Putting the Union in perspective

By Caitlin Kennedy December 1, 2019

Some members of the Executive Board and the Senate attended the 70th annual Association of College Unions International Region VIII Conference this past weekend.

This year, it was held at the University of New Hampshire. We took seven Executive Board members, one Senator, and four Union staff members. Our region includes schools in New York, Rhode Island, New England, Great Britain, Canada, Ireland, and Qatar. Throughout the weekend, there were multiple workshops where multiple presenters talked about different topics related to student life.

We went to workshops on managing renovations, being mindful, suicide prevention, and dealing with temporary spaces. Staff workshops included how to facilitate renovations and how to manage student employees. There will be a presentation from the attendees on what they took away from the experience.

Another great takeaway from this weekend was getting the chance to talk to other students from other unions and see what ideas they had. We participated in a case study where we worked with students from other schools to design a fictional union. It was an amazing experience to be able to talk to others about programs and facilities they have and use in their union.

This has taught me how great the Rensselaer Union is. It is so easy to harp on the issues we have and how far we have to go. And it’s true, I hope we are never satisfied with where we are as a Union. But, times like this weekend are a great opportunity to reflect and be thankful for all that we have.

We have an amazing building where we can come to eat, hangout, and study. We are surrounded by staff who support us and we have places where we feel welcome. I hope every student feels they are safe and welcome in our Rensselaer Union. If this is not the case, please reach out to me at and tell me what we can do to fix it.

I hope everyone takes this much needed Thanksgiving Break to relax and spend time with family and friends. You all deserve it!