Top Hat

Preparing for the next Grand Marshal Week

Hello RPI, sorry for my absence, but I’m back and I have a lot of things I want to talk to you about, so please stay tuned over the next few weeks.

First, I hope that everyone had a great time on Spring Break, as I can certainly say for myself that the time off was much needed. I saw many pictures of bright beaches and far-off places, so I’m glad to see people repping RPI across the globe!

For the Student Senate, the first thing we will be addressing now that we’re back is the approval of the handbook for the 2016 Grand Marshal Week, where we will be voting on all of our elected student government positions! This includes your Senators, Class Council, President of the Union, and (of course) the GM. Once we approve the handbook, be sure to check it out on the Rensselaer Union website, and look to see who is campaigning for which positions! If you’re interested in the Hat positions, please feel free to talk to Nick Dvorak ’16 or myself, we’ll be happy to share on our experiences. The election process will be supported with a brand new elections website, with features such as candidate profiles and Q&A boards on each candidate! Our goal is to create a one-stop shop for all of your curiosities about your student government candidates. Keep your eyes peeled!

Over the break, I had the privilege of looking at the candidates for the Outstanding Teacher’s Award, and seeing the responses of some of the students really made my day. There were so many testimonies of wonderful mentorship, education, and camaraderie of professors and students that made me wish that every student could see these. In lieu of that, I want everyone to find a few of their professors and really ask them “can you help me reach my goals?” That simple question can start a cascade that can lead you to a great career start, or even an inspiration to change your career goals altogether. There are a lot of amazing men and women who give their full efforts to go above and beyond the requirements of the classroom, and I think everyone should be able to see that and benefit from it.

Now, I want to talk a little bit about the value of our Student Union. Not just the building, but the concept that has been the core of students on campus for over a century. The Union is what lets us make RPI our home in each of our own ways; it helps us run the organizations that will give us fond memories, and gives us a comfortable place to work on the projects that will help us succeed in the workplace. Our irreplaceable Union is built on the efforts of students just like you; I encourage everyone to pass down to future classes their favorite experiences involving student activities, so everyone can see the value in our unity. This may sound a bit cheesy, but after nearly four years of seeing the honest faces of students at our school, many of their best experiences were given to them by other students who decided that they wanted to make a difference, either through Greek life or through a Union organization. So go, be that student who makes a difference in someone else’s experience, or find someone to do that for you.

I make this call for unity among students not only for the betterment of your experience, but also for the defense of the experiences of the future students of Rensselaer. Our university is rapidly undergoing many changes, which has students, both past and current, worried about how things will be in the future. Considering the number of items that have come up this year—the announcement of the Summer Arch initiative, initially unexplained fees for graduate students, personnel changes, and abrupt Union budget changes—students are looking for something they can feel secure in. If you would like to discuss any of this more with me, please feel free to talk to me at any time (gm@rpi.edu, or even just a Facebook message, there’s no need to be formal, I’m a student just like you).

Best,

-GM 150