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Meet the winter election candidates

Executive Board: Secretary

Simran Tatuskar ’21
Tatuskar is currently co-chair for the Health and Safety Committee on the Union and has been a part of many projects through her position, including getting condoms put in first-year residential bathrooms, putting pads and tampons in the major campus bathrooms and working with Brandeis Pro-Choice to get Plan B pills. She would like to be involved in more projects on campus and hopes that as Secretary, she would have more power to start initiatives.

“I’m coming in halfway through the year when it’s already a transition period, so mainly I just want to make the transition pretty seamless and just be able to assist in whatever the current duties already are,” she told The Brandeis Hoot.

“I know how much work goes into planning an event and because of that I will always show up to anything,” Tatuskar told The Hoot.

Allocations Board

Three-semester Representative to the Allocations Board

Ruizhang Zhi ’21
Zhi is running to help more clubs get the funding they desire and helping the ones who have a dream, according to an email sent to The Hoot. Zhi was the president of the Student Union at his high school and is currently the treasurer of Brandeis Chinese Cultural Connection (BC3).

“Reallocating the funding from the trivial issue to necessary matter is another focus of mine,” Zhi told The Hoot in an email. “I will be doing research on which part of funding can be decreased, and re-allocate them for the urgent needs of the Brandeis community.”

Two-semester Representative to the Allocations Board

Alan Huang ’21
Huang is running for re-election after previously being on the A-Board last year. He hopes to continue being a part of the board because he loves the work that they do for all the clubs and seeing how all the clubs across campus operate.

Huang feels that the success of A-Board relies on its transparency, consistency and accountability. “If I get re-elected, I would increase communication with clubs and club leaders, maintain consistency and equity of allocations, and align the goals of the board with that of the student body.”

“I have already gone through the steep learning curve for understanding the operations of the board,” Huang told The Hoot in an email.

Aria Pradhan ’21
Pradhan is double majoring in business and economics with a minor in legal studies, according to the candidate biographies that were sent out to the student body.

Two-semester Racial Minority Representative to the Allocations Board

Sonali Anderson ’22
Anderson was interested in the behind the scenes of where money goes, especially the minority clubs. As a member of the Social Justice and Diversity committee and an advocate for the Office of Students Rights and Advocacy, Anderson realized that these committees received limited funding for their events.

Even though Anderson realizes that there is not a lot of time for her to really make an impact, given that it is second semester, she is hoping to have a quick transition and make sure everything goes to the right place where it’s supposed to be.

Anderson is looking to execute on events both on, and off, campus. “For the Social Justice and Diversity committee, we are trying to make an event where we can talk to the Brandeis police and talk about the issues that students have with police and make a dialogue with them,” Anderson told The Hoot.

Shivam Nainwal ’22
Nainwal was raised in an Indian household that taught him that everything has to be done to a certain standard, especially handling money. Nainwal was the student body president in high school and is very used to organizing things. He also worked at a foundation in India, working with disabled children and poor people.

Nainwal hopes to provide funding to clubs that have a high number of people from racial minorities. “They are the clubs that get left behind whenever these discussions come up so I personally think these clubs should get a certain amount of funding,” Nainwal told The Hoot.

“I personally am always available 24/7,” said Nainwal. “I will be there to listen to your opinions and views and if they have problems they can always share it with me. Because at the end of the day, the student government is there to help the student body.”

Senator for Midyear Students

Jack Ranucci ’22
Ranucci hopes to become more involved with the social life at Brandeis and affect change though student government. Ranucci said that after not being on campus last semester, he has a fresh perspective of the campus after watching it from the outside.

If elected, Ranucci would want to join the Bylaws Committee, join the Services and Outreach Committee and help integrate this midyear class with the rest of the first-years on campus.

“I want to best serve the people and that doesn’t mean getting elected and doing what I want to do,” said Ranucci. “That means getting elected and doing what other people want me to do so being in tune with the wants of the midyears and the student body as a whole. The candidacy is less about me but about me being willing to represent the student body and their values.”

Madeline Scherff ’22
Scherff has been part of student government for her whole life and is passionate about making sure all voices are able to be heard. As student body president in high school and working on an advisory council for the Connecticut State Board of Education, Scherff realized “what it means to truly commit to a cause and to look out for the interests other than your own.”

Scherff plans on being a voice for midyear students because their experience is different from most other students at Brandeis. “I’m also really passionate about environmental sustainability, and I would really like to be part of making Brandeis even more sustainable,” Scherff told The Hoot.

Senator for East Quad

Taylor Fu ’21
Fu is running for East Quad Senator because she wants to “build a more collaborative community at East among the students and CAs,” Fu told The Hoot. She said that she hopes to work with Community Advisors (CA) to make sure they are more available to students. She also said that she hopes to work with DCL to clean and organize facilities in East Quad.

Fu worked on the Health and Safety Committee last semester, where she has been helping to improve the mental and physical safety of students.

