Election marred by poster controversy

Former GM, PU among those found taking down anti-amendment posters

POSTERS URGING voters to vote no on the Union Constitution amendments were taken down by student leaders including the 2013–2014 GM and PU as well as a former GM and a PU candidate.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Student Government has been recently impacted by an issue involving its highest elected members. These events directly impacted the Grand Marshal Week 2014 elections, and additionally the RPI campus as a whole. The entire issue surrounded the vote on amendments to the Rensselaer Union Constitution. These proposed amendments sharply divided campus and campus leaders. The changes included making the director of the Union an officer of the Union, changing human resource procedures, and altering the makeup of the Executive Board.

On Thursday, April 10, Rules and Elections Committee Chairman Tim Breen ’14 was sent a letter discussing alleged tampering with campaign posters regarding the controversial amendments to the Rensselaer Union Constitution. The posters in question promoted a vote of no on said amendments in the elections held that day. Posters were apparently systematically removed across campus, though posters in a similar vein are permitted and present in accordance with the Grand Marshal Week Handbook extended campus signage policies.

The policy in effect for this year’s campaign season, beginning March 17, states: “Respect other candidates and their campaigns. Do not tamper with or poster over other campaigns. Do not place tape over tape securing the signs of other candidates.” As such, the removal of any poster on campus by any student is a violation of handbook policy.

In video footage obtained from RPI TV, incumbent Grand Marshal Chuck Carletta ’14, President of the Union Gretchen Sileo ’14, Executive Board Vice Chairman Matt Kosman ’14, and former Grand Marshal Russell Brown ’14 were recorded removing poster which strongly opposed amendments to the Constitution. All of these officials were candidate assistants to President of the Union candidate Frank Abissi. Abissi also appeared in the footage but was not seen committing any violations. This footage can be found at http://poly.rpi.edu/72189. Additionally, Sileo, Carletta, and Brown were all running for Class of 2014 alumni positions.

The previously mentioned videos were shot between April 8 and 10 during a joint investigation launched by The Poly and RPI TV following reports of suspicious activity. Specifically, the footage involving Carletta and Brown was recorded mid-morning on April 9, and the other footage involving Sileo and Kosman was then shot before 7 am on April 10. In the videos, the individuals in question can be clearly seen removing and subsequently destroying posters that did not appear to violate any election policy.

The elections occurred as scheduled on April 10, with a record number of students coming out to vote. The results were originally scheduled to be released the following day at 6:30 pm in the McNeil Room. However, around 11 pm on the night of April 10, news broke of the alleged violations, and it quickly spreading across campus. This new information led to many students posting on social networks to voice concerns on the validity of the elections. R&E had already begun counting ballots by this time, however. They released a decision in the early morning hours of April 11 in response to the events. R&E mandating that all election results would be withheld until further notice, thereby deferring the situation to the Rensselaer Judicial Board.

Going into April 11, it was very uncertain as to what impact these events may have on the election that had already occurred, beyond the fact that the results previously scheduled for that evening would be delayed. What exactly would occur was now in the hands of the J-Board. Some questions raised that the J-Board would answer included: Did these events directly affect the fairness results of the amendment vote? What would happen to the race for PU? Finally, will the races for alumni positions which involved those implicated be held again?

The next major event to occur on April 11 was a statement released by the Dean of Students Office, which echoed the previous statement from R&E regarding deferral to the J-Board. However, DOSO specifically outlined which races are to be withheld, stating “Election results will be withheld by R&E for President of the Union, Class of 2014 Alumni Class Council, and Rensselaer Union Constitutional Amendment referendum. Results of other elections will be released as planned by the R&E.”

Those implicated in the video footage were immediately reached-out-to for comment following the news breaking. Around 5:30 pm on April 11, a joint statement was submitted to The Poly by Carletta, representing the group, including Abissi. In this statement, the full text of which can be found at http://poly.rpi.edu/63345, the group stated that they removed the posters because they were under the belief that said posters were violations of election policies, but in hindsight felt they should have approached the issue differently, thereby apologizing for their role in creating controversy.

This statement was received while the GM Week finale feast was being held in the McNeil room. Those results not withheld in DOSO’s statement were expected to be released at the conclusion of the feast. However, this was not the case, and instead all results were postponed to a later date by R&E. They released a decision later in the evening which cited large voter turnout and technical difficulties as the reason for the delay. Additionally, a new result announcement date of Monday, April 14 at 6 pm was set.

On the evening of April 12, Abissi informed The Poly that he had withdrawn from the race for President of the Union as of 2:17 pm, April 11.

The J-Board hearing was set for 6:30 pm, Sunday, April 13. Those called to the hearing included member of staff for both RPI TV and The Polytechnic and all those implicated in video evidence. Dean of Students Mark Smith was present for the hearing.

The document which resulted from Sunday’s hearing was released just before noon on April 14. In this document, which can be found at http://poly.rpi.edu/36249, 10 individual decisions regarding the issue were included. The four which were running for office (Carletta, Sileo, Brown, and Abissi) were disqualified from their races, while Kosman was barred from holding any appointed Student Government position for the 2014-15 election cycle. Additionally, all five must serve 15 hours of community service. In terms of other related elections, Erin Amarello ’15 was declared PU and the associated Class of ’14 Alumni position races will be held again with all those who were on the primary ballots. The vote on the amendments was declared null and void. This decision effectively ended all votes on the amendments for this election cycle.

Also on April 14, the 44th Student Senate met to discuss a statement regarding the issue, however it should be noted that as this meeting occurred after the election results that evening, the group effectively met without power. The statement by the 44th Senate can be found at http://poly.rpi.edu/44547. The Rensselaer Union Executive Board also met, and at this meeting, Amarello officially took office as the 125th President of the Union. The E-Board adopted the same statement as the Senate, and then began to redistribute the clubs represented by Abissi and Kosman, thereby taking the assumption they will not longer be working in their respective positions. However, it should be noted that at the time of this publication, both are still members of the E-Board, and therefore count towards quorum.

The full consequences of this event are yet to be determined. It remains to be seen if DOSO will make a further decision on the matter. However, the likelihood of this appears to be rather strong.

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Staff Editorial: Retroactive un-endorsing

The staff of The Poly has made every attempt to remain unbiased and report vanilla news throughout the recent scandal. Before the incident, however, we released positive, editorial pieces on the officials involved—our endorsements of Charles Carletta ’14, Gretchen Sileo ’14, and Frank Abissi ’15 for their respective positions. After reviewing and discussing the situation, the Editorial Board decided to reconsider our endorsement motions, and in doing so, we have voted to retroactively not endorse any candidate, GM or PU during the 2013 elections and endorse no PU during the 2014 elections. With this decision, the previously printed endorsements have been declared void and effectively nullified.

We are upset and frustrated that an action like this had to be considered; however, the Editorial Board cannot condone and must distance itself from the actions taken by the involved individuals, which include Abissi, Carletta, and Sileo, amongst others. In our view, it is not acceptable for anyone—especially a student leader—to attempt to suppress free speech, particularly if that speech is against what you believe in, and even more so if you have been voted into a position that is supposed to support the aforementioned opinions. These actions have greatly hurt Student Government’s reputation, even though the incident was a localized event committed by a small few.

This is, of course, because those involved were among the highest elected students, past and present. These students must be held to an even higher standard in understanding and upholding student policies. The Grand Marshal and the President of the Union are supposed to be the voice of the students and be there to support and promote that voice from either side. The acts committed by these individuals instead proved to be dishonorable and disrespectful to the student body as a whole.

