The Student Senate held a special meeting on March 21 through Webex to approve changes to the Student Government Election Handbook made to accommodate the transition to online classes. The changes included moving Student Government elections to Thursday, April 2, as well as updating the nomination procedure to allow for online gathering and submission. The Senate also discussed the third-party voting systems that are being considered for online elections.
Elections Commission Chairperson Keenan Adams ’21 announced during the Senate meeting on March 21 that the Elections Commission plans to use a third-party to host elections online due to the move to online-only classes. The two systems being considered are Helius Voting and ElectionBuddy.
In an email to the Rensselaer community on Wednesday afternoon, President Shirley Ann Jackson announced that this spring’s Commencement, planned for May 23, will take place in an online ceremony, adding that there will be an in-person celebration “when the public health situation allows us to do so.”
Students were informed that classes will be held online for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester in an email sent from University President Shirley Ann Jackson at about 6:30 pm on Wednesday. In addition, “all undergraduate students in Rensselaer Residential and Greek Commons [are required] to move out of these residences by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020.”
I did not realize that my classes on March 6 were the last I would ever experience on campus. In a matter of a few days, I lost the remainder of my last semester at Rensselaer to the novel coronavirus.
Rensselaer Music Association moves forward with creating a recording studio in the J Building.
Rensselaer for Ethics in Science, Engineering, and Technology was approved for Union affiliation and RPI Chess Club was approved as a Union-recognized club on February 13.
RPI Autism Self-Advocacy Network becomes Union-recognized, RPI Chinese Students and Scholars Association approved to compete at the Northeastern Chinese Basketball League tournament on March 14-15, and Rensselaer Running Club starter budget approved.
The Senate heard a proposal to increase the number of alternate members of the Judicial Board due to complications that arose because of the Arch. The amendment will need to be approved by the student body during Grand Marshal Week elections.
The Bombers scored 14 points in overtime to defeat the Engineers, granting them the Liberty League title. The Engineers still advance to the NCAA tournament, facing off against New England College on March 6.
From jazz favorites to soundtrack classics, the annual Pops Concert hosted by the Rensselaer Music Association was a blast!
I was once told that college is the last time in your life that you will be able to focus on learning things solely for your own benefit and gain. In the future, it is likely you will primarily be learning to advance your career. Everything you do now should be purely motivated by self-improvement. I didn’t realize the significance of this statement at the time, but reflecting, I find it has defined my time here at Rensselaer.
As I am sure you have noticed, in the last few weeks, the school has been updating us about the flu and coronavirus and the measures they are taking to ensure students are safe on campus. However, there were some issues with how many of these policies were implemented.
Keeping in line with our change to online-first journalism, The Polytechnic now has a regularly updated social media presence and a department dedicated to promoting our content.
We published a staff editorial regarding the technical problems we have faced on campus last month. Within that article, we talked about how we noticed Wi-Fi issues on campus. After the article was published, Associate Director of IT Infrastructure Colleen Morrissey reached out to share how the Division of the Chief Information Officer has been committed to ensuring a strong Wi-Fi network across campus.
Campaigning for elected Student Government positions officially kicked off this past week on February 12, 2020! Students can now attend informational sessions to learn about the rules and procedures of campaigning for elected positions.
While Big Red Freakout and Winter Carnival went on without a hitch, administrators placed severe restrictions on some students’ biggest events of the year, citing concerns with coronavirus. “It’s discriminatory and wrong,” said Multicultural Leadership Council member Sundjata Suma ’20 while discussing the issue in a meeting.
With a win against Quinnipiac, the Engineers inch closer to securing home ice advantage for the playoffs.
Rensselaer lobbied for the New York State Senate bill that would grant peace officer status to certain public safety officers, which was posted publicly on the government website earlier this month and sparked concern in the RPI community. There has been no communication about this initiative to the student body, besides the bill’s posting.
I realized how many people around me had secured summer internships when my sophomore year ended. When I went home after finals, I applied to positions in a panic. I was afraid I made a mistake by never attending career fairs and making no effort to get an internship.
Your four years here will pass in a flash, so make the most of it. Be responsible and get your work done, but don’t forget to have fun.
Yeming Shen’s PhD advisor, Thomas Sharkey, writes about Yeming’s contributions to the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department after his unexpected passing.
The Chinese American Student Association held their Lunar New Year celebration on Saturday. I was there to take photos for The Polytechnic, but I had a blast. I had never been to anything like it before, and sure the food was subpar as it was American Chinese food catered by Sodexo, but the celebration featured a variety of performances from a dragon dance, to a performance on the guzheng—a traditional Chinese string instrument, even including a multitude of dance routines by the group Eighth Wonder.
The Rensselaer Union website is currently undergoing maintenance to increase its functionality and address some issues. The site’s present status renders some information regarding clubs and Union events inaccessible to the greater student body, causing students to resort to social media such as Reddit and Facebook.
The Arch is fast approaching—especially for me, now that I am at the end of my sophomore year. I never really tried to become exempt from the Arch because frankly, I didn’t want to be. Since the beginning of college, I wanted to study abroad for at least one semester, and the Arch allows me to do that without worrying about transferring credit towards my major to graduate within four years.
A survey conducted by the Student Senate showed that 78 percent of respondents were unsatisfied with the Arch after they participated in it. 94 percent of respondents thought that students should be able to live in off-campus housing during the Arch. 64 percent of respondents said they would not participate in the Arch if it were optional.
Every year, Rensselaer brings together a group of diverse individuals, each from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, who are passionate in pursuing varied academic interests and are all unified in our shared experience of building a new life away from home.