President of the Union speaks about position

Executive Board approves RPI Foreign Language Club; agenda includes Outing Club

While it might sound a little cliché, it never fails to amaze me how fast time flies while in college. Just think, in just over a week, it will be Spring Break and my final semester here at RPI will be half over! First off this week, I would like to highlight some upcoming events here on campus. Tomorrow night, the Rensselaer Music Association will host its annual Pops Concert, featuring musical selections from the Repertory Jazz Orchestra, the Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, and the Symphonic Orchestra with special guest vocalist Janice Pendarvis. The concert will begin at 6 pm in the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center Concert Hall and is completely free!

With Spring Break fast approaching, Grand Marshal Week and student government elections will be here before you know it! As such, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about my role as President of the Union, what the job entails, and how to begin the campaign process if you are interested in running for GM, PU, or any other elected position up for grabs. The elected position of President of the Union is no ordinary student government title. The PU is the chief financial officer for student activities, clubs, and organizations at a college with over 6,000 students. There are fewer than 20 student unions in the country that operate in a similar fashion: supervised and managed by the students. The PU must appoint and lead the Executive Board, consisting of 15 students, in the management of our $8.5 million operating budget and over 210 student-run organizations. This money has to be efficiently and responsibly distributed to support intercollegiate athletics, club sports, student organizations, and the Rensselaer Union building operations, maintenance, staff, and administration. This leadership role bears a great deal of responsibility that requires commitment to the position as if it were a job. I can assure you, though, that the experience gained is well worth it.

Throughout the average day, the PU tends to situations that occur with the building operations, with the student club officers, and with the Institute’s administration on a daily basis. The PU must also attend or lead weekly meetings with various constituents of the Union such as Rensselaer’s Board of Trustees, the Institute’s president, the vice president for student life, the dean of students, the director of athletics, club officers, committees of several organizations, the Union’s own Executive Board, and the entire campus in terms of a weekly written article published in the campus newspaper. The next President of the Union will be in for a great independent study course that will provoke lessons seldom taught in the classroom. Stay tuned to next week’s Poly for more information regarding the current state of the Student Union and the process for getting involved in student government!

In Executive Board news, the RPI Foreign Language Club was approved as the newest Union-funded organization last week. If you are interested in trying something new and exploring different languages in a more relaxing environment then typical classes, contact Rachel Mathew ’14 at
for more information. Tonight, the E-Board will be meeting with club officers from the Malaysian Students Association and the Outing Club among other proposals on the agenda. If you are interested in seeing how students manage the Union, I invite you to stop by and find out. As always, our meetings are Wednesdays at 8 pm in the Shelnutt Gallery and are open to the public.

Finally, Senate/Executive Board Liaison Gretchen Sileo ’14 will be holding an information session regarding the activity fee process and Union Annual Report tonight from 6–8 pm in Mothers. Since this falls during my normal office hours, I will be joining her in this session. Did you have a question about something you might have seen in the UAR, or just interested in how the activity fee is calculated? If so, I encourage you to stop by tonight to get your question answered and to learn more about the Union. As always, 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