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Student, Faculty Senates work together to improve student experience

Five Senate positions open: two Class of 2014, two graduate, one independent

This Monday, the Student Senate had Lester Gerhardt, Vice President of the Faculty Senate, come to our general body meeting to talk about the cooperative effort between the two bodies. The Faculty Senate has recently been brought back, so I thought it was important to have Gerhardt come over to help revive this lost connection. In the meeting, several different ideas and concepts were discussed, such as adding more detail to the course catalog that students use to pick classes. One such method would have a standard syllabus included with the listed class so students can learn more about the course before they sign up. The interaction between students and faculty was also discussed. Professors are more available and approachable than most people realize. As students, it seems many of us are shy about fostering a connection with our professors, and this is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Finally, different methods of attaining research were brought up as a topic. Gerhardt recommended that students looking for research opportunities should first find the professors within their major, or area of interest, and locate their curriculum vitae, or CV. This will allow students to see what their professors have worked on throughout their careers, and more importantly, help the students identify professors that could potentially have research pertaining to their interests. In order to get research, the student ultimately has to ask the professor, but this added step can narrow down the list of people to ask. It was a pleasure to have Gerhardt at the meeting, and the Student Senate looks forward to working with the Faculty Senate in the future.

Last Saturday, I attended and judged Sigma Delta’s Nuestra Belleza, which is an annual multicultural pageant at RPI that displays the incredible diversity and unique qualities of our student body. This year, there were five contestants competing for the crown of Miss Nuestra Belleza 2013. Each woman represented their culture and country, which this year included Greece, Mexico, the Philippines, Scotland, and Tibet. The contestants were judged on several different criteria throughout the night, that included dressing in traditional and formal outfits of their culture, showing off a talent, and answering a tough question that dealt with the economic, social, or political aspects of their country.

Besides showing the unique beauty of each contestant, Nuestra Belleza also looks to support a cause. Each year, money is raised from this event and donated to a different foundation that helps support people. This year, the money went to the Invisible Girl Project, which focuses on gendercide in India. The term gendercide refers to the millions of girls and women that are “discriminated against or murdered, just because they are female.” This event was very well put together, and it was a lot of fun. Thank you to Sigma Delta for organizing such an enjoyable event with a powerful message. Also, thank you to Elizabeth Ottman ’14 and Eduardo Viscasillas ’15 for being fantastic hosts.

The Student Senate has five open Student Senator positions for people that are interested in getting involved. Specifically, there are two Senator positions for the Class of 2014, two for graduate students, and one for any student that is not Greek-affiliated. If you are interested in any of these positions please email me at