October 2020

Student Tips

Beating procrastination: A realistic guide for the "lazy" student

By Cait Bennett October 30, 2020

In last week’s Top Hat, our Grand Marshall Advaith Narayan gave his tips for managing academic stress. Consider this a follow-up to address the elephant in the room, the biggest cause of student stress, low grades, and late nights: procrastination. From someone who has struggled with procrastination for her entire academic career, here are some guidelines to help kick the procrastination habit.

Grad Corner

Grad Hour, a silver lining amidst the isolation

By Neha Keshan and Sagar Bhatt October 30, 2020

Graduate Council President Neha Keshan and Graduate Council Vice President Sagar Bhatt explain the significance of the newly-established event called “Grad Hour.”


More than teaching assistants

By Advaith Narayan and Neha Keshan October 28, 2020

Graduate Council President Neha Keshan joins Grand Marshal Advaith Narayan ’21 to shed some light on the graduate student experience.

Freshman Elections

Nicolas wins Class of 2024 President

By Sarah Shiang and Richard Gonzalez October 25, 2020

Kamilia Nicolas has been elected Class of 2024 President, and Ria Massoni has been elected to the role of Class of 2024 Vice President. 349 out of 1464 freshmen voted, an increase of 97 votes compared to last year.

Editorial Notebook

Rank the vote

By Shardul Joshi October 23, 2020

With the 2020 Presidential Election fast approaching, we have heard the term ranked-choice voting thrown around a lot. However, before the voting system can be widely adopted, it is important for voters to understand how the ballot works.

Joint Top Hat & Derby

How to build trust in a vulnerable climate

By Advaith Narayan and Anissa Choiniere October 22, 2020

The student-administrator relationship at Rensselaer has been interesting, to say the least. When thinking of ways to build a mutually beneficial relationship between these two parties, trust is the first idea that jumped out at us. Trust is a two-way street and as such, there are actions that both sides need to take to fully develop that trust. This week, we’re coming together to discuss how we plan to develop trust in the current student-administrator climate.

Rensselaer Union

GM Week 2020 mug distribution plan in development

By Richard Gonzalez October 20, 2020

The Union Programs and Activities Committee and Election Commission have outlined a plan for students to receive their mugs for voting in the Grand Marshal Week 2020 elections. On-campus students can pick up their mugs in the Union Admin Office whenever the Rensselaer Union is open. Students who can not physically pick up the mugs are planned to have their mugs shipped to them.

Town Meeting

Fall trigger levels for University Pandemic Protocol updated

By Medhini Mankale October 13, 2020

President Shirley Ann Jackson revealed updates to the University Pandemic Protocol trigger levels during the Fall Town Meeting. Now, trigger level one will be enacted after there are more than 30 confirmed COVID cases in two weeks, resulting in an immediate switch to remote instruction. When the amount of confirmed cases exceed Rensselaer’s ability to isolate and quarantine students, the updated trigger level two will be implemented. With the activation of trigger level two, the semester will be extended by a week, and students must vacate campus within 72 hours and continue the semester online.

Town Meeting

Institute to announce plan for Spring semester after Thanksgiving break

By Sarah Shiang October 13, 2020

Spring semester plans—including housing for sophomores and spring sports—will be announced after the Institute transitions to remote operations over the Thanksgiving break. President Shirley Ann Jackson explained that Rensselaer plans to assess what needs to be done for the Spring semester in context of the Fall semester and “the overall public health situation.”

Executive Board

Two clubs gain Union recognition, virtual competitions allowed

By Laura Zwirn October 13, 2020

Two clubs on campus became Union-recognized at the Executive Board meeting on September 23. Additionally, the E-Board made a decision allowing funds for in person events to be reallocated to virtual events, given that they meet Institute guidelines.


Interested in freshman elections?

By Advaith Narayan and Evan Lazaro October 10, 2020

Grand Marshal Advaith Narayan ’21 and Undergraduate President Evan Lazaro ’21 provide a rundown of the positions open for Freshman Elections and their respective responsibilities, as well as details about the mandatory information sessions for students wishing to declare candidacy.

Breaking News

Severe thunderstorm causes power outages across campus

By Namish Gali and Medhini Mankale October 7, 2020

Severe thunderstorms over the Northeast region of the United States have left many Rensselaer students without power.


The dearth of intellectual diversity plaguing America

By Namish Gali October 6, 2020

True intellectual diversity requires four things: the willingness to pursue non-conformity, the acceptance and even encouragement of opposing views, the humility to accept criticism, and a wide-ranging global catalog of personal knowledge.


Students who miss two COVID tests will have campus access revoked

By John Stotz October 6, 2020

In an email to the student body, Assistant Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Travis Apgar announced that if a student misses two COVID tests at any point during the semester they will be required to go remote for the remainder of the Fall semester. Students who are living on-campus “will be immediately removed” with no refund on room and board.


To the Class of 2024

By Anissa Choiniere October 3, 2020

RPI Class of 2024, I was supposed to have the chance to welcome you to Troy and to this new chapter of your life back in August. This is about as close as I can get until next semester.

Top Hat

GM’s guide to managing student stress

By Advaith Narayan September 30, 2020

Grand Marshal Advaith Narayan ’21 shares his strategies for managing stress.