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.



2019 RSE Alumni-Junior Member Networking Forum

 Members listening to RSE Networking speaker

We did it!  On Saturday September 28th, 2020 we held the first RSE Alumni-Junior Member Networking Forum.  The Networking Forum began immediately after the RSE Fall Trustee and Society meetings at the RSE Clubhouse.

The Forum was well attended by almost 30 members alumni including:  Paul Lee ’19, James Lee ’19, Don Thoma ’83, Rich Gonyea ‘99/’03, Matt Buck ’05, Wes Lord ’72, Adam Orsi ’03, Jerry Szilagyi ’84, Dave Hall ’80, Mark Anderson ’79, Steve Nichols ’98, Nick Sosin ’11, Eric Stover ’04, Tom Keating ’75 and Junior Members: Marc Fellbaum ’19, Jake Hodgson ’20, Inwon Kang ’21, Matt Binshtock ’21, JT Swetman ’20, Marcelo Lazo ’20, Joseph Stillo ’21, Allen Bekov ’21, Will Zieman ’20, Harry Smith ’20, Brendan Donnelly ’20, Will Furst ‘19/’20, Jonathan Stadler ’20.

The Event was developed and managed by co-chairmen Jonny Koppleman ‘20 (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and James Lee ’19 (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with the support of Don Thoma ‘83

The event was structured to give the opportunity for alumni to share their interests and career paths with the Junior Members (JMs) and other alumni.  The Forum began with a reception to allow the members to register and mingle.  Members were seated by at tables according to their graduation major.  An ice breaker exercise, a 15-point trivia contest on RSE that pitted tables against each other for the honor of leading the line at the buffet, started the organized portion of the evening. 

A brief presentation followed where Don Thoma ’83 and other alumni shared some of their experiences in networking and career development. 

The group then engaged in an exercise where Junior Members could prepare and perfect the 60-second networking pitch. The JMs practiced their pitch on the alumni.  It was great to watch the presentation get better with every interaction.

Networking continued through a wonderful buffet dinner provided by Chef Adam.  The JMs swore that they don’t eat like that every day.  Dinner was followed by a networking speed dating event where JMs had the opportunity to practice networking skills, gain career and job search advice, expand their own personal networks, and hopefully obtained leads for their job and internship searches.

Both Alumni and JMs all agreed that the event had a powerful impact on the relationships between members and highlighted the importance of maintaining these bonds between all members of RSE. RSE has over 800 living members that share a common set of experiences and values.  This network is an incredible resource for JMs and alumni alike.

Steve Nichols '98 addresses attendees

All agreed that this will be the first of many Networking Forums and we plan to hold similar events in conjunction with future Society Meetings.

For those of you who missed the event and have opportunities or experiences you would like to share with the JMs, you can find a copy of the Junior Member Resume Book on the website or by clicking here. (Need link)


Don Thoma ‘83