What Family Weekend means to me

By Caitlin Kennedy October 30, 2019

As I’m sure you know, this past weekend Rensselaer celebrated Family Weekend. If your family came out to campus, I hope they had an awesome time. One of the events that is most meaningful to me is the Grand Marshal–President of the Union Brunch, held last Sunday. It is always fun to see the McNeil Room looking so fancy and dressed up. I have been attending this brunch for the last four years, but this year was extra special for me for a few reasons.

As PU, I get the opportunity to speak at the event and thank my Executive Board. I commonly feel like I don’t get the chance to do this enough. All 33 students on the Board work so hard every day to make sure every student and club gets a unique and positive experience from our Union. Everything we do is a group effort, and this team is strong and dedicated to their cause, so thank you! I also had the chance to present the Frederick M. Nussbaum Class of 1930 Memorial Award for Outstanding Volunteerism to Rebecca Nungesser. It is important for us to recognize the amazing work RPI students do and congratulate them, so congratulations Rebecca!

My parents were also able to come up! We sat and had brunch with the Grand Marshal Meagan Lettko ’20, her parents, Vice President of Student Life Peter Konwerski, and President Shirley Ann Jackson and her husband Morris Washington. It was very nice to be able to sit down and share a meal with them. So many of my interactions with the cabinet and Dr. Jackson are very much focused on accomplishing a piece of business or working through a process. Getting the chance to talk as peers and introduce my parents to so many people was very special. Of course, I tell them about my days and all the meetings I go through, but it was nice for them to put faces to the names I so commonly mention.

It was also a great opportunity to get to showcase the Union to Dr. Jackson and so many other cabinet members who aren’t around the building very often. We have worked very hard this past year to get the building to look new and improved. We are proud of our Union and any chance we get to show it off, we take! We are looking to plan a quick tour of the building with Dr. Jackson in the coming months. We have so many plans in progress and we would love to share them with her. We are currently planning on showcasing the upcoming Clubhouse Pub renovations and what those will look like in the long run. We will show her the Multicultural Lounge and how we are working to transform the current Patroon Room into the X-Lounge—the renamed MCL— while repurposing the current MCL into the LGBTQ Lounge. There are currently plans drawn for both, and we expect to start some mild renovations very soon. We also hope to show her the new student mailroom space, which we anticipate being ready by the beginning of next semester at the latest.

We are constantly looking for new spaces to upgrade so students can get the most out of the Union. The Business Operations Committee of the Union is in charge of vetting most of these projects and bringing them to the Board along with the help of Director of the Union Charlie Potts. If you or any other students you know are interested or have any ideas about ways we can improve our physical space, stop by. The Business Operations Committee meets at 7 pm on Wednesdays in the Student Government Suite on the third floor of the Union. I hope to see some new faces there!