1973 – 1977
First time arriving on Campusby Stephen Plescow
I grew up in the Detroit area and found out about RPI from my high school guidance counselor. I was not able to do a campus visit prior to applying to RPI but was impressed by the printed literature mailed to me from the school, (these were the pre-internet days!) with color photos that showed the ivy-covered buildings with copper roofs. I was accepted and in the late summer of 73' we loaded up the family station wagon and made the trip east to RPI. We exited the NY Throughway, went over the Hudson River and into downtown Troy. Initial impressions were good, passing by many preserved and renovated historic buildings. But then we turned and went by the then construction site for the new Uncle Sam Mall. There was actually no active construction, and the site was secured by tall fences topped with razor wire. Within the site were half demolished buildings and piles of debris, it looked like a war zone! Apparently, I had a look of panic on my face and my parents assured me that I could go back and attend the University of Michigan where I had also been accepted. I said let's press on and see the campus. The old station wagon made it up the hill and there was a collective sigh of relief in the car as we drove through the campus, and the pictures were true representations! We made our way to my freshman accommodations, the E Dorms, where I was assigned a room in the Hirai section of the building. My room was on the third floor, and when you combine this with the two stories of stairs from street level it looked pretty daunting! Fortunately, a couple of grad students in Hirai helped us out and made the unloading much easier. We got my room set up and I assured my parents that I would be fine and that I would see them at Xmas. We agreed to weekly phone calls from the pay phone down the hall as my dad slipped me a roll of quarters to make sure. It was an unforgettable moment as they waved and pulled away and I knew I had begun an incredible new chapter in my life!