Student Senate

Student Senate meets new director of the Union

RECENTLY APPOINTED DIRECTOR OF THE UNION CHARLIE POTTS FIELDS questions from the Student Senate.

Director of the Union Charlie Potts emphasized “relationships, trust, ideas, listening, project lists, [and] prioritization” during his meeting with the Student Senate on September 10. 

During the special orders of the day, the Student Senate met with newly appointed Charlie Potts in order to “get to know him.” During his talk with the Senate, Potts expressed his satisfaction with this new position, went over the experience he has accrued through prior projects, and answered some questions that the senators had for him.

He opened his talk by explaining, that he was “really drawn” to the position. “I have experience with this and frankly I saw a need and I really wanted to step in, and I have my heart open to all of this,” he elaborated. He later added that, due to the Union’s past three years without a director, a backlog of things to do has accumulated. 

He told the Senate about all the experiences which he has had, ranging from working at soup kitchens to his doctoral dissertation on student union management. He stressed the importance of his belief that student involvement should revolve around a genuine desire to improve the community rather than serve as “just another tick on their resume.”

When asked what his top priorities are, he responded, “Frankly, each day that I’ve been here has been to build trust. I made the reference yesterday that I hope that I can function as kind of a dog whistle, that I can hear what’s not being said and see what’s not being shown to truly gain a connection with what’s here.”

Another important theme which Potts emphasized was his belief in the importance of facilitating effective usage of the Union as a space. The first step in his vision for the physical space of the Union, which he is already working on, is to compartmentalize the Union by floor and, from there, to realize what each space’s needs are. For example, he shared his plans to move club storage from the third floor—a space which sees massive traffic and constant lack of space to study—to the basement, which he believes is underutilized. “I want to identify what it is that we can do. I’ll give you an example: in this building, it’s very hard to expand the square footage, but it wouldn’t be that tricky to enclose a balcony like they did on [the west side of the Union],” he explained.

After sharing his plans for the Union and his willingness to build trust and relationships here at Rensselaer, Potts thanked the Senate, encouraging them not to hesitate to reach out to him should they need anything. Grand Marshal Stef Warner ‘19 thanked the new director of the Union for taking the time to meet with them, and ended the meeting.