Breaking down this year’s Grand Marshal Week elections
With campaigning for Student Government elections underway, I am reminded of my past memories of Grand Marshal Weeks. Although I love this time of year on campus, GM Week elections at Rensselaer have been surrounded by a black cloud in the past couple of years. Every year, there seems to be some mishap—just search on The Polytechnic website for “elections” and you can see for yourself. Every year, the Elections Commission does everything they can to prepare for a smooth election. This year, Arch away students will be able to vote, our third party voting platform will allow you to choose your cohort, and the EC is working to ensure that every eligible student has the opportunity to vote. With all the knowledge from previous elections and the preparation for this year’s election, I am hopeful that this year’s elections will go smoothly.
I will share some insight into our preparation that leads me to believe we will have a smooth election this year. The use of a third-party voting system will ensure that the election is fair and secure. Additionally, the measures that the Senate and the EC have taken to allow Arch away students to vote and to ensure that voters can choose their cohorts (either by graduation year or by entry cohort) will ensure that every eligible student is properly represented in this year’s election. However, we are always on our toes to address issues if they come up.
Switching gears to the campaigns themselves, we’d love to see more people get involved with student government, as there are still numerous uncontested races! If you’re interested in learning more, I would encourage you to attend an information session, which is required if you want to run for a position. They are held every day from 4–5pm EST in this Webex room: rensselaer.webex.com/meet/adamsk3. If you’d like to see who is currently running or want to learn more about the election process as a whole, check out elections.union.rpi.edu. But for now, here is a quick rundown of all the available positions and what they entail:
Grand Marshal (GM)
The GM serves as the leader and chief spokesperson for the student body and presides over the Student Senate, the chief legislative and representative body of the Union. The role is very time intensive.
President of the Union (PU)
The PU presides over the Executive Board, the budgeting group of the Union, and is the chief financial officer of the Union. The PU is also responsible for the Union’s operations alongside the Executive Board. This position is also a very time-intensive role.
Undergraduate President (UP)
The UP presides over the Undergraduate Council (UC), which supervises the four undergraduate class councils. This role is also time-intensive.
The Class President presides over their Class Council, helping the Class Council plan programs to increase class unity and advocate for issues that affect their class. The Class President is also a voting member of the UC. The time commitment ranges from four to six hours per week as part of the Class Council, UC, and committees.
Class Vice President
The Class Vice President assumes the role of President in the absence of the President, and assists the President in their duties. The Class Vice President is also a voting member of both the Class Council and the UC. The time commitment ranges from four to six hours per week as part of the Class Council, UC, and committees.
Class Senator (4 per class)
The Senate is the chief legislative and representative body of the Union, and is responsible for the betterment of the student experience and student advocacy. The time commitment is at least five to six hours per week including both Class Council and Senate commitments.
Class Council Representative (8 per class)
The Class Council is responsible for planning activities and fundraisers, selecting a commencement speaker and class gift, planning Senior Week events, and representing the entire class to the rest of the student government. The time commitment is at least one to two hours a week.
Graduate Senator (6)
Graduate Senators are required to serve on the Graduate Student Council as well as one of the Senate’s committees. The time commitment for the role is at least five hours per week.
Graduate Representative (6)
The Graduate Student Council is responsible for representing the views of the graduate student body, and in charge of planning events that add to the graduate student experience.
Greek Senator (1 for the Interfraternity Council and 1 for the Panhellenic Council)
The two Greek Senators are members of the Senate who represent all students in fraternities and sororities. One must be an active member of an RPI-affiliated fraternity, and the other must be an active member of an RPI-affiliated sorority. These Greek Senators are part of the Executive Committee of their respective Greek Councils (the Interfraternity Council or the Panhellenic Council). They are elected directly by the Greek students from all classes during GM Week.
Independent Senator (2)
The two Independent Senators are members of the Senate who represent all underrepresented groups rather than the students of a particular class. Unlike other Senators, the Independent Senators do not report to any constituent council. These Senators are elected directly by students who are not affiliated with any fraternity or sorority from all classes during GM Week.
Alumni Council (4 positions: President, VP, Secretary, and Treasurer)
The Alumni Council is responsible for planning reunions, networking after graduation, and maintaining class spirit.
I know that is quite a lot to go through, but if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I wish everyone happy campaigning and am looking forward to a smooth election!