The Student Senate held its weekly meeting on Monday, September 24. Each committee informed the general body of its current projects. The new senators for the Class of 2016 were introduced, and suggestions were also taken regarding potential updates to the Student Handbook. and Senate by-laws.
The new members of the Senate were Michael Han ’16, Donna Li ’16, Shoshana Rubinstein ’16, and Marcus DeAlba ’16. They provided some basic background information and expressed their excitement in regard to actions through the Senate.
The Academic Affairs Committee has been continuing its study space project. They will, eventually, be informing the student body of open rooms in academic buildings available for use as a study hall, as well as the hours during which the rooms are currently unused. The committee will also be interviewing candidates to hold a position on the Faculty Senate Promotion & Tenure Committee. Professor Atsushi Akera explained last semester that this individual must be a full professor with tenure. The AAC has also found two undergraduate students to hold positions on Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee. They are currently searching for a graduate student to fill the final spot on the committee.
The Student Life Committee has focused much of its energy on promoting voter registration among students. Kyle Keraga ’15 stated that the SLC has seen success so far, and hopes to continue this success with a program taking place over the next week. Senate members will be sitting at tables in several of the most highly trafficked areas on campus, including the Rensselaer Union, the Darrin Communications Center’s Great Hall, and Commons Dining Hall. The SLC is also looking into creating a peer mentoring initiative for freshmen, which will assist new students with adjusting to life on campus.
Christina Gilliland ’15 announced that the Senate Communications Committee officially archived the Senate’s wiki. The wiki, available at http://wiki.studentsenate.rpi.edu/, “should only be used for historical purposes.” All Senate updates, projects, and activities will now be posted on their official site at http://studentsenate.rpi.edu/.
Representatives of both the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Coucil informed the Senate of this week’s Hazing Awareness Week. Tables will be staffed by greek students who will be providing information about hazing, as well as why the various fraternities and sororities on campus do not participate in such activities.
Grand Marshal Kevin Dai ’14 then relayed the information discussed during his meeting with Dean of Students Mark Smith. The discussion centered around the use of Rensselaer Advantage Dollars off-campus. According to Smith, many businesses have expressed disappointment with the system. On average, local businesses only take in approximately $200 in RAD each year. Dai explained that RPI is moving forward with a discussion on whether to revamp the off-campus RAD program or eliminate it completely.
Last semester, when the Senate met to make changes to the Student Handbook, several issues pertaining to the Institute’s authority off-campus were met with significant arguing. As a result, the controversial topics were tabled. Vice Chair Charles Carletta ’14 announced that these issues will remain tabled. Carletta also took suggestions about which sections of the Senate by-laws were to be changed.
Senate meetings are open to all interested members of the Rensselaer community. Dai has encouraged students who want to be more involved on campus to attend. The meetings are scheduled for every Monday at 7 pm in Union, room 3202. Additionally, Senate committee meetings are open to all students. For more information, visit the Senate website.