It’s been kind of funny over the past few days, as I’ve been talking to some of my friends. With us being first semester seniors, it’s the last time a lot of us are making schedules for classes, and making the appropriately annoying Facebook post about that. So between that and all the leaves that are falling right now, change has been on my mind a fair amount recently.
One of the things I really wanted to work on during my time as GM was changing the way that Senate runs in certain aspects. Whether it was trying to have us reach out and use different communication tools and social media better, or changing the structure that we use internally for things, I’ve wanted to make sure that I didn’t get stuck in the mindset of, “this must work since it’s the way we’ve done it for the past four years.” One of the main things I wanted to do during my term was look at the way we organize running elections. Every year that I’ve been at this school there has been some kind of controversy which led to a Judicial Board case. External factors do affect this, but I think when something like that happens three years in a row, it’s probably a sign that something inherent in the system being used is broken. The Rules & Elections committee generally does a great job of setting up and running elections, but they are often unable to arbitrate them, which is part of their job. Which I know pretty well, being a former R&E chair.
For this reason, we’ve created the Elections Policy Review Committee, or EPR. We currently have an open call for the chair of the committee itself and membership; as is the norm for Senate committees, it is open to all members of the union. So if you’re interested in this kind of thing, let me know! We’re always looking for new people to get involved in our projects or to help starting projects that interest them.
Fortunately, internal issues and problems aren’t the only thing that we’re working on in Senate. We’ve recently brought one of our longer term projects in the Academic Affairs Committee to completion. For the past few years, we’ve been working with Dean of Undergraduate Research Dr. Schadler to create a new Undergraduate Research Project website, which is finally ready, and at the following link: https://poly.rpi.edu/s/te2ko.
The goal of this site is to make it easier for students to find out how they can get involved in research on campus, alongside professors whose interests theirs may align with. We’ve also been making a lot of progress in our committees, ranging from WebTech’s new anonymous survey platform, which we’ll be trialing in the near future, to SLC working with the Institute to increase public study spaces on campus. By the way, Mother’s, on the first floor of the Union, is a pretty good place to study and is open to be used when it’s not reserved by a group; that’s my low key product placement of the day.