Rensselaer Union

J-Board rules Executive Board actions unconstitutional

Closed meeting minutes to be released; adherence to Constitution and bylaws advised

Judicial Board Chairman Anthony Barbieri ’15 released a formal decision on the constitutionality of actions taken by the previous Executive Board with regards to the RPI Bookstore on Friday, May 22. The ruling comes ten days after The Polytechnic released a breaking news article detailing the changes to the bookstore, which can be found at http://poly.rpi.edu/s/txya9.

The voting members of J-Board in attendance for the ruling were Orlando Hernandez ’16, graduate student Nathan James, graduate student Timothy Krentz, Christopher Norticola ’16, and Spencer Pilcher ’16. Barbieri presided over the meeting. Additionally, 125th President of the Union Erin Amarello ’15 was in attendance, and the author of the case, Christopher Picone ’15, was available via phone call to answer questions. The J-Board decisions were passed unanimously.

The full text of the ruling is as follows:

Upon review of actions taken in regards to negotiations surrounding the bookstore, the Judicial Board finds:

The Executive Board conducted business in a manner subversive to the operation of said body as outlined in the Union Constitution and the Executive board’s bylaws. Specifically, the following acts of The Executive Board are unconstitutional:

  • Closed meetings without passing a motion.
  • Allowed non-Board members to be present in said closed meetings without passing a motion.
  • Authorized the Director of the Union to enter into negotiations without passing a motion.
  • Approved the signing of a letter of intent without passing a motion.

In light of these actions, the Judicial Board:

  • Instructs that all minutes from improperly closed meetings be released immediately excluding any details that would violate pertinent non-disclosure agreements.
  • Advises that the Executive Board follows the procedures outlined in their Bylaws and the Rensselaer Union Constitution.
  • Recognizes that Motion 6 passed by the Executive Board on May 15th 2015, allows for further negotiation to proceed.
  • Recommends that procedures surrounding contract negotiations be formally established.

The rulings can be found online at http://poly.rpi.edu/s/orm9b.

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Rensselaer Union

BREAKING: E-Board passes motion on Bookstore in unpublicized meeting

J-Board case reportedly submitted against E-Board

The Executive Board convened for a meeting at 1 pm on Friday, May 15. In the meeting, the status of negotiations related to the bookstore were discussed, and a motion regarding the bookstore was passed unanimously. Unfortunately, because The Polytechnic was not notified about the meeting, reporters were not able to be in attendance. The full text of the motion, which was moved by Jeremy Feldman ’16 and seconded by Gregory Bartell ’17, reads as follows:

I move that the Rensselaer Union Executive Board:

  1. Issue a formal apology to the Student Body for willfully subverting the Executive Board Bylaws by holding an unofficial and secret vote to pursue the negotiation of contract management of the Union Bookstore.
  2. Authorize the Director of the Union to negotiate the terms of contracts, on behalf of the Rensselaer Union Executive Board, relating to the operation and management of the Union Bookstore by an outside company; such contracts shall only be valid and binding upon an affirmative vote by this Board once the terms of the contracts are finalized.
  3. Release all relevant and pertinent information regarding the current state of such contracts to the Student Body that does not violate any non-disclosure agreements entered into by the Union or their representatives.

The Polytechnic has also received reports that a Judicial Board case has been submitted to Dean of Students Mark Smith regarding the actions taken by the E-Board. The Poly is currently investigating the details of the case.

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Full Issue: May 13, 2015

page1-may1315

Click on the links below to access the pdf of the full issue, or each section!

FullIssue News EdOp Sports Features Comics Events

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RENSSELAER UNION

Follett slated to manage Rensselaer Union Bookstore

Students concerned proper procedures superseded

DIRECTOR OF THE UNION JOE CASSIDY ACTED as a Union representative in contract negotiations. The change was set in motion in a closed-door E-Board meeting.

Follett Higher Education Group, a subsidiary of Westchester, Ill.-based Follett Corporation, is on-track to take over the RPI Bookstore in mid-June. However, questions are being raised over the transparency of agreements made between that company and the Rensselaer Union.

According to Student Government officials and Union employees, Director of the Union Joe Cassidy is the Rensselaer Union representative for a contract with the Follett Corporation to provide bookstore services to campus, replacing the student-managed model that has been used up until this point.

The change was finalized during a closed-door Executive Board meeting, where the E-Board made an official, non-motion decision. No motions were passed during the meeting, circumventing Article V, section (4), subsection (1), of the E-Board bylaws, which states the following, “All meetings of the Executive Board shall be open to the public. The E-Board may close a meeting with a two-thirds vote. The E-Board can invite non-Board members to a closed meeting with a majority vote. All motions passed during the closed meeting must be made public immediately after the conclusion of the closed meeting.”

The E-Board meeting was conducted as closed-door due to the fact that negotiations were held under an non-disclosure agreement, as is customary for contracts under negotiation.

Consultants were brought in to do a full audit of the Bookstore as per a motion passed by the E-Board on May 8, 2014, with a budget of $26,500, plus expenses. The money was reportedly taken out of the Bookstore budget, rather than general Union reserves, as the motion states. Several months later, additional funds were sent to the consultants, again reportedly from the Bookstore budget; this money was matched by another Institute source. The E-Board currently has no procedure or policy for hiring outside consultants.

Union employees close to the issue confirmed that Vice President of Campus Bookstore Consultants Paul Schmalhofer and Group Vice President at Follett Corporation David Klein visited to discuss the Bookstore with Cassidy, which has been experiencing a decline in profits in past years.

Cassidy instructed all Union Administration employees to direct questioning parties to Vice President for Administration Claude Rounds. Some employees felt that they were deliberately kept out of discussions.

“We have been exploring the possibility of contract management of the Rensselaer Collegiate Store,” said Cassidy. “The Rensselaer Union Executive Board has been involved in this process. Currently, we are in contract negotiations with Follett Higher Education Group, the largest operator of collegiate stores. We anticipate that the contract will be finalized in the near future. An announcement with more details will be released at that time.”

Current employees of the Bookstore will reportedly have a one-year contract with Follett, after which continued employment will be at the company’s discretion; however, 16-year employee Traci Griffin recently resigned from her position.

According to the Rensselaer Union Constitution Article V: Director of the Union, it is not within the authority of the director to enter into any contracts on behalf of the Union without formal Executive Board approval. The Constitution is available at http://poly.rpi.edu/s/gexjh. Paragraph (3) of the same article also provides for charges to be brought against the director in cases of overstepping their constitutional authority. Many students have expressed concerns about the management and direction of the Bookstore, and they wish for decisions made go to through the proper channels and processes.

Both the Student Senate and the Union Executive Board met for their final meetings of the year at 8 pm on Tuesday, May 12 in Elsworth and Shelnutt Gallery, respectively. The motion, depicted in its final form below, was voted on by the body after multiple amendments and attempts at amendment by Senators. The major change from the initial motion, introduced by Class of 2018 Senator Justin Etzine, was the removal of sections that charged for Director Cassidy to be reviewed by the Executive Board for his role in the issue.

The motion failed 6-10-0. The roll call is as follows: those voting in the affirmative were Etzine ’18, Jennifer Freedberg ’18, Paul Ilori ’17, Jessica Krajewski ’16, Steven Sperazza ’18, and Samantha Notley ’18. Those who voted against the motion were Graduate Senator Mike Caiola, Keegan Caraway ’18, Graduate Senator Jen Church, Alex Fox ’16, Michael Han ’16, Graduate Senator Timothy Krentz, Bill Mehner ’16, Austin Miller ’17, Graduate Senator Spencer Scott, and Joe Venusto ’16.

