A week of activities to enjoy around campus. All events are free unless otherwise stated.

Make sure to vote in ALL elections to receive your free mug.

Attend the Finale to hear the results of the elections and have a great time.

  • Aquaman

    7.00 PM, 10.00 PM, 1.00 AM

    Aqua Man

    DCC 308

    Cost: FREE
    Join UPAC Cinema to Kick Off GM Week with Aquaman and free pizza!
  • A Cappella Free4All

    7.00 PM

    A Cappella Free4All

    McNeil Room

    Join RPI's A Cappella groups for this annual night of performance.
  • Pop Up Event 1

    12.00 PM

    Pop Up Event 1

    Rensselaer Union

    Join the GM Committee for some FREE Ben & Jerry's sundaes and take photo at our photobooth with props and photothings and get a photo or something
  • Solar S'mores


    Solar S'mores

    Rensselaer Union

    Come enjoy S'mores with RSA
  • Debates

    5.00 PM

    Primary Debates (if necessary)

    McNeil Room

    Learn about the candidates running for Grand Marshal and President of the Union as they debate each other.
  • GM Week Social Dance

    7.00 PM

    GM Week Social Dance


    Join members of RPI Ballroom will for social dancing.
  • UPAC Comedy Presents JR De Guzman

    7.30 PM

    UPAC Comedy Presents JR De Guzman

    McNeil Room

    Join UPAC Comedy for some groovy comedy and maybe some laughs too!
  • GM/PU Roast

    8.30 PM

    GM/PU Roast

    McNeil Room

    Come send off the current GM and PU as they end their terms with a roast.
  • Rules and Elections

    9.00 AM - 6.00 PM

    Primary Voting

    DCC, Rensselaer Union, Commons Dining Hall, Folsom Library, and CBIS

    Vote for the candidates in the primary election. This event may not occur if Rules and Elections determines that a primary election is not necessary.
  • Popup 2

    12.00 PM

    Pop Up 2

    Rensselaer Union

    Join the GM Week committee to make some bumper stickers and enjoy some free hotdogs
  • UPAC Concerts Presents AJR

    7.00 PM

    UPAC Concerts Presents AJR

    Houston Field House

    Cost: $30
    Come join UPAC Concerts as they bring NYC alt-pop trio AJR to campus. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at Houston Field House box office and also the Union(on select dates)
  • The Clubhouse Pub

    7.30 PM

    GM Week Trivia with Perry

    Clubhouse Pub

    Must be 21 years of age to attend.
    Join us for a fun-filled evening of trivia with host Perry Laskaris. Perry will mix up our regular trivia night with some GM Week trivia. Prizes, food, and fun for all!
  • GM Day

    All Day

    GM Day

    No Classes

    Enjoy the day off and be sure to come to the events that are happening around campus.
  • Grand Marshal Week

    11.00 AM

    Provost BBQ


    Join the Provost for lunch, Inflatables, Arts & Crafts, and Alpha Delta Phi Society for their Music and Arts Festival in the Armory.
  • RAS

    12.00 PM

    Solar Observing with RAS

    Hirsch Observatory

    Come join the Rensselaer Astrophysical Society for some solar observation
  • Photo

    2.00 PM

    Complexity & Tension Gallery

    Shellnut Gallery

    Come check out the Photo Club's work in the Complexity & Tension Gallery
  • Photo

    2.00 PM

    Spikeball Tournament

    '86 Field

    Join Rensselaer Roundnet for a spikeball tournament
  • Wellness

    3.00 PM

    Wellness Wednesday: Superheroes and Superfoods

    Muller Center

    Join the Muller Center for this week's Wellness Wednesday
  • Mr.RPI

    5.00 PM


    DCC 308

    This year's Annual Mr.RPI pageant
  • APO

    5.00 PM

    Meanest Man on Campus Debates

    McNeil Room

    Candidates for the Meanest Man on Campus campaign to be voted the meanest. Winning candidate's charity receives all votes (money) raised.
  • URM

    6.00 PM

    Your Vote Does Matter: URM


    Come learn about why your vote matters
  • Debates

    7.00 PM


    McNeil Room

    Learn about the candidates running for Grand Marshal and President of the Union as they debate each other.
  • Rules and Elections

    9.00 AM - 6.00 PM


    DCC, Rensselaer Union, Commons Dining Hall, Folsom Library, CBIS

    Vote for the elected student government positions and get a free mug!
  • Red & White

    9.00 AM - 2.00 PM

    weR Mug Shots

    DCC Great hall

    The weR Committee of the Red & White Student Organization will be taking pictures of students on voting day with their new mugs! All students, and especially student groups, are encouraged to come get their picture taken!
  • Grilled Cheese Product

    12.00 PM - 2.00 PM

    Grilled Cheese Product with UPAC Lights

    Rensselaer Union Patio

    Come get a free grilled cheese product sandwich with UPAC Lights!
  • spectaculatorium

