Greenwood Technical Institute
"Greenwood U" and "Greenwood University" redirect here.
Greenwood Technical Institute, informally Greenwood University is jokingly known as the "School of Hard Rocks" due to its focus on serving asteroid miners and other potential employees of Rockhounds Inc, the United Belt Alliance, and similar agencies.
Greenwood U was founded in 2009 by Rockhounds employees sharing their expertise in electronics repair, geology, and orbital navigation, out of an interest in mutual survival (and, of course, profit). The informal exchanges were quickly turned into official corporate training sessions by the company's upper management and spun off into their own division (Greenwood Technical Institute) in 2010. Numerous teachers and trainers were imported from Earthside and some of the more experienced spacers among the miners joined the faculty. In 2012 the Institute received accreditation from the US Department of Education to award Associate's degrees in several fields.
In 2015, with widened accreditation, GTI opened a high school division, accepting any student who could pass the entrance exams and pay the tuition, regardless of age (students under 16 chronological years of age still required proof of either parental consent, or emancipation, however). The collegiate divisions have also expanded to provide a full Baccalaureate course of study.
Courses of Study
Given its origins catering to the needs of a specific business, it isn't a surprise that GTI's course catalog is heavy on the hard sciences. The two largest departments are Geology/Planetology and Electronics Engineering. Equally large is a track known as "General Spaceman", which covers a wide variety of important topics including operating principles of most FenCraft, orbital mechanics and navigation, basic astrophysics, and mechanical engineering oriented towards spacecraft maintenance and repair. It is intended primarily to provide valuable skills for general crew on any size of spacecraft and includes orientation courses for students newly arrived from 'Daneside.
Smaller departments include Legal Affairs, which offers courses in both Criminal Justice and Contract Law. The former includes one of the best Computer Security courses not taught directly by an AI. The department of Medicine is one of the only schools in the system to focus on space-based medical issues, even if they are only able to accredit emergency responders at this time. Graduates are accepted for further studies at several prominent Australian and American medical schools or the Vesta Institute of Biochemistry. Courses in Business Administration are also offered, and highly recommended even for those not aiming for corporate employment.
Smallest of all is the newly-formed (as of 2016) Department of Handwavium Engineering, its faculty composed primarily of former TSAB researchers. This department spends the first two years of its students' time giving them a solid if high-pressure grounding in the laws of physics before moving on to handwavium and how to find the loopholes in those laws. (The faculty stands united in asserting that even at its most obscure, handwavium never actually breaks the laws of physics. It just finds loopholes we didn't know about yet.)
A well-rounded education is mandatory for a GTI graduate, but degree programs are not yet offered in several required areas. For now the Institute groups these under the umbrella of the Department of General Education. This includes many of the "liberal arts" courses offered by Daneside colleges, such as History, English, Languages, and Literature studies, as well as Mathematics, Psychology, and Economics.
Students not interested in a full degree program are welcome to enroll for individual courses, with short intensive reviews often available. These can involve as few as eight or as many as twenty or more class hours in a week and are intended for those seeking individual certifications and qualifications.
GTI fields a variety of sports teams, including soccer, astroball, mixed martial arts, and table tennis. Most of these are operated under the auspices of faculty-sponsored clubs, rather than the (nonexistant) Physical Education department as they would be in an American school.
The slightly misleadingly-named "yacht club", founded in 2013 by student enthusiasts, races solar sail vessels and several other forms of small craft. Under the leadership of Jenny Lambretta (class of 2015, Business Administration) and Michael Blanc (2016, General Spaceman) the club performed remarkably well in several contests across the solar system. In 2016 they were presented with six demilitarized VF-1J Valkyries, and rumor has it that the current club president is seeking to acquire an FTL-capable craft for the club's use.
Other clubs include several styles of music performance, a Model United Nations, 'Conflict Simulation' (wargaming, role-playing games, and military history and science-fiction), political parties of every stripe, a branch of the Campus Crusade for Cthulhu, and the A. C. Peters Appreciation Society.
Clubs tend to operate in a fashion more familiar to Japanese students (and anime fans) - agressive recruiting, strong competition for resources, and somewhat overly-dramatic ritual interaction with the Student Council.
Campus pranks are a hallowed tradition inherited from such famous Earthside schools as MIT and Harvard. A competition between clubs and other student groups for the best has become an annual tradition at Greenwood, often lead by the Student Council. One of the early, simple pranks filled every stairwell in Grissom Hall with popcorn. A later prank, popularly believed to have been perpetrated by hacker Lynn Dolittle, reprogrammed the campus' holographic chalkboards to surround the professor's cursor with iridescence and provide a pop-rock soundtrack for each lecture, cued by the same chalkboard cursor. The most famous so far, however, was the replacement of the entire section on uniform regulations in the student handbook with a design that appears to have been inspired by the Imperial Navy uniform from Star Wars. Matching designs were made available in local shops, apparently at the prankster's expense, and were worn by three classes of incoming freshmen before the faculty were able to clear things up, change the regulations, and make the appropriate alterations in the contracts with the shops.
GTI's primary campus is located within Greenwood City, near the 'north' end of the asteroid colony's cavernous interior. Like most of the city it is purpose-built for this use, with spacious dormitories, elegant faux-Grecian architecture, large greenswards, and even a small lake and a Gothic Folly (often claimed by the Drama club). One of the city's several parks is situated just next to the campus, providing a widespread natural area for student recreation. On the other side is a shopping district catering to the needs of the students, including groceries, media, and group entertainment.