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Necessary Upgrades Required to the Clubhouse to Weather the COVID-19 Storm

These are interesting times, and RSE faces challenges across our organizational structure.  Regarding our building, we have continued making progress on multiple fronts.  As a result of RPI requiring the evacuation of all Greek Housing because of COVID-19, we took a number of measures. 

Read more: Necessary Upgrades Required to the Clubhouse to Weather the COVID-19 Storm

Spring 2020 Junior Member Update

The Junior Membership (JMs) was enjoying the start of the Spring semester up until the COVID-19 pandemic shut down RPI’s campus. Many of the brothers returned home for the remainder of the school year, continuing their education via online classes. RSE and RPI decided that the best way to minimize the impact is to move everyone out of their campus housing. RSE has been fitted with a new security system to ensure that the clubhouse remains unoccupied and secure until further notice.

As for the earlier months of the semester, RSE has still been dealing with life on suspension. We have remained a dry house in accordance with RSE and RPI’s substance policies. We have been actively working to communicate with the school and determine the next steps on our pathway to reinstatement. The JMs had participated in multiple brotherhood events including a Super Bowl viewing party, bowling down at Uncle Sam’s, and some video game tournaments. We had many things planned for the rest of the semester but sadly we won’t be able to carry them out. Our hope is that the pandemic blows over sometime in the summer so that our guys will be able to get together once more before the graduating seniors head off to start their respective careers.

Coordination with the RPI administration had proven to be challenging regarding the topic of our suspension. A meeting was scheduled with the Dean of Students and the Vice President of Student Life last December to discuss our potential reinstatement and our recruitment status. This meeting was cancelled the day before it was set to occur and delayed one week, only to be cancelled the day before again. Since then, the RSE Trustees and the Junior Member president, Jake Hodgson '20, have been attempting to reschedule. The meeting was finally given a date, March 20th, but then cancelled again due to the closure of campus. The administration needed to deal with the fallout from the pandemic, clearly a higher priority. We were told that our meeting would still be carried out remotely, at a later date. As of now, we still haven’t heard back.

If not reinstated by next fall, RSE will suffer serious consequences. The House will have no live-in members. The last recruited class, Class of '21, will graduate without being able to recruit and bring a new class to RSE. Next academic year will find less than 15 active brothers on campus and most them will be in their last year at RPI. It is vital that we are able to recruit at some point next year to ensure the continuation of tradition and brotherhood at 1501 Sage Avenue.

2019 RSE Foundation Scholarship Awards

The RSE Foundation awarded the 2019 Frank W. Becker and Rudy C. Bergfield Scholarships to junior Joseph Stillo ’21 (Manasquan, NJ) and senior Jake Hodgson ’20 (Bend, OR), respectively.  Stillo is a dual major, aeronautical and mechanical, whose House activities included being pledge class advisor and Junior Member treasurer.  Hodgson is majoring in biomedical engineering and has held multiple house office including House president and recruitment chair. 

The Frank W. Becker ‘83 Scholarship was first awarded in 1987 to memorialize RSE alumnus Frank W. Becker after being established by his pledge class.  This award recognizes an outstanding junior for their contributions to the House. 

The Rudolph C. Bergfield ’49 Scholarship was inaugurated in the fall of 2009, as a result of a generous donation from RSE alumnus, Rudy C. Bergfield.  This award typically recognizes a senior who has made significant leadership contributions to the House. 

These scholarship funds are managed for perpetuity and in recent years, when supplemented with generous donations, have resulted in annual awards of $3,500 per scholarship.  As the assets funding these scholarships are owned by the RSE Foundation, the Foundation has more flexibility in determining worthy recipients. The support of our donors is very much appreciated.

RPI/RSE scholarships were not awarded this year. RPI has informed us that the scholarship fund is "underwater" and essentially no money is available. The RSE Foundation is in discussion with RPI to better understand this situation.