Students will elect senators to represent their class years, senators-at-large and a racial minority senator in the second round of Student Union elections on April 4. They will also elect justices to serve on the judiciary branch of the Union.
Running for the two open seats for Senator at Large are Ben Margolin ’17, Nathan Greess ’19, Shaquan McDowell ’18 and Ethan Seletsky ’17.
Margolin has served on the Union in the past, but was not a member of the Union this year. As a senator, Margolin says he “would be open to meeting with any student to talk about translating their ideas into positive change for the university.”
Greess is a Class of 2019 senator and has been involved with club reorganization, exploring the idea of funding umbrellas for clubs that are similar and encouraging clubs to collaborate on events.
“I think that the work and commitment to the community I have shown this past year best position me to represent the diverse set of issues the community at-large faces,” said Greess in a statement to The Hoot.
As senator, Greess said he will continue to focus on the Union’s interactions with Brandeis’ 260-plus clubs and organizations as well as introduce a measure to provide voting records for each Senator to the student body.
McDowell has not served on the Union before, but cites his past experience as the secretary of a Health Sciences organization (Westlake HOSA) and as the Co-Founder of a Political Youth organization (The Purple Party) as credentials for Senator at Large. The “drive of my peers… deserves recognition, support, and an allegiance from as many as possible,” McDowell told The Hoot.
Seletsky told The Hoot that his campaign started due to a feeling among him and his peers that there is “a lack of involvement in the actions of our university.” He wants to “prioritize student projects for improving our campus.”
“I would like the senate to hold monthly or ideally bi-weekly town hall meetings to discuss projects we can do to improve Brandeis, to foster an open dialogue concerning issues that have the possibility to divide our campus such as the Israel-Palestine conflict, and to better the relationship between the student body and the student government,” said Seletsky.
Brittany Finney ’17, Gwenyth Fraser ’17 and Ryan Tracy ’17 are running for the two Class of 2017 senator positions. Tracy is the current Class of 2017 senator. Finney has been a Class of 2017 senator before, and were she to take on the role again, Finney said she would advocate for better transparency between the Union, the administration and the students.
“Given that this will be the final year of the Class of 2017, I want our message to last well into the decades after our graduation,” she said.
Fraser is Ziv Quad senator this year. She and Tracy did not respond to requests for comments as of press time.
Three students, Zhiqing (Gloria) Zheng ’18, Abhishek Kulkarni ’18 and Christian Nuñez ’18 are running for Class of 2018 senator.
Citing her experience working with The Waltham Group and as Secretary of the Brandeis Chinese Culture Connection (BC3), Zheng says she has a “passion to work in the student union” and to bring the voices of her fellow international students to the Union.
Kulkarni is the Village Senator and hopes to build on that experience as Class of 2018 Senator next year. Kulkarni hopes to use his position as senator to advocate for the continuation and implementation of fun events similar to Midnight Buffet, to work with the student government of other nearby schools and to ensure the senate follows its own bylaws.
Kulkarni thinks the Union charters too many clubs that are similar. “While allowing students to create and engage in novel activities on campus is one of the most essential aspects of the senate, creating duplicates drains resources and spreads membership and participation thin,” he said.
Though he did not respond via email before press time, Nuñez has outlined his platform on a Facebook page made for his candidacy. “As Senator, I will not only ensure that those voices are continuously being listened to but that their concerns are being reviewed and acted upon,” Nunez wrote on Facebook. “There is no doubt that this campus if full of remarkable student leaders, as Senator I want to make sure that they are coming together and driving Brandeis forward.” Nuñez, a leader in the Ford Hall 2015 movement, ran for Student Union President earlier this semester but lost to David Herbstritt ’17 by two votes. Since announcing his candidacy, Nuñez has also further outlined his platform and pledged to work closely with student groups in order to represent them fully.
Kate Kesselman ’19 and Hannah Brown ’19 are running for Class of 2019 Senator.
Brown is the North Quad Senator and works with the Dining, Services and Outreach, and COW-G (the campus operations committee). Brown said her aims as Class of 2019 Senator would be “to fix the Union Constitution and Bylaws, better integrate mid-years with first-years, continue improving food on campus, increase club cooperation and more.”
Kesselman is a Class of 2019 Senator serving as a member of the Senate Dining Committee, the Services and Outreach Committee and as the Senate Representative to A-board. “If I am elected to represent the Class of 2019 on the Senate, I would use my current knowledge and experience to continue making meaningful changes,” Kesselman told The Hoot.
Lian Chen ‘19 is running for Racial Minority Senator. Chen cites her experience as president of International Club at her high school and as an E-board member of the senior class at her high school. As a member of the Senate, Chen said she would work with Sodexo to improve dining and work “to build an online official platform that can clarify rumors around school,” including plans about the demolition of Usen Castle.
There are five open seats on the Judiciary. Lilly Hecht ’18, Becky Israel ’17, Eric Danowski ’18, Stephanie Sjoblom ’17 and Brooke Granovsky ’18 are running for these seats.
Granovsky is running for The Student Union Judiciary because she thinks the Judiciary needs to focus more on outreach, stating, “What good is an organization that can mitigate dispute between clubs, if clubs do not know that they have this option?”
Citing her past experience on the e-board of several clubs, Granovsky says, “I have an understanding of where club disputes can stem from, as well as experience planning outreach events.”
None of the four other candidates responded to The Hoot’s request for comment.