Creating memories with shared experiences

Elizabeth Lamark

More than 70 RIT students participated in 16 performances during this year’s Ovation: RIT Performing Arts Showcase. RIT is working to create experiences for students to enhance their sense of belonging.

Imagine arriving into a world that is larger than you’ve ever encountered.

That was my situation as an undergraduate at the University of Delaware and, later, as a graduate student at Princeton University. The sheer joy of learning everything from nuclear power to social psychology, circuit analysis to philosophy of logic, probability to anthropology, and real analysis to digital signal processing.

I learned from outstanding and caring professors. Yet some of the fondest memories of my college years occurred outside the classroom. As I reminisce, I vividly recall:

  • Singing in various choral groups.
  • Making friends who broadened my world view. 
  • Dorm life and the associated pranks with fellow students.
  • Attending athletic events and concerts with my future wife, Nancy.
  • A summer job as a laborer on a construction crew.
  • A fabulous summer job with a major corporation where I learned what I didn't want to pursue.
  • A year-long, independent design project with a close friend, providing the “other half” of my education.

At RIT, we are working diligently to create collaborative experiences for our students to enhance their college experience and sense of belonging. This fall, we will dedicate the new Student Hall for Exploration and Development (SHED), which will showcase our technology, the arts, and design in a massive way. The SHED is more than steel and glass. It will be about creativity every day. The SHED will offer students hands-on activities outside of their degree programs, outside of the curriculum. It could be that students are members of Hot Wheelz, the solar car race team, or RIT Launch Initiative, the student rocket team, or any of RIT’s many other teams and clubs.

In addition, many of our Performing Arts Scholars will take advantage of resources in the SHED. Performing Arts Scholars are an especially happy and engaged cohort of students. They're playing in rock bands, jazz quartets, dancing, acting, and more.

Our arts programs will be more visible in the new building. Student participation in arts programs has been found to develop strong bonds outside of students’ normal social circles, increase personal confidence, improve academic performance, expand creative and critical thinking skills, and develop an appreciation for unique perspectives. This ultimately will drive creativity, discovery, and innovation, leading to the attributes sought after by future employers.

Imagine the possibilities. They are endless!

Yours in Tiger pride,

David C. Munson Jr., President

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