Union renovations set for Winter Break
On Wednesday, December 5, the Executive Board met after several weeks of budgeting to discuss and vote on Union renovations, a future RPI Players’ program, and some new clubs.
Business Operations Committee Chairperson Brian Mansaku ’20 pointed out some problems with the Union space that could be improved over the upcoming winter break. For one, the saltwater fish tank in the lobby costs roughly $12,000 annually to maintain and takes up valuable study space. He also explained that the general layout and colors in the building could be improved.
The Board unanimously passed Mansaku’s motion to “use of up to $28,000 from Goal C, Program 1 of the FY19 Facilities budget for the renovation of the Welcome Lobby, including: The replacement of carpet with Tandus Centiva Output (Cable Jetting color): The replacement of tiling in the vestibule and center areas with Tandus Centiva Filament (Agate color): and The relocation of the fish tank located near the Welcome Lobby to the lobby of the Mueller Center and conversion of this fish tank from saltwater to freshwater.”
Mansaku also presented a paint palette of school colors and proposed painting the entryways of the Union building. The colors allowed by the initial proposition were light grey, dark gray, black, and red. Marketing and Strategy Committee Chairperson Alex Schneiderman ’19 asked to include white in the palette, but others brought up that white in a busy space like that could easily show accumulated dirt.
The motion to “approve the repainting of the entryways to the Rensselaer Union building with the colors of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, including lighter gray as the primary color, darker gray as the primary accent, black as a secondary accent, and red as a secondary accent, and approve the use of funding necessary from the FY19 Facilities budget to complete this repainting” passed unanimously.
The final request from the Business Operations Committee was $23,500 for outdoor furniture to replace what is currently on the third floor balcony. Mansaku explained that current furniture was in bad condition from weather and heavy use, and the investment could encourage more people to use the space. He also voiced that outdoor study space is more important with the Arch Summer Semester now in place. Club and Organization Representative Cody Kazakoff showed dissent to the idea, saying the space was underutilized and the furniture is too expensive. Mansaku dismissed this—explaining that this furniture needs to be industrial grade—and joked, “We could just put up plastic lawn chairs.”
A motion was made to “approve the use of up to $23,500.00 from Goal C. Program 1 of the FY19 Facilities budget for the purchase of 24 Chipman Chairs (backed, no arms), 4 Cochran Lounge Chairs (with arms), and 6 Chipman Tables (36’ Round. 29’ Height) for the outdoor balcony on the third floor of the Rensselaer Union building.” This passed 17-0-1.
The Rensselaer Pokémon Organization came before the board to request a starter budget. President of the Union Justin Etzine ’19 declared that although he had founded the club, it would not be a conflict of interest given his lack of membership for the past three years. The club requested $70 for food for members. The other events are free, such as the intra-club Pokémon tournaments and trivia.
Mansaku opposed this, saying any club could come before the Executive Board asking for money for food, stating this was a bad precedent to set. Union Club Operations Committee Chairperson Caitlin Kennedy ’20 pointed out that this precedent has already been set, and they should act based on existing rules rather than the ones they would like to have. A motion to “approve Rensselaer Pokémon Organization’s starter budget of $70.00 from club contingencies” was made, and passed 13-2-1.
The RPI Players proposed a program to work with the Young Actors Guild. This would allow flexible summer internships for a variety of positions including stage management, lighting, and set creation. This program is also set to engage Arch students, allowing a show to happen over the summer, as well as offering events for other students to attend. A motion was made to approve the new program which inn “approve RPI Players’ proposal for a new program, entitled Summer Programming which entails working with Young Actors Guild of the Capital Region to include internship opportunities during the summer and a show appropriate for students who are on campus for the summer.” This passed 15-0-0.
The Spikeball Club and the Art Club were given Union recognition, and the Slavic Students Association was approved a starter budget of $100. The Executive Board also passed motions to thank Union systems administrators, developers, and staff for smooth budgeting.
In addition, the Executive Board saw a motion to “reaffirm the importance of the Multicultural lounge and its value” and to “begin exploration of potential changes or improvements to the space.” There was no discussion and the motion passed unanimously.