On March 6, Grand Marshal Paul Ilori ’17 opened the Student Senate with committee reports. Those reports began with Rules & Elections Committee Chairperson David Raab ’19 reporting that student government elections have been going on for a week and campaigning is in full swing. The R&E committee also recently made a decision regarding postering in on-campus dormitories and concluded that candidates may poster on the outside of all dorms.
Following Raab, Student Government Communications Committee Chairperson Ellie Mees ’18 recounted that the Student Senate survey is out with the intent of gathering information from the student body including student living and learning, multiple points of entry, and sources of information about student government. Academic Affairs Committee Chairperson Varun Rao ’18 continued to discuss the co-terminal project being worked on by the Senate in which they are drafting a letter to the administration regarding a recent change that would prevent co-terminal B.S/M.S. students from holding positions as resident assistants or directors.
Facilities & Services Committee Chairperson Austin Miller ’17 stated that he has been meeting with Director of Public Safety Jerry Matthews to discuss social media for public safety as a potential means of bridging the communications gap between students and the department. Miller also is currently requesting ideas on how the Senate can make Earth Week “bigger” on Rensselaer’s campus. At the moment, the committee is planning to propose a formal definition of sustainability to the Senate and broad goals for the next four or five years so that the Union can increase campus sustainability and environmental awareness. The Senate is also currently preparing a letter to Dr. Frank E. Ross III, former vice president for student life, thanking him for his service and wishing him the best in his future endeavors.
Travis Apgar, assistant vice president and dean of student life, came in to speak to the Senate following constituent reports regarding the reorganization of student life and new infrastructure projects. Apgar anticipates a “soft opening” of off-campus commons for students to congregate and create new student programming, and is “currently looking to collaborate with other areas” to provide the same level of programming for students on-campus as students currently living in off-campus dormitories or Greek housing.
Apgar also noted that he wishes nothing less than to support the Union through the director of the Union position, which will answer to the vice president of the Division of Student Life, and students will “first and foremost be involved to see who to bring to campus.” Apgar hopes that as many students as possible will be involved in the hiring process and iterated, regarding the Spring Town Protest last spring, that he is “incredibly committed to making sure that student’s voices are heard and are involved in the selection process.” Further, Apgar said “We are here to serve you,” in reference to the Student Life portfolio.