Top Hat

Reconnecting with RPI’s impressive alumni

Independent Council Senator and Graduate Senator positions vacant, seeking applicants

Happy Wednesday, RPI, and welcome back from your long weekend! I hope everyone has thoroughly enjoyed their time off, and that all are well rested in preparation for the rest of the semester. This weekend was also Reunion & Homecoming weekend, and an exciting time for all. For the RPI alumni new and old, Reunion & Homecoming is the perfect opportunity to connect and catch up with old friends and favorite organizations as they return to this campus, this place of so many dreams and memories.

Reunion & Homecoming started Thursday evening with the Rensselaer Alumni Association’s Annual Awards Dinner, held to commemorate those who, among the annals of our distinguished alumni, have gone above and beyond in their dedication to RPI and their fellow RPI alumni. Dining in the presence of alumni as distinguished and renowned as Neil Barton was an honor—the achievements and accolades accumulated by these individuals across their lifetimes was nothing short of staggering, and their love for RPI is truly inspiring.

For our students, Homecoming Weekend is a time full of events and opportunities and a glimpse into the future. Participants were able to meet many great student leaders, athletes, inventors, and other brilliant minds. Friday afternoon in the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, we were able to experience Rensselaer in Space—where, in a direct video call to the International Space Station, a panel of alumni was able to communicate directly with Reid Weisman ’97. Wiseman spoke about the various idiosyncrasies of spaceflight but also the importance of working for our dreams. The entire event was a visionary statement about the value of reaching beyond our comfort zones and living life to the fullest.

On Saturday, President of the Union Erin Amarello ’15 and I attended FanFest and had the distinct honor of meeting several members of the Class of 1964 as we joined in celebrating their entry into the 50 Year Club at halftime of the RPI football game. Additionally, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting and exchanging experiences with Michael Zwack ’11, Kara Chesal ’09, and Julia Leusner ’08, three previous Grand Marshals, and with Rick Hartt, former Director of the Union. The stories they had to tell and the experiences they were able to share were a wonderful glimpse into the past and made this a weekend worth remembering. As a graduating senior looking forward, it is exciting to think about the ways RPI will change throughout our lives and to know that there will always be a home here.

While Reunion & Homecoming has reached its conclusion, there remains plenty to do around the RPI campus! There are a number of great events to look forward to this week. On Friday at 6:30 pm, Sigma Delta Sorority Inc. will be hosting Nuestra Belleza, a multicultural beauty pagent and fundraiser for KIDS International. There will be performances by groups ranging from Sheer Idiocy, to the Capoeira team, to a student band. And if you need something to do on a Friday night, UPAC Cinema is always open! This weekend, movies range from the action-packed Expendables 3 to the poignant and powerful Pursuit of Happiness. If you’re looking for something to do, come on down!

Finally, there are still some vacancies left on the Student Senate—one Independent Council senator position and one graduate senator position are open for appointment. Our five current graduate senators are extremely active, having become very involved in the various Senate committees and projects. The Independent Council senator, once appointed by the Independent Council, is now directly elected during Grand Marshal Week by school-wide vote due to the dissolution of the IC. Once the Independent senator position is vacant, it is then open for direct appointment.

We will be conducting interviews for each of these spots across the next two weeks, with the goal of having all vacancies filled by November. If you’re interested in these positions, want to get involved in the work of the Student Senate, or have any questions about Reunion & Homecoming Weekend, you may as always email me at