How many times as students were we told to “change the world?” How often were we advised to be passionate, always question, continually grow, and lead change? It wasn’t fluid mechanics or chemical separations that stuck with me when I left RPI, but these lessons taught outside of the classroom by our Institute leaders. As students and alumni, we have the potential to impact millions of lives through our everyday ideas in fields like biotechnology or computer science; however, it seems we are powerless when it comes to having a voice at the very place that taught us how to do all that.
Over the past week, there has been a flurry of discussions in the alumni community, with the main assumption being that the administration is trying to take away student control of Student Union. There have been closed-door forums with no media access or public information, leading to a game of telephone throughout social media. Based only on this atmosphere of secrecy, many assume the intentions of the administration at this point to be dubious.
In case there is any question, I am entirely against taking away control of the Rensselaer Union from its students, but I expect there to be much talk of this in adjacent articles.
What I hope to convey is the community’s need for public statements from the administration in the coming weeks and at least allowing students to have an opinion on the matter. The thirst for information and knowledge is one of our students’ (and alumni’s) greatest attributes, so why has the administration’s impulse always been to be secretive in its reasoning and decision-making? It has strived to create this culture that questions and improves through collaboration, so why stifle growth with unilateral decisions? Students should not have to resort to a protest to have input on an issue that so directly impacts them (the fact that this protest was denied by the Dean of Students Office is a whole separate concern).
I would urge the administration to give students and alumni a real chance to hear their explanation and voice our thoughts. If our ideas could change the world, couldn’t they also hold a bit of weight within our own alma mater?
Cara Riverso ’10