The Polytechnic endorses Justin Etzine ’18 for Grand Marshal. As the highest elected student official at Rensselaer, the GM serves as not only the head of the Student Senate, but as the leader of the student body. It is his or her responsibility to understand and voice the concerns of the student body to the proper parties. Consequently, the GM bears a significant amount of responsibility to not only those in the Senate but also to the entire RPI community.
Etzine has been a part of student government since he arrived at RPI as a freshman and became a Class of 2018 senator. Additionally, he is the current chairperson of the Student Life Committee, and he has served as the chair person of the Senate’s Web Technologies Group. Outside of student government, Etzine is an RA in Barton Hall and a trainee at RPI Ambulance. He has also been involved with RPI TV and has served on the Editorial Board of The Polytechnic.
As chairperson of the Student Life Committee, Etzine has led initiatives to improve the quality of care available at the Counseling Center, reallocate space to create more areas suitable for use as study spaces, allow students to enter residence halls through multiple doors, and create a policy on students’ preferred names. Throughout his time on the committee, Etzine has demonstrated a commitment to the well-being of students and an aptitude for working with administrators to accomplish his goals.
Etzine understands the importance of relationships. He plans to help Senate committee chairs build relationships with relevant administrators so that they may advance the goals of their committees. At Senate meetings, Etzine plans to increase student representation through having senators gather weekly feedback from their constituencies, introducing non-voting representatives, and creating a less intimidating atmosphere for students not involved with Senate to share their opinions. Additionally, one of Etzine’s long-term goals is to work toward the establishment of positions for new alumni to serve on the Board of Trustees. This would give the Board student-based perspectives on issues at RPI and provide additional avenues for information to reach members of the Board.
The Poly believes that Etzine will faithfully represent student interests and provide the Senate the guidance it needs to be both productive and effective in improving RPI for everyone. To learn more about Etzine’s platform, see his candidate profile.
Editor’s note: The Poly has discussed at length whether we can make an endorsement for Grand Marshal in good faith. We took into account that Etzine has not had a position on the Editorial Board for a year, and we came to the conclusion that we could still make an endorsement that reflects what we think is best for students, the Union, and Rensselaer, and not simply who has been a good member of The Poly.
During his time at The Poly, we’ve seen Etzine at both some of his higher and lower points. Members of the staff have had their disagreements with Etzine, and we certainly have not handled his endorsement more favorably than any other. If anything, we were able to more deeply discuss and scrutinize his faults than we would have if he had never been part of The Poly.
In this instance, we believe that it has been long enough since he served on the Editorial Board that our attempts to separate The Poly from Etzine were sufficient. Additionally, one-third of our Editorial Board is freshmen, and therefore has never interacted with Etzine as a member of The Poly.