Platform

Administrative Outreach

The fight for student rights has been a long one; while some may remember the Save the Union protests in 2015-2017, the administration has quietly been chipping away at the Union’s right to self-governance since the early 2000s. During this time,, the administration removed student representatives from the Board of Trustees’ Institute Finance Committee and Student Life Committee, hired the Director of the Union without receiving the Executive Board’s endorsement, as required in the Rensselaer Union Constitution, and mandated that protests could only occur after they had been approved by the Dean of Students Office. Consequently, any requests to hold peaceful protests—such as the Save the Union protests—were summarily denied. More information can be found on https://savetheunion.xyz/situation/. This marked the end of real student involvement in administrative decisions, and the administration has continued to cut students out of the decision-making process. As these issues continue to arise, our rights will continue to be chipped away. To address these issues, I plan to work closely with the new president to reverse the actions that have been taken and prevent similar issues from coming up.

As Grand Marshal, I will:
  1. Work towards a return to Union self-governance by implementing Save the Union’s recommendations.
  2. Meet with the new president of RPI to reinstate the Executive Board’s power to approve the hiring and continuance of all Union administrative personnel.
  3. Codify our right to Union self-governance in a document that requires that both the administration and the student body approve any amendments before they can be enacted.
  4. Fight for an increase in RA and LA compensation (both in meal plan and stipend) by working with the Dean of Student Living & Learning.
  5. Work with the new Institute president to reintroduce student representation on the Board of Trustees.

Student Advocacy and Support

Throughout my time at RPI, I have seen how passionate students are about issues, whether political or social, and take action for them. That is one of the main reasons why I joined student government. Due to that, I find it very important to proactively engage with my constituents, which has been evident to me as a Class of 2023 Senator and Greek Senator. Throughout my time as a Senator, I have, alongside my fellow 2023 Class Senators, organized multiple forms and spoke to our classmates in order to address specific concerns of our constituents; I have also done the same with the IFC senator within the Greek community. Using the information collected, we presented in front of the Senate so that these concerns were heard, and could be worked on through Senate committees.

Even though meetings are now in-person, they can be difficult to facilitate due to the current environment created by COVID-19. I want to streamline more communication about how student government can help you by utilizing RPI’s subreddit, Discord pages, and other social media channels where constituents are active. By using these platforms, it is easier to gauge where support on campus is needed. Through these means, I will be proactive about student needs, rather than reactive.

As Grand Marshal, I will:

  1. Urge Senators to be proactive in representing their constituents through the use of existing social media channels and other outlets of communication.
  2. Re-evaluate the relationship between Senate and the Class Councils with other student leaders in order to incorporate a network of advocacy for constituents among all student representatives.
  3. Work with the Student Government Communications Committee to collaborate with clubs and organizations on campus to promote student government.
  4. Use the RPI subreddit to promote student government.

Support for Greek Initiatives

Greek life at RPI continues to serve as an important part of many students’ lives, including my own. The benefits offered through Greek organizations, including membership development, lifelong connections, and our community as a whole, are positive aspects that Greek organizations can bring students. Philanthropic efforts and volunteering through the university for events, like Activities Fair and Accepted Students Day, show how much we offer and can give back to the institute and the surrounding community of Troy. On an individual level, a lot of students have chosen to stay at RPI solely because of the support offered by their organization and its members, an aspect that is hard to find elsewhere. Creating lifelong memories with brothers or sisters, whether studying or hanging out, adds to the experience that we were searching for when we first joined. All of these parts found within our community are what unites us and challenge us to keep growing.

While these past two years were very different for many chapters, ensuring that the Greek tradition continues at RPI is a priority. With this comes a call for support and the fulfillment of needs for Greek organizations. Currently, not only has the COVID-19 pandemic deterred membership for clubs, but it also has for Greek organizations on-campus. The continuing lack of membership after each formal recruitment could kill the traditions that Greek life has to offer. I want to be able to help reform the stigma that the administration set on Greek life and be the voice for each chapter on campus.

As Grand Marshal, I will:

  1. Support the Interfraternity (IFC),Panhellenic (Panhel), and Multicultural Sorority and Fraternity (MSFC) Councils’ initiatives by advocating for Greek needs and facilitating communication between the Senate and Greek life.
  2. Work with the Greek Dean, IFC, MSFC, and Panhel to bring back fall formal recruitment for first-semester freshmen.
  3. Advocate for Greek houses to remain open and push for the removal of mandatory on-campus housing during the Arch summer semester.

Improving Mental Health Support

The rigor of the nature of classes at RPI, combined with the lack of socialization caused by the COVID-19 restrictions, has worsened the overall mental wellbeing for students at RPI. The Counseling Center currently only has 8 counselors, which results in a counselor-to-student ratio of 1:1000. This is four times the American School Counselor Association’s (ASCA) safe counseling ratio of 1:250. This issue, which has been highlighted by at least four years of negative feedback on RPI’s counseling services during the annual Senate Survey, is part of a recurring pattern of lackluster patient care.

As Grand Marshal, I will work to end this cycle by emphasizing the importance of adequate counseling resources and by pushing for the hiring of more counselors to meet the ASCA’s recommended staffing ratios.

As Grand Marshal, I will:

  1. Implement mental health days during the Arch semester.
  2. Hold recurring meetings with the Director of the Counseling Center to discuss the results of the Senate Survey and discuss the hiring of additional qualified counselors.
  3. Update the online scheduling system to allow students to make appointments quickly and easily.

Collaborating with Underrepresented Groups

Diversity is an integral part of any good decision-making process. While systemic and institutional racism continue to be issues that plague every aspect of our culture, institutions of higher education, such as RPI, are especially guilty of continuing these trends by continuing to cater primarily to cis, heterosexual, and white populations, with diversity only being important insofar as it affects admissions statistics. To end this cycle and create an environment in which every individual is judged by their character, RPI must meet with multicultural groups such as the Rensselaer Black & LatinX Student Coalition (RBLX), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Black Student Alliance (BSA), and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) to ensure that their voices are heard and that RPI provides them with the resources they need to ensure equity on campus.

I will ensure that marginalized student populations are represented by creating avenues through which they can advocate for their needs, improving campus accessibility to disabled students, and increasing outreach efforts to improve the diversity of their Student Government representatives.

As Grand Marshal, I will:

  1. Ensure multicultural student representation on the Student Senate, and student government as a whole, by increasing outreach to underrepresented students and student groups on campus and creating a standing multicultural committee on the Student Senate to focus on multicultural advocacy needs.
  2. Demand for an increase of counselors from different backgrounds that specialize in cultural competency, multicultural counseling, and LGBTQ+ counseling.
  3. Work with the Facilities and Services Committee to make the campus more accessible for disabled students by petitioning the Institute’s Office of Disability Services for Students (DSS).
  4. Continue an ongoing conversation with multicultural groups to consistently advocate for their needs, by holding regular meetings with these group’s leaders.