Union offers club choices to enhance experience

Hello everyone! Some of you may be here over the summer for summer courses, research, an internship, a regular job, or just hanging around Troy. Or you might be an incoming freshman that is here for Student Orientation. So let me say first, “Welcome Class of 2014!” You are about to embark on a journey that will help you grow intellectually and personally as you achieve a great academic background, all in the good company of newfound friends. During your schooling at RPI, you will come to realize how fundamental the Rensselaer Union is to student life.

The Rensselaer Union is the central hub for student activities outside of the classrooms. Remember, you are attending college to experience as well as learn. Rensselaer’s extracurricular activities and athletics are very unique, largely because the body which oversees them, the Rensselaer Union, is entirely student run. Students ultimately have the final say about the spending of an $8.9 million budget, impacting everything from clubs and athletics to study and fitness facilities. There are over 180 active clubs and organizations on campus, and each does its part to bring fun events and opportunities to relieve the stressful lives of RPI students.

On Thursday, September 2, during the first week of classes, the Rensselaer Union will host the annual Activities Fair in the Armory. I highly suggest stopping by to get a glimpse at all the organizations available. You will be able to sign up to an e-mail list for each club without commitment. Feel free to learn about as many clubs as you like; it is an opportunity for everyone to be involved, be it in a cultural, publication, service, performing arts, political, or sports club on campus. However, when deciding what clubs to actually commit to for the semester, I recommend three kinds of organizations. Choose one activity you have learned in the past, one new activity you have always wanted to do, and also one activity purely on a whim of spontaneity that you see during the Activities Fair.

And don’t fret if you try something you do not like. College is all about finding who you are as a person and change is simply a part of that process. You might find yourself trying new clubs, dropping or adding classes, changing majors, switching advisors, making friends, and even changing your tastes for food. In all of this change, just remember to be active. What’s the worst that can happen?

If you have any questions about RPI as a whole or the Union in particular, please feel free to e-mail me at pu@rpi.edu. Oh, and if you are interested in joining the Union Executive Board (the budgetary club that oversees the $8.9 million budget), please send me an e-mail as well.

Aside from my role as President of the Union, I am also a Student Orientation Coordinator with the Office of First-Year Experience. My co-coordinator, Megan Banko, and I are really excited for Orientation and have been working extremely hard and long hours into the night since the beginning of the summer assisting with preparing for Orientation. At the time of writing this article, the Student Orientation Advisor staff has arrived just yesterday to begin their extensive training. We are teaching them all about RPI and getting them ready for the arrival of the incoming students. At Orientation you should have all your Rensselaer questions answered. If you feel like you still have questions, e-mail me as well.

With that said, I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their summer. See you all in the Fall!