Executive Board

Subsidy requests approved for Business Operations Committee, Student Senate, The Polytechnic, RPI Flying Club

On Thursday, the Union Executive Board approved three additional subsidy requests for RPI Flying Club, The Polytechnic, and the Business Operations Commission. The Board also approved a subsidy reallocation request for the Student Senate.

The Senate Survey is an annual study run by the Student Senate to gather feedback on campus issues. In 2021, the survey offered a $50 gift card to the Rensselaer Collegiate Store in the form of a raffle. Grand Marshal Cait Bennett ’22 explained that many students did not find this incentive desirable enough to take the survey. The new incentive will instead offer $2.50 Ben & Jerry’s coupons.

According to Bennett, RPI’s mall shuttle service is currently inactive due to COVID-19, meaning the program’s budget is unused. The Student Senate proposed to reallocate $2500 from the Capital District Mall Shuttle Program to cover the cost of the 1000 coupons.

During the meeting, Vice President for Club Relations Oleksiy Golub ’23 stressed the importance of reviewing the survey first before making a decision. Golub explained that the new survey was designed to be shorter and easier to answer, both of which were qualities that previously raised personal doubts in the value of the questions.

Member-At-Large Representative Minh Nguyen ’22 questioned the merits of the motion. Nguyen noted that the Executive Board did not fund giveaways and wondered if approving this motion would set a precedent for funding giveaways in the future. President of the Union Yaseen Mahmoud ’22 responded that the Board can make exceptions, especially if the giveaway is beneficial to the student body. Mahmoud also read a section from Chapter 17 of the Rensselaer Union Guidelines and Procedures which confirmed that the Board does not have the power to fund individual awards but declared that members could still vote to make an exemption.

Nguyen asked if the Senate contacted the Marketing and Strategy Committee to consider different marketing options. Bennett responded that previous strategies such as Instagram and postering will be used, but the proposal focused more on a change in the incentive rather than a change in marketing.

The motion to reallocate $2500 from RPI’s shuttle program to purchase Ben & Jerry’s coupons passed 9-2-0.

The Polytechnic is RPI’s student-run news organization. Traditionally, the club attends the College Media Association convention in New York City every year in the spring, but were unable to participate for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the convention is now available in-person for 2022. The event offers workshops and classes revolving around journalism and communication, as well as networking opportunities and professional critiques. This year, 13 club members plan to attend the conference.

Matt Zapken, the Vice President for Rules and Special Projects, expressed concern over the number of attendants and asked if the club received direct confirmation from each person. Editor in chief Medhini Mankale ’22, who presented during the meeting, confirmed that the club had. Golub followed up by asking how the 13 attendants will be traveling. Mankale responded that travel will be done through Amtrak and not all club members will require transportation.

The club sought an additional subsidy of $1818.23 to cover the cost of attendance. The motion passed 11-1-0.

RPI Flying Club is an organization for aviation enthusiasts. Prior to 2022, the club provided classes for the Private Pilot Knowledge Test, a certified assessment by the Federal Aviation Administration and a prerequisite for obtaining a private pilot license. However, the usual instructor did not offer to teach this year due to contractual issues with RPI. As a result, the club hired a new instructor from Hewison Aviation, a flight school based in New York.

Hewison Aviation charges $4500 in advance for private pilot classes, an increase from the previous instructor. RPI Flying Club proposed an additional subsidy of $525 in order to cover the new cost. The motion passed 11-0-1 with Conner Whitlock ’22 abstaining due to his affiliation with the club.

The Business Operations Committee, a branch of the Executive Board that maintains Union-related facilities and services, sought to purchase a Meeting Owl Conference Camera for $999. According to the proposal sheet, virtual attendees in Executive Board meetings have trouble seeing or hearing developments during the meeting. The purpose of the camera is to solve these issues through an upgraded microphone, camera, and speaker system. The motion to approve the purchase passed 11-0-0.