Letter To The Editor

Join the Arch Task Force Committee

By Peter Gramenides '20 April 24, 2019

Hello everyone! My name is Peter Gramenides and I am the new chairperson of the Arch Task Force Committee as well as the Interfraternity Council Greek senator. I am dedicated in this position to represent all students with a primary emphasis on diversity. More often than not, our students from working class families, underrepresented backgrounds, and those with disabilities are not given a seat in discussions. On the Arch Task Force, I aspire to recruit a diverse and representative body that will be able to investigate and develop recommendations to best serve and support the Rensselaer student body.

All members of the community are welcome to join the Arch Task Force. We will be active all summer and will be meeting in the Student Government Suite of the Union every Wednesday starting on April 24 at 6 pm. During this time, we will be interviewing students and getting feedback on the Arch program to develop new projects and programs to benefit the community.

The first of our many initiatives will be to spearhead a peer-mentoring program for Rensselaer students in which older students with industry experience can opt-in to mentoring younger students and assist them in applying for internships. I believe this will help lessen the load on the Center for Career and Professional Development and begin the process of building a professional support network for students in preparation for Arch. This will include a professional support network for women and underrepresented minority students that we hope to build in collaboration with multicultural and women’s groups on campus.

We will also be collaborating closely with the Interfraternity and Panhellenic councils to integrate Greek organizations with Arch over the summer. These initiatives include partnering with the Division of Student Life to hold an Arch orientation for Greek students and distributing Arch programming guides for Greek life. Given that the Greek community constitutes over 20 percent of all Rensselaer students and has over 30 facilities, we believe this will help Greek organizations partner with Union clubs to put on professional development programs and community engagement activities during Arch.

In surveys, it has also been shown that students overwhelmingly support Greek and off-campus housing options for Arch. Many students have also expressed that not being able to live in apartments during Arch will impede their opportunity to find housing as upperclassmen since they will not be able to find one semester leases.

Our constituents within the Greek community have stated that the lack of a Greek live-in program for Arch will be devastating to their finances and membership. According to the Interfraternity Council, over $600,000 will be lost by fraternities due to the lack of an Arch live-in program. Greek live-in for Arch would help strengthen finances within Greek organizations as well as a sense of community by allowing students from Greek and non-Greek organizations to live in Greek facilities during Arch. As a result, the Arch Task Force will be advocating for Greek live-in for summer Arch as well as a waiver process for off-campus apartments.

Numerous students have also expressed that they were not granted waivers for Arch, even though they found opportunities for the summer. We will be recruiting students for the Arch Task Force to serve as advocates for students in this situation. They will meet with the administration and advocate for the needs of students first and foremost.

I look forward to working with all of you to help develop sustainable, supportive, inclusive, and fact-supported recommendations to benefit all students. The Arch is a new reality for students and organizations at Rensselaer. The Arch Task Force will work to be adaptive and innovative at the benefit of current and future students. Please contact me at gramep@rpi.edu to join the Arch Task Force or if you have any ideas, concerns, or suggestions!