In the past, there have been numerous GMs and PUs who have served the Rensselaer community with dignity and distinction and truly served the students’ desires.As a staff, we are frustrated that we have to write this editorial. Following GM Week, this should be a cheerful time; we’d much rather be congratulating Kyle Keraga ’15 and Erin Amarello ’15 on their victories. Instead, we are simply hoping that pair can renew students’ trust in Student Government as a whole.

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Indonesian action movie raises the bar

The Raid 2: Berandal proves Gareth Evans to be best present action director

THE RAID 2: BERANDAL DELIVERS intense action with great choreography, directing, and music.

If you’ve ever read any of my reviews, you’ve probably realized at least one thing: I really, really love movies. Maybe you’ve also picked up on the fact that I love superhero movies, animated movies, and pretentious, highbrow drama films (yes, I’m very guilty of that).There is one genre that I particularly love, that I may not have gotten into much outside of my reviews of the aforementioned superhero movies, and that is the action movie genre. Now, some of my favorite action films include foreign martial arts movies, such as Ip Man, Drunken Master, Enter the Dragon and Hero. I love martial arts choreography, as it always stuns me that there are actual people who can move that fast and hit that hard. However, these films tend to only have hand-to-hand fighting, and as much as I love that, that’s not the only thing that makes a good action movie. The Matrix showed us that a brilliant action film combines excellent martial arts choreography with intricate set pieces and explosive gunplay. I’ll be the first to admit that the genre hasn’t seen much groundbreaking work since The Matrix, though. That is, until director Gareth Evans burst onto the scene in 2011 with the Indonesian film The Raid: Redemption. Here was a film that had some of the most inventive and exhilarating action and fight scenes that anyone had seen in a long time. With genre aficionados’ hopes sky high, does The Raid 2: Berandal live up to its predecessor? The answer is a resounding yes.

The Raid 2 picks up mere hours after the events of the first film. Rookie SWAT member Rama is a battered man after his ordeal taking down a drug lord in an attempt to rescue his brother from a life of crime in the first film. He wants out, but it isn’t long before the head of a special police task force approaches him. This man wants to send him undercover to expose police corruption in relation to Jakarta’s two biggest crime families. Their plan? To arrest him and send him to jail, where they intend him to get close to and become friends with the son of the head of one of the crime families. Rama initially refuses, but once it is revealed that the brother he had tried to save just hours ago has already been executed by a man related to one of the families, he accepts his fate and agrees to be retrained as an undercover policeman. Thus begin some of the most harrowing years of this young policeman’s life.

Iko Uwais returns as protagonist Rama, and he continues to prove that he must be one of the foremost martial artists in the world. While Rama’s relationship with his brother provided a small amount of heart to the first film, Uwais is given much weightier material. This time we see Rama struggle as he tries to balance his desire for revenge and justice with his own fears and insecurities; Uwais’s expression when he calls his wife just to hear the sound of his young son is heartbreaking. Indeed, Uwais brings more depth to his role here, and gives the audience more reason to root for Rama beyond the fact that he is an undeniably brilliant fighter. Uwais’s fight scenes are simply some of the fastest, most brutal martial arts demonstrations I have ever seen on film. Silat, the martial art shown in the film, is a deadly, predatory, bone-crushing offensive style that has to be seen to be believed. Uwais also serves as one of the primary choreographers of the entire film, and the fights he sets up are stunning. More than anything, though, simply watching Uwais in motion is reason enough to see this film.

The film has a fairly large, sprawling cast, but there are a few standouts apart from the lead. Arifin Putra conducts himself very well as Uco, the only son of Bangun, the head of one of Jakarta’s largest and most successful crime families. Uco is a powder keg, constantly trying to live up to the impossible standards of his father, while struggling to cope with the fact that his father still doesn’t trust him with any serious responsibilities. His arc is the centerpiece of the film’s plot, and without Putra’s solid acting much of the film would not have worked at all. Also of note is frequent Evans-collaborator and co-choreographer Yayan Ruhian. Ruhian is easily one of the most accomplished martial artists in the film, aside from Uwais himself, and fans will remember him as the actor who portrayed Mad Dog in the first Raid film. He plays a different character in this film, one close to Uco whose fate in the film is a turning point for Uco’s character.

Gareth Evans, mastermind of The Raid: Redemption, returns as director, writer, and editor of this sequel. After the release of the first film, Evans was hailed as one of the foremost action directors in the world. With this sequel, he cements himself as quite possibly the best action director in the world. His mastery of creating visually stunning action scenes that utilize gorgeous and inventive cinematography is second to none. Early scenes in the film that have cameras following fighters through walls and windows are exhilarating, and make the viewer feel exceptionally close to what is happening on screen. He captures and frames the impeccably choreographed hand-to-hand fight scenes with a beauty that belies their inherent violence; indeed, the fights Evans directs are almost balletic in their execution. Meanwhile, his ability to generate palpable tension in the calm preceding the action scenes lends to the thrill and evocativeness of the scenes themselves. Finally, Evans’s editing work was initially all over the place at the beginning of the film, with its deluge of fast moving and hyperkinetic scenes. However, as the film progressed and the fights entered larger spaces and one-on-one territory, his editing work resembled the smooth, sharp, easy to follow work of his previous film.

The Raid: Redemption was an excellent action film, but its script left something to be desired. Between a loose plot and roughshod dialogue, writing was the main critique of the first film. The Raid 2 exorcises these qualms with a larger, more ambitious film that tells a crime thriller story about two Jakartan crime families, and a newer, smaller organization with its own ambition of leaving a mark on the city. Character development and plotting both see a notable uptick in quality, while dialogue sees a slight improvement. The main issue with the writing is that it was occasionally difficult to follow the main plot, as things became muddled with the introduction of many plot threads, all in need of resolution by the end of the film. Depending on your tastes, pacing could also have been seen as an issue. I didn’t have a problem with the film’s two and a half hour runtime thanks to the sheer riches of energetic action on display throughout, but there are definitely some viewers that would bemoan any film this drawn out.

As mentioned above, cinematography in The Raid 2 is great. Quieter scenes are beautiful and well shot, while action scenes are clearly filmed, sometimes with the camera being placed in very interesting and innovative positions that will keep your eyes glued to the screen and your jaw glued to the floor. Meanwhile, music also saw a serious improvement in this film. While I can’t say the original Raid’s score made any sort of impact on me when I watched the film, I was constantly noting how pulse-pounding and epic the score was for this sequel. Who knows, it might even become my new study music flavor of the week.

With The Raid: Redemption, director Evans and star Uwais gave the action film genre a shot of adrenaline to the arm. With the sequel, Evans and Uwais bypass your arm entirely and go straight for the heart, Pulp Fiction style. This movie is everything the first film was, but bigger, better, more inventive, and more ambitious. In fact, it is probably even one of the better sequels that I have seen in a long time; The Raid 2 is The Dark Knight, The Empire Strikes Back, The Godfather Part II of what will hopefully be a Raid trilogy. Storytelling and potential length issues aside, action fans have to watch this film. Trust me, you can thank me later.

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Baseball plays rival Union four-game series

For second weekend in a row, Engineers pick up sole win of series in final matchup

JUNIOR PITCHER JARED JENSEN DELIVERS a pitch to the plate in a game against Skidmore College. The Engineers faced off against the Union College Dutchmen for four games over the weekend. Jensen started the first game Sunday, going six and two thirds innings, giving up five earned runs. Jensen is 1-3 on the season with a 4.78 ERA.

On Saturday, April 12, RPI baseball hosted Union College for a doubleheader of Liberty League action. This matchup looked to be a good one as RPI entered the weekend with a record of 14-6 while Union began the series 9-4-1.

In the top of the first inning of the opening game, Union’s centerfielder Sam Caruso doubled to right centerfield with one man out. Then, with two outs and Caruso on third, right fielder Kent Curran singled up the middle to make it 1-0.

