Students’ passion, respect unparalleled

Concerns regarding Union's student-run nature relayed, plan potentially forthcoming

“Here’s to old Rensselaer; she stands today without a peer.”

RPI, I am proud. I’m proud to call myself a part of a student body that expresses, with utmost respect, their opinions and their passions. On Friday, a number of you chose to make your voices heard. On Friday, you once again validated the above line of our alma mater. I am hard-pressed to find another institution with a student body that is capable of the same level of simultaneous passion and respect. On Friday, I was awed by how respectful, calm, and lawful you were, and I assure you that your voices were, in fact, heard.

As I have shared before, many of you have expressed your reasoning for why the Union has lost its student-run distinction. I have relayed these concerns to the administration, and we are working to relay how we believe the tradition could be restored. I hope to meet with administrators in the coming weeks to share our ideas for a plan forward.

The essence of a student-run Union can be mostly simplified as follows: if the student body resolves to pursue an idea that is legal, ethical, financially responsible, and safe, they should be able to. There are, of course, checks outlined in the Rensselaer Union Constitution to ensure that ideas not meeting those criteria are corrected appropriately. The Executive Board also established student activity resource person roles to assist clubs in considering risk management when planning activities and events.

On a separate note, on Monday, October 16, the Student Senate discussed whether to endorse proposed changes to the Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities. The Senate decided to task Student Life Committee Chairperson Hannah Merrow ’18 and myself to investigate. The Student Life Committee will be meeting on Wednesday, October 18, to discuss the Student Handbook and the proposed changes. The meeting is open to the public, and I invite you to attend if you have thoughts you’d like to contribute! Alternatively, Hannah can be reached by email at

As always, please feel free to reach out to me at I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts and passion as student government continues to advocate for the student body.