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Rearview Mirror: Power Rankings Week

Rearview Mirror spends bye week looking at the things you don’t think twice about, but really make the day worthwhile on campus.

An old favorite of mine, courtesy of the always-excellent Danny Karnik.
Georgia Tech Athletics/Danny Karnik

As usual, here’s Rearview Mirror hopping on the bandwagon of power rankings. I promise it’s less contrived this year, though.

So, this column was supposed to be normal content this week. I really wanted to take a trip over to Harrison Square and check out the new statue they put in and talk about the integration of Tech, but I’m moving that to next week. Now, you see, I’ve been in a pretty philosophical place the last week or so. I’ve been thinking about why I find so much positivity in my Tech experience. And I’ve always been one who finds it in the little things, the things that make the routine. The ones that can slip away without so much as a passing thought, if not checked on or thought about much.

15) Moving Kessler Campanile Behind the Student Center

15) Keeping Kessler Campanile in the Same Place

Yeah, they were going to try and move it to the plaza in front of the Ferst Center with the Student Center renovation. And get rid of the fountain. It’s nice where it is. You never really appreciate what you have until it’s not there anymore. Or there’s a threat that it might not be. You get the idea.

14) Constantly Spelling Reck Wrong

14) The View from the Rumble Seat

Do other people get to ride around on the Demon Deacon’s motorcycle? No. Does the Sooner Schooner drive itself? No. And don’t get me started about Ralphie. And yet, if you flag down Tech’s mascot, or its friendly driver, more accurately, odds are you can get a nice lift to class. That the Ramblin’ Reck is so unique to Georgia Tech and fits the ethos of the school like a hand in a glove makes it all the sweeter. On a sunny, blue-sky day, the wind in your face, well, no car today gives the rider an experience quite like the rumble seat. And there’s no other car where random second years-turned-passengers are instantly expected to smile and wave to all the people waving and attempting to get the car to honk. Aooogah.

13) Did You Know The Internship Was Filmed Here???

13) Being Notable for the Coolest, Most Random Stuff

Akshay, probably: Here’s where Jake plugs swim club.

The first thing that came to mind was remembering reading in the Daily Digest that Tech won a championship in Bridge a while back, and if that’s a niche level of super-dominance, then, well, I don’t know what to tell you. And, sure, we could all probably be a little more sociable and go to a few more sporting events, but, odds are, if they’re not out and about, the students and staff of Tech are hard at work on something incredible. And, yeah, everyone loves to hate on Parking and Transportation services, or GT Dining, or OIT, or whatnot, but we also have a Robotarium. Several makers spaces. A freaking paper museum. And the tallest spiral staircase in the world, for some reason. Which is cool. But also random.

12) Doing...Typical Tailgate Activities...After a Spirit Band Plays Budweiser

12) Tailgating in Park-Like Settings

Yeah, having a car parked next to your setup is great, but once you experience the luxury of space, it’s so hard to go back to a metallic sea of tents and rows. It’s also a lot more enjoyable to have a scenic walk to a football game, through the heart of campus, rather than park in a massive dusty field isolated from the rest of the school by huge parking lots. The first thing that stood out the first time I visited Tech was the integration of the stadium with the rest of the campus. Like a neighborhood. Like home. There’s probably something poetic about the relationship between football and Georgia Tech in there, too. Feel free to find it.

11) Doing Homework at a Baseball Game

11) Sundays at Russ Chandler

Guilty of the former, and always up for the latter. There’s something about clapping above your head to a very obviously ‘90s Christian contemporary song for the at-bats of the biggest slugger of the year on the Tech baseball team that just checks all my boxes like nothing else does. Says something about the tone of fall versus spring semesters on the Flats - the hectic, busy football Saturdays exchanged for a leisurely, idyllic afternoon in the light spring air.

10) Construction Everywhere, Always

10) Atlantic Promenade at Night

It only took three years to finally complete, but the best walk around campus, bar none, is a nighttime stroll from Tenth to the Campanile down Atlantic. Without cars, Tech tore up the asphalt, re-laid the steam lines, and repaved with bricks and landscaping. White LEDs on wrought lampposts - as per the landscaping master plan, don’t worry, I checked - dot the road at a close interval, making it particularly well-lit, and, on a crisp and quiet night. Sometimes, what’s best is a bit of solitude.

