Union swears in new president, members

April 27, 2018

Members of the Student Union reported on their achievements from the past year and swore in next year’s leaders, including President Hannah Brown ’19 and Vice President Benedikt Reynolds ’19, during the final “State of the Union” of this academic year.

Outgoing president Jacob Edelman ’18 gave some final remarks to the Brandeis community, stating, “Thank you for the opportunity to work, to make Brandeis better. It’s been the highlight of my time here…and I’ll always be grateful,” he told The Hoot.

Speaking to the crowd, he reflected on the Union’s successes from the past year. “I think at Brandeis University we don’t tend to give ourselves a lot of credit. We give ourselves a lot of criticism, and criticism is healthy and its necessary for growth, but giving ourselves credit and hoping people listen to that is also important … We make student life better… and we try to walk away at the end of the year as friends with each other,” he concluded.

Edelman swore in Brown and other newly elected members of the Union’s executive board, Senate and Judiciary, marking the official start of their terms. Brown thanked Edelman for all his work and urged students to get involved in the Union.

Brown spoke to The Hoot after the ceremony about her goals for next year. “What I’d like to focus on is student life and happiness … primarily on affordability,” she said. In Brown’s campaign for the presidency, she pledged to address certain hidden costs of college by decreasing punishment fines such as library fees and possibly subsidizing printing or laundry.

Several members of this year’s Union gave speeches, addressing successful and ongoing initiatives from the year.

Senator-at-large and Executive Senator Aaron Finkel ’20 cited Union accomplishments such as successful Midnight Buffets, revisions to the Union bylaws, the free menstrual product initiative organized by the Campus Operations Working Group (COW-G) and the senate dining committee’s Meatless Monday event.

Finkel joked about the Meatless Monday event. “I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan but I must say congratulations on that it did have pretty good food, but it left me asking, ‘Where’s the beef?’… Yeah I guess you could say the stakes were pretty high on this one,” he said, eliciting laughter from the crowd.

Aseem Kumar ’20, chair of the allocations board, discussed A-board allocations during marathon, calling the Student Activities Fund (SAF) “in good financial state for next year,” as they had only allocated $1.6 million dollars of their around $1.7 million budget. Kumar also emphasized that the allocations board members spend many hours working on marathon, and urged those attending “to appreciate the work that A-board does.”

Kumar discussed other initiatives, including a review of the allocations procedures for bias. Though they found little bias, Kumar hopes to continue making the processes more objective. Kumar also spoke about a union initiative to create stipends for certain student positions, like members of the Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps (BEMCo). He hopes money for the stipends can come not from the SAF, but from the university. “[The] Administration needs to pay students for the work they do and the money they truly deserve for the work they put in,” he said.

Student Union Vice President-Elect Reynolds has been involved with this initiative. He spoke about how he hopes to create a framework for paying students in services such as BEMCo and SSIS in an interview with The Hoot in March.

Zosia Buse ’20, of the Office of Student Rights and Advocacy, discussed the offices’ work in hiring more student advocates and in establishing a relationship between her office and the Brandeis Ombuds office and reaching out to international students. Buse will serve as the junior representative to the Board of Trustees next year.

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