To acquire wisdom, one must observe

Sindberg ’18 elected new executive senator for Student Union

Paul Sindberg, the new executive senator for the Student Union, wants to find new ways for the Union to engage with the student body. He was elected to the position in a secret ballot on Sunday, Jan. 17, following a series of transitions within the Union. David Herbstritt ’17 vacated the position and took over the role of vice president after the former VP, Dennis Hermida-Gonzalez ’17, stepped down.

“After I heard that David Herbstritt would be vacating the position, I thought a lot about the kind of work that he’d being doing for the Union,” said Sindberg of his decision to run for executive senator, “[Herbstritt’s] excellent handling of the position encouraged me to see if I could do the same.”

Sandberg joined the Union last fall as Class of 2018 Senator and was soon selected to serve as chair of the Senate’s Service and Outreach Committee. In his new capacity as executive senator, Sindberg will help lead discussion at the weekly Senate meetings and attend the Union’s Executive Board (e-board) meetings, which take place right before the Senate meetings on Sunday nights. E-board members include the president, chief of staff, vice president, representatives to the Board of Trustees and others.

In his new capacity, Sindberg is responsible for representing the Senate to the e-board, but he also wants to ensure there is a “two-way street” between the Senate and the e-board. As a senator, Sinberg said, there is some confusion about what the e-board does. So, in “corresponding with Nyah Macklin’s transparency initiative,” he wants to inform his fellow senators about the workings of the e-board. One of the chief goals for Macklin and her administration has been transparency. It was the drive behind creating a new Student Union website, for example.

The Services and Outreach Committee is typically responsible for two projects: organizing the Turkey Shuttles and the Midnight Buffet. The shuttles take students from campus to Boston Logan airport, South Station, New York City and New Jersey at the beginning and end of Thanksgiving break.

Sindberg was “proud that those went well, no one got lost, everyone got to where they were going,” he said with a smile. “I was also really excited that we could maintain our tradition of offering those tickets to Brandeis students at the lowest possible ticket rates.” Turkey Shuttle tickets to the airport and train station were $15 and shuttle tickets to New York and New Jersey were $35, according to the Facebook event page.

The Midnight Buffet happens each semester on the last day of classes, offering students food from local restaurants, free T-shirts and a chance to celebrate before final exams begin. This year, Sindberg wanted to “make sure [the Midnight Buffet] was advancing the social justice goals of the university,” he said. Students could purchase “shout-outs” to be read during the buffet, with proceeds going to the Charles River Watershed Association, a Weston, MA-based organization that works to clean up and protect the watershed.

For Sindberg, it was important that the event be “helping re-establish Brandeis in the community and helping grow our name both in the surrounding community and grow the cause of social justice in the surrounding community,” he explained.

The committee is planning a new program called “Brandeis Bands Together,” which Sindberg hopes will become an annual tradition. Students will be able to purchase colored wristbands to support a different organization each month between February and May.

Each featured organization corresponds to a day or month of awareness. For example, February is American Heart month, and the Union will be selling wristbands for the American Heart Association. They will be selling wristbands to support the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation for Learn About Butterflies Day in March; to support the Charles River Watershed Association for Earth Day in April; and to support Amnesty International for Amnesty International Day in May.

Moving forward, Sindberg wants “to emphasize the ‘outreach’ part of the services and outreach committee” and find new ways for the Union to serve the community, he said.

“I don’t believe it’s enough that we have open office hours and open senate meetings. I want to accept responsibilities for starting conversations … and I want to push the Union to accept responsibility for starting conversations,” he said, citing getting involved with Orientation as a potential example.

Now Vice President Herbstritt is having those interested apply (or reapply) for committee chair positions. Sindberg intends to reapply for service and outreach. One of his goals is to take his committee beyond its established two events per semester and introduce new initiatives which engage the student body.

Sindberg is involved elsewhere on campus as well, serving as the treasurer for the Brandeis Democrats, a Community Advisor in Massell Quad, working at the Media and Technology Services Department and performing with the sketch comedy troupe Boris’ Kitchen. He is planning to double major in Biology and Music Composition.

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