A Note to Parents

Whether your son or daughter is already a member of The Rensselaer Society of Engineers (RSE) or is considering joining the organization, we welcome the opportunity to let you know about our organization and answer questions that you might have.

RSE was founded in 1866 as The Pi Eta Scientific Society, an honorary engineering organization at RPI, and has remained one of the oldest “local” organizations on a college campus in the United States. In 1883, the name of the Pi Eta Scientific Society was changed to The Rensselaer Society of Engineers to distinguish the Society from the other Greek letter organizations as well as to show our close ties with RPI.

RSE remains an independent organization, financially as well as organizationally. While the students choose their own officers and operate our only location, 1501 Sage Ave, RSE Trustees provide mature guidance. This relationship helps student members develop leadership, organizational and financial management skills.

Contrary to what our name may imply, members major not only in engineering, but also in such disciplines as science, management, architecture, and the arts. RSE members are active in campus and local activities as well as many national organizations.

While we are proud of our heritage, we understand that a sustainable organization, change and sometimes significant changes are required. Our independence gives us the ability to quickly adapt to social and environmental evolutions.

Since 2019, RSE alumni, in concert with the RPI administration, took a critical look at the traditional growth of Greek systems on college campuses around the country, and the type and caliber of students attracted to RPI’s educational system.

As a result, RSE is transitioning to a living-learning organization that advances leadership skills, cultivates innovation, and promotes social responsibility by engaging the Rensselaer community and its resources through projects, events, and mentorship. RSE will remain a student run organization with alumni mentors as it has been throughout its history. Membership is open to RPI students of all majors, male or female.

RSE’s Core Objectives include:

  • Providing Rensselaer students with experiences and knowledge so they can explore their potential outside of their core coursework.
  • Preparing Rensselaer students to be future leaders through innovation and collaboration with alumni, faculty, and other students.
  • Connecting the students and alumni of Rensselaer to build life-long relationships and networks at Rensselaer and throughout their careers.
  • Innovating to showcase work and accomplishments of RSE Members and the interdisciplinary projects they take part in.
  • Providing Community Service by supporting local Rensselaer organizations and those in the Capital District Region.

The RSE House at 1501 Sage Avenue is a source of great pride for the alumni. This building was designed by the famous architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue and built specifically for The Rensselaer Society of Engineers. We have been at this location since 1924.

  • The RSE building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Reference Number 100003629.
  • Centrally located on the RPI campus, across from the RPI Student Union building.
  • Interior layout configured with meeting areas, studio spaces, and workspace to fully support the activities of the members and the Rensselaer community.
  • Affordable, high-quality residential space primarily for the RSE leadership and members

Thank you for your additional interest in The Rensselaer Society of Engineers for your son or daughter. If you have any questions, please reach out to us.