Ground Zero (GZ) is a student-run organization dedicated to promoting music and art at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, NY. We run an on-campus music space where we hold bi-weekly open mics, film fests, art shows and other events throughout the school year. As a club independent of the RPI Student Union, our activities are funded by member dues, event income, fundraising and donations alone. Each year, GZ recruits up to 20 members to live “in-house” and help run our events and occupy on the first floor of the Nugent.


Ground Zero was founded in the spring of 2001 as a cooperative project between the Office of Residence Life and a group of students who wanted to introduce the concept of "Theme Housing" to RPI. Theme housing, which typically takes a group of students with a similar interest and places them together in regular school housing, is seen as a solution to the problem that upperclassmen residence halls lack the sense of community and liveliness found in freshmen residence halls.

The founding members of Ground Zero felt that the musical and artistic scenes on campus were lacking, so they decided to focus their theme house on those ideas. The group named itself "Ground Zero" to portray the organization as a central point of activity on campus. Nugent Hall was selected as the site of Ground Zero, and plans were implemented to turn it into a student-run space.

In the fall of 2001, the first Ground Zero members moved in. The basement, which had served as a computer laboratory in the 80s, was gutted, repainted, and brought up to code. A stage was built, and modern lighting and sound equipment was installed. The basement officially became an working space when construction was completed in fall 2002. Now that Ground Zero is open, there are events taking place every week. For more information, come to an event! You can even contact the Activities Chair to schedule an event of your own.