Senator for Off-Campus Students

Jacob Diaz ’20
Diaz is running for off-campus senator because he wanted to “not just be on the sidelines,” he told The Hoot.

Diaz would try to make life easier for off-campus students by making off-campus parking easier, increasing BranVan route times and hosting nights for students who just moved off-campus to talk with more experienced off-campus students.

“Currently, [the off-campus experience] is kind of a sink or swim phenomenon; either you love it or hate it, and it’s entirely based on the way you live off-campus,” said Diaz.

Matthew Stenerson ’19
Stenerson served as off-campus senator during the 2017-18 academic year and is running for re-election based off of his previous term.

“I saw some meaningful and long-lasting projects arise from Senate initiatives,” Stenerson told The Hoot. “I understand now how progress is made in the Senate, and I feel uniquely prepared to hit the ground running during this one-semester term.”

In addition to his term as off-campus senator, Stenerson has participated in student government since early high school and has directed various fundraising projects. He also has experience in healthcare and hopes to work with the student body, the Senate and administration to increase the number of CPR-certified Brandeis graduates.

Senator for the Foster Mods

Matthew Reeves ’19
Reeves is the sole candidate for Foster Mods Senator. As a second semester senior, Reeves is running because he is hoping to make a “final bit of change on campus” before graduating.

In high school, Reeves was the president of student council and, on campus, was part of a committee in Massell Quad and has worked with the Department of Community Living (DCL) on various community projects. He is also the Undergraduate Departmental Representative (UDR) of the philosophy department and the captain of the crew team.

“There is a lot of smoking and marijuana on campus. The place reeks. And I want to try to do something about that,” Reeves told The Hoot. “The Student Union seems like a shit show, to say the least. So I want to improve it.”

Senator for Racial Minority Students

Kelly Zheng ’22
Zheng is running to increase the conversation about racial minorities on campus. She thinks that there are a lot of problems on campus, but no one is doing anything about it. As an Asian American, Zheng talked about the discrimination that she felt in the past and how the Brandeis Asian American Student Association (BAASA) helped her start those conservations.

“I want to be the voice for people who cannot be heard,” Zheng told The Hoot. “I want to expand myself on a wider scale. It’s not just Asian Americans [who are being discriminated against] but Latinos, African Americans and many others.”

Denezia Fahie ’22
Fahie hopes to “ensure the voices of those minoritized and often dismissed are not only acknowledged but highlighted and prioritized,” in a candidate profile that was sent to the student body. “Every thought, concern, and uncertainty deserves more than validation, rather, a genuine investment in seeking collaborative and sound solution! As communities of color, we must maintain our progressive stride toward greatness, for success and excellence.”

Yoko Hsieh ’22
Hsieh has always had a passion for the Student Union, especially bringing a positive view to the environment and leading with her actions. Even though Hsieh does not have experience specifically in the topic of racial minorities, she thinks it’s a great opportunity to learn more about not only her own culture but other people’s as well.

Hsieh hopes to incorporate more cultural groups on campus, possibly through a cultural day where people from all different cultures are able to come together, meet new people and eat some good food.

“I am a really hard-working person as well as a caring person, so I believe that I will speak up for anyone who has problems in the racial minority area,” Hsieh told The Hoot. “And because of Brandeis’ environment, I want to maintain it and possibly improve it.”

Senator for the Class of 2020

Trevor Filseth ’20
Trevor Filseth ’20 is running per the encouragement of current vice president, Aaron Finkel ’20. As a writer for The Justice, he feels like he is up to date with the happenings at Brandeis, even though he isn’t part of the Student Union. Filseth has also been a varsity athlete on the fencing team his entire time at Brandeis, and he was also the treasurer for Quiz Bowl and Game Night at one point.

“If you look at what students at Brandeis care about, mostly it’s the financial aspect of things,” explained Filseth. “Obviously, this is all small stuff, and you’d have to start somewhere, but I think it would be meaningful for the administration to reduce some of those costs. Then we can get to other, larger issues.”

Tom Alger ’20
Alger, a member and team catalyst of the varsity swim team, has helped “create a community that is cohesive” within the team. He hopes to improve the community within the class of 2020 by bringing more school pride and bridging the gap between the varsity athletes and the rest of the student body. Alger is also running to enact change, improve the facilities, work towards ensuring housing for all undergraduates during their four years at Brandeis and improve food in the dining halls.

Since coming to Brandeis, Alger has noticed that students are mostly in their own separate niches and cliques and not a unified community. He hopes to work with the rest of the student union to make a more cohesive culture for the student body and working together with everybody.

“I would be interested in helping working with Sodexo services to work on sourcing food from local farmers and work with recipes that work with local veggies to create fresher food,” Alger told The Hoot. “And work with facilities services and getting them to renovate in the future, building more and expanding on their current living facilities to create housing for all of us.”

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