E-Board approves virtual events, outlines reallocation procedures
The Executive Board has passed a blanket approval on a list of virtual activities for clubs this fall.
With many students online and those on campus required to follow strict social distancing protocols, many clubs have not been able to hold their normal activities and are looking for new ways to connect with their members. Normally, whenever a club wants to create a new program, they have to bring it before the E-Board to ask for approval and funding as stated in the Rensselaer Union Guidelines and Procedures. This fall, the E-Board anticipated a large number of requests for new programs like virtual trivia nights or virtual training. In order to avoid a deluge of similar requests, the E-Board pre-approved what they thought would have been the most commonly-requested programs.
Activities included under the blanket approval are virtual events, including trivia nights, escape rooms, lectures, training, cooking events, crafting, and movie nights. To receive funding for all except for virtual escape rooms and virtual cooking, the event “must relate to the club’s constitution and stated goals.” Also pre-approved is the purchase of face masks with a club logo, which President of the Union Anissa Choiniere ’21 suggested will help foster a sense of club camaraderie in a time when they probably cannot meet together in person.
Each of these programs are approved for all clubs, but have not been funded. Clubs will still require a reallocation of funds to host these events. The funding must be approved by the club’s representative, the club’s Student Activities Resource Person, and the E-Board. If the amount is less than $500, Choiniere has the ability to approve funding without general E-Board approval, but she noted that she will mention all approvals to the Board so they will still be able to act if the spending seems irresponsible.
The E-board had previously considered giving club representatives and SARPs the ability to approve the activities, but there was concern that this gave too much power to only two people. Graduate Representative Benjamin Volk said: “It is our duty as the Board to be the approval power for student clubs,” and that moving that power to fewer people would reduce the Board’s oversight on decisions. Handing over this power would also require a modification of the Rensselaer Union Guidelines and Procedures, setting a precedent for approvals without E-Board oversight. Vice President for Board Operations Yaseen Mahmoud ’22 suggested the blanket approval as a way to keep approval power in the board while also not changing the rules for funds reallocation.
The motion for the blanket approval was made on September 16 and passed unanimously.
Additionally, on September 9, the E-Board unanimously approved a $1,116 proposal by the Business Operations Committee to hang a pair of banners from the southern balcony of the Union, saying “Be smart and safe, we’re in this together.”
The Executive Board meets weekly at 8 pm on Wednesday in Choiniere’s personal meeting room: rensselaer.webex.com/meet/choina.