Top Hat

Attention all freshmen interested in StuGov

By Meagan Lettko September 26, 2019

Freshmen campaigning kicked off last week on September 16. Freshmen students can now attend informational sessions—which are a prerequisite for campaigning—to learn about the rules and procedures of campaigning and elections. The information sessions are held weekdays from September 16 to October 8. These sessions will be held in Commons Dining Hall and the Student Government Suite, which is room 3120 in the Union. The schedule for these sessions are as follows:

  • Mondays: 6–7PM, Commons
  • Tuesdays: 6–7PM, Union Room 3120
  • Wednesdays: 6–7PM, Commons
  • Thursdays: 6–7PM, Union Room 3120
  • Fridays: 5–6PM, Commons

The positions that will be voted on in October are Class of 2023 president, Class of 2023 vice president, four Class of 2023 senators, and eight Class of 2023 representatives. The main duty of the class president is to organize the Class Council, protect and uphold the bylaws established by the Class Council, organize class activities, and call and preside over Class Council meetings. The vice president assists the president with their duties and assumes the duties of the president in their absence. Class representatives serve on the Class Council and assist with holding class events and fundraisers. Class senators are responsible for holding a voting seat in the Student Senate. The Senate is the chief legislative and representative body of the Union, and is presided over by me, the Grand Marshal.

However, there are many positions in Student Government that are not elected positions, but are still useful in gaining leadership experience and helping the campus community. If you are not sure you are ready to campaign for an elected position, make sure to check out our Senate committees! The Student Senate accomplishes a lot of project work through committees. These committees are a great place to gain valuable leadership skills while pursuing projects that align with your individual passions.

The Academic Affairs Committee, headed by Jonathan Bao, works with students, faculty, and administration to ensure students have the opportunities and tools to support their academic growth. The committee must set goals for the coming year that align with what the student body wants and needs. Over the previous year, this committee has worked on planning a research symposium. The chair of AAC also selects the two undergraduate representatives and one graduate representative to the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee.

The Arch Task Force, headed by Peter Gramenides, seeks to relay information from the student body to the Arch leadership and the administration. It also pursues projects that seek to better the Arch program and ease the transition into full Arch implementation. Over the past year, the ATF has focused on surveying students, interfacing with the Arch leadership team, and pursuing housing-related Arch projects. Moving forward, the ATF will be responsible for creating a plan for Senate operation during the Arch program and interacting with the Faculty Senate, the Arch leadership team, the administration, and the student body to communicate student concerns and improvements to the program.

The Community Relations Committee, headed by Aloni Jordan, focuses on developing the student body’s connection with the off-campus community, including downtown Troy and nearby colleges. This year, they will work on further development of volunteer opportunities and event coordination between schools. In the past, the CRC has coordinated a tailgate and organized the Annual Lupus Walk in the Spring semester.

The Facilities and Services Committee, headed by Nick Dybas, works to improve campus buildings and grounds, transportation, safety, and dining services. The committee works closely with students and administration to facilitate these improvements on campus. Over the past year, the FSC has focused on initiatives like composting in dining halls, bike sharing, study spaces, Department of Public Safety meet and greets, Safe Ride, and mall shuttles.

The Hospitality Services Advisory Committee, headed by Rhea Banerjee, works on giving student feedback and recommendations to the Institute Hospitality Services, and meets regularly with Rensselaer Dining administration on campus. This committee has been working on projects to better accommodate restrictive diets and to improve the experience within dining halls.

The Student Government Communications Committee, headed by Christina Magunga, is a joint committee between the Student Senate and Executive Board. The purpose of the SGCC is to communicate student government activities to the student body, including minutes, motions and agendas for all StuGov meetings when available. The SGCC also makes an effort to help Senate committees advertise programs around campus, like student opinion surveys and extended shuttle services, and also manages the Senate and Student Government social media accounts.

The Student Life Committee, headed by Maya Ooki, focuses on student rights and well-being and works to improve the student experience at RPI. This versatile committee collaborates with Rensselaer administration and various student organizations to alleviate student life issues through initiatives and policy discussion. This committee advocates for student involvement in interviewing staff that work directly with students. This year the committee will have a focus on looking at support for mental health and wellness on campus.

The Union Annual Report Committee, headed by Nate Sullivan, is a joint Senate and E-Board committee which creates the Union Annual Report—the document which details the financial status of the entire Union—increasing transparency in student government. Members of this committee gain valuable skills in financial writing and organization.

The Web Technologies Group, headed by Evan Lazaro, is tasked with creating technological solutions that benefit students at RPI. Additionally, WTG is responsible for promoting, implementing, and maintaining technological initiatives of Student Government. WTG has been the birthplace of many commonly used technology services available to students, such as Shuttle Tracker, the RPI Petitions service, and Concerto Signage, which can be found all over campus.

If you are interested in joining a committee, please email the respective chairperson to be added to the email list! You do not have to run to be on a committee, apply, or even commit to going to weekly meetings—committee work can be as involved as you want it to be. As always, if you have any questions for me please reach out at My office hours are every Monday from 12:30–1:30 pm in the Student Government Suite on the third floor of the Union.