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DCL continues to fill community council positions

By Abigail Gardener

Section: News

October 21, 2016

Almost all of the positions on each residential area’s Community Council have been filled, after only 46 percent of positions were filled after initial voting on Oct. 7.

Although Community Councils are not a new idea, this is the first year they have been implemented in all residential areas at Brandeis, according to Lusi Wang, area coordinator for North Quad. Last year, Community Councils were only implemented in first-year residential areas.

The idea of Community Councils was first introduced by the Department of Community Living (DCL) to all students living on campus this summer in an email at the end of August. DCL encouraged students to run for the executive board for their specific Community Council: Charles River/Mods, East/Castle, Massell/Rosenthal, North, Village/567 and Ziv/Ridgewood.

On Sept. 19, each area coordinator sent out an email to their specific housing area with details about the positions and elections, encouraging students to run for a position.

This email told students briefly about the time commitment, stating that executive board members will be required to attend “bi-weekly meetings, major community events once per semester, and any other meetings or programs as determined by the board.”

Links were included for students to either nominate a friend or submit their own intent to run. A timeline of the campaigning and voting period was also included. Students were expected to submit nominations or let their intent to run be known by Oct. 1. Students could campaign from Sept. 27-Oct. 3.

The informational document sent with both emails stated that elections would be held on Oct. 3 “via an electronic survey.” The survey was sent on Oct. 7, and only to residents of North, Massell/Rosenthal and Village/567, which were the three residential areas that had positions with candidates running against each other, Wang said in an email to The Brandeis Hoot.

Not as many students voted as DCL had hoped. “Roughly 100 students voted in the Massell/Rosenthal and North elections and over 20 in the Village/567,” Wang said. “But this was the first time we have held this election, and we will strive to improve turnout each year, as the Community Councils prove themselves to be an important resource for students.”

When the results were released on Oct. 8, only 46 percent of all positions were filled, although since then there has been “an overwhelming number of students who are interested in filling the open positions” and “as of now, almost all positions are filled,” Wang said.

North Quad was the only Community Council where all positions were filled when the initial results were released.

“It was actually quite amusing to find out I’d won the presidency,” said Kieran Cooper ’18, who originally ran for vice president for recognition in the Charles River/Mods council. She was unknowingly nominated for, and elected, president after no one ran for that position.

Although Cooper said the duties of her role were clear to her before she ran, she didn’t realize that she would take on the role of president—and effectively every other role—if no one else ran.

DCL sent multiple emails to inform students about the councils. “Community Council is a leadership group within the residence halls that gives students a direct voice in their community,” one email said.

Students were also told that these positions would provide “excellent networking opportunities at Brandeis and beyond” as they will potentially have opportunities to attend leadership conferences in the Northeast.

A document detailing the purpose of Community Councils, as well as descriptions of each executive board position, was attached. “The mission and purpose of Community Councils is to provide programming and advocacy efforts within our residence halls to improve our residential community,” it said.

Each Community Council’s executive board consists of a president, a vice president for administration, a vice president for community engagement, a vice president for recognition and general representatives.

“The implementation of Community Councils is a way for DCL to honor Brandeisian values of promoting student-led initiatives and increasing student input,” Wang said. “We are excited to bring this opportunity to Brandeis’ campus.”

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