President details her role

Hello RPI! I hope everyone had an amazing Spring Break. As elections are fast approaching and students are starting to declare candidacy, I figured that I would write an article about what being the President of the Union entails. I hope that this will give any potential candidates a better understanding of the position. I will do a later Derby article on what it means to be a Union Executive Board representative, and official applications for the Union Executive Board will be released to the student body shortly after the next PU is elected. The Board is appointed primarily by the PU and approved by the Student Senate.

The elected position of the PU is no ordinary student presidential title. The PU is the Chief Financial Officer for student activities, clubs, and organizations at a college with about 6,000 students. There are fewer than 20 student unions in the country that operate in a similar fashion: a union that is managed, funded, and fueled entirely by the students. The PU must appoint and lead an Executive Board of 15 students in the management of about $8.4 million and over 210 student-run organizations. This money has to be efficiently and responsibly distributed to support Intercollegiate/Varsity Athletics, club sports, student organizations, and the student union building operations, maintenance, staff, and administration. This leadership role bears a great deal of responsibility that requires commitment to the position as if it were a job. I can assure you that the experience gained is well worth the time it entails.

Throughout the day, the PU tends to situations that occur with the building operations, with student club officers and with the Institute’s administration on a daily basis. The PU must also attend or lead meetings with various constituents of the Rensselaer Union such as Rensselaer’s Board of Trustees, the Institute’s president, the vice president for Student Life, the dean of students, the director of athletics, club officers, committees of several organizations, the Union’s own Executive Board, and the entire campus in terms of a weekly written article published in the campus newspaper. However, the PU does not work independently. The PU has a great support team consisting of the Union Executive Board, the Director of the Union, the Union Administrative staff, and many more.

Besides weekly business and communications with campus contacts, the next President of the Union will have an opportunity to continue to support a variety of current projects including, but not limited to, the search for Union scheduling software, the Union Facilities Master Planning Committee, the planning of the 125th Celebration of the Union and the continued evaluation of Union revenue streams. The next President of the Union will be in for a great experience learning what it means to truly manage a full scale financial organization.

Lastly I will mention a couple events going on this week. Tomorrow, Thursday, March 22, the Student Senate will be hosting a Meet Your Senator event in the McNeil Room from 11 am until 2:30 pm. Please stop by and get to know the members of the Senate who are currently representing our student body. They look forward to discussing student concerns and answering any questions you may have. On Saturday evening, come to the Union After Dark event from 8 pm until 2 am. There will be games, crafts, food, a Vermonster Competition, and a Sheer Idiocy performance.

I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their week. If you have any questions about student government in general, the role of the President of the Union, or have an interest in applying to the Union Executive Board, please send me an e-mail at