9) Hideous Concrete Circles Around the MRDC

9) Hidden Design Aspects of the MaRC (and others)

It’s easy to find a major with a downtrodden building looking for a reason to complain about why the College of Computing, Montgomery Knight, or the Instructional Center is worse than whatever they’re comparing it to. Let’s be honest, it’s probably Scheller. Anyways, it’s fun to contrast that with the dichotomy of the MRDC and Love with Mechanical and Materials Science Engineers. What the former often take for granted is the third building, right across the quad, that their major calls home. From the worm gear columns, to the architectural echo to a pair of conveyor belts, to its most famous pipes, it is just one of many clever buildings that goes relatively unsung. From the gothic touches of Brittain Dining Hall to the crests sunk into the John Saylor Coon Building, to something newer like the Binary Bridge’s, well, binary, there’s plenty of cool things to forget to notice.

8) Dog Graves. Plural.

8) Idiosyncratic Landmarks and Plaques

This one’s kind of like the last one. There’s so many that it seems one could never know all of them. Whether it’s the huge metal dedication to Hightower outside the MSE offices, or the monument to Helluva Socrates - think Sideways - Tech honors its past in more ways than anyone could catalogue. The vicinity of Tech Tower is particularly full of them.

7) F Tuning on Third Down

7) Afternoons When Band is Practicing


Sitting with an open window doing homework is a lot more reassuring when there’s pleasant music floating in on the breeze. Even more so if you’re one to listen to the same four songs over and over and over again until you’re sick of them and hate to attempt to listen to new ones. Oh, and they still play Space Chords/F Tuning, too.

6) Hating the Color Red So Much You Refuse to Wear it Ever

6) Vernacular Red Brick

It’s everywhere. It’s a clean look and unified visual brand. It’s industrial, but also classy. So stop using yellow brick on new things. Looking at you, West Village. It is so strongly identified with the school that we outline our sidewalks with it. The humble red brick.

5) Hometowns Written on the Walls of Bathrooms

5) Friendly Vandalism

I learned recently that this is not exclusive to the Howey Lecture Halls, now that I have a class in Architecture East, but that is by far the best occurrence of my favorite type of friendly vandalism. Makes one of the most mundane parts of life a little more unexpected. A weird sense of community. Of course, there are other kinds of friendly vandalism, like chalking sidewalks for events - some interesting, some not - and sticking stickers places like the ones that wished some guy named Dom happy birthday everywhere three years ago that still haven’t managed to disappear yet. Oh, and random directional signs without Ts. The most critical signs of a well fleshed-out community are often the most subtle.

4) Kessler Campanile after Dark

4) Kessler Campanile in the Sun

The angle of the Campanile from west, towards Clough Commons the CULC, with the Bank of America Plaza Pencil Building towering in the background, is the perfect subtle-enough-to-not-be-considered-artsy Tech landscape to use as a phone background. You’ll thank me later.

3) Surprise! The Whistle is Blowing Fire For Some Reason!

3) Surprise! The Whistle!

An old favorite:

“Shreevooooooo goes the whistle,
Midtown hipsters get real mad.
Who cares? Class over.” - Anonymous

I love the shop culture debate. And Tech, as the embodiment of the New South, deserved a visible marker of that. I’d say we don’t need a bell tower, but I also firmly believe our oxymoronic campanile should ring again. Rather, the Whistle is a visible (and audio) reminder connecting us to the nineteenth century, keeping us rooted. I’m in the camp that Tech’s unique traditions aren’t just what makes Tech, “Tech,” but also perfectly fitted to the Institute precisely because of what Tech is. Unparalleled. It’s an excellent addition that there’s a gold one on top of the Edge Building for football games now.

2) Woodruff Dining Hall

2) Talking About How Things “Used to Be”

You can’t have history without it. I’d say it’s almost self-explanatory. But if there’s been anything that’s made me feel like I’d been around the block here in my fourth year, it’s explaining to a first year that yes, there did used to be a dining hall in Woodruff. Say what you will about it otherwise, but may it rest in peace.

1) _hings Wi_hou_ _he Le__er _

1) Seeing the Letters of Tech Tower Unexpectedly from Far Away

Pro tip: with no leaves on trees, this little thrill is ever so much easier to seek. But the point remains that nothing is as identifiably Tech as Tech Tower. The building bracket proved that, if nothing else. The Campanile and Institute branding back it up. Block Ts? Look at the tower. The most legendary heist on campus is thievery of its letters. And nothing can remind you you’ve made it home like seeing the soft, warm neon glow of yellow and white TECH in the middle distance.

Life is about enjoying the little things. Even with them, it can be hard to see the big picture. Without them, we are nothing more than anywhere else. And I think everyone here knows just what kind of place they make the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Rearview Mirror will be back to a non-numerical format for next week.