An eventful weekend at RPI

By Caitlin Kennedy February 5, 2020

What a great weekend for Rensselaer! There was so much going on within the school, especially within the Union.

On Friday, I had the opportunity to talk with the Rensselaer Alumni Association. We had some great conversations about the Union and the direction we’re headed in. They were all super excited about wanting to help out students with whatever we need. I am going to work with Director of the Union Charlie Potts and Grand Marshal Meagan Lettko ’20 to write an article for the alumni newsletter with an update on the status of the Union and what we want their help with. They were super energetic and engaged and it was a great way to open future conversations.

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to introduce Ibram Kendi, a New York Times best-selling author, for the spring installment of the Union Speakers Forum. I worked closely with Director of Student Activities Cameron McLean and Director of Multicultural Programs Chenthu Jayachandiran. They were both vital in organizing this event. Kendi spoke at length about the difference between being “not racist” and “anti-racist.” He spoke about how everyone agrees that they aren’t racist, regardless of what their views are. But being not racist is not good enough. We need to all work to be anti-racist. Kendi argues that the way to do this is through policy—actively choosing policies that fight against racism and remembering to not apply individual ideologies to groups. Kendi has written many books about this topic including How to be an Antiracist, Stamped from the Beginning, The definitive history of racist ideas in America, and the Black Campus Movement. I encourage you all to check them out and work to make sure RPI is an actively anti-racist community.

On Saturday night, the RPI men’s hockey team played the University of Vermont in the 43rd annual Big Red Freakout! This game is always a ton of fun since so many alumni come out to join us. Every year, the Executive Board chooses a giveaway to hand out at the doors. This year, we had a retractable banner that read “Go Engineers!” It is always so much fun to see how dressed up students and alumni get to show their RPI pride—and this year we ended in a win!

Weekends like these make me so thankful to be a part of our Union. So many faculty, staff, and students work diligently to make sure students have a ton of fun during their four years at RPI. I hope participating in these events inspires students to take an active role in the Union, whether through a club, Student Government, sports team, or a number of other ways. As always, I am here to help in any way I can. Don’t hesitate to reach out at