The year 2015 marks a very important milestone for the Rensselaer Union—125 years ago, the students of Rensselaer formed R.P.I. Union with the intent of “promoting the best interests of the Institute in athletics and amusements.” To this day, the robust, student-driven goals of the organization have not
Students and staff of the Rensselaer Union took the opportunity to celebrate the special anniversary during Reunion and Homecoming weekend with a host of events and activities for alumni, current students, and families to enjoy. Many events featured entertainment provided by student organizations, including concerts in EMPAC, musical groups at receptions, and improv.
The weekend began on Saturday at the Celebration of Student Leadership Brunch. In attendance were two former vice presidents for student life, two former Rensselaer Union directors, the current director, 10 former Grand Marshals, and 12 former Presidents of the Union. The program was hosted by the 150th Grand Marshal, Marcus Flowers ’16, and the 126th President of the Union, Nick Dvorak ’16. Guests were welcomed and invited to take turns sharing their stories.
Former student leaders hailed from as far back as Glenn O. Brown ’54, who served as Grand Marshal 1953-1954.
Additional student leaders and student life staff spoke, including the 1986-1987 President of the Union, Andrew Morrison ’87, who talked about how his student leadership position made him into the successful person he is today. Former Director of Rensselaer Union Chuck Phelan ’67 encouraged students to continue taking on big social issues and to make the world a better, more accepting place.
Perhaps the most lively former student leader to take the stage was John G. Almstead ’69. Almstead took the stage at brunch wearing the same purple and white striped pants he wore the day he was elected President of the Union in 1968. The pants were made by his girlfriend at the time, now his wife. After the event, he gifted the pants to Rensselaer Union along with paper clippings and the mug from his election.
“I was able to learn volumes through sharing stories and experiences, and, ultimately, I gained a better perspective for the challenges I’m facing with my board today,” said Dvorak. Rensselaer Union is an incredible and unique organization, which is truly a point of pride for all who are involved with it.”
“Celebrating the anniversary is important so that students can have a greater perspective on what exactly has been accomplished here,” said Flowers. “Rensselaer Union stands as a testament to the trials that our predecessors faced, a reminder of what we do every day, and a foreshadowing of what we may face in the future. It reminds us that this journey through our education is not one that we take lightly, nor travel alone. At the end of the day, I can personally say that every moment I spend in the Union is a moment well spent among colleagues and friends.”