At the threshold of Week 7, I see my fellow students deeply focused on the RIT community. With final projects, Student Government Elections, and registration concerns, our attention is drawn inwards.
Jon Schull, interim director of the Center for Student Innovation, is not. At 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, he will be presenting his vision for a bike path connecting RIT, the University of Rochester and Monroe County Community College. By connecting these three universities into what he calls a “multiversity,” Schull hopes to encourage exercise, innovation and economic growth.
While Schull’s speech will be long finished by the time this magazine hits stands, it’s worth mentioning for one key reason: It’s a truly fantastic idea. By expanding our horizons, we can grow — both as a university and a community.
As a freshman, I fell victim to the insular nature of college culture. I didn’t watch the news or read a paper; even at REPORTER, I wrote mostly reviews. College was a whirlwind of new experiences; between homework and friends, I felt content.
During my sophomore year, I became the magazine’s Leisure Editor; in turn, I gradually began writing news pieces and features. I developed a desire to connect with — and to explore — the greater Rochester community. And as I began to make friends at other local colleges, I discovered what I had missed by remaining insulated.
In my experience, exploration often leads to unexpected outcomes. There’s a risk, but there’s also an immense potential for reward. For example, take this week’s feature. Author Evan Williams ventured deep into the heart of the Flower City to uncover a vibrant musical subculture. His idea, as originally pitched, was to explore the culture of basement punk shows. While he did not discover what he originally expected to, he unearthed a powerful, emotional story involving a group of dedicated individuals.
As an RIT student, this kind of exploration presents challenges. As much as I love RIT, it often feels far removed from its namesake. Without a car, it’s even worse.
Recently, the Institute has taken measures to expand our transportation options. Earlier this year, SG introduced a pilot run of the Tiger East End Express (TE3), a Saturday night route which travels to Rochester’s East End. Regardless of the debates surrounding the bus’ use, it serves a key purpose: connecting RIT to a larger community. It’s an effort I applaud.
If anything, the TE3 proved RIT isn’t so far from the outside world. Ultimately, U of R is a walkable trip — provided you’ve got a comfortable pair of shoes and some serious free time. With a bike trail, it could be an even more feasible. Improving this ease-of-access would encourage students to explore their surroundings. And
There is a world beyond the Brick City. It’s high time we join it.