform for success at Rensselaer.”

Members of the incoming class also participated in the annual greeting at the 8th Street Approach — the century-old granite staircase that symbolizes the connection between the City of Troy and the Institute — where  Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson greeted and shook hands with each member of the class as they headed to downtown Troy.  Rensselaer students, faculty, staff, and the members of Troy community also attended the annual Welcome Festival, a free Communiversity celebration featuring live entertainment, arts, and crafts.

The week’s activities culminated with the First-Year Convocation. Members of the Class of 2013, President Shirley Ann Jackson, and other members of the Rensselaer community participated in the event. The ceremony, hosted by the Office of University Events, featured guest speakers affiliated with the Rensselaer campus, and included a video compilation of the week’s activities.

The overall NRB program was supported by more than 370 student, faculty, and staff volunteers. Additional Rensselaer groups involved in the programs included Residence Life, the Rensselaer Union, Undergraduate Education, the Student Health Center, Career Development Center, DotCIO, EMPAC , Alumni Relations, and numerous academic departments, among others.

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Send comments to:
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 3, Number 8, September 11, 2009
©2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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