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Gray encourages community involvement

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Section: News

November 21, 2008

STATE OF THE UNION: Union President Jason Gray ’10 addressed Union members, clubs leaders, and other students at his State of the Union address in Rapaporte Treasure Hall Monday evening. <br /><br /><i>PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot</i>

STATE OF THE UNION: Union President Jason Gray ’10 addressed Union members, clubs leaders, and other students at his State of the Union address in Rapaporte Treasure Hall Monday evening.

PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

Student Union President Jason Gray ’10 challenged student clubs to develop a community service component for their organizations at his State of the Union address on Monday in Rapaporte Treasure Hall.

“For example, the debate team could teach public speaking at a local school. An a cappella group could sing at a local shelter,” Gray suggested. “The opportunities are endless.”

Gray also said that the Union is committed to “help this challenge succeed” in his first address of the academic year. His second address will take place during the spring semester.

Student Union Vice President Adam Hughes ’11 said after the address that while the Union’s executive board has yet to discuss how it will specifically aid clubs in adding a community service component, he hopes to make it as easy as possible for clubs to meet Gray’s “audacious call to action.”

Hughes said he imagines that the Union would “spend a significant amount of time next semester” helping to connect clubs with Waltham organizations.

“We don’t want this to be a huge ordeal for any club,” Hughes said. “This is a great actualization of Brandeis goals, and we want to make it as easy as possible for clubs to achieve.”

Approximately 70 students attended the address along with Catholic Chaplain Walter Cuenin, Senior Vice President of Communications Lorna Miles and Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment Jean Eddy.

President Jehuda Reinhartz was invited to the address, but did not attend, Gray said.

Miles said she was struck by Gray’s challenge to the student body, saying that it was a “tremendous initiative that really defines the university. It’s a good night for Brandeis.”

Eddy agreed. “I love to come and see such a well articulated vision for the student body,” Eddy said. “I feel really uplifted after this.”

Other changes Gray hopes to implement during his term as Union president include the creation of a university shuttle from campus to the Riverside T station in Newton, in an effort to increase student access to Boston.

Gray also announced that the Union passed a resolution last Sunday asking the university to incorporate the Student Bill of Rights into the student handbook, Rights and Responsibilities. The Student Bill of Rights was written by students and approved by 90 percent of the student body last spring.

The student written Bill of Rights contradicts the handbook on certain issues, such as whether a student is allowed to see evidence against them in a disciplinary hearing before or during the hearing, Gray explained.

“Here at Brandeis, we ought not to settle for a partially sufficient document,” Gray said, referring to the handbook.

In the conclusion of his speech, Gray asked the student body for its “partnership.”

“Our democracy—like all democracies, no matter the scale—works best when all of us are engaged together,” he said. “Our agenda is large. The possibilities are infinite…Let’s get to work.”

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