GM Week kicks off; make an informed vote

Hello RPI! With one more week before Grand Marshal Week elections, this is my penultimate Top Hat Article. Very soon, one of our candidates will be wearing the Top Hat and addressing you in these papers. This week, I want to build up some excitement for GM Week celebrations, to inform the student body of the election process, and remind us of the importance of voting.

The upcoming celebrations are exciting and always the high point of the academic year! In addition to the election of our student representatives, Grand Marshal Week has remained one of RPI’s oldest standing traditions. Every year, the GM Week Committee—a subcommittee of the Student Senate’s Rules and Elections Committee—works year-round to plan a week of festivities, music, games, and celebration in honor of our campus community and our history of student leadership. Uniquely, each Grand Marshal Week is given its own theme—last year’s was Vikings, with the motto Forge Fight Feast! This year’s, as revealed this past February, is New Orleans.

Events kick off at 6 pm April 10 with RPI Iron Chef in the McNeil Room, and continue throughout the week. Come support our Lacrosse teams against Union on Saturday, April 11! Visit the Indian Student Association’s 2015 Holi celebration (and bring a shirt you’re not afraid to get colored!). Join the annual Out of the Darkness Walk early on Sunday April 12, and come to the candidate debates that evening. On GM day, Erin and I will be thrashing Alpha Phi Omega’s Meanest Man on Campus candidates in the MMOC debates that evening. Prepared to be amazed, terrified, and bemused at our oratory skills.

Of course, GM Week features the student elections—so remember to meet your candidates and form an opinion about who you’d like to vote for. Having run for Grand Marshal last year, I know any candidate would welcome a sincere and serious conversation about the issues. With two GM candidates and two running for PU, both of the top races are contested, so make sure you have a chance to talk to all four candidates before voting day.

Finally, as we’ve discussed throughout the year, the Union Constitution Committee, chaired by Nate James (, pursued necessary rewrites as proposed by the various Student Government groups. Eight amendments will be on the ballot during GM week. The link was sent to The Polytechnic across the past two weeks and they should be published; in the intervening time we’ll be doing all we can to make them available to everyone on campus. They may be viewed at the following three links:

Public Descriptions:

Official Writeups:

Constitution with Track Changes:

Lastly, we have one final Student Senate General Body Meeting this Thursday, where we’ll be wrapping up our agenda for the term. This has been an incredibly successful year, and with our final meeting we will see a preview for the future. RPI Petitions, our student petition service, has been incredibly successful, presenting an exciting opportunity for a stronger student voice in the future.

Our first two student petitions– Save the Trees, sponsored by Jesse Freitas ’16, and Multiple Points of Access, sponsored by Harrison Leinweber ’18—will be up for a discussion and vote this Thursday. Both petition sponsors are able to attend so we’ll be hearing their recommendations before considering other courses of action. Ultimately, our role as a Student Senate is not to directly change these issues, but to determine the best course of action to work with the administration moving forward—so these petitions are not the endpoint but rather the beginning of an exciting process. As an alumnus, I will be excited to see how they progress and how this service evolves into the future.

If you have any questions about any of these topics, contact me at! Have a great week!