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Community Councils expanded past first-year quads

By Samantha Lauring

Section: News

September 9, 2016

For the first time, all residential quads have a community council—a group of students who plan programming for the residents and represent the quad in talks with the Department of Community Living (DCL).

The idea of community councils has evolved over the past few years. In 2014, students in the first-year hall Deroy implemented a residential government, and last year the university created one council for each of the freshman quads, North and Massell.

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The purpose of the Community Council program is to provide communication and advocacy efforts in the residential quads to improve community living, according to a document from DCL. The councils will have several positions, each with its own set of responsibilities. The president will plan all council activities, coordinate biweekly meetings with the Area Coordinator and oversee council meetings. Responsibilities of the vice president for administration will be to fill in for the president in their absence, take minutes at meetings and understand funding requests. Tasks of the vice president for community engagement include organizing community activities and communicating with Community Advisors (CAs) about programming. The vice president for recognition organizes a service project per year, among other responsibilities.

Last year, when the university unveiled the program for first-year quads, the organization of the council included a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer, as well as a representative from each of the four residence halls in the quad. “The general purpose of Community Council was to make sure first-year voices were heard,” said former Massell Quad treasurer Emily Koleske ’19.

The councils had weekly meetings, in which the council members discussed how to improve community life and better communicate information to their residents, according to Koleske. She also said that serving on the council allowed her to meet people she would not have met otherwise.

“Our main focus was to create a sense of community in the quad through social events throughout the year,” Koleske explained. “One event we had was Massell Munchies, which was an event where residents could come and talk and enjoy free food during finals week.”

Last fall, the North Quad council organized a free-throw contest with recycling bin baskets to promote sustainability, according to a November 2015 Brandeis Hoot article. Students won candy and got LED light bulbs and frisbees made from recycled material.

“The purpose of Community Council is to get individual residents to be active and participate in the community, which is something meaningful,” remarked Paulina Kuzmin ’17, a CA in North Quad’s Reitman Hall. “It’s nice seeing residents go to hall events.”

Kuzmin stated that CAs can only do so much, and Community Council members are another resource for residents to utilize. “Community Council members build community and educate residents on resources available to them. They are a way to connect to a smaller community within Brandeis,” Kuzmin said.

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