Welcome to all the new students who are joining our RPI family this year. Student Orientation and Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond week has come to a close and classes have begun. I hope it was as great of a time for the new students as it was for me three years ago, when I first came to RPI. I had such a wonderful experience thanks to the Student Orientation advisors who showed me around and answered my questions. SO advisors, Residence Life Staff, and everyone else involved, you did a fantastic job and are amazing at representing RPI.
While elections haven’t started yet, I thought it would be beneficial to write about the Student Senate and how you, as a new or old student, can get involved. The highest elected positions on this campus are Grand Marshal and President of the Union. As the GM, I am the student body president and thus the chief spokesperson and representative for the entire student body. It is my job to chair the Student Senate, which is the legislative branch of our student government. To put it simply, the Senate’s mission is to improve the student experience, and we accomplish this by working on different projects through our committee system. Among other things, the Senate’s committees focus on communication with the students, facilities, and services, academics, and student life. These committees are most effective when students outside of Senate get involved, so I encourage anyone to join. More people increases feedback and ideas which helps strengthen our programs and outreach to the entire student body.
In the Student Senate, there are 26 voting members. There are four senators from each undergraduate class, six from the graduates, two greek senators, and two independent senators. The elections for most senators take place during Grand Marshal Week in April. GM Week is full of rich history on this campus, dating back to the 1880s. Today, GM Week is packed with different fun and exciting events to celebrate our student government elections. During this week, students get a day off from school to celebrate and are also given a free collectible glass mug if they vote in the elections. The only senators not elected during GM Week are freshmen, who will have their elections in the coming weeks.
If you are considering a position in student government or joining a club, then you should attend the annual Fall Activities Fair hosted by the Executive Board this Thursday. At this event, hundreds of clubs and organizations such as student government, games clubs, service and cultural organizations, and intramurals set up booths to showcase their group in hopes of attracting new members who share a common interest. It was at this event that I learned a lot about the Student Senate which, in the end, fueled my decision to run for office. The activities fair is also just a special event to see the diversity among our student body. The creativity and excitement from this event is almost palpable, and in my opinion, one of the best ways to get an inside look at RPI spirit, so if you have no intention of joining any clubs it still might be worthwhile to walk around and explore.