My View

VP offers communication

Dear Rensselaer Students, 

I hope that you had a restful and fulfilling break. It is time to get back to the academic grind and to reconnect with friends, activities, and projects. I write this week to wish you a happy new academic year and to remind you of our commitment, going forward, to use The Poly as a venue through which to better communicate with students.

Reflecting upon last semester, which as you know was my first semester here at Rensselaer, I must admit that I learned a lot about our community. I learned that we all care about the Institute, that we long for improved communication and community, and that our students wish to play a more active role in shaping our student experience.

Over the past month, we in Student Life have spent a good deal of thought reflecting on the central role we play. Right now, we are finalizing our plans to launch four efforts that speak directly to the student experience. As some of you know, we are creating student advisory groups for all of the departments within Student Life, which will include the Archer Center for Student Leadership Development, Athletics, the Dean of Students Office, Student Experience, Residence Life, the Rensselaer Union, the Registrar’s Office, the Center for Career and Professional Development, and the Gallagher Student Health Center. We are also creating a student advisory group for the vice president for Student Life. Some of you are already members of these groups. Please stay tuned as we will provide you with detailed instructions on how to join one of these advisory groups. They will play a vital role in aiding our commitment to being student-centered in our work and responsive to student’s interests.

The second effort relates to our working with The Poly as an ongoing forum through which to connect with students. It is the intent of our division to submit articles that will focus on the important things going on within the division, and the broader Institute—all of which touch student’s lives. Future topics that we plan to discuss include housing matters, the Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students Initiative, new Student Life initiatives, policy changes, and even world events.

The third effort is found in our new initiative to have Student Life professionals stationed across the campus to connect with even more students and to provide CLASS-based support. As promised, beginning in February, you will see more of our professionals spending more time out of our offices, and placed in key spots across the campus, encouraging you to talk to them. I encourage you to feel free to talk to them and to express your thoughts and opinions. You should also expect these Student Life professionals to be responsive and to help you to address your needs.

Finally, beginning on February 9, I will be holding open office hours in the Rensselaer Union Patroon Room from 3–5 pm. Going forward, these hours will be held every other Thursday at the same time, in the same room. I will be there to meet with any student wishing to share their thoughts or advice. I am especially interested in seeing those who just want to chat about their latest challenges in the lab, on the court, those who are homesick, and those who just want to talk to an administrator. Please come by. I look forward to seeing you.

As you can see, we heard you last semester when you said that you wished for more communication and greater connectivity with the Administration. Please know that our new initiatives represent only the beginning of some adjustments that we will be encouraging as we work to deepen our commitment to building an even stronger community at Rensselaer. Have a wildly productive and enjoyable spring semester!