Summer updates, work continues during break

GM provides updates on summer committee projects, encourages students to consider joining

Happy summer! First off, welcome to the Class of 2021! My name is Justin Etzine, and I’m the current Grand Marshal, which is RPI’s student body president and chief officer of the Union. As you arrive on campus for orientation, and then for Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond in August, I hope you feel the same excitement that I did; if you’re feeling nervous, that is completely normal, and I’m sure that nervousness will be replaced with thrill as the semester begins.

In addition to what you already know, RPI is unique in the structure of its student union. The Rensselaer Union is entirely student-run, and is one of the remaining few in the United States. Student-run means that the student body oversees the budgeting, operations, strategic plans, and policies of the Union through an extensive student government. This is a feat we take with pride, and I hope you all will, too.

All students are able to be involved, and you don’t even need to run for office to be involved. If you think you’re interested, you just want to learn more, or you want to share comments, questions, concerns, or ideas, please always feel welcome to reach out! Elections for the incoming Class of 2021 will be taking place shortly after the start of the Fall semester, so be sure to speak up if you’re interested in participating.

Though we have been spread out for the summer, your Student Senate has still been hard at work making great progress on projects and efforts for you all. The summertime is a unique opportunity for the Senate to pursue meetings and projects with campus partners that are busier during the Fall and Spring semesters.

The Student Life Committee has met with the Health Center and the Counseling Center to continue efforts to revise and complete the report outlining student opinion and recommendations for improvement. The Web Technologies Group has been working on behind-the-scenes updates to the Shuttle Tracker system to ensure improved stability, with a new, improved user interface to follow soon. The Facilities and Services Committee is continuing its efforts to pursuing a campus-wide sustainability definition, and they have also begun discussions with the Administration Division to resume project efforts related to facilities, parking, transportation, and public safety. These are just a few examples of the work being pursued, and the Senate committees are open to all students. I highly recommend you get involved, especially if you have an interest or idea for making your mark on RPI.

Finally, please join me in welcoming Interim Vice President for Student Life LeNorman Strong to RPI! Mr. Strong comes to the Institute with several years of experience of working with students, especially within the framework of a student-run union. I, President of the Union Matt Rand ’19, Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Ellie Mees ’18, and Student Life Chairwoman Hannah Merrow ’18 have already had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Strong, and I am looking forward to the many opportunities we’ll have as student leaders to work with Mr. Strong in the coming year.

For returning students, I hope you all have an enjoyable remainder of your summers, and I’m looking forward to seeing you all in just over a month! For incoming students, I hope you have an exciting time at Student Orientation and Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond! As always, if you have any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at!