Hello RPI! Over the course of the last several weeks, the Student Senate approved the Rensselaer Union Activity Fee recommendation as well as the Union Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2018. These are two items critical to the student-run nature of the Rensselaer Union. Every year, the Executive Board prepares the budget for the following fiscal year. This budget includes money available for clubs, money spent to upgrade our facilities, money spent to hire our staff, money spent to maintain our equipment, and so on. It’s a large undertaking that, in reality, involves many more students than the 20 of us who serve on the Executive Board. Over 100 clubs submit budgets to be reviewed every year. Each club has several officers and even more students who are directly impacted by the funding they receive from the Union for their operations. Once all of this is put together, the Executive Board and the Union Annual Report Committee work backward to develop an activity fee that every graduate and undergraduate student will pay.
I would like to congratulate all of the students who created budgets for their clubs this year as well as the Executive Board and the Union Annual Report Committee for a job well done and for working under an unusually tight schedule. The Union Annual Report is an exceptional documentation of the budgeting process and a great way to understand changes in the Union’s finances year to year. It is also a commitment that our student government provide a clear, understandable, and transparent view of how the Union’s finances are managed and how students can be involved in this management. One great method is to join the Executive Board and take part in the decision making processes that shapes the financial future of the Union. Another is to become a club officer and manage the finances of your own group. If neither of these seem interesting to you, the Union Annual Report is a document written outside of the Executive Board. By that, I mean that any interested student can be involved in investigating and reporting on the budget that the Executive Board produces each year. Ultimately, the Union Annual Report Committee is responsible for recommending the activity fee to the Student Senate based on the budget that the Executive Board produces.
Since campaign season is fresh out of the gate, I encourage all students to get involved in student government and I encourage all students currently in student government to welcome newly interested students into the fold. These processes are important for shaping the direction of the Rensselaer Union as well as for the development of skills and knowledge that every student receives from participating in student organizations at RPI. If you have any questions about the role of student government in the Union or if you would like to know who to contact for more information about student government elections, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.