Ithaca is a college town. Ann Arbor is a college town. Chapel Hill is a college town. State College is a college town.
Henrietta is a college town…. Well, we’re still evolving from our move from downtown to the suburbs in 1968.
The Real RIT Challenge has administrators immersed in student life. Last night, groups were given different assignments: Some navigated their way to Dinosaur BBQ in downtown Rochester (after their bus was 20 minutes late and the temp was a balmy 17 degrees); some were sent to Wegmans (with no clear way of returning home); and my group was sent to Lovin’ Cup at Park Point.
The commute from Gleason Circle was easy enough. But we had the challenge of figuring out why the 3-year-old development isn’t exactly living up to the hype of a “college town,” at least in the eyes of the students.
Many students feel Park Point caters too much to the non-RIT community. They feel prices are too high for the average student. And they feel there are too many restaurants (currently five).
One thing I admire about RIT students: If they have a problem, they don’t just whine; they come up with solutions. Students understand the current business model to sustain Park Point, but they feel the addition of a convenience store and space to display and sell student artwork and projects would be beneficial, too.
During the Challenge, I also lunched with a group of student athletes. They wanted to address two key issues to improve their Tiger experience: 1) Accessing food after late practices and 2) allowing student athletes the ability to register early for classes. Again, they came with solutions, such as establishing a pre-ordered express-dining program with healthy options.
Final thoughts on the Challenge:
• Let’s get some more microwaves in the suites at the RIT Inn & Conference Center. Demand is high for popcorn and Ramen noodles.
• My roomie, Randy Vercauteren, has one of the toughest jobs on campus. He’s in charge of parking and transportation and has the perfect demeanor for the job (patience, thick skin, customer-service oriented). That said, lighten up people! We have FREE parking and have to walk a few hundred yards. Have you ever parked downtown? Any city? Have you ever parked at another major university? Show me better.
• Let’s get some wireless routers at the RIT Inn.
• Compared to the 2009 dorm challenge (4 a.m. fire alarms), I am very well rested.
I think it is important to note that RIT is evolving rapidly. The challenges faced by the university are all due to growing pains. We’re like that feisty teen that’s still maturing. These are good problems to have.
Thank you Student Government for allowing me to walk in your shoes, albeit just for a few short days.