Top Hat

Rensselaer includes more than just academics

Hey future and present students,

Since the majority of you left me in Troy, I’m going to write about what you should look forward to in the coming year if you’re a new student, and touch on what is the most important area of student government.

For all new students, your RPI career really starts with Student Orientation, despite the mountain of information that will be thrown at you. You’ll end up meeting a whole bunch of people, nearly all of whom are just as confused as you are for what’s ahead, and sign up for classes that will take your educational challenge to the next level. When all the future challenges come up, just remember that your SO advisors are students just like you, and are an amazing source of information throughout the school year.

Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond (NRB in order to reduce our oxygen consumption) is the biggest and best introduction to student life at RPI. When every club is putting on their best to get more members, don’t feel limited by the number of events you can attend at NRB. If you see something that you want to go to that conflicts with your schedule, join that group’s email list (trust me, they’ll always have an email list) and keep your eyes peeled for their next event. There’s gaming touraments, sports scrimmages, flying planes, theatre productions, multi-cultural celebrations, and much more from our 200+ clubs, as well as our iconic Greek fraternities and sororities. Whether it’s your first year at RPI or your third, I encourage you to check out every event that you can.

Student government’s heart and soul comes not from meetings at (unnecessarily) long tables, but from the group of students who gather on the couches and work together on what they feel is important. These groups are our committees, and the flavor of each committee changes with new leadership, new projects, and new members. The most important, number one rule (that I will continue to repeat as long as there is rain in Troy) is that there is no requirement for being a member of a committee except showing up to the meetings. This is where we get our real work done, and we want to include every student possible in these meetings. If you can think of something that you would like to see on RPI campus, there is a committee that can help you figure out where to take the next steps. Academics, facilities, residence, policy, technology, and hospitality are some of our biggest areas.

Now, some students ask why we work on these projects when we could be spending our time going to other clubs or getting a few more hours of sleep. The reason I joined is that I heard that I could tackle problems affecting a large number of people, and I wanted to act as a casual point of contact for anyone who runs into an issue on campus. The reason I stayed is that when I brought information back to students on why certain changes have or haven’t been made, or told them how we can guide the change in a different direction, they expressed genuine gratitude that there were students working for their benefit. Plus, I’ve always liked top hats since I was a kid.

That’s all for my summer article. If you have questions, comments, concerns, ideas, jokes, insight, arguments, criticisms, or any form of communication that you want to reach me, email me at, and enjoy the rest of your summer!