RIT’s Tech Crew Prepares for FreezeFest

Rochester Institute of Technology’s Tech Crew has begun setting-up for an event-packed FreezeFest weekend – which includes comedian Aziz Ansari Friday evening.
By: Alexander Fritz Stillings

Underground in the Student Alumni Union (SAU) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), much like their role during events – out of the spotlight – many members of the RIT Tech Crew enjoy their lunches, laughing and conversing around a conference table and on couches.

“We’re like a family,” said Patrick Church, a fifth-year Mechanical Engineering Technology student.

Many Tech Crew members meet in their office in the SAU, whether to have lunch or lay back and relax, even when they are not working – which happens often during the winter quarter at RIT. Nonetheless, the crew has a full weekend ahead of them with RIT’s annual Freeze Fest on Friday, Feb. 4 at 9 p.m. with comedian Aziz Ansari.

“Most events usually only need two crew members,” said Rich Morse, Tech Crew’s director for the past 27 years. “The Ansari show will have about six or seven (crew members) working.”

The Tech Crew began setting-up for the Ansari show on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 3, when they unloaded equipment from boxes and freight trucks. Along with Morse, 14 crew members set-up the stage, checked lights and even had a cherry picker examining the speakers hanging from the ceiling of the Gordon Field House.

Of the 14 Tech Crew members setting-up for the Ansari show, two were female. There are 10 women on the staff, which, according to Church, “is pretty good,” since most of the Tech Crew members come from majors with very low female populations.

The number of females on the staff has been steady over the past five years, according to Church.

Though the crew has 64 members, some of its most experienced members, such as Church, will be unable to work during the crew’s busiest winter weekend.

Church, who is currently on co-op working with ETC and covering RIT hockey games, has been with the crew since fall of 2005 explained how working RIT Tech Crew over the past years has diversified his skills and led to great opportunities.

“It eventually led to the opportunity of working with ESPN at Watkins Glenn this (past) summer,” said Church.

Church began at RIT as a networking and security systems major, but after two years he switched to his current major of mechanical engineering technology. Church credited the experience of taking classes in two majors to leading to his success. “It’s all coming together,” he said.

The winter quarter is typically the slowest quarter for the Tech Crew – early fall and late spring quarters are their busiest, according to Morse – so they’ve been able to prepare for Freeze Fest for about two weeks and Morse expects them to pull it off without any troubles.

“Tech Crew is a lot like a frat, but… instead of paying money to get in, we get paid,” said Tech Crew event coordinator Dave George in an e-mail.

The Tech Crew typically hires new staff in the fall but takes applications year-round, according to Morse. For more information on joining Tech Crew visit the group’s website.

Added Church: “It’s an education while you get your education.”

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Comedy: Aziz Ansari
Men’s Hockey to celebrate “FreezeFest” weekend with two home contests against Air Force
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