Top Hat

Kevin Dai describes duties of Grand Marshal

Since this semester has started, I have had the pleasure to meet and talk to many students that I hadn’t known before. From drop-ins to the Student Government Suite to arbitrary encounters, there have been many great new ideas and questions I have heard throughout this week. I got one very good question (multiple times) this week that I thought would be worth talking about.

The number one question from students of all disciplines, and not just freshmen, was, “What do you do as Grand Marshal?”—A very good and legitimate question. As much as I’d love to give one short answer, there really isn’t one. What I consider to be one of the top priorities for the Grand Marshal is to know the student body. When I say “know the students,” I do not mean being able to walk to class and say hi to half of the students I come across. Knowing the student body means being able to represent the needs and ideas of students as best as I can. When it comes time for meetings with the administration or staff members, it’s crucial to give them information about how students would feel about certain policies. This also works another way—meetings with them may also be opportunities to bring up new ideas that we can actually implement.

So what does this mean for students then? It means that if there were any problems on campus, anything that can be done better, but more importantly—if there is room for us students of Rensselaer to improve this campus, then I want to know it! If you happen to see me in the SGS, or walking to class, I will not be upset at all if you try to stop me; however, if you cannot find me, you can always e-mail me at

Other than that, there are many exciting projects that have been talked about in Student Senate that can add real value to student life. Of the projects that have been talked about though, one has already been worked on by the Student Life Committee, relating to the 2012 Presidential Elections. After this week, all committees will have held their first meetings and project ideas will be prioritized.

After a meeting with the Center for Career and Professional Development, and talking with other students at the Sophomore Career Experience, I realized something about jobs/internships. There are many students that aren’t really in “find a summer internship” mode until later on in the year. By the time students are worrying about it, many employers have already filled their positions with students. What can we do about this? How do we get students to try and prepare earlier so that they can get these jobs?

The last things I would like to mention in this week’s Top Hat are a couple opportunities for students to get highly involved. The Senate is looking to appoint positions for the Judicial Board (the board that reviews cases involving students and disciplinary action), the Review Board (the institute’s highest board, which takes appealed cases from the J-board) and also—the Institute Library Advisory Committee. The ILAC is responsible for developing library plans and strategies with their resources.

If anyone is interested in the mentioned appointed positions, e-mail me. These are great opportunities to do something new and very important!