Throughout the nearly two hour discussion on the presented motion, former President of the Union Erin Amarello ’15 provided information regarding the issue. She stressed that the contract, while virtually finalized, had not yet been officially signed, and she argued that it was the RPI Division of Finance, not the E-Board, that would be signing it. Amarello also noted that a large portion of the details associated with the contract could not be made available until it was signed because of the non-disclosure agreement. Finally, she stated that she found Cassidy’s role in the process to be an advocate for students and for improving the experience offered by the Union.

149th Grand Marshal Kyle Keraga ’15 also shared his input, advocating for the motion. He specifically argued that the problem with what occurred was that a decision was made by the E-Board, which should have been made in the form of an official motion. Keraga emphasized that the E-Board should not take action to circumvent this process even if it makes things easier for them or appears to be necessary to achieve standard business practices.

Many of those who voted no on the motion stated that they were under the impression that the E-Board did what was necessary to remain under this standard business practice when entering into a potential contract.

Editor’s note: To protect both students and employees who offered information to The Poly, sources’ names have been withheld. The Poly and its reporters believe that the facts, opinions, and concerns stated herein are legitimate. A previous version of this article was posted online on Tuesday, May 12, 2015.

The following is the text of the motion.

WHEREAS the Rensselaer Union takes pride in being one of the few student-run student unions in the country; and

WHEREAS the RPI Bookstore is currently operated and managed by the Rensselaer Union; and

WHEREAS the Rensselaer Union Student Senate and the Rensselaer Union Executive Board make decisions on behalf of the Rensselaer student body; and

WHEREAS the Rensselaer Union Executive Board engaged in secretive dialogue regarding the operation of the RPI Bookstore; and

WHEREAS, on or about Monday, April 27, 2015, RPI Bookstore employees were informed by Director of the Union Joseph Cassidy that an outside company, Follett Corporation, would be taking control of the RPI Bookstore on June 15, 2015; and

WHEREAS the Rensselaer Union Constitution, Article VII, Section 2, Paragraph (e), provides a clear procedure for the management of the business affairs of any and all facilities operated by the Rensselaer Union;

The Rensselaer Union 46th Student Senate hereby RESOLVES:

1. To emphasize the importance of maintaining open and transparent dialogue between Student Government and its constituents; and

2. To recommend that a formal review of the RPI Bookstore contract be taken by a joint ad-hoc committee between the Rensselaer Union Student Senate and Rensselaer Union Executive Board.

The motion failed 6-10-0. The roll call is as follows: those voting in the affirmative were Justin Etzine ’18, Jennifer Freedberg ’18, Paul Ilori ’17, Jessica Krajewski ’16, Steven Sperazza ’18, and Samantha Notley ’18. Those who voted against the motion were Graduate Senator Mike Caiola, Graduate Senator Jen Church, Keegan Caraway ’18, Alex Fox ’16, Michael Han ’16, Graduate Senator Timothy Krentz, Bill Mehner ’16, Austin Miller ’17, Graduate Senator Spencer Scott, and Joe Venusto ’16.

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Staff Editorial

Preparing for the summer

Summer is around the corner, and if you want to make it there happily, then finish your semester here at RPI by taking some advice presented by The Polytechnic. Next week is a week for many that may cause a lot of stress; it’s finals week. Finals are somewhat spread throughout the week, and one major suggestion we have is to get enough sleep. Presuming you have one final a day, and three finals in total, there is more than enough time to study and get at least eight hours of sleep per night. Don’t cram in hours of last minute studying. You’ve worked hard all semester and most finals are cumulative; have confidence in yourself that you understand the connections of the material from over the last few months.

Don’t forget about the stress relief programs being held at the Mueller Center this. Events include a program to learn how to dance Bhangra this Friday from noon–1 pm, the assorted stress relief programs held within residence halls, and many more! Additionally, there will be 24/7 quiet hours in the residence halls; however, that may not suit you well for your studies to take place. The library will be open 24/7, too, and the Heffner Alumni House is hosting study days this weekend. Check out all your options for places to study, and you’re bound to find one that works for you!

Enough with finals, you’ll do well! Take a step back one day, hopefully after acing your finals, and reminisce on your year. Think about how your experience at RPI was this past year and what changes you want to do to make it better for next year. You may come up with incredible ideas. Write them down, or make a note on your phone to keep track of them.

Have a great summer!

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SHOW REVIEW

Players bring raucous ruffians to the stage

BRYCE MILLER ’16 AND JEFFREY JENE DRAW OUT a long note in one of the final moments of the play. Jene, a community member, brought expertise as a part of the play’s ensemble.

A Marlin Brando film that was adapted to a 1988 film starring Steve Martin and John Caine, and later adapted to a musical starring John Lithgow, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels has quite the history of talent and success. The 1988 movie is on the list of Bravo’s 100 funniest and the 2005 musical ran for 626 shows in total. Given this history, I was quite eager to see how the RPI Players’ version of the musical measured up. Not that there wasn’t some impressive talent involved in RPI’s own production—director Norman J. Eick has been producing and directing for 30 years and has numerous TANYS awards for directing and producing.

The line was literally out the door when I arrived at the Saturday showing, indicating that the previous performances had gone quite well. I’m pleased to report that it did in fact turn out to be great.

The show is a comical farce involving two con men and a gorgeous woman set on the French Riviera. I don’t want to give anything away, because I really do recommend watching the movie, but it has many twists and is the sort of story that revels in keeping the audience guessing. Littered among the plot twists were plenty of little jokes and snappy dialogue that were so frequent, I’m sure I missed a sizeable amount, but those I caught were delightful. However, having seen the movie and thinking it was absolutely hilarious, it was how the Players would carry off the play that I was unsure of. They managed it beautifully, of course. Comedy like that requires great timing, and all the actors from the leads to the one-line-roles to the ensemble, pulled it off perfectly. At no point that I was aware of, did any joke fall flat or any dialogue seem tired or trite. In a way, the fact that I was absorbed enough to notice little but what was happening between the characters says it all.

The show wasn’t completely seamless, though. At one point, while setting up for a scene, some china got knocked over. As the crew quickly paused the show and cleaned this up, some members of the audience began singing the main theme of the show, and the music director made an appearance on stage to conduct them. This little mishap didn’t detract from the show at all—in fact it was somewhat of a highlight to the interactive experience that is theatergoing, just another break of the fourth wall. Kyle Johnson ’16, who played Andre and was on stage at the time, said in his character’s French accent, “I apologize to anyone in ze splash zone.”

I feel Johnson, along with Taylor Turner ’16 who played Muriel, deserve quite some praise for their performances. The two, who had a secondary love story within the play, were adored by the crowd, and for good reason, they both played charming roles well. I also must admit that I am becoming quite the fan of Bryce Miller ’16, who I’ve seen before in the Fall 2013 production of The Importance of Being Earnest, and who delivered an energetic and convincing performance as Freddy. Casey Adam ’16 as Jolene was wonderful as an Oklahoma girl; she had great stage presence and her accent deserves an award of its own. Veronica Brice ’16, as Christine, played an innocent sweetheart well. I preferred the chemistry between Jeffrey Jene, a local actor, and Miller to that between Bryce and the male leads though. The ensemble was so good that I am guilty of watching them dance instead of the leads at some points during the musical numbers.

