Executive Board

Music masks and outdoor volleyball approved

The Union Executive Board narrowly approved the Rensselaer Music Association’s budget reallocation request for new instrument covers on October 21. The covers will be used to prevent the spread of airborne particles that may travel through the instrument, a common concern during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Rensselaer Music Association is RPI’s largest performance organization. The club is composed of smaller musical groups ranging from jazz ensembles to acapellas and choirs, and offers practice rooms and instrument rentals for all students. Currently, RMA’s instrument masks only cover the bell of certain instruments. RMA wishes to use full-body instrument covers for greater aerosol protection. Neither instrument masks or covers are required by RPI’s COVID-19 guidelines.

During the meeting, Graduate Representative Brian Anderson remarked that the Institute’s COVID-19 policies were subsiding and questioned the benefit of purchasing masks at this time. Vice President of the Union for Club Relations Joe Mampillil ’21 clarified that the $2,252 for purchasing the covers would be reallocated from a pre-existing budget, and that RMA was not seeking extra funding from the Union. RMA additionally requested that the instrument covers be purchased from McCormick’s rather than Music & Arts, RPI’s current preferred vendor. Switching vendors, according to the Union, would require justification and may take time to process. The motion to approve the purchase passed 6-5-0.

Kriti Sharma ’25, who voted against the approval, recalled that RMA “had multiple performances where wind instruments were played without the use of a mask,” and “didn't see the need for instrument masks at this stage in the pandemic when everyone is vaccinated.” She was also concerned that the cost of the instrument masks will exceed their purpose, especially when the fate of the pandemic is uncertain.

RPI Club Volleyball’s proposal for a new program called “Outdoor Play”, passed 13‒0‒0. The club plans to run outdoor beach and grass volleyball sessions in addition to indoor sessions at the East Campus Athletic Village.

Club Volleyball wanted to start “Outdoor Play” as they were unable to organize meetings in ECAV due to COVID-19 testing held in the building. Instead, the club decided to hold outdoor games next to the Armory. In a letter to the E-Board, Christopher Nieves ’22 stated that the new location attracted over 80 students and brought recognition to the club. Since equipment for outdoor play was not part of the organization’s budget, the club used balls and nets belonging to officers and members. The new program would allow Club Volleyball to allocate funds for coordinating games on grass fields and nearby beaches without wearing down personal equipment.

The Union Executive Board unanimously elected Faizah Rabbye ’23 as secretary of the Board for the Fall 2021 semester. The previous secretary, Oleksiy Golub ’23, was unable to attend Board meetings due to a schedule conflict.

The Executive Board meets Thursdays at 8 pm in the Shelnutt Gallery.