Like many Brandeis students, 20-year-old Grady Berry Ward ’16 came to Brandeis initially for the sense of community and friendly, welcoming environment. He said simply, “[I] wanted to go to a place with people that cared about each other.” Ward is a triple major in computer science, economics and math.
During his junior year, instead of going abroad with most of his peers, the Vermont native remained at Brandeis largely because of his obligations outside the classroom. These commitments included a Community Advisor (CA) position in Usen Castle, positions on the track and cross country teams and his Student Union position as Student Representative on the Board of Trustees.
Ward served on a smaller subcommittee during his first year and states he greatly enjoys his new position on the Board of Trustees. He believes his new position allows him to make progressive change and build relationships with alumni who “really care about the university … [and] remember what it was like to be students.”
Ward, who is also tuned in to the needs of students, believed that extended library hours on weekends could benefit the average Brandeis student. He contacted Vice Provost for Library and Technology Services and Chief Information Officer at Brandeis University John Unsworth, who has worked at Brandeis since 2012.
A few months after their original conversation, the Student Union raised the $8,000 necessary to fund the changes to the weekend library hours for the next two years, after which LTS will take over maintenance. Ward credits Student Union Chief of Staff Flora Wang ’15 as being instrumental to this new program’s success. He praised Wang as the “smartest and most hard-working person at Brandeis.”
To celebrate the new weekend opening time of 9 a.m. instead of 12 p.m., last Sunday morning the Student Union provided donuts and coffee to students taking advantage of the changes. Between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. alone, 40 students made use of the library’s new early accessibility. With event publicity conducted solely on Facebook and by word of mouth, Ward was pleased with the turnout. He said, “It’s cool to see people’s enthusiasm, less over the new hours, but the new opportunities that they afford.”
If nothing else, the success of this event exemplifies one of Brandeis’ finest, and too often unsung attributes. As Ward puts it, “A lot can happen at Brandeis’ campus if you just ask.”