This past Thursday, President of the Union Erin Amarello ’15 conducted this year’s first Executive Board meeting. Topics on the agenda included: funding for the Women’s Golf Club, budgeting policies and guidelines for clubs (particularly where travel costs and food budgets were concerned), and the new Rensselaer Union website. The meeting concluded with Joe Cassidy’s director report and the PU’s final remarks.
Women’s Golf Club President Victoria Ruplin ’16 asked the E-board for $720 to cover the club’s expenses. However, members would still be required to pay dues. According to Ruplin, twenty women registered at the activities fair and the club has already had one outing to the green. Ruplin was also looking at having the club be more competitive by participating in tournaments, which cost $300 per eight person team. The usual start-up funding for a new club is $125; Eric Ray ‘14 compared golf to skiing, neither of which have facilities available at RPI. Ray noted that most starter budgets go towards supplies for the new club instead of towards facilities or other club costs. In a 13-0-0 vote, the motion was passed which allowed for the club to be given $720.
Next on the agenda was discussing the new Union website, presented by Jordan Simonds ’17. The current layout, according to Simonds, is outdated, slow, and hard to use. This new system is easy to navigate, search for specific clubs, and even supports mobile users. Before the website can be operational and live, content on RPI’s many clubs as well as the Union itself will need to be created and added. The E-Board discussed ways to allow certain people, such as officers of clubs, access to specific pages. No motion was passed on this subject.
After discussing the website, travel budgets for clubs and food expenses were discussed. The general guideline for clubs and travel costs is a 40/60 system: the union covers 40 percent of the travel costs and the club pays the other 60 percent. Last year, however, the Union covered 50 percent, yet this is not stated in the guidelines. Clubs bringing in a proposal before the E-Board would follow the guidelines, so Amarello wanted to make sure the E-Board thought about what they would do before proposals with travel were brought before the E-Board. The E-Board debated whether they should keep it at 50 percent, and make it clear, or go back to 40 percent as stated in the guidelines. A motion was passed to keep it at 40 percent.
Next on the agenda was the food policy. New for 2014-2015, clubs are only allowed to tap into food money once a semester, which is $2.50 per person. The original purpose of this was for clubs to be able to afford food in the fall for recruitment and food in the spring for an end-of-year celebration. However, according to Joyce Liu ’16, some clubs had been taking advantage of this by buying food for weekly meetings where only a few members of the club are present. Senate-Executive Board Liaison Shoshana Rubinstein ’16 said that perhaps not all clubs should be regulated the same way, noting that the E-Board had just approved a larger start-up budget than normal. When Amarello posed the example of the Players having a certain number of work parties in a semester with food provided, Ray said that perhaps if clubs planned it out and showed specific reasons, that would be all right. Graduate student Chaz Goodwine noted that certain clubs, such as the Players, The Poly, WRPI, RPI TV, and UPAC all had long work parties but had the capabilities to advertise, whether they did or not. Alex Glover ’15 suggested that perhaps a solution to concerns of only a few members getting food would be to have attendees sign a sheet saying they were present. Other E-Board members suggested some sort of application process if a club wanted to buy food more than once a semester. No decision has been made yet about what will be done.
The meeting concluded with the PU’s final remarks and the director’s report. Amarello advised that E-Board representatives talk to their clubs about weR Gold so clubs can get funding for big purchases. Cassidy ended the meeting by announcing the appointment of Joe Campo as the new associate director of the Union. Campo is currently assistant director of the Mueller Center.