Adapting to unprecedented times

By Caitlin Kennedy April 10, 2020

Hello RPI, 

I hope this update finds you well. It’s been about a month since we left campus for Spring Break. I know when I left class that Friday afternoon, I never would have guessed it would be my last college class ever. Whether you are a senior and grieving the loss of your senior spring, or a sophomore coming to terms with the fact that it will be months before you see your classmates again, I feel for you. These are unprecedented times. 

First, I want to say I am proud of Rensselaer for the way they have handled many of the issues that have arisen. There is no guidebook on how to handle college courses during a global pandemic, but I think they have done the best they can. Many professors, especially mine, have been extremely understanding. Almost all my remaining assignments have been modified and my professors are continuously offering their support, both for my academics and my mental health. I want to commend them for going out of their way and recognizing their role in our education and lives. 

If you have a professor you think has done an exceptional job, reach out and let them know. They are just as worried and concerned as you are, and you can put a smile on their face. On the other hand, if you have a teacher who you believe is not doing the best job at handling these circumstances, reach out to your class dean or the Office of Student Success. Your education and grades do not need to suffer! 

A few quick updates on the Union: Over the week preceding Spring Break, a few minor construction projects were started on the first floor of the Union. The RPI TV office was being converted into the new Ben and Jerry’s counter. The hair salon was going to be downsized to create an additional meeting room. Unfortunately, when the university closed, all projects came to a halt. The Pub renovation was also put on hold. We are excited to finish these as soon as it is safe to do so. The building has been cleaned, along with the Mueller Center and Playhouse, and will remain closed until further notice. 

Your student government representatives are working hard to find a way to allow GM Week elections to occur remotely. We are exploring a variety of options and platforms to create a reliable, easy elections process to allow students to have a say in their representatives for next year. Grand Marshal Meagan Lettko ’20 has sent a few updates to the community and we will continue to do so as new information becomes available. 

We are also aware that many students are very excited to vote and receive their 2020 GM Week mug! The mugs are here and we are exploring the best options to get those mugs to you! For returning students you will most likely be able to pick them up when we return to campus. For seniors, they will probably be given out when we get back to campus to celebrate our commencement and all other activities we missed. 

I know many clubs have continued to have virtual meetings and elections. I commend you for this. It is important to reach out to your members to check in on them as well. SARPS are also available remotely to help with anything from clubs to just someone to talk to. I wish you all the best and continued health for you and your loved ones. If there is anything I can help you or your clubs with, please don’t hesitate to reach out!