The Rensselaer Union is one of the many unique aspects of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The Union is entirely student run by the Executive Board, which is led by President of the Union Nick Dvorak ’16. The 15 student E-Board is responsible for managing a student activities budget of around $8.4 million; that budget funds Union recognized clubs and all sports with the exception of the Division I hockey team. In January, while most students are still away on winter break, the E-Board meets and allocates the budget to fund all of the Union recognized clubs. In addition, the E-Board is responsible for day to day business operations and maintain Union facilities.
In addition to being the elected chairman of the E-Board, Dvorak’s responsibilities include representing student concerns to Rensselaer’s administration, including Vice President of Student Life Frank E. Ross, General Counsel for the Institute Charles Carletta, and President Shirley Ann Jackson. In fact, one of his goals for this year is to set up recurring “one-to-one reconnects” with key members of administration. One-to-one reconnects are an interpersonal communication technique that Dvorak used during his internship this summer at Procter and Gamble which he defined as “having a one to one conversation with someone on a regular basis.” He also meets with students in order to understand what their concerns are so he can effectively represent them to administration. Dvorak expresses those concerns in ways that the administration will be responsive to, and reports back to the student body on a regular basis.
Dvorak has also personally committed himself to making the process for finding jobs on campus jobs more efficient. He is going to work with the Union and other RPI departments in order to have student job openings posted on JobLink—the resource the Center for Career & Professional Development uses to post off-campus jobs, co-ops, and internships. He specifically mentioned that the Rensselaer Collegiate Store, now being managed by Follett, needs help but is having a hard time getting the word out to students. He hopes that student employment through CCPD’s JobLink will help streamline the process and provide students easier access to jobs.
Although the E-Board has been working diligently throughout the summer, freshmen still have the opportunity to join. Dvorak is specifically looking to appoint three freshmen to E-Board and also has a few spots open for upperclassmen as well. Any freshmen appointed to E-Board would be voting members but would be given less clubs to represent so they can learn the ropes of being an E-Board Representative. Dvorak believes that “getting involved is the best advice anyone can give you;” and that sentiment especially applies for the incoming freshmen. Dvorak compared the student government experience to the academic experience by saying “if RPI gives you a toolbox this is a workshop” to learn interpersonal skills in order to work with people post-undergraduate. Applications will be coming out in the next couple of weeks and he encourages anyone interested in serving to apply. For more information, visit http://stugov.union.rpi.edu/eboard.