On that last point, this show was in fact a musical. One with a live orchestra, which was so well assembled and seamless that I forgot the music was live until Frank Leavitt, the musical director, appeared on stage during the china mishap.

That wasn’t the only interactive aspect of the show, though. There was quite a bit of breaking of the fourth wall. There were also a couple of jokes involving Troy and RPI thrown in. Unfortunately, they weren’t all the most original or funny of the plays gags—in a song about all he could do with the riches he covets, Freddy whispers to the audience, “I could finally afford RPI.” However, the effort was endearing.

The cast and crew should be given kudos for working in conditions that can be described as less than comfortable. Because of the live orchestra, backstage was quite cramped, and at one point, for the sake of a sound effect, a crew member wended her way through what can be described as a spaghetti plate of wires, waited for her cue from stage, and snapped a leather belt under a microphone. Quite a dedicated bunch, this troupe.

This sentiment seemed to be shared by the director, with whom I chatted with for a few minutes. He said it was an absolute delight working with them and this was one of the nicest directing experiences he’s had in his 30 years on the job. He was also full of praise for the orchestra, citing a discussion he’d had with the musical director, in which it was said how impressive it was that some of RPI’s engineering students were better musicians than music students he’d worked with.

Jene played the leading male role, Lawrence. I managed to speak with him briefly in the front of the house after the show, where he told me that the Players were a great “high talent, low drama” bunch to work with, and this was probably his favorite of the 11 productions of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels he’d been in. The experience showed, too—it was a pleasure to watch him bring Lawrence to life. He added that he’d love to be on the RPI stage again.

Overall, it was an evening full of laughter, and I still have some of the songs stuck in my head—not that I mind. When it comes to audiences, the Players are certainly giving them what they want.

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BASEBALL

Engineers victorious at Liberty Leagues

SENIOR SHORTSTOP NICK PALMIERO AND SOPHOMORE FIRST BASEMAN JASON RAMOS CATCH an RIT baserunner in a rundown. The Engineers defeated RIT twice on Saturday to capture the Liberty League title.

The Liberty League tournament started out slowly for the Engineers. In the opening game of the tournament, RPI fell behind 8-2 to the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers after six and a half innings. Then, after scoring one run in the bottom of the seventh, the Engineers broke out the bats in the eighth. Senior centerfielder Jared Jensen, senior second baseman Tim LeSuer, and sophomore designated hitter Thomas Desmond all doubled, and Rensselaer scored five runs to tie the game at eight.

The tie wouldn’t last long, though. Three RPI errors in the top of the ninth allowed the Tigers to take a 10-8 lead. Three Rensselaer batters later, the game was over and the Engineers were one loss away from elimination.

In game two of the tournament, the Engineers took a 10-1 lead into the eighth inning against the University of Rochester Yellowjackets. Rochester rallied, but Rensselaer staved them off by a final count of 11-7.

LeSuer recorded three hits, including a two-run home run in the sixth inning. Junior catcher Chris Holomakoff drilled a three-run round-tripper to give RPI an 8-1 lead in the fifth inning and finished with a team-high four runs batted in. Senior pitcher Sean Conroy pitched seven and a third innings and gave up five runs on eight hits and struck out six batters.

Clarkson University leftfielder Will Coleman singled to right in the top of the first in game three to give the Golden Knights an early 1-0 edge. The Engineers responded quickly, scoring at least one run in innings two through five to take a 7-1 lead after the fifth. Three Clarkson hits in the top of the sixth allowed the Golden Knights to score twice. That was as close as they came, however. Senior third baseman Tyler Listing RBI singled in the seventh and sophomore first baseman Jason Ramos singled to center to bring home LeSuer and Jensen. The final score was RPI 10, Clarkson 3.

After the first three games, Clarkson and the University of Rochester were both eliminated having each lost two games. That left 2-1 RPI and 3-0 RIT. Due to the double elimination nature of the tournament, RPI needed to win two in a row against the Tigers in order to win the title.

The Engineers struck first in game one on a senior shortstop Nick Palmiero sacrifice fly. The Tigers came back soon thereafter, scoring once in the third and once in the fourth to go ahead 2-1. Then, in the bottom of the fourth, Listing blasted a towering three-run homer to give the Engineers a 5-2 lead.

After six innings, Rensselaer had a 12-4 lead. RIT came back, scoring two runs in the seventh. In the eighth, Tiger second baseman Zach Zabel went yard solo style and designated hitter Brett Kajganich followed soon after with an RBI double to trim the lead to 13-8. In the ninth, after RIT added another run to cut the lead to 13-9, Conroy came in and secured three outs in four batters faced to polish off the victory for the top seed.

Senior rightfielder Shane Matthews tallied three hits in the win, including a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth. Jensen, Ramos, Holomakoff, and sophomore designated hitter Matt Lawrence each added two hits and RPI totaled 16 for the game. Freshman pitcher Aaron Kalish pitched five and two-thirds innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and striking out two.

In the final game of the tournament, junior pitcher Greg Echeverria pitched seven and a third innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on 10 hits and striking out five. After a four-hit fourth inning yielded two runs for the Tigers, the Engineers led 6-5. This score held until the bottom of the seventh, when Holomakoff singled with the bases loaded to drive in all three runners following a fielding error by RIT rightfielder Chris Barr. Then, a passed ball allowed Holomakoff to score and open up a 10-5 lead for the home team.

Once again, Conroy came on in relief and pitched one and two-thirds innings. During that span he allowed just one hit and struck out two to finish off the game and the tournament for RPI. Echeverria earned the victory, his sixth of the season.

The Liberty League tournament win is RPI’s second in three seasons. Ramos, Holomakoff, and Jensen earned All-Tournament team honors while LeSuer earned the title Most Outstanding Player. Furthermore, by winning the Liberty League championship, the Engineers earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III championships. The bid marks RPI’s 18th NCAA appearance.

The Engineers will be the sixth seed in the New York Region of the NCAA tournament and will face third-seeded Keystone College tomorrow, May 13 at 4:30 pm in Auburn, N.Y.

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SENATE

Senate approves Senate, E-Board appointments

GRAND MARSHAL MARCUS FLOWERS ’16 LEADS Tuesday’s Senate meeting. The meeting ran nearly five hours and ended early Wednesday morning.

The Senate began its five hour meeting with three more petitions. The first was “Install Water Bottle Filling Stations around Campus,” sponsored by Emily Farella ’16. Farella has been working with Vasuda and the Facilities and Services Committee on the project already; the purpose of the petition was to gauge whether there was interest among students for it to be implemented. Graduate Senator Timothy Krentz asked why specialized filling stations would be necessary in place of a sink or water fountain. Many senators expressed that having them around would encourage more people to use their own reusable water bottles, and it would making filling tall water bottles easier. The Senate charged Austin Miller ’17 with assisting Vasuda and Farella with the project in a 17-0-2 vote.

The next petition was “Bring Big Name Concerts Back to RPI.” The two reasons senators cited for the lack of big name concerts at RPI are that the Times Union Center in Albany is generally a better venue, and that UPAC does not have enough money to pay for big name bands. Thomas Alappat ’17 made the point that Albany is out of the way for RPI students, so when promoters are scheduling tours, taking a day to travel to Albany is not worth the cost. The Senate then charged Alappat with further investigating possibilities with UPAC Concerts in a 17-2-0 vote.

