President of the Union: Anissa Choiniere

By The Polytechnic Editorial Board April 27, 2020

The Polytechnic endorses Anissa Choiniere ’20 for president of the Union. Although she is running uncontested, we believe her dedication to the student body is reflected in her previous endeavors as a member of student government. She hopes to “unite the RPI community and improve the future of the student experience” and “maximize the efficiency of the Executive Board and ensure that we continue to help these organizations in the best possible way.” The Poly believes Choiniere’s vision for the Executive Board is admirable and will serve the RPI community well.

Choiniere has been a member of the Executive Board since she was a freshman. Starting as a member-at-large of the E-Board, she has taken on increasing responsibilities as class Executive Board representative, Union Policies Committee chairperson, and the vice president of the Union. Currently, she serves as vice president for board operations. The Poly believes the breadth of her experiences has given her a deep understanding of Union policies and procedures, including the budgeting process.

Availability and communication are important to Choiniere and she hopes to be more accessible “through the addition of more PU Office Hours.” She would like to improve communication between the Executive Board and clubs further and believes that “You get so much more of an understanding about all the different clubs when you actually sit in on their E-Board meetings, [and] their general body meetings. It’s not enough just to have basic email correspondence.” She wants club meeting attendance to become “mandatory for all E-board reps because you really can’t advocate for someone if you don’t understand what their needs are.” The Poly feels that this would allow for the E-Board representatives to become better acquainted with the inner-workings of a club, and requiring club meeting attendance for E-board representatives is a great way to improve the relationship between clubs and their reps.

During Choiniere’s term as the Union Policies Committee chairperson, she wrote and organized a conflict of interest policy after seeing several conflicts of interest on the Executive Board during her freshman year. She specifically worked to remove bias from decisions involving clubs who had members on the Board. She is passionate about this issue and explains that “If there are situations in which I feel that I am the only person who is able to provide key information that cannot be delivered in an unbiased way, I will step down as chair of the meeting while that piece of business is discussed.” The Poly agrees with this attitude and believes that it is important for a leader to know when their opinion is required.

When we asked Choiniere if the Union Annual Report should be confidential until finalized, she answered, “per Institute policies, I think it makes sense just for the Institute to get its budget straight. I realize that it’s frustrating to the rest of the student body, but I don’t think that’s something that’s able to be changed right now.” She went on to say, “Ideally we would give as much information as possible as soon as possible because obviously it’s important that the students know exactly where their money is going and why, but I do know that the Executive Board tries hard every year to get that information out as soon as possible.” While The Poly would like to see a public UAR before the Institute approves the budget, we agree with Choiniere that fighting for that change would be difficult given past Institute changes to the report.

One of Choiniere’s main goals for the new E-board is to “create a defined plan for the Union once the debt service is paid off in 2025.” She told The Poly of a possible plan to use the freed-up funds to “work on and upgrade the lower level [of the Union], especially with the amount of people who are constantly down there during the week for late-night dining hours.” Additionally, she would like to discuss upgrades for the Mueller Center or ’87 Gymnasium. The Poly agrees that such a foresighted plan would be a beneficial initiative for the new Board, as it would grant more time for both public comment as well as time to plan necessary logistics and submit the necessary paperwork to turn feasible projects into a reality.

The Polytechnic strongly believes that Choiniere will be an excellent president of the Union and representative of the student body.