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Senate encourages students to engage with off-campus community

This semester, under the leadership of Student Government President Nyah Macklin ’16, the Brandeis University Student Union has rededicated itself to improving service to the student body by increasing transparency and efficacy.

This dedication spans all parts of Student Union, ranging from the Executive Board to the Committees of the Senate, such as the Outreach Committee.

Paul Sindberg ’18, the Class of 2018 Student Union Senator, is now also the Chair of the Services and Outreach Committee has three initiatives for this semester.

“Traditionally, the role of the Services and Outreach Committee, which is one of several committees that are in the Senate of the Student Union, has been to coordinate a couple of different events … they’ve been the Turkey Shuttles … and the Midnight Buffet,” Sindberg explained.

The committee intends to re-establish Brandeis within its community, ensure that the Midnight Buffet is “purposeful and efficient” and actively engage with the student body.

Sindberg describes the first goal as a response to how the Brandeis community can be a “very insular community.”

“Our interactions with Waltham and the surrounding community … there’s something that can be built on and so we wanted to make sure we were doing the outreach,” said Sindburg.

To accomplish this, the committee is partnering with local businesses and inviting residents of Waltham to come to performances by the Brandeis events such as theater performances, poetry readings and even student events focused on including the broader Waltham community.

To continue encouraging student involvement with the broader community, Services and Outreach Committee teamed up with the help of Senator at Large Lucy Wen ’18 to host tables in the SCC where students could register to vote. Paperwork was available for any students who were interested in registering, and the Committee mailed the paperwork to voter registration locations to be processed.

The second goal, which regards the Midnight Buffet, is rooted in promoting social justice and channeling student energy into productive avenues by engaging Brandeis students with the local Waltham community.

According to Sindberg, “In the past, the Student Union has had concerns about the Midnight Buffet because … we want to make sure we live up to the social justice mission of the university.”

Sindberg recognized that the Midnight Buffet in the past has only benefitted the Brandeis community, but this year he hopes to change this by engaging students with the Waltham community and supporting local organizations through education.

Although he cannot provide further information about the specific organizations that will benefit from the buffet as he does not want to ruin the buffet theme reveal, Sindberg is excited that this year’s buffet will have greater impact than on just Brandeis students.

The Midnight Buffet will be held on Dec. 9, which is the last day of classes. This is a traditional evening to host the Buffet.

Sindberg’s third initiative for the committee aims to facilitate communication with the student body about what kind of programming it wants to see. “We believe it’s not enough to just say ‘We’re available.’ We want to make sure that we’re actually acting on that availability.”

Sindberg invited all members of the Brandeis community to sit in on Student Union meetings on Fridays from 2-3 p.m. in room 301 of the Shapiro Campus Center, which is just inside of the Student Union office.

Non-Senate members are also highly encouraged to become a part of the committee. Many of the other committees are also looking for additional non-Senate members to get involved. There is no application process.

Sindberg will be holding office hours on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2-3 p.m. and on Sundays from 5-6 p.m. in room 301 of the SCC. All other committee members will also have office hours which will be posted on the new Student Union website.

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