The last petition on the agenda was “Bring Beer Back to Grand Marshal Week.” Miller was concerned with the number of liabilities the Rensselaer Union would be taking on, such as underage drinking and drunk driving. Paul Ilori ’17 said that he had talked with President of the Union Nick Dvorak ’16 about possibilities, but that discussion was still in the early stages. Graduate senator Jenn Church pointed out that the Graduate Council hosts many events with alcohol without any issues, and that the important part is that the events are held in a controlled environment, such as the Pub, where IDs can be monitored. Since most undergraduates are underage, Kyle Neumann ’17 asked if it would be worth spending the money for a small percentage of the student body. Graduate senator Spencer Scott responded, saying that the beer is bought through the Rensselaer Union at the wholesale price of 70 or 80 cents per beer. In a 14-4-1 vote, the Senate recognized the petition and charged Ilori with further investigation.

Next the Senate saw motions on changes to its bylaws. The first was on Senate-Judicial Board separation,moved by Justin Etzine ’18, which stated that no voting member of the Senate shall hold a voting position on the Senate and any position on the J-Board, effective at the start of the fall semester. This was made because Krentz currently serves on both bodies, and he felt he should not be able to hold both positions. The other motion would prevent voting members of the Senate from also holding voting positions on the E-Board. Although this has not yet been a problem, it was motioned to prevent any future PU from appointing members of the Senate to the E-Board. Church was opposed to this motion because the graduates already struggle to get students involved in student government, and this could stretch their current numbers even thinner. The vote failed 13-4-1 because it required a two thirds majority of the total voting membership.

E-Board appointments were tabled until their meeting was finished, so the Senate moved to various appointments of their own. Kelly Dearborn ’16 was approved as the Undergraduate Council president, Edward Qiao ’18 was approved as treasurer, and Chris Paradis ’16 was not approved as Web Technologies Chairman, 8-4-6. Emily Phillis ’17 was approved as co-chairman of the Rules & Elections committee, with Ilori serving as the other chairman until Phillis has been properly acquainted with R&E procedures. Victoria Heisler ’16 was approved as GM Week committee chairman.

With the E-Board meeting finished, the Senate began their appointments for E-Board. Donna Grace Moleta ’18, Conrad Mossl ’17, Emily Farella ’16, graduate Saurabh Dargar, Charles Bittner ’17, Nicholas Schlatz ’16, Jeremy Feldman ’16, Gregory Bartell ’17, Alexander Benzell ’15, Harrison Kang ’16, and Shannon McComb ’17 were approved. Andrew Sudano ’17 was appointed E-Board liaison in a 10-2-4 vote. Shoshana Rubinstein ’16 emphasized that he knows what needs to be done in order to be successful. In addition, Sudano expressed he was “deeply sorry for what happened,” but still feels there are things he can do to help.

Finally, the Senate saw a motion regarding the RPI Bookstore situation. This motion, accompanying discussion, vote details, and a description of the situation are included in the article titled, “Follett slated to manage Rensselaer Union Bookstore.”

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EDITORIAL NOTEBOOKS

One man’s love for The Poly

Saying goodbye not always the easiest

Well, it’s that time in my career at RPI to say goodbye. RPI has been very good to me during my four years here. When I came here as a freshman in the fall of 2011, the first thing I started with was The Poly Press Pass during Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond. At that point, I was hooked on The Poly and have been an editor on the paper for every issue since. During my time here, I have been associate copy editor, photography editor, copy editor, contributing editor, web director, and systems director, often at the same time (currently I’m contributing editor, copy editor, web director, and systems director).

During my freshman year, I started out by taking a large portion of the photos for The Poly, along with then-current photo editor, Ryan Baltazar ’14. My weeks usually involved shooting miscellaneous events on campus: sports, Student Senate meetings, Experimental Media and Performing Arts events, headshots of random people being interviewed, etc. Notably, I can still remember my first EMPAC event because of how bad it was (my ears may still be bleeding). It was EARBRAINS, an event covering a wide stretch of experimental music, music I will never hear again. I still remember the opening “band,” Fat Worm of Error. If you’d like to get a bit more into a story, look them up on YouTube, you will have a good picture of what this event was like. One of the major perks of taking photos for The Poly was the free entry I received to every event I went to. Just like EARBRAINS, there were many things I would have never gone to if I had not been asked to go to cover it for The Poly. It was an amazing experience, even though I didn’t necessarily enjoy every event.

When I wasn’t out shooting photos or doing classwork, I would be at the production night at The Poly, where my main job, after editing photos, was copyreading. The legendary Kevin Ly ’11, or “Chairman Mao” as we all fondly called him, taught me to copy read and eventually gave me The Poly’s “third-read approved” status, allowing me to make the final read on anything right before his December graduation. You can still find hints of his dictatorship in the copy corner as various Chairman Mao quotes and examples can be found within The Poly’s style guide.

After I became third-read approved, I spent my next few semesters focusing on The Poly’s photography. I became the photo editor, taking over most of Ryan’s roles on the paper. This section of my time on The Poly is when I probably did the least work on production night, usually going home before the official “Poly sunrise” as I finished all work with photos by 10 pm at the latest. After my time in the photo department, I became copy editor, and have functioned as copy editor on The Poly since. After a few semesters as copy editor, I decided that since the contributing editor position was essentially a glorified copy editor with senior board responsibilities, I decided to run for the position. This would be my last change in roles at The Poly. As a contributing editor and copy editor, I have stayed at nearly every single Poly closing with an average closing time being between 5–7 am on Wednesday morning.

With that being said, I will miss every single fun night with the editorial staff, but I will not miss being awake at the wee hours of the morning every Wednesday while at college. As I write this (at the wee morning hours on Tuesday), I hope to finalize my third-read training on my replacement-to-be Evan Barr ’16, who I hope to see bring The Poly to the best it has ever been.

There is one thing I’d like to remind everyone: You will only be an undergraduate at RPI once. Make the most of your time here; there are many amazing things RPI has to offer in, and outside of academics. Poly is only one of the many things I have done at RPI. Now that I am graduating, and moving to the beautiful Carlsbad, Calif., I can tell you the thing I will miss the most is the people at RPI, and the things we all do when we put our heads together. I won’t miss the cold a single bit, however. That said, have a great summer everyone!

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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT

EDM artist definitely one to be remembered

SKRILLEX, OR SONNY MOORE, HAS become the face of the North American surge of electronic music in recent years. He is an internationally successful artist.

There are very few music artists in today’s industry that are as polarizing as Skrillex. If you ask one person, he or she may tell you that Skrillex is the best thing since sliced bread. If you ask another, they could declare that the stuff he makes “isn’t even music.” The guy in the back, however, nods his all-knowing head because he is aware of the basslines and music structures required for tracks to be “actual dubstep.” But all biases and music snobbery aside, just what’s the deal with Skrillex? It seems as if the general public can’t make up their mind, so it’s time to clear things up.

