Vivian Rost-Nasshan for Grand Marshal

By The Polytechnic Editorial Board March 17, 2024

The Polytechnic endorses Vivian Rost-Nasshan ’26 for Grand Marshal. Rost-Nasshan currently serves as the Academic Affairs Committee Chairperson and an Independent Senator. Her goals for next year include making committee meetings more open to the public and increasing several forms of accessibility for RPI students.

Rost-Nasshan has been involved in Student Government since middle school and continued this pathway into Rensselaer’s Student Senate. Rost-Nasshan can easily be described as an optimistic and motivated individual with a strong dedication to support RPI students. Not only is she an advocate for the average student, but she is also experienced in the inner workings of RPI’s Senate committees. She is highly committed to serving RPI and strengthening the connection between the student body and student government by making changes that will outlast her term.

One of Rost-Nasshan’s goals is to increase accessibility to education in all aspects. As part of this initiative, she worked with the RPI bookstore to lower textbook costs by offering packages for some 1000-level classes, a project which she hopes to expand in the future. Additionally, she participated in an accessibility walk through RPI’s campus this past year to check the condition of various structures across campus put in place for disabled students. Building off of that experience, she proposed working with administration and Public Safety to make lectures and classrooms more accessible for students. She highlighted the idea that it should not be the student who should be responsible for adapting their learning style, but that there should be a system in place to help accommodate. A long-term goal for Rost-Nasshan to improve the student experience is to increase the number of learning spaces on campus, allowing students to separate social activities from academics.

Rost-Nasshan is a proponent of giving students opportunities to practice presenting their research and projects. She wants to build upon the Undergraduate Research Project Symposium and its connection to the Institute, as well as help create a platform for students to showcase their passion projects and clubs.

Another one of Rost-Nasshan’s goals is to make Student Government meetings more public and encourage students to attend round table discussions. She wants to publish meeting notes and schedules in order to create more transparency. She also plans to create a Visitor Speaker Q&A and make herself present in the Student Union to address student concerns. Rost-Nasshan wants to push the Senate outside the realm of academics and truly connect and represent the student body.

The Student Senate has experienced issues with reaching quorum requirements to vote, leaving constituencies underrepresented and the Senate at an impasse. To address this, Rost-Nasshan plans to communicate directly with the councils to encourage attendance and ensure that students and their interests are being served.

While Rost-Nasshan is qualified for the role, she is a current sophomore and rather young for what is typical of the imposing GM position. Although her involvement in student government has been significant thus far, The Polytechnic worries she has had less time to cultivate a relationship with the University’s administration. Rost-Nasshan acknowledged these concerns in her interview but stated that she hopes her fresh perspective and willingness to collaborate with the administration and their plans for the future of the Institute will make up for it.

Additionally, as a sophomore, she is still determining her Arch away semester. In the event she participates in the Arch, her current plan is to be away during Spring 2025, which would potentially interrupt the last few months of her term as GM. Regardless of her Arch plans, she hopes to meet with elements of the student government and administration during the Summer 2024 semester and will continue to advocate for the student body no matter the circumstances of her away semester. In her absence, another GM will be elected by the Student Senate and depending on the status of a recently proposed amendment, the role may be open to all members of the Union.

Despite these uncertainties, The Polytechnic is excited by the energy and enthusiasm Rost-Nasshan would be sure to bring to the GM position. While she is still only a sophomore, she has the experience and drive to make lasting changes for the student body.