Hello everyone, and welcome back to RPI. I hope you all enjoyed your time away from classes, and any holidays you may have celebrated over the last few weeks.
While on my break, I took a lot of time to think about what it is that I want to accomplish this semester, both as a student and as Grand Marshal, and I got to thinking about the purpose of our time here at Rensselaer. The clear goals are that we attend classes, gain knowledge and experience in our fields, and move on to graduate school or the industry. However, what we as students need to remember and understand is that while those may be our goals, the way we get there is our opportunity to be creative, adventurous, and expose ourselves to new ways of thinking. Those new perspectives come from sharing our experiences with other people, and I truly believe that nobody can relate to us better than other college students. So while you may feel like you are leaving your comfort zone by being an engineer talking to an architecture student, I challenge you to go beyond that and ask why a student would choose a liberal arts major. See their passions, what changes in the world they aim to create, and what their idea of a fulfilled life is.
Better yet, I invite you to help me grant that opportunity to as many students as possible. With the announcement of Summer Arch, I did not get to focus as much as I would have liked on opening up connections with our neighboring schools, but I aim to make major steps towards that this semester. Tell me what sort of experiences you have heard about on other college campuses, and what you think we can do to bring it here, or find it nearby. Tell me what you value as an experience here that you want other students to see and enjoy, so that we can highlight that as a part of our ever-changing student culture. If you are interested, please let me know, as I am already in contact with the student government leaders at both Russell Sage College and the University of Albany.
Now, as far as the regular affairs of student government, I would like to re-introduce the current Senate leadership:
We have the Academic Affairs Committee, chaired by graduate student Spencer Scott, working on projects related to our school’s presence in local media, as well as support for students seeking scholarships and grants. Next, we have the Student Life Committee, chaired by Paul Ilori ’17, working on policies for student use of various facilities, and student information on inclement weather decisions. We have Michael Han ’16 working on projects for student study spaces around campus and green campus initiatives as chair of the Facilities and Services Committee. Further, there’s Justin Etzine ’18 working on software solutions for shuttle tracing, and supporting our RPI Ambulance club with web design, among many other projects. With decisions for the upcoming fiscal year being made, Jen Church is chairing the Union Annual Report Committee, and is reformatting the report to have both a detail-oriented version and a quick summary version. For meeting times, please see the board outside the Student Government Suite, or email the committee chair of the committee.
Lastly, while we have had recent changes within the Rensselaer Union, I want everyone to understand a few things. First, the Union was made by the students, for the students, and is run by the students, for the students. The Student Activities Office supports the endeavors of students with their years of experience, and gives students the opportunities to invest in themselves. As such, we must appreciate both our students and staff that help us maintain the Union, and keep our spirits high.
The Union always has and always will belong to the students.Have a great start to the semester.