Good pitching and defense by both teams made the next inning and a half go by quickly as neither side managed more than one base runner in any of the subsequent three half innings of play. In the third, it was once again Union doing the scoring. Shortstop Anders Goetz singled to right. Then, an error by junior left fielder Tyler Listing allowed Caruso to reach base again with one out. After a bemusing catcher’s interference call loaded the bases, Curran recorded his second RBI on a sacrifice fly to right that made the score 2-0 Union. Then, Union’s pitcher Jake Fishman got into the action with a single past short to drive in Caruso. These two unearned runs and a Union double to start the next inning led to a sudden pitching change for RPI. Senior starting pitcher Sean Conroy stepped aside for junior reliever Adam Kalish after facing only one batter in the fourth inning and surrendering just one earned run.

After a Goetz single to right field allowed third baseman Jeff Grasso to score to make it 4-0 Union, RPI made a run of its own in the bottom of the fourth. Listing singled to center. Sophomore centerfielder Nick Annunziata hit a groundball single to the left side that Goetz was unable to handle in time. Then, senior right fielder Shane Matthews drew a walk out of Union’s suddenly rattled Fishman. After senior catcher Eric Kozak fouled out, a Fishman wild pitch allowed Listing to score and placed runners at second and third with just one out. Freshman second baseman Matt Lawrence delivered with a trickling single to second that produced a second Rensselaer run. The inning ended harmlessly for Union as Lawrence was picked off trying to edge out towards second base, and junior third baseman Tim LeSuer grounded to Fishman for the final out.

RPI didn’t threaten Union’s lead again until its final chance in the bottom of the seventh inning. After five innings of two-run baseball, Union’s Fishman was pulled in favor of relief pitcher Chris Pignatello, who retired all three hitters he faced in the sixth. But LeSuer walked to start the seventh. Then, senior first baseman Andrew Kalish singled to right. A groundball from the bat of senior designated hitter Al Mersman resulted in a fielder’s choice to second that put runners on the corners with one out. Then junior pitcher Jared Jensen pinch hit for junior shortstop Nick Palmiero and obtained first on a hit-by-pitch. The bases were loaded with one out. The game came to an abrupt end as freshman pinch hitter Thomas Desmond grounded into a 6-4-3 double play for the final two outs of the contest. The Engineers made it interesting for the Dutchmen, but Pignatello managed to close out his second save of the season and helped Fishman to reach a record of 4-0 for the season.

In the second game of the day, the Engineers once again dug themselves into a deep hole. After five innings of play, the score was Union 7, RPI 0. But the three runs given up by sophomore reliever Greg Echeverria in the fifth inning would be the only runs he allowed in his seven innings of work to finish the game for RPI.

Finally, RPI’s offense clicked into gear in the bottom of the sixth inning. Successive doubles off of Union starter Dane O’Neil by Andrew Kalish, Mersman, and Jensen resulted in two runs to put Rensselaer back on track. Then, in the seventh, a single from sophomore catcher Chris Holomakoff put runners on first and second with no outs.

A misfielded grounder by Union second baseman Joe Bradlee loaded the bases. Later, a skillful piece of hitting by LeSuer resulted in an RBI single to left center. Then, a roller short off the bat of Mersman resulted in a fourth run for RPI. These runs would be all for RPI in the seventh despite a golden opportunity to make a complete dent in Union’s one time seven-run lead.

A quick top of the eighth brought the Engineers to their second to last chance. Freshman first baseman Steven Wells singled to center to open the inning. Then, after Lawrence pinch ran in Wells stead, Pignatello came in to pitch for Union. In response, Listing singled and Matthews walked. With one out, Palmiero sacrifice-flied to right, bringing home Lawrence. Then, LeSuer followed with a clutch two-out single to left to bring in the Engineers’ sixth run. Again, RPI left two runners on and failed to tie the game.

In the final inning, Union’s Pignatello resumed control of the plate, retiring all three Rensselaer hitters he faced and collecting his second save of the day. For the second consecutive game, RPI came up one big play short of tying or taking the lead.

Two more games at Union on Sunday resulted in one win and one loss for RPI. With the close of the four game series against Union, RPI stands at 15-9 overall, and 7-7 in Liberty League play while Union advances to 12-5-1 overall and 6-2 within the conference.

Upcoming for the Engineers are a road matchup at Montclair State University in New Jersey on April 16 and a home contest against Williams College on April 17.

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R&E releases GM Week 2014 election results

Keraga wins by over 600 votes; 65 percent of undergraduates vote in record turnout

NEWLY ELECTED GRAND MARSHAL KYLE KERAGA ’15 GIVES his acceptance speech. Keraga is the 149th Grand Marshal.

On Monday, April 14, the Student Senate’s Rules and Elections Committee released the results for most of the positions for this year’s Grand Marshal Week elections. Kyle Keraga ’15 was elected 149th Grand Marshal, while Erin Amarello ’15 becomes our 125th President of the Union. Turn-out was at record levels, with a little over 60 percent of the student body voting in the elections.

Keraga received 1992 votes, while opponent Gavin Noritsky ’16 received 1311 votes. Amarello was ruled the winner of the PU election after her opponent Frank Abissi ’15 withdrew from the race following the poster scandal.

Graduate students Kristen Lee, Mike Caiola, Xin Shen, Tim Krentz, and Yin Lu were all elected to graduate senator positions. Eight other graduate students obtained two write-in votes each. The Graduate Council will decide on the ties and choose one of the write-ins for their sixth and last senator spot. Graduate students Kristen Lee, Robyn Marquis, Jennifer Kile, Nicholas Thompson, and Ben Walcott were all elected as graduate representatives.

For the Class of 2014, Kevin Dai ’14 beat out Alli Welling ’14 for the position of alumni president by 8 votes. The remaining alumni positions—vice president, treasurer, and secretary—will be in another election at a date and time announced by R&E. This is a result of the Judicial Board’s decision on the poster scandal. The Union Constitution referendum results will not be released, nor will there be a revote, per the J-Board. Because the Independent Council had the power to dissolve itself and did so, two independent senators were elected by the non-Greek student body. Alex Vitovitch ’15 and Ethan Illfelder ’15 ran unopposed and were elected.

Brandon Win ’15 won the Class of 2015 class president position. Adam Koehr ’15 was elected vice president over Samara Ahmed ’15. Koehr had 317 votes compared to Ahmed’s 250 votes. Lisa DeCrescente ’15, Tina Gilliland ’15, Lexi Rindone ’15, and Kees Cranendonk ’15 are the 2015 senators on the 45th Student Senate. Melizza Hanson ’15, Jacob Derechin ’15, Vitovitch, Arjun Chavern ’15, Ryan Fitzgerald ’15, Will Nobile ’15, Emily Frantz ’15, and Erin Riley ’15 were all elected class representatives.

For the class of 2016, Joshua Schramm ’16 and Kelly Dearborn ’16 were elected president and vice president, respectively. Michael Han ’16, Marcus Flowers ’16, Shoshana Rubinstein ’16, and Jessica Krajewski ’16 were elected Class of 2016 senators in the only contested Senate race. The Class of 2016 representatives for 2014-2015 are Sarah Bogdan ’16, Shamus Wheeler ’16, Maggie Murphy ’16, Katie Cummins ’16, Sara Nesheiwat ’16, Robert Whiting ’16, Tierney Morton ’16, and Gabe Policare ’16.

The Class of 2017 had contested races for both president and vice president. Kyle Neumann ’17 beat JJ Hu ’17 by 28 votes for class presidency. Michael Gardner ’17 won the vice president race by over 200 votes against Andrew Yonchak ’17. Melanie Todis ’17, Lily Qi ’17, Mason Cooper ’17, and Paul Ilori ’17 were all elected to senate positions. Mason Cooper ’17, Liam McEneaney ’17, Daniel Rogers ’17, Vijay Nambiar ’17, Alex Peixinho ’17, and Joe Venusto ’17 were all elected class representatives. Six students each gained four write-in votes; the Class of 2017 Class Council will determine which two will round out their class council.

