Hello, RPI! With this week’s article, I’d like to talk about the history of the Undergraduate Council, the role it has played in the Rennselaer Union and Student Government, and the direction the UC, the class presidents, and I have chosen to take for the organization in the future.
Years ago, when the undergraduate population was smaller, the UC was tasked with a large number of responsibilities, and acted as an umbrella group for the four class councils. With a growing undergraduate population, more and more of the Undergraduate Council’s responsibilities were allocated to the Class Councils themselves, as the needs of each class became individualized. This, in turn, resulted in a decreased role for the Undergraduate Council, until for the past several years the UC had become relatively stagnant.
This year, we revived the Undergraduate Council with a desire to determine its place in StuGov. We explored a system in which the UC would promote collaboration between the different class councils. Inter-class communication and collaboration remain a strong goal, but we determined that years of non-existence and a lack of budget had outdated the Council’s current model. While we met some success this year, the class presidents, members of the Undergraduate Council, and I agreed that to ensure progress could continue into the future, we would need to revise our structure to better reflect the current situation.
Working with the Senate’s Union Constitution Committee, we’ve decided to dissolve the Undergraduate Council—in its place, the class presidents will meet twice a semester in a committee chaired by the Grand Marshal. By directly connecting class leaders, they’ll be able to discuss collective goals and ideas for each of their class councils, to help these councils better promote the interests of their respective class. This meeting will also give them the chance to provide their input into the other presidents’ ideas, and finally, discuss any possible cooperative efforts. The new process will be less cumbersome, streamlining the conversation by integrated communication into existing roles.
I want to thank Michelle Lamberta ’14, Brandon Win ’15, Joshua Schramm ’16, and Storm Williams ’17, class presidents for 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 respectively, for their role in helping shape this decision. I also would like to thank Frank Abissi ’15 and the members of the Constitution Committee for their insight. Finally, I’d like to thank everyone on the Undergraduate Council for all their hard work this year exploring the possibilities for the UC.
The decision to dissolve and replace our current structure, as with any decision made by the Senate Constitution Committee, will be up for a vote during GM Week Final Elections, on Thursday, April 10. I encourage anyone who feels passionate about these proposals to express their opinion with their vote. If you have any questions about decisions we reached regarding the UC or Constitution changes in general, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Frank Abissi ’15, Constitution Committee Chairman, at email@example.com. Thanks for reading, and have a nice week!