Senators talk off-campus RAD program

Institute considers dropping RAD due to lack of profit, Senate looks for feedback


On Monday, the Student Senate held their weekly open general body meeting. After reports from committees and other constituent groups, the Senate moved to the main discussion on the usefulness of off-campus Rensselaer Advantage Dollars. Finance, Facilities, and Administration Chair Russell Brown ’14 began with a brief presentation with background information.

Brown explained that the off-campus use of RAD has been a pilot program for the past few years, allowing students to spend at locations such as Big Apple Pizza, Manory’s, Subway, and Domino’s. The bulk of RAD spending occurs at Big Apple Pizza at $33,000 per year, while all other locations combined only total $9,000 per year.

“RAD is also not really profitable for RPI,” said Brown. He explained that RAD is handled by a third party vendor, and RPI’s cut of the profits over the past three months totaled a mere $57.

Brown outlined two main paths that RPI Auxiliary, Parking, and Transportation Services is considering for the future of off-campus RAD. Either they will expand the program by opening up applications for new vendors, or they will remove the option for RAD to be used off-campus. “They have two options; it’s pretty much a black and white decision,” said Senator Erin McAllister ’14.

If the off-campus RAD program is dropped, Brown said, Auxiliary Services may suggest to vendors like Big Apple Pizza a student discount instead. “I think that would be a really cool thing for them to check,” said Senator Christina Gilland ’15. “I would rather see that done rather than keep a dying program.”

In a straw poll, the Senate decided not to vote on a recommendation yet, opting to wait and gather more feedback from the students they represent. Finance, Facilities, and Administration—the committee in charge of this issue—holds its weekly meetings on Wednesdays from 4–5 pm in RU 3202.

Director of the Union Joe Cassidy also reminded the Senate that the Student Life Performance Plan review will take place today (Wednesday) at 6 pm in the Shelnutt Gallery. “[Compared to the Rensselaer Plan], the performance management plans are for a shorter duration for a year or two,” said Cassidy. “They’re much more specific in the goals and strategies that are outlined.” The Student Life department will be seeking student feedback on their draft of the plan at the review.

Students interested in speaking with the Senate about any of these issues can attend this Thursday’s “Meet Your Senator” event in the Darrin Communications Center from 10 am–4 pm. In addition, “Q&A with the Senate” will take place on November 14 in Mother’s, replacing the State of the Union.