Undergraduate President: Rhea Banerjee

By The Polytechnic Editorial Board March 22, 2021

The Polytechnic endorses Rhea Banerjee ’22 for Undergraduate President. Her time in Student Government over the past three years has given her the experience to serve as undergraduate president. She is an active proponent of the Arch Task Force as a way to prepare students for the Arch summer program and create a network of opportunities for students.

Banerjee is the incumbent Undergraduate President, and has also served on the Senate as Hospitality Services Advisory Committee chair. She worked to find out why the Create-Your-Own meal plan no longer exists, and called the experience “humbling.”

Banerjee and the Undergraduate Council have been working with the Faculty Senate to implement Spring Week, a week with no exams or assignments due, to give students a break as there is no Spring Break this semester. Though the Spring Week plans are on hold at the moment with the extension of the Trigger 1 Quarantine, Banerjee said that the Spring Week will “most likely happen after GM Week.”

When asked about what the Arch Task Force has accomplished so far, she talked about a town hall held to inform students about plans for the Summer semester. She also explained the importance of having juniors and seniors on the Arch Task Force to share their experiences and assist students in preparing for their Arch semesters away. The Poly agrees that the knowledge of upperclassmen on the Arch Task Force would be beneficial.

In her interview, Banerjee noted that she believes the Undergraduate Council bylaws should be clarified as currently there is a conflict between some class council bylaws and UC bylaws. She did note that this will take some time as she wants to work with members of the UC to make sure that the bylaws will not need significant changes in the future. Updating the bylaws have been a goal of the UP for the past two years. One of her ideas is to encourage students to bring class-specific problems to their class council rather than bringing the issues to the Senate. Class councils can act faster to resolve the problems, which also frees up the Senate to focus on issues affecting the whole school.

While she can improve her plans for concrete action, Banjeree demonstrates that she has the experience to carry out the position of Undergraduate President. We hope she will develop the Arch Task Force to become an active part of the Rensselaer community, and deliver on her promise to make long-needed updates to the UC bylaws.