Top Hat

R&E gears up for student elections

Hello RPI! I hope everyone had a refreshing Spring Break. We could not have asked for better weather for our return to school!

At our next meeting, the Student Senate will be discussing a proposed amendment to the Rensselaer Union Constitution which would add an additional greek senator. Currently, the Student Senate has one greek senator position which is rotated between the Intefraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council. The proposed amendment would create an additional senator position so that each organization would choose its own senator. If the amendment passes the Senate, it will be put on the GM Week ballot and voted on by students. If you have thoughts on the amendment and would like to convey them to the Senate, please e-mail JustAsk@rpi.edu.

This week I am pleased to present a Top Hat from Senator Reilly Hamilton ’12, the Chair of the Rules and Elections Committee, regarding the elections process. I hope that you find it informative and consider running for office. As always, e-mail me any time at gm@rpi.edu. I would love to hear from you!

It’s that time of year again! Within a couple weeks, the walls and windows of the Center for Industrial Innovation and Darrin Communications Center will be covered in vibrant campaign ads with giant bold last names, clever slogans, and clever graphics. Behind the chaotic campaign signs are a set of rules that govern the campaign process. Each year, the Rules and Elections Committee creates the GM Week Handbook, which outlines all the rules and regulations about running for office, including information about the party system, finances, campaigning, and the elections themselves. The Handbook can be found on the Rules and Elections website, http://elections.union.rpi.edu/.

It won’t be an election without candidates, which is why I’m reaching out to you to get involved. A multitude of important positions are available, from powerful positions like Grand Marshal and President of the Union to less glamorous but still important positions like Class Representative. Interested candidates should consult the handbook and attend a candidate information session, the dates, times, and locations of which can be found in the handbook or on the Rules and Elections website. Even if you choose not to run for a position, I still encourage you to help campaign for a candidate you support.

A new feature at poll sites this year is voter information guides, which will include platform statements from each candidate to help the voters familiarize themselves with the candidates. Lack of information is often cited as a reason why students choose not to vote, and I’d like to eliminate that sentiment. Platform statements will also be posted online at the Rules and Elections Committee website, http://elections.union.rpi.edu/. In addition, R&E will hold a pair of debates to further voter information. The Primary Debate takes place on April 15, and the final debate takes place on April 17. Both debates will be broadcast live online by RPI TV, and will be available for on demand viewing on their website the following day.

Having a successful election depends on more than just candidates and the elections committee; it depends on the voters. I urge you to use the aforementioned resources to make an informed decision. It’s my wish that voters attend pollsites with the intent to make their vote count toward a cause or candidate they believe in, rather than to just collect their free mug.

I’m looking forward to a vibrant and fun election season, hopefully with obedient candidates and few violations handed down by my committee. The more bright and attractive posters, the better. I hope to see many tables full of home-baked goods in the CII plaza on election day. I hear several organizations are planning to give free drinks to those that vote.

Official campaigning begins next Monday, March 26 at 8 am; this week’s campaigning is limited to parties only. Candidates are still able to file their Candidacy Forms and start collecting nominations this week. All forms are due on April 14. The primary election takes place on April 16, and the final election takes place on April 19.

Any questions about elections or the Rules and Elections Committee? Feel free to contact the committee at rne@union.rpi.edu or via justask@rpi.edu.