Profile of the candidate president of the Union
- Work to improve club membership and retention following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Besides its effects on daily life around the world, the pandemic has had innumerable and serious consequences for higher education. One of the results has been the effect of the pandemic on clubs: member retention is proving increasingly difficult on virtual platforms such as Webex and Zoom, and many clubs – especially clubs that are focus heavily on in-person gatherings – have problems recruiting new members. As Union President, my main goals will be to guide student clubs through the final months of the pandemic and resolve recruitment and retention issues by working with club officials to create detailed marketing plans. in order to make campuses aware of their clubs. In the event that clubs fall below a safe membership count and may be unable to continue, I will work with the Club Operations Committee to create club transition documents detailing leadership structures and important information for avoid wasting years of club leadership expertise.
- Re-establish the Marketing and Strategy Committee.
Branding is the cornerstone of any successful marketing campaign because it prevents bad design choices from damaging the underlying message and encourages favorable opinions on whatever is advertised. Since the Marketing and Strategy Committee was dissolved as an official committee of the Executive Board, a bad branding has manifested itself in all aspects of union marketing. The lack of a Union branding guide contributed to this, leading to confusing color coordination, uneven typography and poor image quality. The reintroduction of the Marketing and Strategy Committee will help create and implement strong guidelines that clubs can use to ensure that the message they are trying to convey is received consistently and of a high quality.
- Improve health and safety standards and mental health support.
The current pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental and physical well-being. He also highlighted the shortcomings of RPI, especially with regard to insufficient mental health support and poor access to first aid kits and other life-saving devices. I think we should focus on these shortcomings now, especially since many of these issues happened before the pandemic and will continue after it ends.
During my tenure as Vice Chairman of the Business Operations Committee, I worked to ensure the availability of AEDs, Menstrual Hygiene Products and Bathroom Door Pull Plates in the Union and in other campus facilities. As the President of the Union, I will ensure that the Union’s facilities continue to improve and meet or exceed the guidelines set by the American College Health Association, the Department of Health of the New York State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to this, I will be working with the Grand Marshal, Student Health Center staff and others to improve our current campus mental health support systems.
- Hold student leaders and campus administrators accountable for their actions
Accountability is the most important foundation of any successful leadership structure. At RPI, a lack of accountability has allowed decisions made by student government and campus administrators to avoid proper oversight and has created an environment in which students feel underrepresented. I believe that pushing student leaders and campus administrators to take responsibility for their actions will enhance accountability, and it will create an environment in which students are encouraged to voice their concerns.
- work to restore the autonomy of the Union
The Union has been at the heart of RPI since its founding in 1890. At that time, it served to prepare students for their future careers and offered students a way to help their classmates pursue their passions. Since the early 2000s, the administration of Shirley Ann Jackson has dissolved the Union’s self-government, slowly but meticulously eliminating what made our Union special. Now the damage is done, and the Union is just a shell of what it used to be.
As Union President, I will work to restore our Union to its past glory by raising student awareness of this issue, demanding that administrators restore the legitimate power of students, and lobbying to include Renew Rensselaer – a alumni group focused on campus reform – in applicable union discussions.
- Improve communication between the student government and the student body.
Communication issues are unfortunately common between student government and student body and between student government and campus administrators. These communication problems have kept students from being informed on important issues and allowed administrators to make last-minute decisions that affect a majority of students without fear of refoulement. As Union President, I will schedule weekly meetings with a roster of campus administrators to keep track of upcoming administrative decisions, and send monthly emails to the student body to keep them up to date on current events. On top of that, I will do everything in my power to ensure that campus administrators are not in a position to make drastic decisions without notice. If they do, I will ensure that these decisions are promptly revealed to the student body and, if they are detrimental to the students, direct efforts to have them overturned or resolved.