Society of Software Engineers Puts on ‘Heist’

Event has new RIT students solving puzzles

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Provided by Dorrene Brown

Upperclassmen take on the role of the “evil” opposing group in The Heist.

New software engineering students solved a series of puzzles to “save” their advisers from an evil organization trying to stop the impending semester switch. The game is part of the annual freshman orientation for the Society of Software Engineers at B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Traditionally held during the weekend after the first week of classes every fall, The Heist, as the event is called, serves to acclimate new students while also fostering a sense of teamwork and testing their problem-solving skills. Students were sent in teams across RIT’s campus to track down and rescue their advisers. Along the way, the teams solved puzzles, tracked kidnappers and juggled the interests of conflicting secret agencies.

“This is one of my favorite events of the year,” says Dorrene Brown, president of the Society of Software Engineers. “It’s great to see upperclassmen band together to introduce freshmen to RIT and to SSE.”

The Heist was inspired by a similar event that Microsoft holds for its interns. Software engineering students brought the idea back to RIT after having worked on co-op with Microsoft.

“The Heist is great because we can always learn something from each other,” Brown says. “There was no rule against sabotage, and this year one of the teams ended up tricking their opponents. It’s really a testament to how creative RIT students can be.”