CEEF accepts new projects, displays old

April 12, 2019

The Community Enhancement and Emergency Fund (CEEF) will be accepting ideas for student initiated community enhancement projects until Sept. 15. The CEEF fund contains $250,000, $100,000 of which goes to student projects while $150,000 goes towards emergencies.

The projects can be anything from installing water fountains and swing sets, to renovating an underused space, listed Tal Ritchman ’19, the community representative to CEEF in an information session to students on Wednesday.

The projects can be fully funded, partially funded or receive no funding at all, said Ritchman, who encouraged students to research their projects fully over the summer and to reach out to offices at Brandeis for guidance or to partner with on a project.

“The funding must be used to enhance the Brandeis community as a long term benefit. The emergency projects must be related to student life and student activities,” said a handout given to students at the information session.

Ritchman expanded on this in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot, saying, “I want to make sure that it’s [the project] something that could not be addressed by any other department.” Ritchman emphasized that though the university is lacking in resources, there are some projects that are work funding through CEEF because otherwise they won’t happen.

It’s a balance, Ritchman said, who said he wants to “make sure the university is accountable for what they need to provide.” Ritchman said that he’d worked with different departments to partially fund or support projects.

Once applications are submitted, the CEEF committee of five students—three from the Student Union and two from the undergraduate student body—will review them for two weeks. Students will present their proposals before the committee, which will then deliberate and decide over another week. Funds for the projects are allocated and managed through the Student Union Management System (SUMS).

Past projects that have been approved by CEEF include the Branda app, an application that informs students about dining hall hours, laundry availability and other information, the renovation of the Berlin Chapel, the Shapiro Campus Center TV display near the information booth and the library treadmill project.

The Branda app was a project spearheaded by Benjamin Segal ’20 and coded by a team of 12, including first-years, sophomores, and juniors. Most students were coders, and some were software engineers, said Segal in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot.

To make the project sustainable, Segal recruited first-year coders to join the team and plans to continue a cycle of recruiting two to three first-years per year. Segal was rejected by the CEEF committee the first time he presented the idea of an app, and said that the experience was helpful in better planning the project. Segal presented again and was approved for $21,000, according to Ritchman.

The Branda team is continuing to work on updates for the app, including integrating a student’s class schedule, dining hall traffic and notifying students of club events on campus.

Alex Friedman ’19 worked on the renovation of the Berlin Chapel, which involved extensive renovations. “In the Rabbi’s study, we cleaned, replaced the desk, repaired the closet and shelving, replaced the broken blinds, replaced the lighting, repainted the ceiling, installed new artwork and brought in new furniture and supplies. Downstairs, we cleaned like crazy, replaced the lights, repaired and repainted the walls, replaced the floor and abated the asbestos underneath it, brought in a rug and tables and chairs, installed some student artwork and replaced the windows,” Friedman wrote in an email to The Hoot.

Friedman recommended that students workshop with administrators and other students to help prepare for the project. The renovation project was allocated $18,000 plus another $6,000 to remove the asbestos beneath the flooring.

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