Union encourages budget awareness, involvement

Hello, RPI, and welcome back to another great semester! After a month-long break, I’m sure everyone is well rested enough to be prepared for all this upcoming semester will bring. Remember to stop by the Rensselaer Union Bookstore for back-to-school supplies and some warm RPI apparel. As you may or may not know, the Union staff has been working very hard to stock the bookstore with a variety of options so now more than ever there is a great variety of clothing to choose from.

While many of you were relishing in your last few days of freedom, the Union Executive Board returned early to work on the many club budgets that were submitted for fiscal year 2015. The Executive Board and the Student Activities Resource Persons met this past weekend to go over each line item for all of the funded clubs on campus to ensure they will be functioning well in the upcoming year. Although the whole process is very thorough and time consuming, it is my favorite time of the year where I am reminded what it truly means to be a student at Rensselaer. This Union was designed for students; as a result it is run by the students and funded by students. The Union represents extracurricular activities of the student body and contributes greatly to the professional, social, and leadership development of its students.

The budgeting process began when the members of the Executive Board met with clubs to discuss their budgets for the upcoming year. E-Board members assisted their clubs by helping them to manage their current budget and determine what changes need to be made for the next year. During the study days just prior to finals, the Executive Board reviewed and finalized the varsity athletic budgets as well as the Union administrative budgets.

After winter break was almost over, the Executive Board returned to campus a few days early to review all the club budgets which have been submitted. Although it may seem tedious, the Executive Board takes the responsibility to spend students’ money justly and equitably seriously. In order to complete this task, the E-Board reviews each budget line-by-line. Based on their merits and the ability of the E-Board to fund specific programs, some were approved, some were partially approved, and some were denied.

This Sunday, budgets were released to club officers for their review. Any club that submitted an appeal to the Executive Board will be reviewed today so that the activity fee can begin to be calculated.

After many calculations and quite a bit of work, the Executive Board will determine a recommendation for the activity fee based on the budgetary decisions that were made. The Union Annual Report Committee will then insert the final numbers from budgeting into a document known as the Union Annual Report. A preliminary version of this report will be provided to the Student Senate, which will then choose whether or not they approve of the Executive Board’s recommendation to the Board of Trustees.

If the Student Senate approves the budget, the budget is then forwarded to Vice President of Student Life Dr. Timothy Sams. After reviewing the budget, Sams’s administration team will incorporate the Union’s budget into the even-larger student life budget. After reviewing the student life budget, President Shirley Ann Jackson’s administration team will then add the student life budget to the overarching Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute budget which will be reviewed by the Board of Trustees in early March. With their approval, the activity fee for fiscal year 2015 will be officially set.

The Executive Board will not meet this week due to the intense workload they have experienced over the last week. The first E-Board meeting of the year will be Tuesday, January 28, from 8–10 pm in the Shelnutt Gallery. If you have any questions or would like more clarification about the budgeting process, please feel free to reach out to me at Have a great first week!