This week’s Senate meeting was held on September 22 in Union 3202 at 6:30 pm and featured topics such as the fall career fair, services offered by the Center for Career and Professional Development and class council budgets. The meeting opened with a presentation by Jennifer Walters from the CCPD who had come to discuss the upcoming career fair. Walters’ presentation overviewed the strategies involved at the career fair and many of CCPD’s services that can help students prepare. Walters outlined the counseling services, online aides, and resume help that the CCPD currently offers to students including a Clothes Closet where students may borrow business attire for the career fair. According to Walters, the CCPD offers resume critiques, mock interviews and sessions that will help prepare students for the fair.
When the floor was opened to questions, several senators expressed concerns with the level of involvement the CCPD has with graduate school options and questions for how they can help students interested in pursuing further education. Walters responded that the CCPD doesn’t offer a career fair for graduate students but that they have in the past had panels of graduate students and RPI alumni talk with current undergraduates about their options. Walters also stressed that the CCPD counselors were good resources for people with graduate school concerns to talk to. Senator Lexi Rindone ’15 asked whether the CCPD was looking to set up on-campus part-time jobs for students who did not qualify for work study. Walters stated that they were in the early stages and would welcome student feedback around January to receive student interest in the types of jobs that could become available.
After the CCPD presentation, Chaz Goodwine, graduate student and vice chairman of the Executive Board, presented a new task force that will be responsible for investigating the financial relationship between the Class Councils and the Rensselaer Union. The committee will study Class Councils’ budgeting and will make recommendations to the Senate, E-Board and Undergraduate Council for a process to regulate use of Council funds. Goodwine made clear that the Class Councils are the only groups that receive funding from the Union that do not have approved budgets. The new task force would work with the Class Councils to improve fiscal responsibility and develop a better definition of their finances. Goodwine stated that the concerns over the class budgets stemmed from the fact that class dues are currently included in the Union Activity Fee, but the setting of class dues and spending has never been regulated by E-Board. A specific concern was that Class Gifts could be very expensive and have some long-term costs that the Institute has typically placed on the Union. After several concerns expressed about the loss of the council’s flexibility, Goodwine explained that the task force would come up with a plan that would keep that degree of flexibility but hopefully put in a process for greater accountability so that the Class Councils would have more transparency than in the past as to where and how the funds are used. The recommendations from the task force are expected by the end of October. Goodwine hopes that they could bring stability to the Councils’ funds and allow the spending of the Councils to remain a student decision rather than an administrative one.
After a long discussion about the new task force, committee leaders gave reports on their progress. The Rules and Elections Committee announced that first year election voting would take place on Thursday for freshmen. The Facilities Committee updated the Senate on the Light Walk and reported that they were working on returning Arizona to Father’s Marketplace. Three new subcommittees of the Student Life Committee were created with one of them beginning work on changes to the Student Handbook in the areas of good samaritan and sexual assault and misconduct policy. The Council Relations Committee stated that RPI students are invited to this year’s SageFest, a large community tradition hosted by Russell Sage College, and explained that they were working on having transportation available for students who wished to attend. Shoshana Rubinstein ’16 reported on E-Board news which included approved funding for astrophysical society and game design. Graduate Council reported the formation of a subcommittee that would address fee issues and Panhellenic Association and Interfraternity Council reminded the Senate that this week is Hazing Prevention week and showed updates about Greek Week in October.
The meeting wrapped up with the Grand Marshal’s report, including the formation of a Hockey Line committee, and vacancies in the positions of Independent Senator and Graduate Senator. He also announced a vacancy in the position of Senate Communications Chairmen following the resignation of Gavin Noritsky ’16. He also informed the Senate that, with the success of the weekly presentations from guests, senators would be able to sign-up for presentations about committee projects. The GM also informed them that several open positions on administrative committees were available such as a student member on the Faculty Curriculum Committee and the Alcohol and Other Drugs Committee.