RAIL and Alpha Phi Alpha get funding for activities, events

PRESIDENT OF THE UNION NICK DVORAK ‘16 GIVES a passionate speech to the E-Board regarding how the sphere of influence of student government has changed in recent years.

The Rensselaer Union Executive Board meeting opened on Thursday, March 24, with the recognition of RAIL, Rensselaer Artificial Intelligence League, as a Union-recognized club and approved their constitution.

RAIL’s purpose is to create a forum for students with a joint interest in artificial intelligence to collaborate on projects and learn as a group. So far there have been interest meetings and one rock paper scissors AI competition, that have brought together a substantial group. They are looking forward to starting additional projects.

Something interesting to note would be a detail in RAIL’s constitution; instead of the traditional officer roles, such as President, Treasurer, or Secretary, the group has only a “lead organizer” to promote unity throughout the club. They were approved an unanimous 14-0-0 vote.

The fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha appealed to the E-Board for reallocation of funds to pay for lights and sound at their Black and Gold pageant event. The funds would be coming from Alianza Latina, a total sum of $500. Since this is within the budget of another club, reallocations would go through the club’s Student Activities Resource Person and E-board rep.

An additional $350 was still needed by APA to cover miscellaneous fees. The need for union funding stems from its lack of enough alumni donations and an attempt to make admission free. There was some discomfort among E-Board members over what kind of precedent funding a fraternity might pose in the future. The E-Board moved on from the issue and deferred it to the administration. The $350 was not moved to their account, and the $500 was finalized by their SARP.

A motion was made to allow clubs to submit a regular budget prior to the fiscal year. This new rule, which would be added to the club funding policies, would help clubs with their relative timeline. For example, after obtaining recognition in the spring, a club could go on to obtaining a starter budget in the fall. When it comes time to submit a regular budget, the E-Board will review it during the regular budgeting season. If it doesn’t pass, E-board will simply discontinue the club. This will allow more flexibility in a club’s budget. The motion passed 13-0-1.

Conrad Mossl ’17 made his facility’s report on the ’87 Gym. The pool area has been abandoned since 2006 and is in need of being either refilled or closed. Additionally, the offices in the gym are high quality rooms that aren’t being utilized to their full potential. There are a total of seven racket ball courts, one of which is used by the golf club and another by the Outing Club for their climbing wall. RPIgnite stores their equipment in that facility. It is also the location of the crew team’s urg room. An old athletic training room is being converted by the dance team. Finally, the West and East Gyms are where, according to Mossl, the most work and attention should be focused there the most; the ceilings are in need of repair and the curved upper track is not very safe for students working out on it.

The final motion of the night was to withhold payments to any personnel not employed by the Rensselaer Union. As quoted by policies chair Jeremy Feldman ’16, the motion was a “response to the Executive Director position …it seems like there is a possibility that the administration is trying to remove power [from the Student Union] … this is not an attack on the administration.” In fact, Feldman went on to say that it was a mere restatement of what was already a given of the E-Board’s constitution, and that the Union would not fund the salary of an individual not approved by the E-Board.