Out of 5145 undergraduate students, 3348 of them voted, for a turnout of 65 percent. 357 graduate students voted out of 1123 total, for a turnout of 31.8 percent. Overall turnout was 3747, around 60 percent.

During the next few weeks, Keraga will select chairs for the Senate committees and his Senate cabinet members. Amarello will be putting out her Executive Board applications and selecting members of the student body to serve on her E-Board. For more information on these two governing bodies, contact Keraga at gm@rpi.edu or Amarello at pu@rpi.edu.

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Editorial Notebook

Instaternet gratification

The Internet is a phenomenal innovation. I’m able to access a plethora of academic resources with the touch of my fingers, and it provides an immediate means of communication with friends and acquaintances. This lets me get ahead in my studies and stay close to my friends back at home. Skype, Gmail—you name it, I use it. However, this proves to be a double-edged sword for society’s behavior.

With applications such as Netflix and websites such as Facebook, Reddit, and YouTube, people have become conditioned to instant gratification. Netflix allows viewers to watch content immediately without advertisements, while YouTube offers a similar experience. Facebook and Reddit give users an instant dopamine rush anytime they receive a notification or read an entertaining post. This repeated exposure dulls individuals’ attention spans, and as a result, society has lost its patience.

We just can’t wait for anything anymore. We need things now, and that’s a shame. If you look at the very sites we use, such as Facebook, these tech giants have dedicated countless hours over countless teams to provide a service that, ironically, conditions users to become lazy. Yes, applications like email, Google Drive, and instant messaging all do provide services that make our lives easier, but also dulls proactiveness. We don’t need to write everything out anymore or have to use high latency communication, so we don’t feel the need to act immediately. As a result, when we’re twiddling our thumbs, we’re browsing Reddit or looking at our newsfeed posts; it’s seamless. It’s like most of us have forgotten what it’s like to work hard anymore.

Mastering an instrument, training in a sport, or even working on a thesis paper takes time. But we’ve grown up having things handed to us and having tasks be so simple that working a little bit everyday on scales or shooting hoops seems unreasonable. We think that if we invest time into something, we should get more out of what we put in. However, this is not true; to become adept at the piano or even be okay at basketball, it takes at least a half year of routine practice. And to become a virtuoso, that takes years, and even then, perfect is never perfect.

I’m not saying that all of this media is bad, but this constant stream of information—the instant gratification that we get from looking at posts—hurts our work ethic and our patience. What I’m asking you, as the reader, to do, is take a step back and listen to what I’m saying; take a look from the outside. Be proactive, don’t become content. Additionally, patience is a virtue, and not many have it.

If you pick up an instrument or hobby, you’re not going to be instantly good at it. Dedicate at least an hour a day to it and slowly, you’ll find yourself getting better. I find it rewarding to see, after hundreds of hours of practicing guitar, how much I’ve accomplished, and that means much more to me than an insignificant notification on Facebook.

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Grand Budapest Hotel provides unique fun

Wes Anderson’s newest work is a fresh change of pace from his usual films

RALPH FIENNES BEAUTIFULLY CAPTURES the role as Monsieur Gustave H., standing in the center of this picture he steals many scenes.

I’ll preface this review by saying that if you’ve seen any Wes Anderson movie and not enjoyed it, then I can’t recommend this movie to you. You might as well stop reading now and ignore this film. However, if you are a fan or have not seen any of his films, then I cannot recommend this enough. Anderson has continually been perfecting his craft to deliver film treats that are truly unique from any other filmmaker.

Before I go into the film, I think I should make a case for Wes Anderson’s style that many don’t seem to respect. Anderson is not just a writer and director, he’s an auteur. Each one of his films has this charm, it’s either the dialogue, the color scheme, or both that give each movie a little piece of what Anderson is about. Not many other directors can really say this; in modern times, I would say Quentin Tarantino is similar in the way his long, tense shots and ultraviolence are part of what makes his work his own. These people pride themselves in not being cookie cutter filmmakers, and I applaud them for it. Anderson seems to be on a hot streak currently as well, with his last two films, a stop motion adaptation of Roald Dahl’s story, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and an original picture about coming of age, Moonrise Kingdom. So it would be no surprise for this film to be on the same level as the others, and I am very happy to say that it is.

The film takes place in the present, with a girl paying respect to a writer’s memorial. Then the girl opens up one of the author’s books, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and begins to read it. We are now transported to the realm of the book, where the author is in his home office, setting the stage for a story during his youth. From there, we are shown the young author making a visit to the Grand Budapest Hotel in 1968. At the hotel, he meets the mysterious Zero Moustafa, at one time the richest man in the country, and now the owner of the decrepit hotel. Moustafa invites the author to dinner and explains how he came to own the hotel, allowing for a final shift in time to 1932. It is at that time that Moustafa is a lobby boy and assistant to Monsieur Gustave H., the devoted concierge who has a habit of womanising elderly blonde guests of the hotel. In the beginning of the film, one of Gustave’s most devoted guests dies and bequeaths a priceless painting to him. This opens up a story of mystery, murder, and love that forces Gustave and Moustafa to run around the country from the authorities, as well as a hired killer. This story is unlike any I’ve seen Anderson undertake. Anderson takes on such a grim tone, overall the piece is darker than any others he’s made, and it truly makes a world of difference.

Anderson has always been able to get great actors and locations for his films, and this is no exception. With a cast that includes Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, and Jeff Goldblum, just to name a few. The setting is the fictional Zubrowka, an alpine state, clearly based on Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. In fact, the entire movie was filmed on location in Germany to give the interior and outdoor scenes the most authentic feel possible, and it works. If the location Anderson desired could not be created, certain shots would be created as miniatures to establish the environment, with these scenes appearing sparsely throughout. The reason for this is a style choice by Anderson, he didn’t want to use CGI to create an extravagant hotel or mountain peak because he knew these would appear fake to the viewer, so he decided miniatures would fit better with the theme. I think this choice works with the style of the film and the fact that it is being told in a set of stories.

Anderson is expected by many to use familiar actors like Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, and Bill Murray as large roles in his films. In The Grand Budapest Hotel, these actors do appear in short supporting roles, however, the main characters are all played by newcomers to Anderson, and in one case, a relative unknown. The role of the older Moustafa is played by F. Murray Abraham, famous for his Academy Award for Best Actor as Antonio Salieri in Amadeus. However, he hasn’t been active until recently, starring in this film as well as the Coen brother’s Inside Llewyn Davis. Monsieur Gustave H. is portrayed by Fiennes, who steals each scene with his charisma and unending confidence in the face of any trouble. But the biggest surprise is Tony Revolori, who has never held a major role in a movie or television show, cast as the young Moustafa. His subtle naivety and innocence represents a grounding force to Fiennes’s egotistical, and sometimes morally questionable, character. The only problem I had with the story was that there was a lack of any compelling villains. Dafoe is scary, but the guy looks menacing in general so that’s unsurprising. As well, Brody was certainly brutish, but he wasn’t portrayed as an ultimate evil, like Dafoe. Those characters only acted as a vehicle to allow more interactions between Gustave and Moustafa, but I don’t think that’s a good excuse to sacrifice such an important part of the story.

This is a movie truly unlike any Anderson has put out, perhaps because it was co-written with his constant art advisor, Hugo Guinness, who has helped craft Anderson’s aesthetic. Needless to say, if you are a fan of Anderson’s work, this may be one of the best movies he has ever created. If you haven’t experienced any of his films, then this is the place to start.

