Student hopes for world record at Mud Tug

Student Spotlight
Emma Siegel, second-year advertising photography

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Emma Siegel, right, poses with friends Courtney Sciotti and Chrissy Connors after last year’s Mug Tug.

Running the popular RIT event Mud Tug is no small task. Second-year student Emma Siegel feels honored to be at the helm of the annual competition, an event that she believes unifies the RIT community. All proceeds go to Hillside Family of Agencies, which received $11,000 from the event last year. Mud Tug will be held 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 22. For more information, go to

Question: Where are you from?
Answer: I was born in Ithaca, N.Y., but I have lived in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Texas. Now, my family lives in Vestal, N.Y.

Q: What brought you to RIT?
A: I came to RIT because of the amazing photography program and the fact that RIT could have a full-on university feel but I could still be an art major.

Q: What activities are you involved with at RIT?
A: I am a sister of Zeta Tau Alpha but my freshman year I lived in Photo House and I currently work with admissions giving campus tours.

Q: In your opinion, what is the most interesting thing about yourself?
A: I think the most interesting thing about myself is that I’ve lived in so many different places. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I feel that it is what has made me the strong and outgoing person I am today.

Q: What has been your favorite RIT moment?
A: That’s a tough one, but I would have to go with Mud Tug. There’s just something about it. It brings out every type of personality on RIT’s campus—and there are a lot of them. Mud Tug just unifies us all. I’m very honored that, as a second-year student, I am planning this great event.

Q: What is Mud Tug?
A: Mud Tug is a huge tug-of-war competition in the mud. The competition consists of three brackets—men, women and co-ed. Zeta Tau Alpha partners with Phi Kappa Psi fraternity every year to plan this event. I’m lucky to have a great co-chair from Phi Kappa Psi, Christopher Stewart, to help me plan this year. All of the proceeds of this event go to Hillside Family of Agencies, which has two campuses in the Rochester area. Last year we raised $11,000 for Hillside! This year we are hoping to break the world record of the largest tug-of-war competition, which would be an added bonus to an already amazing event!

Q: How did you get involved with Mud Tug and what is your role?
A: I am the Zeta Tau Alpha Mud Tug chair for 2012, so I work with Christopher to plan the whole event. I was asked spring quarter of my freshman year to plan the event, which is a huge honor but crazy intimidating!

Q: Is there anything that you would like the RIT community to know about Mud Tug?
A: We love that the whole campus gets involved in our event and that it’s talked about throughout the entire year, not just fall quarter. We also really appreciate the support of the RIT community because without it, this event would not be nearly as successful as it is. Along with that, I want everyone to understand how much this means to Hillside—they love this event as much as we do. It may just be a day in the mud for RIT students, but to Hillside it is so much more.

Q: What advice would you give to other students?
A: I strongly encourage students to get involved, whether it is in Greek life or clubs around campus—just do something. Your college experience is what you make it!

Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: I really want to work for a magazine; my dream job is to work for Vogue. However, I'm learning to love the idea of maybe working in the food and wine industry. My family has a lot of connections in Napa, Calif., and my parents have passed along their love for amazing dining to me.

Matt Gregory compiles “Student Spotlights” for University News. Contact him at with suggestions.