The man behind Skrillex, Sonny Moore, has been in the music industry longer than most would guess. Before his Skrillex project had even been conceived, Moore was the lead singer of the post-hardcore band From First To Last. With that band, he released two full studio albums and found moderate commercial success. This early rock background was vital for his success years later. In 2007, Moore broke off from From First To Last to pursue a solo career, and within a few years, he had released the world-famous “Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites.” Being Moore’s first hit as Skrillex, this was the song that broke him into the world of electronic music. Moore, with this song, was one of the first to skillfully combine metal and hardcore aspects with dubstep and electro elements.Despite Skrillex being proclaimed as unoriginal by some, songs like “Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites” are most certainly unique and fresh to the industry.

The heavy hitting bass combined with the high pitched vocals and devilish background noises still influence electronic music to this day. However, his influence extends beyond his own music. Moore’s label, OWSLA, has signed many artists that are gaining huge traction in today’s music world. Zedd, who is getting ready to release his second studio album, owes his career to Skrillex. Porter Robinson, who just last year released his critically acclaimed debut album, saw his first EP release through OWSLA. These are just two examples of many. No matter what people think of his music, it is undeniable that he has an ear for today’s industry.

Since the release of “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” just five years ago, Moore has released two full length LPs and numerous EPs, winning five Grammy’s in the process. Although his releases stick within the electro and brostep genres at most times, he also dabbles in drum and bass and trap styled tracks. Is he the most original and boundary-pushing producer to ever enter the scene? No, probably not. But is he a producer that consistently churns out fantastically produced music with his own style? Yes, most definitely. His music might not be the most emotionally inspiring to ever be produced, but that isn’t what his music is for. Moore’s music is pure energy. His goal is to have hard hitting tracks that inspire us to dance and have a great time, and they certainly do just that.

On top of all this, there is an endless debate about the genre of Skrillex’s music that needs to be settled. To stop it all here, Skrillex does not produce dubstep. A track has to possess extremely specific characteristics in order for it to be categorized as dubstep. A break beat structure and a tempo of around 140 BPM are just two of the requirements. Skrillex, being such a varied producer, does not stick within these specifications. In fact, it is very hard to categorize most of his songs. He has a variety of elements of most of his songs that pull from trap, house, dubstep, and electro. Moore has never claimed to be a dubstep producer, and he is correct in not doing so. The reason why so many people think of Skrillex when they hear about dubstep is strictly due to uninformed people declaring him as so.

In summary, Skrillex’s public perception is extremely fickle. You can ask 10 different people what they think of Skrillex and you’ll get a different answer each time. Also, their answer is probably different from the one they had a few years ago. At that time, it was cool to hate on Skrillex. Recently, however, it seems the general public has warmed up to him. But in the end, Moore’s main goal as a producer, as he has stated a myriad of times, is to make music that makes people feel absolutely fired up. He’s never set out to make strictly dubstep or strictly drum and bass tracks. He makes music for pure energy, and he does an exceptional job at exactly that. I believe that his music will be remembered for decades down the line. He is the face of the North American surge of electronic music that has occurred in recent years, and deservedly so; his influence on the modern landscape of electronic music is undeniable.

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SOFTBALL

Weltzin leaves masterful pitching legacy

After an incredible four years, senior pitcher Kristina Weltzin will be graduating, leaving quite a legacy as one of the best softball pitchers in Rensselaer history. Over the course of her softball career, Weltzin has set numerous school records including appearances, starts, wins, complete games, innings pitched, and strikeouts.

Throughout her time on RPI’s softball team, Weltzin was the starting pitcher for 96 out of 116 appearances. She has a 62-32 record, with a 2.46 earned run average, registering 68 complete games, 17 shutouts, and four saves. Weltzin has pitched 613.2 innings, while no other RPI pitcher has had over 500. In the 613.2 innings, she gave up 286 runs, with 216 earned, on 518 hits. She has struck out 516 batters, walked 259, and allowed a .223 opponent batting average.

In addition to Weltzin’s long list of school records, she has also collected many awards, most of them through the Liberty League. Overall, Weltzin earned a spot on the All-Liberty League First Team every season, was selected as Liberty League Pitcher of the Year as a freshman, Liberty League Rookie of the week once, Liberty League Pitcher of the Week seven times, and was the Rensselaer Female Freshman Athlete of the Year. The Polytechnic also selected Weltzin as the Athlete of the Week following a shutout game against Castleton State College last season.

When asked of her time on RPI’s softball team, Weltzin said, “I loved it and four years went by too quickly. Amber Maisonet was an awesome head coach who always kept me working hard and taught me to have confidence and never give up. My teammates made every practice and lift enjoyable and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Weltzin will be graduating with a degree in biomedical engineering. She is going to be working for Epic Healthcare Corporation in Madison, WI.

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Good times gone by too fast

Editor looks back on freshman year at RPI

I can’t believe it. This marks the end of another school year. Usually, older students joke about the freshmen. Thinking more deeply about that, I will never be considered a freshman again. Before going on with this brief review of my college freshman experience, I want to first thank every person that I have met here at RPI, from my friends in my hall and in clubs, the workers in Commons, and so many more. Thank you all. Now here’s some of my awesome, casual experiences I’ve had over the last couple months.

One day strolling around freshman hill, a very energetic girl approached me and asked, “Do you want to get slimed?” I agreed to it, and a few days later I got mustard, flour, and so much more dumped onto to me. Peers I barely knew that night watched the slime drench me, and later that month whenever meeting people, the fact I got slimed seemed to always make its way into the conversation. I love talking about it to this day!

A big shoutout to my hall, Crockett Hall, and my fellow Crocketteers. We have grown so much over the last several months. On a casual daily basis, I play Super Smash Bros. Melee whenever we can get the crew together. I would say I greatly improved; I can now successfully use Peach and her down smashes and grabs. Also, just the casualness within the hall, from coming back from a day of classes and walking down the hallway saying hi to all my buds to listening to music with them before bed.

Even on some Friday nights, we played Smash. I felt like the typical RPI student. But that’s not always the case. Kids here are much cooler than what most people think of RPI students. I’ve gone out some nights and other nights just chilled in my hall. On those quiet Sunday evenings when kids are feeling kind of bummed out about the school week ahead, I would go into the kitchen, plop all the pans and cooking supplies on the window sill and get baking my sugar cookies. Going around the hallways, I usually found someone that would give me Hershey’s Kisses and M&Ms to put into mix. When the cookies were done, even after the oven burned them and baked them in unexpected ways, they were still pretty good. The freshly baked cookie smell attracted everyone to the lounge.

With all the beautiful weather recently, to go outside and throw a baseball or frisbee with friends is always a good time. All the laid-back activities I do throughout the week have surely accounted for a great freshman year and hopefully next year will bring even more. I’m happy I chose RPI.

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EVENT REVIEW

Tulips bring a rainbow to New York spring

TULIPS AT THE ANNUAL TULIP FESTIVAL IN ALBANY SPICE UP the gardens that they are grown in. The festival this year saw concerts, craft vendors, and even a kidzone along with 100,000 tulips.

From May 9–10, the city of Albany held its 67th annual Tulip Festival in Washington Park. Over 100,000 tulips are arranged annually around the King Memorial Fountain, displaying vibrant splashes of color in each flowering bed. Food tents and craft vendors line the paths around the beds, selling Greek food, barbeque, carnival food, and artisan works. Located farther out, two concert stages performed live music all day. Additionally, a kidzone area, sponsored by Price Chopper, featured a bouncy house and a variety of family-oriented shows for kids.