    1.00 PM


    EMPAC Lobby

    Come join WRPI for a spectaculatorium
  • superhero dinner

    6.00 PM

    GM Week Superhero Dinner


    Cost: $10 Signup on Eventbrite,Must be 21 years of age to attend
    Join us as we celebrate Grand Marshal Week at The Clubhouse Pub - Super Hero style. Our super heroes will serve a three course meal with beers to complement each course. The first course is chicken wings with UFO Raspberry sauce, followed by a full barbeque dinner. Completing the meal is Cornbread Pudding. Come prepared to have fun and have your photo taken with a super hero or two! This event will be held in Mother's due to its popularity.
  • GM/PU Roast

    7.00 PM

    Ms. RPI

    DCC 308

    Come join Pi Lamda Phi for this year's annual Ms.RPI pageant
  • SSTF

    1.00 PM

    Environmental Career Fair

    Sage Banquet Hall

    Join the Student Sustainability Task Force for a chance to find a job and speak with companies associated with the environmental/earth sciences and sustainability at the Environmental Career Fair!.
  • Sgz

    8.00 PM

    Ground Zero Presents: Perspective, A Lovely Hand to Hold/ Walter Etc./ Brusier and Bicycle/ Greens

    East Campus CLASS Community Center

    Ground Zero is a DIY, student-run music + arts space
  • GM Week Finale

    7.00 PM

    GM Week Finale


    Join the GM Week Committee in wrapping up the week. Winners of the election will be announced at the end of this event. Featured at this event: Free Food, Laser Tag, Escape Rooms, A Circus, Caricatures and more!

About GM Week

The event most cherished and observed by the whole student body, which became a major ceremonial preserved in a relatively mild form to this date, was the Grand Marshal's election and installation. This first occurred in 1865, when Major Albert M. Harper of Pittsburgh was elected and endowed with a ceremonial sword, as was fitting in a year of war. His function was to head and represent the entire student body on all occasions in all relations, thereby giving it a formal unity. Except for a few years during the 1890's Grand Marshals were elected each year, usually in the spring, and this provided, as it were, the culminating event of the student calendar. The election was often hotly contested, and the split between fraternity and nonsociety candidates and voters was already evident in 1872.

The election customs were well established by 1882, when Independence Grove, a strangely named junior, of Chi Phi, was elected Grand Marshal. In 1883 occurred a characteristic Grand Marshal's election night on May 2 in Harmony Hall, used for many years for the purpose, and the retiring marshal was presented with a suitably inscribed gold-headed cane. The students then filed into the streets and, headed by Doring's Band, paraded through the city, with Greek fire displays and houses illuminated. They stopped at Boughton's hat store, where the new marshal was presented with a high silk hat, still used symbolically as the headgear of the office.

A common practice of the student parade was to serenade the students of the Emma Willard School, located in downtown, as well as some of the professors and school dignitaries at their homes, and they generally responded with speeches of acknowledgment. At about eleven at night the parade returned to Harmony Hall for food, drink, and high jinks. Until the wee hours of the morning, the press reported, the shouts and plaudits could be heard for blocks on the still night air. In 1883 the total expenses of the election were $212.50, raised by class assessments, and they included $28 for the hall and damages to it, $127 for the music, and $12 for the services of the 8 policemen at the hall and in the parade. In 1884, the excitement of the occasion was enhanced when the Columbia College baseball team arrived for a game and was welcomed uproariously.

The political order on the postwar Rensselaer campus was also transmitted from the past and continued to function despite discontent and the desire for reform. The Student Union as an association of all students had its roots in the nineteenth century, although its modern and formal organization dated from 1908. Its two heads, one the Grand Marshal, and the other, president of the Union, carried great prestige, and harked back to the nineteenth century. They were the occasion for an annual student campaign, election, and celebration which were encrusted with tradition and lively youthful antics. On these foundations was erected in due course a broad system of student elections, comprising class officers and members of the Student Council, in which the fraternities almost from the first played a prominent, if not dominant, role. The spring week of hectic campaigning and voting culminated in the celebration of Grand Marshal's Night. How genuinely democratic this election system is can be debated, but it has persisted as the one unifying, all-Institute event, accompanied by the frenzied excitement of electioneering characteristic of American politics generally and caricatured by the exploits and ebullience of youth.

The election of the grand marshal has undergone many changes since the position was created in 1865. In the 1880's the GM was elected by a "caucus" of students at a location off campus in an environment that might not have been conducive to intelligent voting. These 1886 Transit illustrations indicate that the process was reformed. Institute regulations, city and state laws, and changes in society have continued to modify election events. In spite of change, Rensselaer alumni share fond memories of these GM nights, days, or weeks, whether they were held on or off campus and with of without certain beverages of entertainment.

Text excerpts from "Education for a Technological Society - A sesquicentennial History of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute" by Samuel Rezneck [Professor Emeritus of History - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute]