This week’s meeting of the Student Senate consisted mainly of reports from the committees from the Senate and a further discussion from Grand Marshall Marcus Flowers ’16 of the Summer Arch program. Furthermore, Paul Ilori ’17 and Thomas Alappat ’17 provided an update on benchmarking for the student submitted locked tuition petition from a few meetings ago.
Graduate Spencer Scott, chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, discussed progress of AAC on getting information from the five academic schools about research opportunities for students. AAC is also working on providing a means of scholarship application assistance as well. Joe Venusto ’17 presented about the Facilities and Service Committee’s work since Michael Han ’16 was abent. They have been making progress on their two projects: installing water bottle filling stations and getting tables in the Darrin Communications Center, Sage Laboratories, and the George M. Low gallery. The committee is meeting with campus hospitality services to discuss the possibility of having water bottle filling stations in campus dining areas. Venusto also reported on the progress of the Hospitality Services Advisory Committee. He encouraged all students to fill out the open survey about campus dining they have from last semester. The committee is also hard at work making formal recommendations for meal plans for the 2016–17 school year.
Victoria Tong ’16, chair of the Rules & Elections Committee, discussed the upcoming freshmen elections. Due to lackluster interest in comparison to prior years, info sessions have been extended through the end of the week. They will be held from 5 pm–6 pm in the Student Government Suite on the third floor of the Rensselaer Union. The deadline for freshmen to turn in all elections paperwork is Tuesday, October 12 and elections will be held on Thursday, October 14. She encouraged all interested freshmen to run, and noted that there are still several positions with no candidates. Ilori, chair of the Student Life Committee, discussed progress on their three projects this year: accessibility of on-campus jobs, class cancellation for inclement weather, and residence hall issues, with a focus on wifi coverage and the restoration of universal access to buildings. He will be meeting with Vice President for Student Life Dr. Frank Ross to discuss these issues later in the semester. Justin Etzine ’18, chair of the Web Technologies Group, told the Senate that the new elections site is in the planning stages. He expressed concern that the single sign on site for RCS IDs was changed over the summer, and their applications, such as RPI Petitions and Flagship Docs, will be updated to handle the new change.
Alappat and Ilori researched the locked tuition petition that was charged to the Senate earlier in the semester. The idea would be that the tuition freshmen pay would be the same for all four years they attend Rensselaer. Research found that no private universities offer such a program, and that only state schools with significant public funding offered anything similar. They suggested that such a proposal would not be taken seriously, and most of the Senate reluctantly agreed.
Flowers ended the meeting with a further discussion of Summer Arch. He received an email from Ross saying that members of RPI administration are interested in holding an open forum discussion between students and administration regarding implementation of the program. Ross is also going to be sponsoring a fact-finding trip to Northeastern University and Dartmouth College for four to five students to understand how both institutions implement similar programs. He ended his remarks with suggesting that senators should particularly reach out to interested freshmen and convince them to get involved, as the Senate does its best when it has as many diverse viewpoints as possible.