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Student Union member profile: Ziv Quad Senator Michelle Jimenez

Ziv Quad Senator Michelle Jimenez ’18 wants to make all students feel like they have a place and voice on campus, so one of her main focuses this year is to uplift the voices of marginalized students on campus.

“It is important to pay attention to what students need on campus and to make sure people who come from different backgrounds feel like they have a place at Brandeis,” said Jimenez, who is now the chair of the Senate’s Social Justice and Diversity committee.

The first committee meeting of the year is coming up soon and she plans on inviting and working with different cultural clubs on campus, such as the Taiwanese Student Association and the Brandeis Latinx Student Organization, to ensure that students from marginalized communities are being heard. She also hopes to work with resources such as the Rape Crisis Center and the Queer Resource Center to make sure students know about all the available resources on campus.

Jimenez said she has started to reach out to cultural club leaders and resource centers because if she is going to represent people, she wants their input. “If we are having a committee on Social Justice and Diversity, we should be engaging in dialogue.”

Every senator serves on at least two committees, and Jimenez is also a member of the Campus Operations Working Group, which works with Facilities. She wants Ziv Quad residents to know that they can come to her if they want to voice their opinions about how to improve the quad.

Jimenez hopes to be accessible by using social media to let students know how to reach her and what times she is available to meet. She hopes that her actions will be transparent, which would include live streaming or allowing students to sit in on meetings she has with club leaders and other constituents, she said.

Jimenez was elected with 42 of 80 votes in the fall Student Union elections. She was the only candidate on the ballot, but there were 22 votes for one write-in candidate. In response to low voter turnout in the recent Union election, Jimenez noted, “It is important to vote because you should be voting for someone who is looking out for the best interest of the people and who is involved and actually cares about helping people out.”

According to Jimenez, the purpose of the Union is to voice the concerns of students. “The Student Union acts as a bridge between the administration, the Board of Trustees and the student body, and we are here to represent their needs in terms of different committees and what constituents want,” she said.

If students have concerns, Jimenez explained, the Union has more direct access to the administrators on campus, like Vice President for Campus Operations Jim Gray and Provost Lisa Lynch. She also noted that it is important for students to be involved and share their opinions so that the Union can exercise its power and help students.

“My main goal is to make my constituents feel safe and that their needs are being met and that they are being listened to.”

This is Jimenez’s first year as a senator on the Student Union. “It is different than I thought it would be … I did not really know what the Student Union did and what its capacities were, but I am enjoying it, and I think a lot of my fellow senators are really engaged and supportive of the community and the students.”

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