The origin of the Albany Tulip Festival sprung after Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd passed a city ordinance declaring the tulip as the official flower of Albany. The following year, the first Tulip Festival was held on May 14, 1949, in commemoration. The opening ceremonies, which are continued today, include the crowning of a Tulip Queen and the sweeping of State Street before festivities begin.

Unfortunately, Isabel Johnson ’16 and I were only able to attend the festival on Sunday, May 10. However, the vivid color spectrum that the tulip sea displayed, in addition to the endless lines of tents, were more than enough for hours of entertainment. The day was pleasantly sunny and slightly humid, but this was solved with a tall 32 ounce container of freshly squeezed lemonade. I swear I caught a whiff of my local childhood carnivals when I walked down past vendors’ tents. I, of course, couldn’t resist buying a deep fried porchetta skewer from a food truck. As I closed my eyes, the misleadingly light scent of deep fried Oreos and heavy tomato aroma of carny pizza played nostalgically powerful olfactory notes.

When Izzy and I walked through the tulip patches, we were taken by their bright variety. Many were bicolored, with distinct solid colors and a few stripes of a different hue. I was stunned by the sheer amount of flowers; it’s one thing to say that there were over 100,000 flowers, but to see them in person was breathtaking. In between the flower beds, kids scurried around, with some even weaving inconspicuously through them. Not only were the tulips alive with energy, but also the people and vigor around them.

The Tulip Festival was a great way to wind down and check out a truly unique experience; I’ve never seen such an expansive array of tulips. The live music and endless rows of local vendors offered sweet treats and interesting art pieces. It was a short break from the mountains of work before finals.

The Albany Tulip Festival is held annually in Washington Park in Albany in May. For more information, visit http://poly.rpi.edu/s/uz8eg.

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TOP HAT

GM on future direction of Senate

Summer Salutations Students,

Don’t give up on your classes yet, you’re almost through the semester! I hope the study tools I mentioned last week were helpful to you.

This Tuesday marked the last meeting of the Senate for the semester, but before I get to that, let’s catch up on what was talked about last week. We had the opportunity to hear about a student’s presentation on the nuclear reactor that RPI owns in Schenectady. We supported it as a resource for students that, if shut down, we advocate that it should be replaced with another learning resource. Next, we had a discussion on how to approach the matter of Sodexo’s contract, and determined that the best course of action is to have a small group work on it, and develop a report by the appropriate fiscal year deadline. The last petition discussed was from the 148th Grand Marshal about expanding the use of the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, and now there are two talented senators working on that project.

This week we will be discussing a petition to install water bottle filling stations around campus, the idea of bringing beer back to GM Week, and the possibility of bringing bigger concerts to Rensselaer. After our petitions, the remaining leadership positions will be appointed. We’ll also be confirming the appointments of the next Executive Board, so be sure to follow us and find out who will be representing your Union clubs!

Before we close up for the summer, I’d like to ask you a few questions:

What sort of programs would you like to see in EMPAC? What would make it a more engaging building for students?

What are some of the events that got you the most excited when you were a first semester freshman?

If you’re in Troy over the summer, be sure to check the Union for fun activities in town and the nearby area. Until next semester, have a great summer!

Best,

Mr. Top Hat

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EVENT REVIEW

Free food, lawn games hosted by UPAC at ’86

ALEX AUSTIN ’16 AND CAITLIN McCLEERY ’17 GRILL hamburgers and hotdogs at the UPAC Field Day on the ’86 Field on Saturday. The event’s attendance exceeded the organizers’ expectations.

On Saturday May 9, the Union Programs and Activities Committee put together one final field day for the RPI students to enjoy before the final week of classes. The ’86 Field found itself covered in laser tag obstacles, a volleyball net, corn hole frames and a nice blanket of smoke from the grill. The food included hamburgers and hotdogs along with pizza, ice cream, and drinks and was served at no charge to the students that decided to swing by.

One of the coolest parts of the event was definitely the laser tag. Although the area to play was a bit small to accommodate the groups of people passing a ball around or tossing frisbees and diablos, the game still turned out to be much more fun that I was expecting. Here’s how it worked without the glow-in-the-dark sets and bulky vests with glowing lights: The playing area was setup to have several tents for hideouts and cover from fire, and several inflatable walls were also setup to make cover for those trying to go from tent to tent. Players were given a single laser gun with an option between a larger weapon and an easier to hold one. The guns gave the carrier 10 lives and a limited number of clips of ammunition. Once you ran out of ammo you had to choose whether to give up or try and survive as long as you could. The laser tag was definitely a highlight of the event and the most fun since I didn’t really know whether I was hitting anyone else or just missing completely.

The event was definitely planned with a smaller turnout in mind as the grill ran out of hamburgers, hotdogs, and pizza within an hour of the event start. The ice cream they served, with choices such as banana, chocolate, and vanilla, also ran out well before the event was planned to end. However, members of UPAC rushed to get more food for the crowd with a line for a hamburger leading quite a ways down one of the paths of the ’86 Field.

I thought that the event was an amazing way to encourage everyone on and off campus to head out of their rooms and take advantage of the lovely weather. UPAC Field Day was a blast. With its booming music and the friendly atmosphere, it’s no surprise that many of the attendees stayed well beyond the end time of 8 pm. As the event was brought to a close, it proved to be a reminder that sometimes we need to get out and do something, rather than sit inside and worry all day. I hope that in the future, UPAC will continue to put on this event so that students can relax, have fun, and spend a day out in the sun. I look forward to the next UPAC event that they decide to put on.

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DERBY

PU talks new E-Board members

What’s up, RPI?

So this week there’s quite a bit to talk about, mainly selections for the 2015–2016 Executive Board! I want to sincerely thank everyone who applied. This year, I received 42 applicants who were all well qualified and strong candidates. If I had 42 positions to fill, I would be a happy man, but that unfortunately isn’t the case. This meant the ones I had available to fill were highly competitive.

I selected three members from the previous board to return. They are:

Charles “Kirk” Bittner ’16 is currently an aeronautical engineering major from Coventry, Connecticut. The abundance of clubs and organizations available to the RPI community played a big part in his decision to come to Rensselaer and he has taken advantage of this for the past several years. He has been an active member in many clubs such as the RPI Flying Club, The RPI Players, UPAC Lights, the RPI Pep Band, the RPI Curling Club, and has been on the Executive Board since 2013.

Donna Grace Moleta ’18 is an environmental engineering student. She is a sister in the Alpha Omega Epsilon sorority and has been on the Executive Board since 2014. She hopes to provide clubs with all the resources they could possibly need in her time on the board, and aspires to “improve urban air quality and be as fierce as Beyoncé.”

Emily Farella ’16 is a dual mechanical engineering/design, innovation, and society major from Long Island. She served as the Marketing, Advertising, and Publicity Committee Chairman, and is involved with the Newman Catholic Fellowship and the 125th Anniversary Committee for the Union.

I also selected nine new members. They are:

Alexander Benzell ’16 of the chemistry program will be pursuing his co-terminal degree within the same department in the next year. Prior to joining the Executive Board, he served on RPI Ambulance in various roles such as a President, Radio Coordinator, Scheduling Coordinator, and Crew Chief. He was a Resident Assistant on the Fourth Floor of Blitman Commons and will be the Resident Director of Residential Apartment Housing Project A for the upcoming year.

Conrad Mossl ’17 is an Information Technology and Web Science major who has been involved with a variety of organizations since he came to RPI. He is a brother of Sigma Chi, has been involved with Winter Carnival, Student Orientation, and the development of the Union website.

Charles “Chip” Kirchner ’17 is studying mechanical and aeronautical engineering. For the past two years he has been the equipment chair and acting treasurer of UPAC Sound and very involved with the programming board and the other UPAC clubs.

Gregory Bartell ’17 is studying for a dual degree in computer and systems engineering and computer science. Greg has been the business manager for WRPI for two years and hopes to make great improvements for clubs and organizations through the Union.

Nicholas Schlatz ’16 is studying business and management and is seeking a concentration in supply chain management and a minor in economics. Nick has been a member of the varsity football team since his freshman year, has worked as a marketing intern for Sodexo here on campus, and is a brother of Theta Chi.

Jeremy Feldman ’16 is studying aeronautical engineering. He has been heavily involved with clubs on campus, having founded the Debate Club and serving as the president of the RPI Players for their 85th season. He is a midshipman in the Navy ROTC program where he worked as the financial officer for 2014.

Harrison Kang ’17 is studying chemical engineering. He has been involved with several cultural clubs on campus having served as the treasurer and vice president of Chinese-American Student Association, and the treasurer and Asian Cultural Union representative of the Japanese Cultural Association.

Saurabh Dargar is a graduate student pursuing his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. He has been at RPI for seven years now, and has thoroughly enjoyed his time here. He has been involved as an officer of the Indian Student Association during his undergrad, and has founded and run several successful start-up businesses before coming to RPI and during his tenure.

Shannon McComb ’17 is studying biomedical engineering with a concentration in biomaterials. She is a sister of Alpha Phi and is just wrapping up her semester abroad studying in England. She hopes to bring the perspectives she has gained in her travels to the Executive Board.

There have also been appointments to the board by the Senate, Graduate Council, and Undergraduate Council, but at this point, The Poly may hunt me down for the long read, so I’ll cover that next time. I also have four additional at large seats available and a class of 2019 position that will be filled next semester, so keep your eyes peeled and stay involved! I’ll also be putting out calls for committee interest once I have appointed my committee chairs. Committee work is pertinent to everything we do, so I highly encourage all students, especially those who applied to the board, to stay involved.

Best of luck with your finals, remember to eat and sleep regularly, or at least as regularly as possible. I’m here if you need me, just shoot me a message at pu@rpi.edu.

Keep on keepin’ on,

Nick

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TV SERIES REVIEW

Chef-centered series dishes on kitchen life

Netflix's newest documentary series emphasizes the influences on a chef, their work, the food

I’m a relatively content person. I can watch anything, read anything, do almost anything, and find some enjoyment out of it. But one thing that makes me really passionate, and somewhat elitist, is food. I really love, and desire, good food. Now add that with my relative contentness with all things, I’m someone who enjoys quality food of all flavors, and I can appreciate a well done meal from any nationality—at the very least of all the cultures I’ve tried so far. I think most of fine dining comes from fine chefs who put a lot of themselves into the dish, which is why the new Netflix series Chef’s Table caught my eye.

Chef’s Table is a six-episode documentary series following a different world-renowned chef each episode, with special care taken in showing what makes them different. For those of you who have watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi about the Michelin three-star sushi chef, you will find a very similar style since director David Gelb has a large hand in both works. However, for those not informed, this means the focus is much more on the chef, the history and their processes, with little snippets of some of their signature dishes as they fit in terms of the chef’s story. This is not a “how you cook” show, it is a “why you cook” documentary.

The first two episodes are probably the best at outlining the series, at least in terms of having incredibly compelling characters. The first chef, the Italian Massimo Bottura, is a Michelin three-star chef whose episode catalogues his modernization of the Italian kitchen, the huge role his wife has played in his work as his partner, and his struggle to attain both of these things. The second chef, Dan Barber, began as a run-of-the-mill chef until his desire for the best flavor led to wanting the best ingredients through direct control of his produce and livestock, with sustainable farming and plants genetically modified to taste better and not just feed more people.

In just these two chefs, you can see the breadth in not only the varying approaches to high-figure caliber cooking, but how the show captures these chefs who are world class for different reasons. Not only that, but Gelb brilliantly finds chefs who in some ways have it all figured out, but show how they have humility in terms of what they have not perfected in their personal lives or have learned through their own mistakes. This is a must-watch for those who want to know what makes an expert chef and for those who want to see something in the vein of Jiro Dreams of Sushi. For someone new to the culinary world or experience, there is a lot to appreciate and it is all expressed for even the layman to understand, so why not give it a taste?

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ALUM 101

Alumna offers sage advice derived from adages

Have you ever wondered why those “wise old sayings” are words to live by? They get passed down from one generation to the next. My philosophy is that the experience of living teaches you how relevant those proverbs are to your life.

“Be true to your passion and you’ll never ‘work’ a day in your life.” When you are doing something you love, you must have noticed how quickly time passes. That’s because you are truly engaged and not passing time. What are your passions? If you plan your endeavors so that they fulfill that passion, you will spend a lifetime looking forward to starting your day. If you research those alumni who preceded you, some of the most prominent have pursued careers that fed their imaginations. The dream doesn’t need to be heroic; it just needs to be vivid enough to reflect who you are. Use it to formulate your plan.

“Any plan is bad that cannot be changed.” This classic Italian proverb speaks toward being specific yet flexible. You know the importance of a plan. In your quest to come to Rensselaer, you planned the academic and extra-curricular activities that would make you a superlative candidate. It may not have felt like a plan while you were in the middle of it, but it was. Now that you’re here, you have been executing a plan for graduation; you took steps (like extra tutoring to pass Differential Equations or Structures 2) to ensure success. The planning doesn’t stop with a tassel and a mortarboard. Formulate a plan for your life that includes all your goals. Ultimately, where do you plan to take your career? When you answer that, identify the stages that get you there, and be prepared to adjust to changes in circumstance. What types of positions will give you the appropriate experiences that will enable you to fulfill your goals? How long should you have those positions? The plan doesn’t need to be rigid, but your plan should be structured. Write it down; that act alone makes it a plan and allows you to benchmark it periodically throughout your life.

You will change throughout your life. Your life experiences may alter your goals, and these may take you in a different direction. Be open to revising your plan so you can redirect your efforts. Consider that as you evolve, you will find different ambitions to pursue. Embrace it.

“You can’t work all the time.” Aesop said “you can’t play all the time.” The point is that you need to find balance. Return to the life plan; identify the personal events that will give your life meaning. Spend time making those a part of your plan. Just don’t beat yourself up if they don’t happen on schedule, nor settle to meet that schedule. Not everything is in your control. Surround yourself with the people who appreciate your uniqueness. Work on interpersonal relationships, both personal and professional because both will present opportunities for personal growth.

Proverbs and saying are interesting to ponder. Some are inspirational, some are prescriptive, and some are just hilarious. But they are just sayings until you until you figure out how they apply to you.

Patricia M. DeLauri ’84, ’85 is an Associate with Shepley Bulfinch, in Boston’s Seaport District. She received her both her BS and BArch from Rensselaer and an MArch from Syracuse University. Patricia currently serves on the Rensselaer Alumni Association Board of Trustees and is active in the Boston Chapter, the 2013 Chapter of the Year. You may contact her at pdelauri@shepleybulfinch.com.

