From April 7 to April 11 Grand Marshal Week—the annual student-run event that focuses on the election of new student government representatives—was in full effect. This year, GM Week took over the campus with a Vikings theme and an appropriately named slogan—“Forge, Fight, Feast!” Event highlights included a series of carnival activities, club showcases, live entertainment, fundraisers, and more. The event was planned by a 20-member GM Week planning committee led by Elizabeth Ottman ’14, a native of Somerset, Wis., who is majoring in civil engineering. Ottman is also a member of Sigma Delta sorority, the Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, the 8th Street Swing Band, and Girl Scouts of America.

Meet the new student leaders: President of the Union Erin Amarello ’15 and Grand Marshal Kyle Keraga ’15.

Meet the new student leaders: President of the Union Erin Amarello ’15 and Grand Marshal Kyle Keraga ’15.

“It’s tough to sum up my experience with GM Week in just a couple sentences,” said Ottman. “I have been fortunate enough to have a great committee of students who share the same GM Week vision as I do. I didn’t want GM Week to be just another event. I wanted it to be THE event that students could look forward to each year and remember for years after they graduate.”

Following the spring 2014 elections, Erin Amarello ’15 was elected to serve as the 125th President of the Rensselaer Union, or PU. The PU presides over the executive board, which manages a nearly $8.4 million budget. Amarello is just one example of the more than 100 students who have served as President of the Union, preparing for future careers by focusing on student leadership development and gaining business management experience. The position was established in 1891.

Kyle Keraga ’15 was elected to serve as the 149th Grand Marshal, or GM, which is the highest elected official in student government. The position was established to honor a student respected and admired by classmates. The title also reflects the military atmosphere of the Civil War era when a soldier was selected to speak on behalf of his fellow soldiers.

Participating student organizations included members of Circle K, UPAC Cinema, The Rensselyrics, Black Student Alliance, RMA Jazz Festival, RPI Quidditch, Habitat for Humanity, the RPI Crew team, Community Advocates, Sigma Delta, Pi Lambda Phi, and members of the Class of 2016.

Curious to know more about how GM Week started? Read the From the Archives article, titled “A century of student leadership.”