Last month, Rensselaer officially welcomed members of the Class of 2018, and introduced them to the local community through a weeklong series of events known as “Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond” (NRB), the official continuation of orientation.

“When students arrive on campus, and especially in a new environment, it can be intimidating,” said Janelle Fayette, dean of the Office of the First-Year Experience. “As a new student, you’re thinking about moving into your residence hall, meeting your roommates, wondering what your first day of class will be like, and so much more. In addition, for the majority of our students, this may be the first time that they are living away from home, especially if it’s a great distance—for an extended period of time, so finding a way to familiarize our new members of the Rensselaer community with not only the campus, but also the city of Troy and surrounding areas is an ideal way to lessen student stress.”

The incoming class of more than 1,330 students participated in more than 100 activities organized by staff, departments, and student clubs. The NRB program was supported by more than 380 student, faculty, staff, and alumni and alumnae volunteers.

Some highlights of the week featured: overnight trips to the Adirondacks and the Berkshires; volunteer opportunities with local organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the Capital City Rescue Mission to support housing construction, park clean-up, and serving meals to the homeless; building an electric vehicle or a hybrid go-kart; creating a giant Rube Goldberg machine; diving into the challenge of performing contemporary a cappella music; and learning a variety of modern forms of ballroom and Latin dances.

The week’s activities culminated with the First-Year Convocation event held in the East Campus Athletic Village Arena. Members of the Class of 2018, President Jackson, and other members of the Rensselaer community participated in the event. The ceremony, hosted by the Office of University Events, featured guest speaker Kim Lewis, associate professor of physics in the Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy.