At RPI, it can be all too easy to ignore anything beyond the demands of your homework or your favorite video game. Despite the rigorous academic nature of being a student here, it is both your right and your responsibility to be aware of your community and to participate. As paying the student activity fee makes you a constituent of student government organizations and paying tuition makes you a customer of this institution, it is in your best interest to be informed and to speak up.
Community engagement does not require that you run for office or even attend half of the many events on campus. Simple awareness of current issues and ongoing processes that affect your life as a student and member of the greater community can go a long way. Are you aware that the student government elections process began this week with Limited Party Campaigning? What about the fact that Troy has more to offer than campus real estate? While just a small sample, this kind of information can lead to a greater discussion on the quality of student life.
The approaching student government elections provide students with an opportunity to be involved in that discussion on a larger scale. Students can talk with candidates, run for office, or rally around a cause. Recent issues facing the student body range from student housing, Troy-RPI relations and communication with the administration. It is important to remember that this particular discussion process does not have to end with your vote in the ballot box; new issues arise daily and you can speak up at any time.
Some of the easiest ways to voice your concerns is to talk directly with the GM and PU, who can often be found in their office in the Student Government Suite in the Union. Depending on whether you are greek or independent, you can work with the Interfraternity, Panhellenic, or Independent Councils to find out information relevant to you. There are also several ways to keep informed, such as reading local newspapers, institute announcements, and interacting with people outside your immediate social group.