Grand Marshal explains coming election process

Good afternoon, RPI.

This is my last Top Hat for the next two weeks, for as we should all be aware, Spring Break is almost here! This time, the weather seems to know it: at last the snow and the cold have given way to a great thaw and more reasonable temperatures. Over Spring Break, we may see sunny skies and green weather at last.

Before we return home, the Senate will be considering another important motion: a decision whether to endorse proposed revisions to the Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities on the topic of sexual misconduct policy. Throughout the year, we have strived to seek public input on this critical topic, and if you still wish to have your voice heard in the Senate’s decision, please attend our meeting this Thursday, at 8 pm in the Union’s Shelnutt Gallery.

As of 8 am this morning, campaigning for Grand Marshal Week elections has officially begun! The elections process is open to any Student Activity Fee-paying student, and by no means restricted to those with Student Government experience. If you’re at all interested in getting involved in the Senate process or the work of the Class Councils, I encourage you to attend an info session and learn more. If you have your sights on the Derby or the Top Hat, I recommend you reach out to the current President of the Union Erin Amarello ’15 or myself for a neutral perspective on the top roles, and feedback on your platforms and ideas. Any candidates are encouraged to connect to Director of the Archer Center Linda McCloskey, a strong advocate for aspiring leaders.

This year’s process will be familiar to many, and entirely new to some—many innovations and reforms have occurred this year under the leadership of Rules and Elections Chairman Paul Ilori ’17, and will be detailed here. As per usual, anyone wishing to run for office should read the GM Week 2015 Elections Handbook, available online at, or in the document holders in the Student Government Suite, Union Room 3120. Students intending to run for any office must submit a candidacy form to the Rules and Elections Committee and attend one information session—the times and places for each session are listed in the Elections Handbook.

Elections will be different in several ways this year: first, due to Spring Break arriving two weeks later than usual, the campaign will start before we go home on vacation. Candidates, remember this, as you’re seeking nominations, there are only two weeks after Break and before GM Week Second, election forms have been redesigned to match new Union branding: if you have any confusion, you may reach Ilori ’17 at

Additionally, in an exciting development promoting sustainability and efficiency in the voting process, the Student Senate has approved the Rensselaer Union Voting System, designed by the Rules and Elections Committee and Union system administrators, as our official election procedures beginning in GM Week 2015. This electronic voting system eliminates the need for paper balloting and unreliable scantron machines, improving the accuracy, security, and reliability of the election process. Not to worry, of course: the system will only be accessible from designated pollsites, so you will still be able to come out and get your mug!

Campaigning is a Student Government process, but our Student Government, like the Rensselaer Union it runs, is responsible first and foremost to the students. I urge you to get to know the candidates as the weeks progress. Talk to them and question them as they discuss their plans, thoughts, and ideas. Encourage them to be thoughtful in their campaigns, and challenge them to speak about the real issues facing the student body. When you go to vote, you’ll know the right decisions to make, and the candidates will be all the more prepared to hold office.

If you’re interested in running for an office or have any questions about the election process, you may reach me at