editorial notebook

What the Student Senate should do for you

The Student Senate is the chief legislative body of RPI’s student government that works to improve student life and provide a voice to student concerns. They are responsible for a multitude of changes, including bringing Moe’s Southwest Grill to campus, and providing shuttles to Crossgates Mall.

On Reddit, we’ve seen concerns such as the lack of healthy options on campus, the lack of period products on campus, and even the lack of the lack of mental health services and support to help students who are depressed. These are all issues that the Senate is elected to address, and students should bring these issues directly to its attention.

The Senate—led by the grand marshal—is divided into several committees, each working in a specific area of interest. Each committee is headed by its own chair. During weekly business meetings, the Senate discusses proposals made by committees and can vote on whether to pass them or not.

Some of the committees in the Senate include: the Academic Affairs Committee, the Community Relations Committee, the Elections Commission, the Facilities and Services Committee, the Student Government and Communications Committee, the Student Life Committee, the Union Annual Report Committee, and the Web Technologies Group.

The Academic Affairs Committee’s purpose is to improve the academic experiences of students at RPI. In the past, this committee has attempted to pass legislation to give students a holiday on the days when a career fair is held. They’ve proposed ideas such as ALAC online tutoring, which would be more accessible to students than in-person tutoring.

The primary purpose of the Union Annual Report Committee is to create the Union Annual Report. The UAR documents the purchases and developments in the Rensselaer Union, details the fiscal year’s expenses, income, and subsidies, then justifies the Student Activity Fee recommendation. In February, the committee recommended that the graduate student activity fee be decreased. The Senate then approved that decrease.

The Election Commission is responsible for the creating and upholding policies surrounding the elections of student government leaders. It also manages the polls and certifies the results of all StuGov elections.

The Web Technologies Group deals with technological aspects of student life. They are responsible for the development and maintenance of the Shuttle Tracker, the Senate surveys, and RPI Petitions. The Senate discussed a free textbook library service proposed by members of WebTech last year. The library would be made up of books donated by other RPI students and would be rented out to a student for one semester for free.

These committees, along with others not listed here, work to make sure that students at RPI have the best experience possible. The potential impact of Student Senate cannot be underestimated, and the students at RPI should hold this legislative body accountable for addressing all issues on campus and implementing ideas to improve the student experience.