Candidate Profile

Paul Khoury candidate profile

By Paul Khoury March 17, 2024

The Poly sent out a questionnaire to every candidate running for Grand Marshal, President of the Union, and Undergraduate President. Below are the unedited responses from UP candidate Paul Khoury ’26.

Why do you want to be Undergraduate President?

Frankly, someone has to do it and nobody else has stepped forward. It was not initially my plan, but when several fellow council members expressed their faith in my ability to take on this position, I felt compelled to oblige. This position is important because the UP really has the potential to inspire and motivate the class councils – especially the newer, younger ones – to make RPI a better place for everyone. Furthermore, the position of UP comes with a fairly powerful platform. When you hold the title of UP, the administration is willing to listen to what you have to say. I will use this to advocate for the best interests of all students of Rensselaer.

What makes you qualified to be the Undergraduate President?

I have two years of experience under my belt in council, first as a Class of ‘26 representative and then as the Class of ‘26 Vice President. I’m familiar with many of the inner workings of UC and the Union in general. Furthermore, I’ve made the personal decision to reduce my course load for the remainder of my time at RPI (instead of graduating early, which I was on track to do) so that I will have more time to dedicate to extracurriculars like this. I’m committed to continuing to serve our student body with integrity and earnestness.

Name three short-term goals (within your term of office) and three long-term goals (beyond your term of office) that you have for the Undergraduate Council.

Short Term:

  1. Oversee the delivery of Class of 2026 Class gift. I don’t want to reveal exactly what's planned just yet, but I will divulge that it has to do with infrastructure. Big things coming...
  2. Build a good relationship with new incoming SARP, and work with them to try to streamline some tedious, sluggish processes such as Purchase Requisitions. I can’t even imagine the amount of great ideas that have died due to the clunkiness of the required paperwork. That level of procedurality can be reserved for Senate.
  3. Host a pan-undergrad event. Right now, I’m imagining a very large potluck or a cookout.

Long Term:

  1. Advocate for the implementation of speed bumps on 15th and Burdett to promote pedestrian safety. I mean, it is literally a school zone.
  2. Continue reforming the Arch. I’d particularly like to see the issues with housing be tackled. At the very least let's do something about the needless inconvenience.
  3. Lay the groundwork for the proliferation of third spaces available for students. Particularly off-campus, where there is a dearth of such places for socialization.

In your own words, what do you feel are the roles of the Undergraduate President, the Undergraduate Council, and the Class Councils?

The bare minimum for UP is running UC meetings, making sure all the Class Councils are fine and doing the required things, going to the weekly officers meetings and the monthly student leaders meetings, and helping the freshman set up after their elections in the fall. But beyond that, I see the UP as a “keeper” of sorts – someone who the Undergraduate and Class Council(s) can rely on for a sense of continuity and historical perspective to maintain their identity and purpose. Otherwise, the councils can find themselves detached from the past, making it challenging to preserve and transmit traditions and collective knowledge effectively. Lastly, the UP should take care of the bureaucratic and managerial tasks so that the class councils can focus on their ideas and serving their class.

What do you think are the incumbent Undergraduate President’s strengths and weaknesses? What would you do to improve upon them if you were elected?

Ria was an extremely competent UP, she really took initiative and led by example. I can only hope to become as savvy and deft as she was in the role. In terms of her limitations, I think perhaps she accepted procedural and regulatory limitations too readily. In general, my approach tends to be less rigid and slightly more adventurous.

What qualities should a leader have? How are you a leader?

Leaders should be able to connect and involve people. They also have to be clever and able to coordinate different resources and contacts. Critically, they have to be someone who will go or act first in order to lead by example and encourage their actions to be mimicked. I think my main strengths as a leader are how I try to cultivate myself as somebody who is gregarious and approachable – this builds trust, initiates some dialogue, and makes people feel more comfortable in a team setting. I think that makes for some of the most productive teams.