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Resignation of Student Union Vice President

By Hannah Stewart

Section: News

January 19, 2015

On Jan. 11, the entire Brandeis student body received an email from Sofía Mühlmann ’16, stating that she was resigning from her post as the Student Union Vice President. Mühlmann began her journey at Brandeis as a first year and earned the title of “Mayor of Sherman” within her first week. Mühlmann is known for being charismatic, and she possesses the highly coveted ability to remember everyone that she meets as more than just a name and a face.

In the fall of her sophomore year, three students approached Mühlmann and asked her to run for the position of president of the Student Union. Initially planning on running for senator for her class, two weeks before the election, she was approached once more and asked to run for “something more.”As Mühlmann explains, “One of my friends sat down with me and we decided that running for vice president would make the most sense because … I’m very good at mediating, very good at facilitating and very aware of my environment.”

Even after declaring her intention to run, she never once asked any student to vote for her, yet people still came up to her, informing Mühlmann that they were going to vote for her.

While not having any experience with the Student Union, Mühlmann had experience advocating for students and dealing with administrators through her work as a community advisor.

“Student Union is supposed to be this forum for students to run like a government and represent their fellow students,” according to Mühlmann.

“Every meeting I would always bring back the point that we are here to represent our peers, and we are here to be a voice for our peers, and I would always remind them of the purpose of why we would meet. Because I think if we lose sight of that purpose, then we’re not helping ourselves and we’re not helping others … So, that’s part of my job, to run these meetings and to kind of empower the people around me.”

This empowerment-of-others mindset is an integral part of Mühlmann’s everyday personality, so she was appalled when she sat in on a Senate meeting the semester before her campaign. She refused to tolerate the hostility, yelling and disrespect in the room, and made it her personal mission to create a new environment for these meetings.

“I thought, how deeply terrible is this, that people who we pick to represent us are coming and having these meetings and there’s so much disrespect going on. That was horrible for me to see because I don’t think that that’s a conducive way to act at all … This is a place where we would need to be respectful of each other’s opinions and every single person has the right to say what they want to say but please do so in a way that’s respectful.”

Mühlmann strove to change the dynamic of these meetings. One senator even commented that they now felt safe to express their own views, and enjoyed coming to meetings. However, after a semester, something changed.

As Mühlmann describes it, “There came a point in time … something was like, ‘Sofía, Sofía, hello?’… and the little voice said, ‘I think it time’s for you to resign.’”

Her decision to resign had nothing to do with her ability to perform her duties. It was more of a matter of it no longer having the same meaning or purpose to her anymore.

“In this world, regardless of any rules that are written or unwritten, it is our job to be aware of what it is that we want and need in our own lives, but also to be aware that people are here to help other people … Running these Senate meetings, going to E-Board meetings was no longer conducive for me. It no longer served a purpose in my life … saying no to this position has allowed me to see my community in a way … that is so much brighter … and it feels great,” she said.

The choosing of the new vice president of the Student Union will be held during the upcoming mid-year elections.

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