Last week was Grand Marshal Week, an exciting time for all students to celebrate a campus tradition and take a break from classes on Wednesday. We would like to thank the GM Week Committee for organizing such a great week; much fun was had all around, and there was a decent turnout for student voting. However, during the week, a few issues arose that could have been better dealt with.
The logistics of this year’s celebrations were quite different from previous GM Weeks. For one, in recent years, many events have been held in the Armory. Since most events were based out of the VCC North Quad area this year, activities felt centered on campus. This made it convenient, accessible, and well-known to students walking to and from class. This was a very smart move by the GM Week Committee.
Some events not held near the VCC were not as well-known, however. Unfortunately, the student government debates, which were supposed to occur on Tuesday from 6–7 pm, did not actually occur. There wasn’t much of a crowd attending the event, and, as a result, candidates did not debate or even hold the planned question and answer session. Therefore, no formal event ever happened; instead, a little-publicized Ask Me Anything took place on the RPI subreddit. We were very disappointed at this lack of occurrence, as students should be as informed as possible before voting, regardless of whether positions are contested.
On the subject of voting: Voting is an action that should be done because students want to be heard. As usual, mugs were given as a reward of sorts for voting; however, we believe there is a fundamental problem with this. Giving a mug to reward voters lessens the importance of voting. Though mugs are a tradition of GM Week, perhaps it should be more heavily emphasized to vote smart rather than simply voting for the mug, a phrase that is occasionally advertised. (Again, a forum for candidates would have lead to smarter voting.) Other events were also canceled, such as the Taste of the Philippines and the Moon Bounce on Thursday. Such cancellations should have been publicized in some manner instead of having students go to events and be disappointed to find nothing. The schedule for GM week should be less fluid—changes during the week are unacceptable.
However, despites these few problems, GM Week was rather successful overall. We hope to see next year’s event come back even better than the last.