Top Hat

Senate communications looks to improve

Hello RPI! I hope everyone’s semester is going well. The Senate Cabinet has been hard at work on a Spring Senate Survey. The information collected will assist us in planning projects that will have the greatest impact on students. We are aiming to get this survey out to students in the next two weeks.

You’ll notice that this week’s Top Hat is written by Tina Gilliland ’15, the Senate director of public relations. As mentioned below, this is part of an initiative to increase awareness of the projects of Senate committees. I hope that you will find these articles interesting, as they will offer you some more detailed information about what projects the Senate is working on.

My name is Christina Gilliland. I serve as a Class of 2015 senator on the Student Senate and chair the Senate Communications Group as director of public relations for the Student Senate. I am writing part of today’s Top Hat as part of a new Senate initiative. This new project will feature updates from the different Senate committee chairs in the weekly Top Hat. The idea is to provide the opportunity for the leaders of the Senate to more effectively and directly convey their active committee projects to the RPI student body. This idea has been proposed as one of many ways to increase the lines of communication between the RPI student body and the Senate.

Communication has become a top priority for the Student Senate this semester. The diversity of voices in the weekly Top Hat will not be the only project facilitating the exchange of information. This past Friday in the DCC Great Hall, the Student Senate held the first of several “Meet Your Senator” events. Throughout the day, students had the opportunity to express complaints and suggest ideas for the continued improvement of RPI. The ideas from Friday’s event will be researched by the relevant committees to determine the best plan for moving forward. Additional events will be held throughout the semester to provide more opportunities to interact face to face with your student senators. Next week, the Senate will be hosting the semesterly “State of the Union” on Wednesday, February 29, from 7– 8:30 pm in the Rensselaer Union McNeil room. The event will feature a brief presentation by the newly appointed Grand Marshal Russell Brown ’14, and the introduction of the committee chairs of the Senate. The event is intended to be an avenue for the Student Senate to answer student questions as well as gain feedback. The Student Senate will also be hosting Pizza with the Cabinet on Thursday, March 29. Pizza with the Cabinet is a unique event which will feature an open forum in which students have the opportunity to converse with various members of the Rensselaer Presidential Cabinet and the academic deans.

These events are all part of the Senate’s initiative to drastically increase student involvement. The Senate is a representative body and depends on the input of its constituents. Communication is a combination of both the Senate informing students and the Senate receiving and fostering the concerns of students. Help us to help you, and let your voice be heard by the Senate. Consider joining one of the several Senate or Institute committees open to the entire student body, attending a Senate event, or simply sending an e-mail to the Senate at with any questions, concerns, or suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you soon!