Top Hat

Keraga uses open approach

Hello RPI; I’m Kyle Keraga, and I’m honored to serve you as the 149th Grand Marshal! I want to earnestly thank everyone who turned out to vote this year, in what became a highly contested race and a great GM Week celebration with record voter turnout. The past few days have presented a trying time for us all. As Grand Marshal, I will work with you to build stronger bonds of trust, and continue to move us forward.

As the new term kicks off, I’d like to give a little insight into the purpose of the Grand Marshal role. The Grand Marshal is Rensselaer’s student body president, connecting with students and upholding campus traditions, such as Hockey Line. The GM also leads the Student Senate, and serves as the chief voice of the student body: he or she works to actively turn student concern into concerted action, by spearheading student needs as the Senate works with the administration to improve RPI student life.

It is also the responsibility of each GM to understand where we need to move forward, and increase the effectiveness of the Senate in dealing with student issues. This year, my focus will be on building an open approach to student government and the Senate’s operations through practices I hope will last beyond my term. Student-Government is a fantastic way to help make RPI a better place, but it’s not for everyone. I will work with the Senate to strengthen the ability of individual students to get involved, regardless of whether they hold elected office.

I will begin by personally and informally touring clubs and Greek houses toward the end of this semester and as operations continue this fall—I will re-establish the Grand Marshal as someone available to talk to, and connect with on a regular basis. I’ll be there mainly to listen, but also to give you the chance to get to know me, and share your ideas or voice concerns the Senate may be able to help with. Should a student or group of students have a cause they’re passionate about, the Senate will be able to lend you direct support.

Finally, one of the most important tasks for the GM this semester is the selection of committee chairs; these chairs are the lynchpins of the Student Senate, responsible for directly guiding the majority of the Senate’s projects. This year I’ll be focusing on outreach and availability in my appointments. Committee chairs will speak with campus groups for feedback and involvement as projects begin, and hold regular conversations over social media seeking project input. This year will also bring expanded leadership opportunities—the Senate will form task-forces dedicated to specific intensive projects. These committees will be extremely inclusive, so keep an eye out for them—if you’re interested in the project being pursued, you’re invited to join and contribute directly!

I’d finally like to note that these people don’t have to be among student government—anyone can apply. I’ll be looking for leaders who are passionate about improving student life and ready to get involved at a high level. If you’re interested in working with me, please contact me at gm@rpi.edu.

I’d lastly like to note that all Senate committees are open to anyone—if you’re looking to get involved, and want to make a difference; I encourage you to join any committee that interests you! If you’d like to learn more, or want to connect with me at any point, email me or visit my office in the Union! I look forward to working with all of you this coming year, and continue moving forward.