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RSVP loses office in RMC

By Miles Kruppa     8/28/14 7:39pm

Rice Student Volunteer Program lost its office space in the Rice Memorial Center in a decision finalized in June by Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson and Assistant Dean Catherine Clack. The Office of Study Abroad currently resides in RSVP’s old office. The decision to remove RSVP from its office makes it one of two blanket tax organizations, including Rice Program Council, which voluntarily moved out of its space, to not reside in a physical office in the RMC.

According to Clack, the discussion to move RSVP began during conversations in the spring regarding RMC office reallocation and the realization that their office was primarily being used for storage.

“It’s an office, and so they need to keep an office in it and maintain office hours,” Clack said. “When it came down to offices moving and expanding, Study Abroad had to move out that way. It was part of the expansion, but if they had been using it properly, I don’t know what we would have done, but we would have found some way to accommodate them somewhere else.”

Director of Student Activities Kate Abad coordinated the logistics of RSVP’s move. She said the office was obviously being used primarily for storage.

“I don’t know what criteria were made to determine whether they were using their space,” Abad said. “I do know when I was helping with the logistics of moving there were boxes of things, [and] the way that the space was set up it was visually noticeable that it had not been used as office space.”

RSVP Co-Chair Pooja Yesantharao said RSVP should be minimally affected by the loss of their office.

We did not really use the office for too many things, so our operations should basically remain the same,” Yesantharao said. “The office was largely used for storage and administrative duties such as interviews. Though we appreciated the office space, we will be able to survive without it.”

According to Abad, the construction of a new student center could allow for all blanket tax organizations to have their own permanent office spaces. She said the Office of Student Affairs makes attempts to include students in its decisions, especially those involving blanket tax organizations.

“People try to make sure students are involved in the decision making,” Abad said. “There [were] special circumstances this summer [since] students [were] not around. Jacqueline [Jones], the coordinator for RSVP, was asked to communicate with the students and talk with them ... so I do think that is an effort that is made especially well on this campus to make sure that students are involved in conversations that are happening.”

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