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GM Week Committee brings festivities

Committee president thanks members, believes GM Week most successful yet

GM WEEK FINALE BRINGS free food and music to the McNeil Room. The finale occured after a busy week of events and festivities ranging from record voting turnout to bounce houses in the Armory to fundraisers for various causes.

During the week of April 6–11, the Grand Marshal Week Committee held many events. Three different t-shirts were revealed over the week, with free wings from The Ruck offered with the purchase of a t-shirt on some of the days. Dozens of clubs and fraternities held events and fundraisers, including Alpha Phi Omega, Colleges Against Cancer, Habitat for Humanity, Pi Kappa Alpha, Pi Lambda Phi, Red & White, Rensselaer Christian Association, RPI Crew, Sheer Idiocy, Rensselaer Music Association, Rensselaer Outing Club, Rensselaer Pride Alliance, RPI Quidditch, Tau Beta Pi, and weR. GM Week is a long-standing tradition at RPI. This year, it was Viking-themed. Members of the committee wore Viking-themed headdresses.

It used to be that GM Week had no classes. Before the drinking age was changed to 21, free beer was served. Nowadays, there is just one day with no classes—and there is no free beer. The Armory is filled with bounce toys, including a gigantic slide. Clubs table with food, fundraisers, and other goodies. The RMA Jazz Festival took place in the Armory as well. On Election Day, students who vote receive free mugs, which they can bring to the Phalanx Honors Society table to fill with root beer. Candidates for various offices, especially GM and President of the Union, hand out free food, candy, and drinks. This year, because of the high voting turnout, GM Week ran out of mugs before the end of the afternoon. The mugs this year were larger than normal. During elections, the weR Proud event consisted of taking photos of student groups dressed up in gear related to their particular group. Red & White held a Family Feud-style game in the McNeil Room. Some of RPI’s a capella groups performed a show.

Assistant Dean of Residence Life Randi Mogul won Meanest Man On Campus, an annual fundraising tradition run by Alpha Phi Omega. RPI Crew did a 24-hour erg-a-thon, also for charity. A contest called “Anything that Floats” took place in the Robison Pool on Wednesday. The Drunken Bastards had the best race time, while the Life Boat team won the Reduce Reuse Recycle award. Circle K, Engineering Ambassadors, and UP won the Best Propulsion, Outside the Box, and Driest Captain awards, respectively. Despicable Me was judged to have the best team theme, while Tech Dumps took the Team Spirit award. The Most Sea Worthy entry was Salty Dogs. Dozens of other fundraisers and competitions were also held.

On Friday, the finale dinner was held. Free dinner was provided. The finale was supposed to end in elections results, but due to the Rules and Elections Committee’s technical difficulties and the poster scandal, results were delayed until Monday. Several events, including RPA’s Drag Show, a Sheer Idiocy performance, and the Rusty Pipes Spring Invitational were held later that night or Saturday.

Ibby Ottman ’14, president of the GM Week Committee, said “I’m very proud of how GM Week 2014 turned out and I can’t give enough credit to the members of the rest of the GM Week committee. We came up with some great events, got more club participation than ever before, and of course created mugs that were bigger and better than ever! I look forward to seeing the next steps the GM Week Committee will take to continue the progress of this event!”

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Editorial Notebook

The big problems with ads

If there is one element of society (besides teenagers) who keep up with the latest technology, it’s the advertisement industry. This business is working hard to create advertisements that people will watch in their entirety, rather than simply mute or click away from. There are a lot of types of ads, and I’ll go into a few different ones, but first—YouTube. YouTube has a feature that I’m sure many of you have seen where longer ads are shown–the caveat—you can bypass the ad after a few seconds. This relatively new feature highlights an important trend in advertisements—making people find those ads enjoyable.

The best example of this is the Super Bowl. How many of your friends/family have uttered the phrase, “I’m really only watching for the ads?” I know that I’m certainly guilty of it; the behemoth corporations that have the money to afford air time during the Super Bowl (not an easy feat) put effort into making those commercials funny and intuitive. I remember one of the Doritos’ ads from the last Super Bowl. It featured a kid who “made” a time machine that ran on Doritos so that he could scam his gullible neighbor out of his. Honestly, I must have clicked the replay button on that ad at least 10 times in a row before it even started to get old. If this is the effect it had on me—someone who knows the strategies, bait, and consequences of buying into ads—imagine what a non-informed layman, or child might think seeing this.

However, these trends are not very good for the average consumer. Take the pharmaceutical industry—advertisements have significantly changed the way drugs are sold. It used to be that pharmaceutical companies sold to doctors (of course they still do, but to a lesser extent). That was their target demographic. But now, we’ve seen the rise of commercials pushing these drugs into the consumer realm. Everywhere we see billboards, and TV commercials imploring us to by Cymbalta, or Xanax, or Nasacort, using familiar images that evoke that sense that we are not alone. But that person in the TV or on that billboard isn’t, and by its very nature cannot be there for you. But now, these companies are so far entrenched into society that today’s generation will have a hard time recalling a time when there weren’t medicines advertised on TV with those hilariously sped up side-effects blurbs that are often worse than the disease that they seek to cure at the end. Heck, the spell check on Microsoft Word gave me notifications that I was spelling some of these companies’ names wrong.

In essence, we are being fed a sales pitch: over, and over, and over again. These ads appeal to our strong need for complex sensory stimulation, and need for conformity. I would warrant that 99 percent of you could off the top of your head recall the Geico slogan, and that’s no accident. In a world where time is money, our freedom of thought is being taken away by wealthy companies who have a team of people that are constantly finding ways to use our minds against us. These companies use the principles of conditioning which you could learn in any introductory psychology course, to make sure their ad leaves a lasting impression, and that given enough time, will cause their target demographic to purchase their product.

Even charitable organizations are guilty of this abuse. If you’ve seen the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal’s commercials, you’ll see clear as day the strong pathos appeal; graphic images as well as loaded language are used to make a lasting impact on the viewers watching. If these companies can make their demographic feel a certain way, then they can almost certainly cause them to behave in a way that is desirable to their organization.

While advertisements can further charitable organizations and help engender awareness of issues, it can just as easily be used to prevent them from ever seeing the light of day. There are several good examples of this. A great example: politics, and political campaigning. Aggressive, mudslinging ads are a norm of the election season. Now, many people have argued that these advertisements are a form of free speech—protected by the first amendment. Many of these policies have been affirmed by the Supreme Court. But, this is inherently harmful. It assures that the people with the most money to put into buying airtime can smother opposing issues. In today’s world, the flow of information is a critical part of a successful outreach for almost any issue. By allowing wealth to determine the informstion we can see, we essentially destroy the ability of smaller advocacy groups to be heard. Some of you might say, “Well, they can have a website or a blog, and distribute their content there, or via social networks.” But, this essentially forgets a key part of advertising: the amount of outreach you can achieve with a successful and expensive, ad campaign dwarfs the amount of hits a group’s Facebook, or Twitter, or blog is going to garner.

In essence, we’ve allowed money to determine the volume of a person or groups’ voice. Now, this may seem controversial, after all, money makes the world go round. This however is degrading the value of the phrase, “one person can make a difference.” Sure, one person can do great things, but when the value of speech is considerably higher than that of the average middle-class layman’s salary, they have to rely on the volatile and often very random process of ‘going viral’, which is nowhere near as reliable a method, in essence, your chance of getting heard is like the chance of you winning the lottery.

In conclusion, I’m not arguing that all advertisements are bad, or that the idea of capitalism in the advertisement industry is wrong. I’m arguing that this is a serious issue that highlights the rather severe disparity in just how much speech different socio-economic classes have depending on that classes’ wealth. It also raises the serious issue of how our behavior is influenced by these advertisements. The question that we need to ask ourselves, looking into the future, is what exactly we as a society should do to make sure that the advertisement industry doesn’t become inherently harmful.

