E-Board confirms the closure of Ben and Jerry’s on campus
The Union Executive Board met for the second time this fiscal year via WebEx to discuss a variety of topics regarding future changes within the Rensselaer Union. Due to scheduling conflicts, the Board was unable to reach quorum, so instead discussion was held over each topic so that all members could vote electronically after the meeting.
The main topic of the night included discussion over Ben and Jerry’s. The ice cream shop sits on the bottom floor of the Union and is well-known to many Rensselaer students. However, the E-board revealed that Ben and Jerry’s neglected to pay rent since the pandemic’s closing and has not made adequate sales to continue operating. As a result, the store will close on Friday, September 1st. Students will still be able to purchase Ben and Jerry’s through Father’s Marketplace and on-campus events, but the shop itself will close. Director of the Union Charlie Potts said that the university is working to determine how to move forward with the confined space and the turnover will be a “work in progress.”
The Board asked several questions in regards to the closure. Class of 2025 Representative Jacob Fuhr asked if issued coupons from Ben and Jerry’s could still be used, to which Dr. Potts said that they can be used until the date on the coupon. In response to several other questions, Dr. Potts provided clarifications on the shop’s closing. A formal announcement on the closure will most likely be released through the administration in the fall as well as through the Union’s social media sites to notify students. In addition, students that are working at the location may seek employment at other spaces on campus or at the new business once it is formally installed. In the end, the motion to close the shop passed unanimously.
Another motion was then brought to discussion. President of the Union Ava Gallagher ’23 included plans to reopen the hair salon on the bottom floor of the Union in her campaign back in the Spring semester. In order to jump start those plans, Gallagher and Dr. Potts spoke with local barber Alex Rivera about the hair salon’s reopening. Future plans indicate the salon will be open full time and address hair care for all genders and hair types on campus. The motion proposed allowing initial contract discussions in order to have everything ready by sometime in the Fall. The motion passed unanimously.
The E-Board then discussed renovations for the Student Government Suite, the second of which to occur since March 2020. Given a $20,000 donation from Jon Kessler ’79, the E-board drafted floor plans to upgrade the Student Government Suite with new furniture including chairs, tables and couches. Gallagher showcased images of the furniture and several floor plans as part of the presentation. Many chairs are similar to the ones already on the top floor of the Union, which Potts stated was a benefit since they utilize the same parts and thus will be easier to fix. When asked the reason behind this particular renovation, Dr. Potts stated that the furniture upgrade will allow for more seating and utilizes more spatial reasoning. In all, it would take about 4-6 weeks for the furniture, worth about $27,300, to be ordered and installed. After processing fees, the E-Board would have a total of $18,000 to spend. Once the furniture is purchased there will be around $9,000 spent. The furniture upgrade passed with a vote of 10-4-0.
Another motion appointed Scott Visser ’25 as Business Operations Committee Chairperson which passed unanimously.
This Executive Board meeting was held on August 10 via Gallagher’s WebEx room. The next meeting will occur on August 23 at 8pm on WebEx.