Hello RPI! I hope that I can speak for many of you when I say that it is nice to be back on campus, even though classes have begun again and free time will start to become scarce once more. If you are looking for something to do this weekend, there are two great events happening on Saturday. First, the Pack the Union Spring Activities Fair will be held from 11 am–1 pm in the Rensselaer Union. Over 90 students clubs and organizations have already signed up to attend, so make sure to stop by and see what your fellow classmates are doing here on campus. If your organization has yet to sign-up, there are still limited spaces available. Follow this link to submit your request: http://tinyurl.com/PackTheUnionS2013/. Second, the 36th Annual Big Red Freakout! will take place at 7 pm at the Houston Field House. All fans will receive a complimentary gift as they walk in the doors, so make sure to stop by the box office and grab your tickets today. This is a great tradition you don’t want to miss, and tickets will sell out!
I would like to focus my article this week on some very exciting news regarding physical upgrades to the Union that will take place this semester. This past Saturday, the Union Executive Board approved the purchase of new furniture, tables, and chairs for the Welcome Lobby on the 2nd floor of the Union. Back in May, the Executive Board discussed the current usage of this space and what changes might be necessary as we look towards the 125th Anniversary of the Rensselaer Union in 2015. Over the summer, staff from the Union Administration Office, Union Facilities Committee Chair Dave Pazzani ’13, and I began to discuss options with Tech Valley Office Interiors from Albany, one of the Institute’s preferred vendors. We wanted to maintain a less formal space for studying, while giving students a space to hold impromptu meetings or just relax for a few minutes. Working with an interior designer, we were able to come up with a first draft of a potential floor plan and an estimated cost for the project. When classes resumed in the fall, representatives from Tech Valley presented their plan at a weekly E-Board meeting. The Board approved the project to move forward, and management of the layout was handed over to the Facilities Committee.
From there, this committee held many meetings to discuss styles, fabrics, colors, and the new floor plan. They even took a field trip to Tech Valley’s Albany showroom to try out some of the potential furniture firsthand. In December, the committee agreed upon a finalized floor plan and the styles of furniture to be used, and just last week they voted on the different colors and fabrics that will be implemented. Now, with Union Executive Board approval, we will begin the purchasing process. It is our hope that all of the furniture will be delivered and installed before students return back to campus following Spring Break in March. This initiative represents the largest single furniture purchase made by the Union in over a decade and will have a lasting impact on both current and future students here at RPI.
In other news, the Union Executive Board will resume weekly meetings this Wednesday at 8 pm in Shelnutt Gallery, RU 3606. As always, these meetings are open to the public and I encourage you to attend if interested. I will be holding regular office hours this semester on Wednesdays from 6-8 pm. If you have any questions or comments regarding the Union budget or matters for the Executive Board, feel free to stop by or e-mail me at email@example.com. Until next week: Let’s Go Red!