Inanimate Objects Party

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IOP Logo

The Inanimate Objects Party (IOP) is a joke political party at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, United States.[1] The IOP has been an RPI tradition since 1997.[2] The party's main candidate is Arthur Galpin, an inflatable whale, who runs for Grand Marshal, and other positions. The other major candidate is Alby the Albino Squirrel, an albino squirrel that lived at RPI and now occasionally runs for President of the Union. The fork is a symbol of the IOP.


Pre-history: In 1968(?) a group of independent students (i.e. not fraternity-affiliated) formed the Apathy Party in protest of fraternities deciding the nominees for GM & PU. They collected campaign buttons from the two fraternity parties and peeled off the names, leaving a plain silver button. They were allotted their share of the between-classes electrical power, using the time to make speeches (some satirical) in favor of their candidate for President of the Union, a handlebar-mustachioed fellow named Bill Jovell. Mr. Jovell's single campaign promise was, "If elected, I will resign." The Apathy Party mascot was a rather large pig named Roy. Roy was brought to campus the day before elections, but he escaped, running around the main campus loudly squealing until finally cornered. It being a warm Spring day and before most buildings were air conditioned, this caused quite a ruckus. But the ruckus brought more attention to the Apathy Party, to the extent that Mr. Jovell was shockingly elected President of the Union. He did resign, but only after the parade through downtown Troy and the large after-party in the Field House.

The IOP started out strong in 1997, in protest to a variety of issues across campus including the requirements all students be required to use Microsoft Windows. The campaign began using the logo of the fork, an inanimate object which is honest and dependable. Soon thereafter, Rob "r0b" Colonna, obtained a seven-foot inflatable whale named Arthur Galpin to serve as their candidate.[2] The IOP is perhaps best known for their satirical posters, which anyone can print out and distribute.[3] In 2002, the IOP protested the beginning of the laptop program at RPI.[4] The IOP posted numerous protest-art fliers and banners at high-trafficked areas around campus: some depicted a check from RPI to Bill Gates, others a degree in "Bachelor of Windows", others simply decried "Unix or Death".[4] According to an IOP bulletin, Arthur was born in 1993, weighs 3.5 pounds, and is "known to carry toast and duct tape".[5] "Toast" is a reference to an earlier IOP event called the "VCC toasting", during which toast was thrown at the Voorhees Computing Center in protest of the laptop program.[2]

According to legend, Arthur has actually won the election several times, but the Rules and Elections commission refused to accept the vote. In 2006 a Rules and Elections (RNE) officer claimed that Arthur Galpin only received "one vote".[6] Actual results in 2006 show "write-ins", which include Arthur Galpin and Alby, comprised 6.9% in the primary elections.[7] On April 1, 2009, Arthur appeared on the roof of the CII, the highest building on campus. On April 1, 2010, a baby whale appeared on the DCC roof and for about ten minutes the word "ARTHUR" was spelled vertically with posters on the front windows of the CII.

Alby the Albino Squirrel[edit]

Alby was an infamous albino squirrel that gained popularity on campus around 2001, spawning its own website and T-shirts.[8] Alby also caught the attention of the Albino Squirrel Preservation Society. It is almost certain that Alby is dead now, as squirrels rarely live more than a few years, especially in urban areas. Now, as an inanimate object, every year Alby runs for President of the Union. It is believed Alby was last spotted in 2005. According to the student newspaper, in 2006 Grand Marshal Carlos Perea started a "Save Alby" commission for the recently deceased squirrel.[9] A moment of silence was held, and then Senate decided to start looking into relocating albino squirrels to campus. Some known facts about Alby are that she is female, since two litters were observed, and that Alby is a true albino, not just a white squirrel. Alby has red eyes, and the gene is recessive - both sets of kids have included mostly gray babies.[10] However, several new albino squirrels have been spotted since Alby. The reputation of the squirrel even lead the Rensselaer Alumni Organization to create a special game titled "Where's Alby?", to educate Alumni of developments at the Institute.[11] The game won the Council for Advancement and Support of Education Gold Award for "Best Practices in Alumni Relations" in 2008.[12]


  1. ^ Note: while IOP remains primarily an RPI tradition, there have been several attempts to start IOP at other campuses, including SUNY Fredonia, University of Leeds and at the University of Chicago in 2001.See iop franchulates. There was also the "Indifferent Overloads Project", a more radical version of IOP which never fully materialized.
  2. ^ a b c "IOP History". Retrieved 2010-04-05.
  3. ^ "IOP Posters". The Inanimate Objects Party. Retrieved 2009-03-22. See also the IOP Poster Gallery, with a full collection of 200 designs and the older archived website
  4. ^ a b Monahan, Torin (2002). "Hot Technologies on Every Pillow: The Discursive Development of Institutional Change". Radical Pedagogy. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  5. ^ "RPI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive". Inanimate Objects Party. Archived from the original on 2005-12-27. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
  6. ^ Tibbetts, Andrew. "Perea, Freeman win in primary". The Polytechnic. Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  7. ^ Riverso, Cara (2006-03-30). "Primary election results announced". The Polytechnic. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
  8. ^ "Alby the Albino". Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  9. ^ Evangelist, Jordan (2008-03-14). "An omen, a mascot -- and quite a sensation". Times Union. Retrieved 2009-03-28.[dead link]
  10. ^ "Alby : Related Rumors and Lies". Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  11. ^ "Where's Alby". Rensselaer Alumni Association. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  12. ^ "2008 CASE District II Accolades Award Winners". Retrieved 2009-03-22.

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