This weekend (October 4-6, 2013), alumni and their families will congregate on campus to celebrate an annual ritual: RPI reunion. Folks who received their degrees in years ending in 3 or 8 will revisit the site of their student days, reveling in memories while noticing the many changes that have taken place at Rensselaer.
It’s impossible to highlight the experiences of so many people in a single blog post, so I’ve chosen one class whose college days are well documented in the archives. They are the Class of 1973, a group of students whose years at RPI spanned a unique era in American history.
Fraught with conflict – local, national, and international – the years 1969 to 1973 saw a wide range of protests and activism on campuses throughout the US. Rensselaer was no exception, and our collections testify to student involvement in these movements. We have photographs and posters, meeting minutes and correspondence, official publications and student newsletters, reports and brochures. Everything from student rights to campus governance; from improving humanities and social sciences offerings to demanding a “fine new library”; and from social injustice to military opposition was addressed. In 1970, student activists even delivered a series of demands to President Folsom titled “Requisites for a Technological University.” Those were some very heady days at the ‘tute!
Some of these items will be on display in the Archives this weekend, along with selected materials from other reunion classes. So if you’re on campus, stop in and say hello – we love to share documents from days gone by at Rensselaer!