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RSE 3.0 – What’s Next? Alumni Advisory Committee (AAC) Update May 2021

RSE 3.0, the plan for the “Future of RSE”, was unanimously approved at the April 24th, 2021 at Rensselaer Society of Engineers Spring Society and Trustees meeting.  This represents over 14 months of effort by the RSE Alumni Advisory Committee (AAC) to help create a strategy

and executable plan for RSE to ensure that RSE remains relevant going into the future.  On behalf of the Trustees, I would like to extend our appreciation to the AAC and all of the RSE alumni and current students who have provided input to this plan.  It provides a good framework to build on.

Now, of course, the hard work begins.  We must turn this framework into an executable plan for the Fall.  As many of you know, the AAC has been working with a sophomore and junior student as part of Professor Clint Ballinger’s “Starting a New Venture” class. These students spent the Spring semester surveying students and faculty on the concepts around RSE 3.0.  Their research confirmed strong support from students and faculty for an organization such as RSE 3.0 to fill a gap that currently exists on campus. 

  • The concept of the 3 pillars of RSE 3.0 resonated with students.
    • Alumni networking and professional/personal development support for Summer Arch, internships, career development were seen as valuable.
    • The concept of promoting the broader skills of innovation received strong support (more than a narrower focus solely on entrepreneurship).
    • Social responsibility through community service and sustainability were also viewed as important.
  • Students are time constrained so enabling a structure for RSE 3.0 that provides support of or synergy with their workload is important.
  • Building links to school projects with faculty sponsorship could be a huge plus that include Independent Learning Experiences, Severino Center, Architecture, RCOS, capstone projects.
  • The social bonds of a student-run, residential organization focused on these principles is important to the student experience.

The next step is to turn this into an actionable plan for the Fall.  The current thinking is that the plan will include three streams of activities.

Launch RSE 3.0 – We will need to create updated branding and messaging around RSE 3.0 and develop launch communications plan for the Fall.  This will include several alumni events and a potential open house for Alumni Weekend.

Professional Development and Alumni Networking – The students and alumni will develop a professional development and mentoring program that will include holding several on-campus events in partnership with the Center for Career and Professional Development and the Archer Center around networking skills, internships and career searches.  This would be tied to a Fall alumni/development event around Homecoming.

RSE Innovation Mission – The students, faculty and alumni will establish an RSE Innovation program that will target an innovation conference for Spring (Jan/Feb) 2022.  We would hold a series of events as lead-ups to the Spring event.  There is support for this type of activity from the Severino Center and several other Schools.

A core element that has been identified is a tie in between RSE 3.0 and the Independent Learning Experience (ILE) program.  At the present, all students are required to come up with an internship or learning experience to fulfill the Arch requirement.  ILE’s are a way to fulfill this requirement.  The students have identified how the ILE program can be embedded as part of the RSE 3.0 mission and provide a very valuable alternative to the student members.

Professor Clint Ballinger has volunteered his MBA Summer Practicum class to pick up where the Spring students left off (however the Spring students have volunteered their time to support RSE 3.0!).  The Practicum will be working with the AAC members over the summer to build out the specific plans for the launch of RSE 3.0 in the Fall, which will be viewed as a beta test for RSE 3.0.

There is still a significant amount of work to be done prior to the Fall.  If you have an interest in supporting the AAC or if you have any questions on the next steps, please do not hesitate to reach out to me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Thy Strength is My Strength,

Don Thoma ‘83

Alumni Advisory Committee Chairman