Nyah Macklin ’16 was sworn in as Student Union President on April 22 at the spring 2015 State of the Union address as Sneha Walia ’15 passed her the symbolic torch. With only several days until fall semester begins, Macklin spoke to The Brandeis Hoot about her plans for the upcoming year.
In an email interview with The Hoot, Macklin stated she is honored to have been elected president. Macklin is proud of her ascension to this role and eager to begin working in this new capacity with all facets of the Brandeis community. Macklin believes she must be “fearless” and “flexible” to be a strong president.
Macklin explained that, in order to accomplish her goals, a president “must be dedicated to advocating for the needs of her peers and able to work with student groups and administrators that might not share her same ideologies.”
Of her goals for the year, Macklin wrote, “I want to bring our student body together across ethnic, religious and other lines that have divided our community in the past.” These are issues that affect people on campus, around the country and around the world. Macklin believes that “the first step to understanding is communication. The first step to communication is recognition. The recognition, for example, that my life is equally as valuable as yours.”
As president, Macklin wants to encourage understanding and cooperation between communities on campus, communities “that have simply coexisted in the past.”
Other initiatives Macklin discussed in her email include a new website for the Student Union and improved student understanding of budgetary matters. Macklin explained that Grady Ward ’16, Representative to the Board of Trustees, spent the summer working in conjunction with Macklin and all members of the Student Union to craft a new and improved Union website set to launch by the first week of classes.
Macklin has also been working with Stephen Costa, Brandeis’ budget analyst, “to understand the Union and the university’s budgets and budgetary constraints.” She plans to be very involved in the budgeting process this year. One of Macklin’s goals is to work with the Allocations Board, a group that is part of the Union, to publish budget matters online so that students are aware of how university funds, including their tuition, is being spent.
“This is incredibly necessary to mend the relationships between the Union, the administration, students, alumni and donors,” said Macklin.
During her speech at the State of the Union address this past April, Macklin focussed on her desire to break down barriers between students and the administration. She believes it is the Union’s responsibility to keep students informed of administrator’s activity. The Hoot then reported that Macklin believes much of student frustration with administrators comes from a deficit of understanding of the university’s plans and processes.
Also at the State of the Union, Macklin expressed her belief that, when they are able to, students ought to make their voices heard when it comes to major university decisions. In her most recent email to The Hoot, Macklin discussed the Presidential Search Committee, affirming that she will keep herself updated on the process. Walia and the student representatives to the Board of Trustees have been in contact with Macklin, and Macklin has attended meetings open to the Union or the entire student body.
On Thursday, Aug. 20, students received an email from Larry Kanarek, chair of the Presidential Search Committee, detailing the committee’s progress thus far. He announced that conversations with applicants began this month and will continue during the fall. Macklin hopes to become even more involved with the presidential search in the coming months.
Macklin advises students to “follow the Student Union website … for updates regarding the presidential search as well as the inner workings, accomplishments and setbacks of the Union.”
Macklin is determined to make this a great year for Brandeis. She is honest: “I am not perfect. I will not claim to be. But I am real. And I understand how important this work is.” Macklin seeks to foster communication between all those who make up the Brandeis community.
Macklin, who formerly served as class of 2016 senator, is an African and Afro-American Studies major. She is a member of the Ethics Center Advisory Committee and the Richman Fellow Selection Committee. Macklin has participated in many theater productions at Brandeis including Brandeis Ensemble Theater (BET) and Brandeis Players’ “for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf.”