I hope that everybody is having a relaxing summer. To the Class of 2013: Welcome to RPI. You are about to enter a time in your life unlike any other, where you and your peers will undergo a transformation, becoming the next generation of professionals ready to enter the workforce. While this can be a daunting process, you will be surrounded by friends and people who are ready to help you make it through. The Rensselaer Union is here to help provide you with the resources you need—both to get through your studies and to help you escape when you need a minute away from the books.
As for returning students, even if you have been off at an internship or co-op, doing research, or taking classes, summer offers us an opportunity to put life in perspective and realize that there is more out there than the numbers and figures that we absorb ourselves in for nine months of the year. It is important to have some balance in life, and, in many ways, the Union helps provide our campus with that balance during our time here in Troy.
Built into your expenses at RPI is something called the Student Activity Fee. This pool of money is unique because it is entirely controlled by the student body. It is also the source of funding for the Union—a student-run organization providing the campus with a wide array of clubs, athletics, and facilities that cater to student needs and interests.
The student-run nature of the Union makes it easy to get involved. It has the capability to be a dynamic and flexible organization, providing ample opportunity for anyone to get involved. There are over 170 clubs that you can join, and if you feel that something is missing from student life here on campus, getting a group of interested students together and creating a new club is easy.
It is also easy to get involved in the administration of the Union and leave your mark. The Union is ultimately here to serve you and your classmates, providing the activities, organization, and facilities that would not be available to us if we did not act as a group. These resources are not immediately provided by the other branches of the Institute.
Being involved can be as simple as suggesting an idea to a member of student government or a club officer, but those with a bit more interest in the process can find a student government committee to sit on, become a club officer, or even run for an elected position. I would encourage members of our incoming freshman class to get involved right away and consider running for a position during freshman elections this fall.
The recently redesigned Union website, http://union.rpi.edu/, is a good starting point for information on the clubs, history, and finances of the Union. For those with a particular interest in Union finances, I suggest you look at the Union Annual Report, available on the aforementioned site. If you want to get involved, or just have a question or idea that you would like to share, do not hesitate to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wish you all a great remainder of the summer and start of the fall semester.