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BS/MEng Mechanical Engineering
Clifton Park NY

The Seneca Park Zoo

Alissa Anderson on Monday, 06 September 2010. Posted in Rochester & Monroe County

Drove from Buffalo to Rochester for the weekend because I had a long weekend in honor of Labor Day! Though the rest of campus is in class, I am just blogging and checking out the new sights on campus before lunch at 12 in the SAU!

Besides my great lunch plans, this weekend was also the high point of Orientation week for the new freshman on campus. Thursday night was the annual hypnotist show (always a good laugh.. and a great way to introduce yourself to the campus, I still say hello to the cast of individuals who volunteered my freshman year).

Saturday my friends and I decided to get off campus and check out the greater Rochester area. We decided to pack up and head to the Seneca Park Zoo downtown. The Zoo is about twenty minutes from campus and is the former home of SPRIT the Tiger (the original RITchie).

In 1885 RIT was founded in downtown Rochester as the Mechanics Institute. During the early years our mascot was the "Tech Man"... aka a little man in overalls with a pocket protector and screwdriver in hand. In 1944 the university was renamed the Rochester Institute of Technology. It was not until 1955-1956 when the students motioned for a new mascot... preferably one that was a little more aggressive: we then became the RIT Tigers. With the switch, the school went out and purchased a bangle tiger. The tigers name was SPIRT (Student Pride in RIT) and came to campus for the sporting events and community service events on campus. When SPIRIT became too large for the public eye, he was donated to the Seneca Park Zoo where  he lived the rest of his life until 1964. After SPIRIT's death RITchie became the main tiger mascot. (See below: SPIRIT on a leash in 1956... and RITchie at College and Careers in 2010).


Other then RITchie, the zoo is home to rhinos, elephants, turtles, penguins, polar bears... etc. Fun place to go if you have a photo assignment this week!

Good luck on the first day of class!