Clubs recognized, Union food discussed

THE E-BOARD TABLED a proposal to allow the RPI chapter of Turning Point USA to become Union affiliated. (file photo)

For its 10th meeting of the semester, the Executive Board had a busy agenda that included a presentation from Sodexo, four clubs seeking some sort of status within the Union, and a proposal from RPI Ambulance. The meeting opened with a presentation from Rensselaer Hospitality Services General Manager Matt Mueller and Retail Director Louis Herman.

Their presentation focused on Sodexo’s recent changes and plans to improve dining offerings on campus in the future. Mueller emphasized the importance of including students in every major decision they make. He shared ideas, like introducing smaller food committees focused on each dining hall, which would be available to quickly act on suggestions and concerns.

Mueller then highlighted some of the changes Sodexo has been making recently—including “station breaks” at dining halls and partnering with local restaurants to provide their offerings to RPI, similar to the setup with Dinosaur BBQ earlier this semester. The two concluded their presentation by stressing their mission to best serve students through constant communication and work with students, and changing offerings to fit changing times.

Turning Point USA then came before the Board, seeking Union affiliation. Turning Point USA is non-partisan conservative organization with chapters at over 1000 high school and college campuses nationwide. Representatives from the club stated that they don’t aim to endorse candidates or push a particular agenda, but instead promote discussion and debate around political issues. After lengthy discussion, a motion to table the motion to grant Union affiliation to Turning Point until the end of the Executive Board meeting passed with a vote of 14-1-0. At the end of meeting, the motion was then again tabled until the next E-Board meeting with a vote of 12-1-1.

RPI Ambulance President Ciera Williams ’18 and Captain Harrison Leinweber ’18 presented a proposal to the board. They requested $981.50 to rent a minivan to take students to an EMT class taught by Rensselaer County Ambulance Association.

Historically, the class was taught on-campus, but had to be moved due to sudden instructor changes. EMT certification is necessary to participate in RPI Ambulance, and Leinweber emphasized that most of the students that would be certified are freshman that would be around to benefit the organization for a long period of time. A motion to allocate $981.50 from the club contingencies fund to RPI Ambulance’s budget for the purposes of renting a minivan for the duration of the EMT class was approved by the board with a vote of 10-0-4.

The Unanimity of Culinary Alliance then came seeking Union recognition. UCA has operated for the past year, with the goal of being a “small and professional” way to give opportunities to students who love cuisine and food. UCA’s president emphasized the club’s mission of teaching students how to understand food, while respecting different cultures, and the dishes they have to offer. He then outlined some events UCA plans to offer—an activity called “Lecture of the Flame” where chefs are invited to campus to present on their culinary ideology and how the food industry operates, and “Chef’s Table,” that allows students to cook and present their dishes to the club. The board entertained a motion to make UCA a Union recognized club, which passed with a vote of 13-1-1.

The Society of Animals and Wildlife then also sought Union recognition. Founder Caitlin Markus ’19 shared that the goal of the club is to advocate for animal rights through education and events. A motion to approve SAW as a Union recognized club passed with a vote of 13-0-1.

The final club that came before the Board was the African Student Association with a proposal to become Union recognized. The club originally began from a student’s difficulty to adjust to a new culture after transferring here as a sophomore. He hopes to provide an opportunity to the RPI community to further learn about African history and culture. The motion to approve ASA as a Union recognized club passed with a vote of 14-0-0.

Union Business Administrator Martha McElligott then gave the director’s report. She mentioned an initiative by the Clubhouse Pub to collect donations for an active-duty veteran, as well as offering live jazz on Friday, November 17. President of the Union Matt Rand ‘19 also shared that the ribbon cutting ceremony of the Student Veterans Lounge has been postponed until next semester.

A motion to close the meeting to discuss the assistant director of student activities position then passed with a vote of 13-0-1.