The RSC Thread at Russell Sage

All colleges and universities offering bachelor’s degrees have a required general education or liberal education curriculum. It’s a collection of subjects that develops strong and creative thinkers with sharp problem-solving and communication skills and a wider perspective of the world.

But our 36-credit general education curriculum has students do more than pick from what feels like a random menu. Yes, students still take the standards: writing, research, arts, humanities, natural sciences, quantitative reasoning, and social sciences. Students also choose a course tied to our Thrive@Russell Sage wellness and well-being initiative.

What Is the RSC Thread?

The RSC Thread is a series of three courses – RSC 101, 201, and 301 – all students who begin at Russell Sage as first-year students take. Most transfer students have enough credits accumulated when they arrive at Russell Sage that they’re only required to take RSC 301.

RSC 101:

Thriving at Sage

This course introduces first-year students to college life and exposes you to the dimensions of wellness we focus on as part of the Thrive@Russell Sage initiative. You’ll develop greater self-awareness and improve your communication and teamwork skills in a supportive atmosphere.


It also includes a workshop called RSC 101W, which includes attending events and lectures with your class.

“I loved the gen ed program. I believe it’s a nice way to transition from being a high school student to a college student and then onto your specific major. It provided me with so much enrichment and knowledge and was an amazing introduction into the Sage community.”

December 2022 Student Survey

RSC 201:

Exploring Intercultural Perspectives

You’ll take this course in your second year at Russell Sage and explore diversity and the historical, cultural, global, and systemic forces that shape our experiences and world views. You’ll cover intercultural understanding, global and local lives, civic engagement, and social justice. You’ll also build on the critical writing, thinking, and reading skills you developed in your first-year courses.

“Learning about the refugee crisis in the world, seeing it and talking with people who work with refugees and are refugees has shaped me as a person. I think everyone should work with refugees! It changed my life!”

December 2022 Student Survey

RSC 301:

Innovating to Impact

This is the course, taken during your third or fourth year at Russell Sage, where you get to make a difference in the community, learn by doing, and get an experience worth noting when it’s time to get your first job after graduation. You’ll find a complex problem you’re passionate about and actually get to do something about it using design thinking and service learning approaches (we’ll teach you about those, too). Then you present what you’ve learned at the end of the course, showing off those communication skills that are so much stronger than when you arrived at Russell Sage.

“RSC 301 was definitely the most beneficial. It allows all students to create a connection with the community while also inspiring themselves to interact more freely in their community.”

December 2022 Student Survey

Students in the RSC 301 courses have …

  • Worked with the Wildwood School’s adult clients to lead 10 literacy/reading sessions and worked with Wildwood and the Alternative Living Group to prepare two community health fairs given in-person at the Mosaic Village in Cohoes.
  • Hosted four Teen Nights and served in multiple afterschool programs at four sites for the Boys and Girls Club of the Capital Area. 
  • Created a fundraising event playbook for Connect Center for Youth in Cohoes, including event preparation and execution, sponsorship outreach, and volunteer administration.
  • Partnered with the United Way of the Greater Capital Region to research the mitigation of “benefits cliffs” and then produced an annotated resource list for helping ALICE (Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed) families and individuals navigate benefit cessation. 
  • Contributed 85 hours toward English language conversation practice at the Intercultural Cafes on the Russell Sage campuses, at Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County English classes in two locations, and in individual tutoring sessions in-person and online.
  • Big Brothers, Big Sisters
  • Connect Center for Youth
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Elevate Club at Impact Athletic Center
  • Girls and Boys Club of the Capital Area
  • Girl Scouts of Northeast NY
  • Hudson Youth Center
  • Intercultural Cafes
  • Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County
  • Redemption Christian Academy
  • Refugee Welcome Center
  • Translating for Humanity
  • The United Way of the Greater Capital Region
  • Wildwood Programs

5 Reasons Our RSC Thread Sets You up for Career and Life Success

  • You’ll have a built-in way to meet friends since you move through these courses together. 
  • Discover important things about yourself and the world around you in a safe space.
  • The Career and Self-Discovery Center comes to you in the RSC Thread courses, with self-assessments, resume review sessions, and lessons on using career tools like LinkedIn and Handshake.
  • You’ll gain important soft skills employers look for and capture resume-building experiences in the process.
  • You help your community as part of RSC 301, and helping others feels good.