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RIT’s ‘The Best,’ and students agree PR musings

“In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” And with no disrespect intended to a great American like Ben Franklin, may I also suggest the certainty that summer will evaporate before we know what’s hit us. It’s happening again, isn’t it?

In only one month, RIT will welcome back its returning students for the start of another academic year. That’s the good part of summer’s demise. This campus just isn’t the same without its students.

I was reminded of that this week as I scanned the results of the latest publication from The Princeton Review. The company just released its 2009 edition of The Best 368 Colleges, and RIT is again among this elite group of institutions.

If you’ve never seen the book, each college and university is featured in its own 2-page spread. The text is basically a haphazard collection of student quotes that outline their impressions on the academics, campus life and the student body at each school. What struck about the collection of comments from RIT students was their thorough understanding of this university and, despite its warts, their tremendous pride in it.

The publication’s summary acknowledges RIT as a “serious, no-nonsense school with amazing facilities and a unique cooperative education program which is very good at preparing you to work in the real world.” It quotes one student as saying, “RIT is a place where you come to work hard and make a lot of money when you graduate.” Fair enough.

But what really impressed me was the summary on student life. This was clearly not our strong suit not too long ago, but The Princeton Review suggests that students are reasonably satisfied with the atmosphere on campus. True, it’s not a “party school,” but there are many activities to enjoy. “Almost anyone who is looking for something to do can find a place to fit in,” states another student.

Also, students really took exception to any perception that RIT is a “nerd school.” According to a senior student, there are “kids who don’t come out of their rooms,” but those that do are “awesome.” And the diversity of our student population is celebrated. “The interaction of these extremely different groups of students is part of what makes life on campus so interesting.”

Yeah, it’s tough to watch summer slip away, but it will be great to have our students return to campus. They’re truly the reason RIT is among “the best.”


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