Founded in 1869, The RAA is one of the oldest alumni associations in the country, and made of over 100,000 alumni worldwide; represented by an alumni board of trustees who work to empower and engage current and future alumni in meaningful and strategic partnerships with Rensselaer. If you have questions about the Rensselaer Alumni Association and its programs and services, contact the Alumni Office at 276-6205, or raa@rpi.edu.

Alum101 is a program that helps you transition from student life to post-graduation life. Join us for Alum101 events and programs throughout the school year.

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

People argue that using neuroscience in the field of marketing is immoral. This field is now being referred to as neuromarketing. There are people out there that feel strongly that using MRI and EEG testing to see what happens in the brain when purchasing consumer goods should not be practiced. I encourage you to view it as a scientific breakthrough versus an unethical practice. Research in this field cannot only open the eyes to the consumer’s irrational mind, but to help us understand human kind. For centuries, philosophers were always searching for a way to define the brain; at first they believed it to be a heating system then the idea changed to a machine. We now have the technology not only to define the brain, but also to go even further and broaden our knowledge.

By learning the anatomy of the brain, we can learn how communication works between left and right hemispheres. This insight can help hospitalized patients that have cognitive-communication disorders. Even though some people see these advantages, they still have an issue with using the methods for marketing purposes. This research can and is educating us to not only to be more aware consumers, but also to better understand why we feel and act in such irrational ways. Martin Lindstrom, who is a marketing professional and one of the first people to combine neuroscience and marketing, puts it like this, “By better understanding our own seemingly irrational behavior—whether it’s why we buy a designer shirt or how we assess a job candidate—we actual gain more control, not less.” His statement means that knowing more about how we act as individuals and why we behave the way we do helps us better make decisions for the future. These decisions could be in everyday life as to why we might choose to exercise or stay in to watch a movie. Every step in this field is one more towards bringing about that scientific breakthrough where we may fully understand the inner workings of how our brain makes decisions.

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Rensselaer Union

UPDATED: Bookstore slated to be managed by outside company

Decisions made in closed-door Executive Board session

Update (1:16 am, May 13): The Student Senate brought the following motion onto the floor:

WHEREAS the Rensselaer Union takes pride in being one of the few student-run student unions in the country; and

WHEREAS the RPI Bookstore is currently operated and managed by the Rensselaer Union; and

WHEREAS the Rensselaer Union Student Senate and the Rensselaer Union Executive Board make decisions on behalf of the Rensselaer student body; and

WHEREAS the Rensselaer Union Executive Board engaged in secretive dialog regarding the operation of the RPI Bookstore; and

WHEREAS, on or about Monday, April 27, 2015, RPI Bookstore employees were informed by Director of the Union Joseph Cassidy that an outside company, Follett Corporation, would be taking control of the RPI Bookstore on June 15, 2015; and

WHEREAS the Rensselaer Union Constitution, Article VII, Section 2, Paragraph (e), provides a clear procedure for the management of the business affairs of any and all facilities operated by the Rensselaer Union;

The Rensselaer Union 46th Student Senate hereby RESOLVES:
1. To emphasize the importance of maintaining open and transparent dialog between Student Government and its constituents; and
2. To recommend that a formal review of the RPI Bookstore contract be taken by a joint ad-hoc committee between the Rensselaer Union Student Senate and Rensselaer Union Executive Board.

The motion failed 6-10-0. The votes are as follows:

First Last Vote
Thomas Alappat Absent
Mike Caiola No
Keegan Caraway No
Jen Church No
Joshua D’Amato Absent
Justin Etzine Yes
Alex Fox No
Jennifer Freedberg Yes
Michael Han No
Paul Ilori Yes
Jessica Krajewski Yes
Timothy Krentz No
Bill Mehner No
Austin Miller No
Samantha Notley Yes
Victoria Phan Absent
Spencer Scott No
Steven Sperazza Yes
Joe Venusto No
Benjamin Walcott Absent
James Whelan Absent

Original Article:

An outside company is slated to take over the RPI Bookstore in mid-June, sources in Student Government tell The Polytechnic, and questions are being raised over the validity of agreements made between that company and the Rensselaer Union.

Follett Higher Education Group, a subsidiary of Westchester, Ill.-based Follett Corporation, has reportedly been in negotiations to take over the Bookstore. According to Student Government officials and Union employees, Director of the Union Joe Cassidy is the Rensselaer Union representative for a contract with the Follett Corporation to provide bookstore services to campus, replacing the student-managed model that has been used up until this point.

The change was put in motion during a closed-door Executive Board meeting, where the E-Board made an official, non-motion decision. No motions were passed during the meeting, circumventing Article V, section (4), subsection (1), of the E-Board bylaws, which states the following, “All meetings of the Executive Board shall be open to the public. The Executive Board may close a meeting with a two-thirds vote. The E-Board can invite non-Board members to a closed meeting with a majority vote. All motions passed during the closed meeting must be made public immediately after the conclusion of the closed meeting.”

Consultants were brought in to do a full audit of the Bookstore as per a motion passed by the E-Board on May 8, 2014, with a budget of $26,500, plus expenses. The money was reportedly taken out of the Bookstore budget, rather than general Union reserves, as the motion states. Several months later, additional funds were sent to the consultants, again, reportedly, from the Bookstore budget; this money was matched by another Institute source. The E-Board currently has no procedure or policy for hiring outside consultants.

Few confirmed details are currently available, but photos of reserved parking spaces in the Rensselaer Union garage show Paul Schmalhofer, vice president of Campus Bookstore Consultants, and David Klein, a vice president of Follett Corporation, were on campus on May 5 and 6 and on April 29 and 30 of this year, respectively. Union employees close to issue confirmed that their visit was to discuss, with Cassidy, the Bookstore, which has been experiencing a decline in profits in past years.

Cassidy directed all Union Administration employees to direct questioning parties to Vice President for Administration Claude Rounds. Some employees felt that they were deliberately kept out of discussions.

“We have been exploring the possibility of contract management of the Rensselaer Collegiate Store,” said Cassidy. “The Rensselaer Union Executive Board has been involved in this process. Currently, we are in contract negotiations with Follett Higher Education Group, the largest operator of collegiate stores. We anticipate that the contract will be finalized in the near future. An announcement with more details will be released at that time.”

Current employees of the Bookstore will reportedly have a one-year contract with Follett, after which continued employment will be at the company’s discretion; however, 16-year employee and interim manager Traci Griffin recently resigned from her position.

Both the Student Senate and the Union Executive Board are scheduled to meet for the final meeting of the year at 8 pm tonight in Union Rooms 3606 and 3602, respectively. It is unknown whether any motions, statements, or injunctions will be released with regards to Cassidy’s actions.

According to the Rensselaer Union Constitution Article V: Director of the Union, it is not within the authority of the director to enter into any contracts on behalf of the Union without formal Executive Board approval. Paragraph (3) of the same article also provides for charges to be brought against the director in cases of overstepping their constitutional authority.

Many students have expressed concerns about the management and direction of the Bookstore, and they wish for decisions made go to through the proper channels and processes.

Editor’s note: To protect both students and employees who offered information to The Poly, sources’ names have been withheld. The Poly and its reporters believe that the facts, opinions, and concerns stated herein are legitimate.

Correction: in a previous version of this article, it was incorrectly stated in the third paragraph that, “The change was finalized during a closed-door Executive Board meeting.” The article has been corrected to reflect that the change was set in motion, not finalized, during the meeting.

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