A couple of weeks ago, the Rensselaer Polytechnic (the RPI student newspaper) published a couple of op-eds in regard to the situation at RPI. (My friend, Greg Moore, wrote a piece a while back related to this issue.) In response to the op-eds, I decided to respond with my own letter to the editor.
This morning, a friend posted to my Facebook that my letter, to my surprise, was garnering some attention. I won’t say that it’s gone viral, but apparently, it’s caught a number of eyes.
I should note that my donations haven’t been much. I was only a graduate student at Rensselaer, not an undergrad, so the social impact on my life wasn’t quite the same, and other financial obligations have kept me from donating more of my money. That said, I’ve donated in other ways; I’ve been a hockey season ticket holder for many years (going back to my days as a student), I’ve attended various events (sports, cultural, etc.) on campus, and I’ve donated some of my time to the Institute.
Although my donations have been relatively meager, more importantly, I wanted to spread the word that I was no longer supporting RPI, and exactly why I was discontinuing my support. How much I was contributing isn’t the issue; the issue is that I am stopping contributing. For the first time in years, I have no intention of setting foot in the Field House for a hockey game during a season. I wanted to make clear exactly why. A large number of alumni have announced that they were withholding donations. I wanted to add to that chorus. It wasn’t so much how much I was donating; rather, I wanted to add my voice, and hopefully encourage other students and alumni to take action against an administration that I deem to be oppressive.
One of RPI’s marketing catchphrases is, “why not change the world?” It looks like I’m doing exactly that with my letter. Don’t underestimate the power of words. Indeed, with just a few words, you can change the world.