Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, No. 13, September 14, 2012

Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond

First-year students took part in a weeklong program to welcome them to campus and the Capital Region

Starting classes, meeting peers, and exploring a new geographical area all at once may seem intimidating for many first-year students making the transition to college and campus life. But, it doesn’t have to be that way, according to staffers in the Office of the First-Year Experience at Rensselaer.

Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond spacer

“When students arrive on campus, and especially in a new environment, it can be intimidating,” said Janelle Fayette, dean of the Office of the First-Year Experience. “As a new student, you’re thinking about moving into your residence hall, meeting your roommates, wondering what your first day of class will be like, and so much more. In addition, for most of our students, this may be the first time that they are living away from home for an extended period of time.”
From Aug. 21 to Aug. 26, Rensselaer officially welcomed more than 1,330 members of the Class of 2016, and introduced them to the local community through a weeklong series of events known as “Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond” (NRB). Created under The Rensselaer Plan in 2001, NRB is usually organized around three general themes: adventure/team building; cultural/historical; and community service. This year, more than 100 activities organized by Rensselaer staff, departments, and student clubs were offered.

Some highlights of the week included: overnight trips to the Adirondacks and Camp Chingachgook on Lake George; volunteer opportunities with local organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the city rescue mission; working with residents and Rensselaer students to continue Hurricane Irene recovery and restoration efforts in Schoharie County; traveling to Little Brook Farm with the Rensselaer Equestrian Team to improve the quality of life of rescued horses; playing the sport of Quidditch; learning about Rensselaer traditions; and interacting with a number of student clubs.

“We want our students’ transition to college life to be as comfortable as possible,” Fayette added. “NRB helps students build bonds with each other that will sustain them through four years of academically challenging course work. The primary goals of the program are to build affinity groups that will bring together students with similar interests and to help students create strong, stable social communities outside of the residence halls and classrooms. The ‘Beyond’ component of NRB represents the ideal that students will become familiar with the Capital Region, the City of Troy, and the Rensselaer campus.”

Members of the incoming class also participated in the annual greeting at the 8th Street Approach, where President Shirley Ann Jackson greeted and shook hands with each member of the class before they headed down the hill to attend the annual Welcome Fest, a free communiversity celebration featuring live entertainment and various games. The NRB activities culminated with the First-Year Convocation. The ceremony, hosted by the Office of University Events, featured remarks from Jeff Trinkle, professor of computer science and director of the Computer Science Robotics Lab, who also serves as faculty dean of the residential commons.

The NRB program was supported by more than 400 student, faculty, and staff volunteers.

To view a video of the week’s activities, go to

* * *
* *
Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, Number 13, September 14, 2012
©2012 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Return to Front
Front Page
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | About RPI | Virtual Campus Tour | Academics | Research | Student Life | Admissions | News & Events