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Celebrate the environment at EarthFest

This Earth Day, April 22, from 1–5 pm, EcoLogic will be hosting its annual EarthFest event to celebrate the environment. EarthFest is a time for environmental clubs and outside organizations to get involved and showcase what they’re doing for the environment. Some clubs that traditionally attend and are environmentally geared are the Green Greeks, Hey Red, Go Green, Engineers for a Sustainable World, Engineers Without Borders, Student Sustainability Task Force, Terra Café, and Vasudha. Each of these clubs will have a table and will be promoting their environmental goals, some tables will have activities that attendees can participate in.

EcoLogic will have its own tables with different things to do. Traditionally, there is a table for tie-dyeing, which is the most popular activity. EarthFest goers can bring their own things to tie-dye, or they can use one of the shirts provided by EcoLogic, although there is a limited supply. There will also be tables for paint-a-pot, pot-a-plant, where participants can paint their own pot and then pick a flower to bring home with them, a table for delicious free smoothies, and a table where people can make their own recycled notebooks out of cardboard and recycled paper. The best part is that everything EcoLogic offers is free.

Alongside these traditional tables, some other clubs and organizations will be attending. RPI’s Science and Technology Studies department will have a table, as will the Habitat for Humanity, International Anti-Slavery Campaign, Rensselaer Christian Association, Society of Environmental Professionals, Society of Women Engineers, and Wellness Institute. There will also be three outside organizations: Troy Composting, Troy Bike Rescue, and, possibly, the Sanctuary for Independent Media.

The tradition of EarthFest has rather unknown origins. It is known that EcoLogic, RPI’s oldest environmental club, was founded in the 1980s as a chapter of Student Pugwash USA. Student Pugwash is a nationwide organization that promotes social responsibility in science and technology fields in the 21st Century. They eventually changed its name to EcoLogic and became an independent club with no national organization for backing. Alongside EcoLogic’s change from Student Pugwash, other environmental clubs have branched off to fulfill a need they felt was not fully met by EcoLogic’s approach. EcoLogic has the main goal of increasing sustainability in people’s personal lives and about celebrating the environment in general. Some of the other clubs that have branched off are part of national organizations, for example Engineers Without Borders and Engineers for a Sustainable World, and many of the sustainability-related clubs will be represented at EarthFest.

In the spirit of tradition, EarthFest will be held on the Rensselaer Union patio this year, as long as the weather permits it, and it will be held on Earth Day. Earth Day is a worldwide event for people to show support for the environment and its protection. EarthFest is also traditionally a part of RPI’s Earth Week events. Other Earth Week events include speakers and lecturers, research related to sustainability with a theme of interconnections.

With all these great tables and activities planned and situated on the beautiful Rensselaer Union patio, there shouldn’t be anything to stop you from coming over to take part in the festivities. Not even the weather can stop the festivities, as there is a rain date for the event on April 25. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be very concerned with environmentalism, there will be free food and what college student would turn that away?

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PSS: wins all around the track

ON SATURDAY, APRIL 12, RPI HOSTED the Upstate Classic at Harkness Track. The Engineers left the event with eight first place victories; five men and three women were first in their respective events. For the men’s team, RPI grabbed the top three spots in the 1,500-meter event. Sophomore Bobby Parker placed first coming in at 3:58.16, followed by freshman Benjamin Fazio with a time of 3:58.48, and senior Sean Quinn with a time of 4:00.99. In the 3,000-meter steeplechase freshman Brian Crowley finished at 10:10.40 seizing the first place spot. First place wins in the field events include: senior captain Stephen Silber in the high jump at 1.98 meters, senior Zac Borrelli in the shot put with 15.32 meters, and junior Tyler Yeastedt in the discus at 48.94 meters. The women’s team also had several wins. In the 100 meter hurdles, freshman Vicky Buehler had a winning time of 16.03. Senior captain Cheryl Tran grabbed the first place spot in the high jump with 1.58 meters, and graduate student Lydia Frangos captured the hammer throw at 54.57 meters.
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PSS: a presidential visit

ON APRIL 11, FORMER RENSSELAER PRESIDENT CORNELIUS J. BARTON VISITED the school’s residence halls to speak with students. Barton is one of two living residence hall namesakes with Howard N. Blitman being the other. In April 1998, Barton was brought out of retirement and given the title of President after the resignation of then-president R. Byron Pipes. Although he was only president from 1998 to 1999, Barton was the driving force behind many changes on campus that have lasted to this day. Noteworthy changes include the laptop requirement for every student and the reconstruction of the Approach. Furthermore, Barton brought in former Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman and current Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson as his replacement. Today, Barton is a trustee emeritus of the Board of Trustees. Barton discussed the goals he set and subsequent actions he took as president in his conversations with current students. The meeting ended with a special surprise for Barton. RPI National Residence Hall Honorary Chapter President Lorne Nix ’14 and Chapter Advisor Assistant Dean Randi Mogul awarded the former leader with an honorary membership into the National Residence Honorary. This award was bestowed upon Barton on account of his representation of the four pillars of NRHH: leadership, service, scholastics, and recognition.
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Top Hat

Keraga uses open approach

Hello RPI; I’m Kyle Keraga, and I’m honored to serve you as the 149th Grand Marshal! I want to earnestly thank everyone who turned out to vote this year, in what became a highly contested race and a great GM Week celebration with record voter turnout. The past few days have presented a trying time for us all. As Grand Marshal, I will work with you to build stronger bonds of trust, and continue to move us forward.

As the new term kicks off, I’d like to give a little insight into the purpose of the Grand Marshal role. The Grand Marshal is Rensselaer’s student body president, connecting with students and upholding campus traditions, such as Hockey Line. The GM also leads the Student Senate, and serves as the chief voice of the student body: he or she works to actively turn student concern into concerted action, by spearheading student needs as the Senate works with the administration to improve RPI student life.

It is also the responsibility of each GM to understand where we need to move forward, and increase the effectiveness of the Senate in dealing with student issues. This year, my focus will be on building an open approach to student government and the Senate’s operations through practices I hope will last beyond my term. Student-Government is a fantastic way to help make RPI a better place, but it’s not for everyone. I will work with the Senate to strengthen the ability of individual students to get involved, regardless of whether they hold elected office.

I will begin by personally and informally touring clubs and Greek houses toward the end of this semester and as operations continue this fall—I will re-establish the Grand Marshal as someone available to talk to, and connect with on a regular basis. I’ll be there mainly to listen, but also to give you the chance to get to know me, and share your ideas or voice concerns the Senate may be able to help with. Should a student or group of students have a cause they’re passionate about, the Senate will be able to lend you direct support.

Finally, one of the most important tasks for the GM this semester is the selection of committee chairs; these chairs are the lynchpins of the Student Senate, responsible for directly guiding the majority of the Senate’s projects. This year I’ll be focusing on outreach and availability in my appointments. Committee chairs will speak with campus groups for feedback and involvement as projects begin, and hold regular conversations over social media seeking project input. This year will also bring expanded leadership opportunities—the Senate will form task-forces dedicated to specific intensive projects. These committees will be extremely inclusive, so keep an eye out for them—if you’re interested in the project being pursued, you’re invited to join and contribute directly!

I’d finally like to note that these people don’t have to be among student government—anyone can apply. I’ll be looking for leaders who are passionate about improving student life and ready to get involved at a high level. If you’re interested in working with me, please contact me at gm@rpi.edu.

