Top Hat

Take a look at the UAR

By Justin Etzine February 14, 2018

Hello, RPI!

On Sunday, the Senate approved the Union Annual Report for fiscal year 2019. This document—comparable to a public firm’s annual financial disclosure—outlines where and how your Activity Fee is spent. Pending Board of Trustees approval, the fees have been set to $393.50 for undergraduate students and $342 for graduate students.

The Union Executive Board, led by President of the Union Matthew Rand ’19, spent several weeks producing an approximately $4.5 million budget to allocate the funds available to various operations, facilities, staffing, and—of course—club costs. Along with explanations for changes in each section, this budget can be found in full in the UAR, and it also provides detailed breakdowns of subsidy for all Union-funded organizations.

We usually see increases in the range of two or three percent per year; however, this year the fee increased just 1.7 percent for undergraduate and graduate students alike. Historically, the Activity Fee has also been used to help finance the cost of the Union’s main home: the Union building. In the late 1960s, students opted by referendum to tax themselves to make our current Union building a reality. In 1999, the Union was renovated, again by way of the Activity Fee.

In addition to finances, the report also outlines the many achievements and updates of our clubs and organizations. What stood out as notable to me in this report is the incredible number of groups that achieved milestones, won competitions, or broke new records for their organizations in the past year. For example, Genericon celebrated its 30th annual conference, further solidifying its place as a top-tier convention in the northeastern United States. The Curling Team reached one of the top rankings in the country at its national competition, and several sports teams made history with exceptional regional and national competition performances. The Multicultural Leadership Council organized a number of events and programs on diversity and inclusion for the benefit of the entire community. And this only scratches the surface of the achievements outlined.

So, if you could not tell so far, I highly encourage you to check out the UAR, which can be found at

In other Student Senate news, the proposed handbook for Grand Marshal Week 2018 elections will be reviewed and voted on this Wednesday. The preliminary draft of the handbook continues many of the existing policies and rules for ensuring the fairness and openness of our student government elections. One of the more notable changes is the addition of provisions against external funding and influences into our elections and platforms. Your representatives should be representing you, not ulterior motives.

If you’re interested in seeing what we do, feel welcome to stop by one of our meetings, which happen weekly on Wednesdays at 8 pm in the Rensselaer Union Shelnutt Gallery. And as always, if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at!