Imagine RIT 2020

Student Government’s (SG) last meeting before the winter break began with a presentation from Lynn Rowoth, the assistant vice president for RIT Community Relations, concerning plans for the 2020 Imagine RIT festival.

The festival is a free, annual event hosted by RIT during the spring semester, with this year’s event scheduled for April 25, 2020. The event showcases the talents, achievements and experiences of RIT to the greater Rochester community.

The presentation from RIT Community Relations was to inform SG on updates being made to improve the overall experience of participants at Imagine RIT.

Some of the updates focused more on the operational side of things, such as the addition of a “steering committee” which will serve to provide guidance and support to festival workers.

Besides better operations, the 2020 festival plans on making improvements based on reviews of past festivals successes and shortcomings. Some of these updates include increasing the amount of indoor festivities in anticipation of inclement weather, expanding the futurist symposium and increasing the amount of presentations from RIT alumni members.

In addition to these updates, President Munson outlined some goals he would like to see achieved during Imagine. One of President Munson’s primary goals is to showcase the musical and artistic talents of the RIT student body during a planned performing arts showcase event, something that is often overshadowed by the heavy STEM fields at RIT.

Other goals highlighted by Munson were to increase student interaction with attendees, provide better methods of navigation around campus and effectively engage potential students.

Lynn Rowoth concluded her presentation by asking SG to help spread the word about poster contest deadlines. Each year, the Imagine RIT poster design is selected from student submissions. This year’s deadline is Jan. 17, 2020.

She also encouraged anyone looking for more information on the poster submission, or on the festival itself, to visit their website.

Project Spirit Decommissioning

Following the Imagine presentation, SG announced to its members that RIT’s Project Spirit will be coming to an end.

Project Spirit was an effort spearheaded by SG to increase the attendance of RIT students at campus events, create a stronger community overall and generate a greater sense of school spirit.

The decision to end all Project Spirit activities was made due to the program failing to achieve the effects on school spirit it was slated to bring, as well as the declining rates of overall participation.

Going forward, SG decided they would like to shift their focus towards more student advocacy, as well as more involvement with other representative student organizations.

On Dec. 10, 2019, all Project Spirit activity officially ended.

Charges and a New NTID Senator

During the charges section of the meeting, SG drafted a response to a PawPrints petition advocating for the closing of school on Dec. 2, 2019 due to inclement winter weather.

In the response, SG stated that it was extremely difficult to conduct student advocacy during a holiday break. Nevertheless, SG was able to communicate the concerns of the student body with the RIT administration.

Ultimately, the decision was made to keep the university open. The administration cited the tight academic schedule and consultations with experts, such as NYS Thruway Authority, on the severity of conditions as reasons for keeping the university open.

After drafting the response, SG reviewed a more recent PawPrints petition which seeks to give RIT students five mental health days per semester.

The petition wants the university to allot five non-penalizing days for students to excuse themselves from classes to decrease anxiety levels and improve overall mental health.

SG charged the investigation to the Student Affairs committee.

Following charges, SG held a special election for the vacant NTID Senator seat. Two qualified candidates were invited to attend the special election and after careful considerations, SG members elected Sophia Roach to the position of NTID Senator.

With the special election of a new Senator completed, and a busy spring schedule ahead of them, SG adjourned for the last time until the start of the 2020 Spring semester.