I’d lastly like to note that all Senate committees are open to anyone—if you’re looking to get involved, and want to make a difference; I encourage you to join any committee that interests you! If you’d like to learn more, or want to connect with me at any point, email me or visit my office in the Union! I look forward to working with all of you this coming year, and continue moving forward.

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RPI professor recieves green tech award

Professor Burt Swersey received this year’s Sustainable Practice Impact Award from the Lemelson Foundation and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. This award recognizes outstanding achievement in developing clean technologies, implementing sustainable business practices, and providing exceptional educational opportunities. Exceptional education is Swersey’s area of expertise: he currently teaches Inventor’s Studio and How to Change the World, two courses with the primary goal of convincing students to believe in themselves.

“Burt constantly challenges me to think bigger,” says Meghan Olson ’14, one of his former students. “My excitement for learning has grown exponentially since the day I met him. The moment Burt shouted, ‘You’re going to change the bloody world!’ while pounding his fist on the table and developing tears in his eyes, I knew I would do something with my career that would make a difference for humanity.”

Swersey has been a tireless proponent of entrepreneurship, serving to support RPI’s Severino Center, Change the World Challenge, and Foundry-RPI programs. “Burt is truly part of the institutional culture surrounding entrepreneurship,” said Jason Kuruzovich director of the Severino Center. He also provides more than just education. When students Eben Bayer ’07 and Gavin McIntyre ’07 developed a biodegradable packing product in his course, Swersey stepped up as their first angel investor and encouraged them to take the entrepreneurial leap. Since then, their company Ecovative Design has been awarded close to a million dollars in funding, opened a new production facility, and developed a partnership with packing company Sealed Air. They were recently named by Fast Company as one of the top 10 innovative companies dedicated to social good.

Rollio Continues to Build Momentum

RPI student Jake Soffer ’17 has had a busy freshman year, balancing academics with the founding of his own company. Soffer’s startup, Rollio, was inspired by a noticeable gap between in-office and out-of-office operations for sales representatives on the road. He developed a web and mobile app to bridge this gap. Rollio facilitates reporting for client meetings to utilize big data analytics and identify valuable trends in the behavior of representatives. Customer relationship management systems have collected overwhelming amounts of data in the past, but Rollio provides a new way to put this data to good use with specialized algorithms and innovative applications. Rollio’s analytical capabilities fuel its use as an organizational tool to help client-facing professionals plan their day, maximizing their effectiveness by increasing valuable activities and eliminating inefficient ones.

Soffer says the company simply needs time to complete its prototype before taking off. He went on to commend the Severino Center as a valuable resource for new startups: “the center provides great advice, resources, and experience-driven development for young entrepreneurs.” Rollio presented at the most recent Startup Tech Valley meet-up, and was recently awarded $2,500 as the second place finalist in the undergraduate division of RPI’s Business Model Competition.

Learn More about Entrepreneurship at RPI

For more information on local entrepreneurship, look out for meetings of the Foundry-RPI, which take place Tuesdays (4/22, 4/29) 6–7:30 pm in the Games Room of the Rensselaer Union. All entrepreneurs on campus are welcome, and provides feedback, mentorship, and free food! Details can be found at http://scte.rpi.edu/foundry.html.

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Athletes of the Week

This week’s picks: Bobby Parker, Benjamin Fazio, Sean Quinn, Brian Crowley, and Joe Livote

This week’s athletes of the week are outdoor track’s sophomore Bobby Parker, freshman Benjamin Fazio, senior Sean Quinn, freshman Brian Crowley, and senior Joe Livote. These five student athletes combined for the top three spots in the 1,500-meter run and the top two spots in the 3,000-steeple chase at last weekend’s Upstate Classic.

The Upstate Classic, hosted by Rensselaer, included athletes from the University of Albany, Union College, Vassar College, Hamilton College, State University of New York Oneonta, and State University of New York Plattsburgh.

In the 1500 meter run, Parker finished first with a speedy 3:58:16. Finishing just after him were Fazio at 3:58:48 and Quinn at 4:00:99. These three finished ahead of Albany’s three Division I 1500 meter runners, who placed fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively, an impressive feat.

Then, in the 3000 meter steeple, freshman Brian Crowley ran out ahead of the pack and hurdled his way to a top finish and a time of 10:10:40. Joe Livote followed Crowley with a second place finish and a time of 10:34:59.

Hats off to these gentlemen and the entire track and field team for a strong showing last weekend.

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Students show off research

Interactive Demo Day displays games, technologies

On Wednesday, April 9, the Department of Communication and Media and the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship put on an Interactive Demo Day in the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center. Students from a variety of majors showed off their research on topics ranging from computer games to compressible reusable water bottles, among other interactive technologies.

Gerald Franklin ’14 and Reginald Franklin ’14 showcased their game, Qualdrin, in which the user shoots blocks at enemies. The user had to be careful that neither the blocks nor enemies hit them, or else they would lose a life. The Franklins kept a tally of the points that people who played the game scored and chose a winner at the end of the day.

Jason King ’14 showcased Quench, a collapsible water bottle. King modeled it after origami. The reusable water bottle can collapse when not full and easily be stored.

Other projects had various uses. One, Resumazing, was an automated web service to help people make their résumés better. Agile PCB allows people, small businesses, and academic institutions to build prototype electronics. Scorequest teaches people to play musical instruments using a videogame. The Hart-Cluett House Virtual Tour allowed 3D virtual touring with a narrative. A dozen other projects were displayed in EMPAC for visitors to learn about and experiment with. For more information, visit http://scte.rpi.edu/.

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Amarello talks E-Board positions, involvement

I’d like to thank those who supported me in the race to be the next President of the Union and to tell my fellow students, even if you didn’t vote for me, I’m here to do my best for you. I know that I have been given a great responsibility and together, we can get a lot done over the next year, including restoring faith in the Executive Board and Student Government. Usually, my article will contain updates about Rensselaer Union life and events here at RPI, but, today I want to talk about the future, and how we can work together to enact positive change. My greatest goal over the next year is to increase involvement.

If you are reading this article, chances are you are already a Rensselaer Union regular. You may be involved in club activities, likely you regularly support performing arts or athletics on campus, you enjoy spending time with your friends, and you love RPI, as do I. The sad fact is that most students at RPI are not like you. This year, we saw a record turnout for voting, and I want record setting involvement for all activities at RPI. My challenge to you over the next year is to make involved students the majority. The Rensselaer Union, RPI as a whole, has a lot more to offer than many students take advantage of. There are so many activities run through clubs, organizations, and teams that are part of Rensselaer Union, and many chances for students to get involved and make their mark at RPI before their four years are up.

Many students know that they want to see change, but don’t take action. Let this be a year of action; let us set the wheels in motion to start moving towards change. The first steps toward change are usually in our committees, both through the Student Senate and the Executive Board. These committees often lack the people power to make their ideas and goals come to fruition. Get involved! Spread the word! Bring a new friend to a meeting. It is only when we are all working together that can we know what we are capable of achieving.

This is a new year and I would like to see some new faces. There are so many ways to get involved. Committees are always looking for new members, you can like the Rensselaer Union, The Polytechnic, or RPI Student Government Facebook page or follow their accounts on Twitter to stay informed. I have sent my Executive Board applications to Intrafraternity Council, Panhel, all club officers, athletics, and the schools of Engineering, Architecture, Humanities, Management, and Sciences. They are also now available throughout the Rensselaer Union. My E-Board needs to be as diverse as the student body it represents. I want to see passionate leaders from all over campus on my E-Board, leaders who are involved and committed to making our experience here at RPI the best it can be. If you can’t locate an application, if you have questions or concerns, come up to my office, or send me an email at pu@rpi.edu.

I look forward to working with my fellow students, Grand Marshal Kyle Keraga ’15, the Student Senate and the Executive Board in the upcoming year. I believe that together we can enact positive change.

