Students filled 10 vacant positions in the Student Union, according to midyear election results that the Student Union emailed to The Brandeis Hoot.
The closest race was between Alanna Levy ’19 and Winnie Zhao ’20 for the two semester A-Board Position. Zhao won with 159 votes, or 28.39 percent of the vote, compared to Levy with 154 votes or 27.5 percent of the vote. No candidates ran for the Ridgewood, Mods or Charles River/567 seats. Charles River/567 had the most amount of participation with 23 students voting. Nine of those votes were for abstain.
Matt Smetana ’17 was elected to fill the open senator-at-large position.
Smetana intends to reduce energy waste on campus. “There are a lot of areas on campus that are being overheated or underheated, and that’s important for energy consumption because then we will spend more money unnecessarily and we’re also uncomfortable,” noted Smetana. If rooms had balanced temperatures, it might save money and energy.
Smetana is also working with the environmental studies department and Elaine Wong, the senior associate dean of arts and sciences for undergraduate education, to figure out if there is room to hire a new faculty member to research climate science, as there are no courses offered about climate change. Smetana is looking at external sources to fund this extra faculty member.
As senator-at-large, Smetana represents all of the undergraduate students. “Any concern that any student has, they can come to me with,” says Smetana.
Dana Brown ’20 was elected as the midyear senator and wants to be a resource to her fellow midyears. Midyears “have an immense amount of courage,” according to Brown. “We started halfway into the school year and joined a vibrant, yet at times chaotic, community. Therefore I believe it is important for our voices to be heard.”
As midyear senator, Brown wants to improve communication on campus. “This is a huge issue at Brandeis. There are too many flyers and Facebook events … Although there is the Brandeis app, we need a media that is already in the Brandeis culture. Therefore I want to create a ‘master’ Google calendar,” said Brown in an email to The Hoot.
Alex Feldman ’19 was elected to fill one of the two semester seats on the Allocations Board (A-Board). He previously served as chair of the A-Board for the spring 2016 and fall 2017 semesters. A-Board plans to work with secured clubs to make sure their funding goes smoothly, because they get almost half of the funding that comes out of Student Activities Fund (SAF). This entails “more meeting and communication to better understand what their budgets are like because we don’t really need to worry about that for most of the year and then at one point we really do,” said Feldman.
Feldman also discussed A-Board’s work with the Brandeis Experimental Event Programming (BEEP) Grant, which are grants focused on supporting campus-wide club events. Up to $25,000 is awarded through the grant for clubs to hold one campus-wide event during the upcoming fall semester.
A-Board will be working with Mark Brimhall-Vargas, chief diversity officer and vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, to revisit how to fund diverse groups on campus. They will analyze data to put more student funding into minority groups on campus. Feldman also discussed trying to expand the idea of umbrella groups for clubs.
The four main stage theater groups of the Undergraduate Theatre Collective (UTC) are trying to consolidate under one UTC umbrella, so funding would go towards the UTC to distribute within. However, there can’t be an umbrella for political groups because they are all separate and diverse, notes Feldman.
Brandon Stanaway ’19 was elected as the new Ziv Quad Senator. Stanaway moved to Ziv Quad this semester after living in the Castle last semester. Stanaway hopes to increase communication among residents of suite style living, which would include events residents could participate in together. He also hopes to improve sustainability on campus as a member of Students for Environmental Action (SEA).
Stanaway is a member of COW-G (Campus Operations Working Group) and the Dining Committee. He also wants to implement a small C-Store where Dunkin’ Donuts used to be in the Village.
Phillip Cooper ’18 was elected Ridgewood Quad Senator, Otis Fuqua ’19 as the Charles River/567 Senator and Mia Edelstein ’17 (editor-in-chief of The Hoot) as the Foster Mods Quad Senator, but none accepted their position. A-Board positions filled include Winnie Zhao ’20 elected to the two-semester seat, Yaoyao Gao ’20 elected to the three-semester seat and Yanjun Xu ’19 elected to the two-semester racial minority seat, according to an email from the Student Union.