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Incident blotter: Drug deal by employee, stomach ulcer in JEC

Information provided by Public Safety Investigator Terrance Burns

Tuesday, April 8

• Jonsson Engineering Center

Larceny: Banner reported stolen from wall outside an office. Report filed.

Wednesday, April 9

• Sunset Terrace

Property damage: Caller reported damaged bike and thinks they knows who caused the damage and wanted to file a report.

• West Hall

Summary: RP reported a camera missing from equipment room. Report filed.

Thursday, April 10

• Rensselaer Union

Summary: Caller witnessed a drug deal between an employee and a drug dealer. When caller confronted the employee, employee quit and left the building. Troy PD also completed a report. Investigation to continue.

Friday, April 11

• Watervliet Facility

Fire alarm: Panel indicated a fire alarm. Watervliet FD dispatched. Everything appeared to be fine. System reset per Watervliet FD.

Monday, April 14

• Jonsson Engineering Center

Illness: On-duty dean reported subject in a fetal position by the elevators, on the second floor of JEC. Caller stated subject was refusing any medical assistance at the time. Officer was advised that subject was 22-years-old and on medication for a stomach ulcer. Subject transported to Samaritan by RPIA.

• Polytech Apartments

Fire alarm: General fire alarm activation received. Officer advised alarm caused by cooking smoke. System reset per TFD.

• Lower Renwyck Field

Injury: Student sustained internal injury to left knee. Patient transported to hospital by RPIA. DOSO/Res Life notified.

Tuesday, April 15

• Darrin Communications Center

Criminal Mischief: Caller reported the door to the cooler at Jazzman’s was damaged sometime overnight, unknown if anything was taken from the cooler.

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Letters to the Editor

Implicated officials speak out

To my colleagues in student government, fellow students and members of the entire Rensselaer community,

I want to apologize for my error in judgment in the removal of posters pertaining to the referendum on amendments to the Union Constitution. It particularly pains me to know that my decision negatively affected Student Government, which is the activity at Rensselaer to which I have devoted my last four years as a student leader. This year, we have accomplished many things together and that’s because Student Government is composed of wonderful, dedicated people whose focus has always been the betterment of student life. They mean the world to me, and I am sorry to see them and the rest of our community hurt by my actions. I hope that all of us can move forward and work together in the future so that we can continue to add to the legacy that has made Rensselaer the great place it is today.

Charles Carletta

BMGT ’14

148th Grand Marshal

To the members of the Rensselaer Community,

I would like to apologize for my recent mistakes. I have disappointed you and let you down, and I know that there is very little I can do to repair the damage of my actions.

I would like to apologize to my peers in Student Government, who will now have to deal with the aftermath of my own poor decision. I am sorry that my actions have cast a shadow on all of their good work and the changes they have dedicated themselves to this year. Unfortunately, they will have to work even harder in the next year due to my mistakes, and I deeply regret that. I have been fortunate enough to work with the wonderful and talented people of the Rensselaer Union Admin Office, club officers, and those in Student Government. I have let each of them down in many ways, and I cannot fully express how much I regret that.

I was elected to best serve our students and our Union and I am sorry that I made a mistake while in that role. It was my responsibility to fully think through my actions before I made them, and in this situation I did not. Please do not let my poor decision influence your relationship with our Union and Student Government. The mistake I made was my own and not a reflection of anyone else’s opinion or actions. Unfortunately, I am graduating and will not be able to redeem my actions over time; but I truly hope that the excellent work of my peers will not be forgotten or overlooked because of the mistakes that I made. They are great, dedicated people and they will continue to show it throughout this upcoming year.

I sincerely apologize for my mistakes and the negative impact it has had on this community.

Gretchen Sileo

MATH ’14

124th President of the Union

Members of the RPI Community,

I want to formally apologize to each and every one of you for my actions in taking down the Union Constitution Referendum opposition posters. I was wrong to do it and I should have known better. I’ve let you down as a leader and want you to know that I will never do something like this again. I wish I could go back and teach my former self all the lessons I’ve learned. I wish I had never made such a rash decision, or compromised my character in this way.

I am sorry to the people whose posters I took down, sorry to the people whose trust I carelessly discarded, sorry to the members of Student Government who know deal with the aftermath, and sorry to everyone on this campus for what I have done.

I have been thinking about this non-stop since Friday and struggled for the past few days to put my feelings into words. I know I’ve disappointed you and want you to know that I take that very seriously. I will accept the consequences of my actions and work to regain your trust in the future.

Russell Brown

MECL ’14

146th Grand Marshal

To the RPI Student Body and the Rensselaer community,

I would like to apologize for my actions in the removal of the posters opposing amendments to the Rensselaer Union Constitution. I deeply regret what I’ve done and the damage it has caused to our community and our Union.

To those who posted the signs: I don’t know your names, but I’m sure I’ve met and spoken with a number of you. If I could apologize to you in person, I would. What I did was indefensible and inexcusable, and I’m sorry for any distress my actions caused. My actions were an affront to your rights as students, and counter to everything I’ve worked for as a representative of the student body in my time in student government. I’ve failed you as a representative of your voice.

To the members of our Student Government: I know how hard every one of you works to represent and advocate for students. I know that you struggle to maintain a relationship of trust and confidence with the student body, and my actions destroyed that relationship and much of the work we’ve done to improve it over the past three years. I’m sorry for all the damage that I have done, and I’m sorry that it will fall to you to repair it. I’ve failed you as a colleague and a friend.

To the GM Week Committee, and the Rules and Elections Committee: Your hard work and dedication to producing an incredible experience for students deserved a better ending. I’m sorry that what I did puts a black mark on what should be remembered as the best GM Week in recent history.

To the staff of the Rensselaer Union: I’ve worked with many of you over the years to make our Union the best it can be for our students. You have put your trust in me, guided me, and helped shape me as a person and leader. I’m sorry that I’ve let you down, and for the distress and inconvenience I’ve caused you.

To the rest of our RPI community: You deserve better from a student leader. Many of you who voted put your faith and trust in me as someone who would lead our Union with conscience and integrity, and I have betrayed your trust. I’ve failed you as a leader.

It pains me that the consequences of my mistakes will be suffered by others. I will do everything I can to repair the damage I’ve done, and I hope that with time I can work toward earning redemption and your forgiveness.

Frank Abissi

MATH ’15

To My Fellow Students,

I want to extend my sincerest apologies for removing the posters pertaining to amendments to the Union Constitution. You trusted me as a student leader to make good decisions; by taking matters into my own hands, I have failed you. I hope that in time I can earn back your trust.

Matthew Kosman

CSYS ’14

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44th Student Senate’s official poster incident statement

To our fellow RPI Students:

Recently, a number of our members, former members, and colleagues were implicated in an incident that involved the removal of posters pertaining to the 2014 Grand Marshal Week elections. The Senate Rules and Elections Committee elected to defer the matter to the Rensselaer Union Judicial Board and the Dean of Students Office.

As such, we trust our fellow students on the Judicial Board and those employed by the Dean of Students Office to handle the matter with fairness and professionalism. The 44th Student Senate supports any and all decisions made by these bodies.

It should be made clear that the 44th Student Senate is committed to upholding all student rights and does not condone any actions that may interfere with them.

We understand that changes need to be made to restore the faith of the student body in its elected leadership. With the help of every one of you and the 45th Student Senate, we are willing to make those changes.

We humbly ask for your cooperation and patience during this difficult time.

Your representatives,

The 44th Student Senate

Editor’s note: The preceeding was originally released by the 44th Student Senate and subsequently adopted by the Union Executive Board. The 44th would like to remind readers that they were not a sitting body at the time of adoption and that they met simply as a group of students.

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