The special elections of the Student Union filled each of the six open positions yesterday, spanning the Senate and Judiciary. A total of 688 students voted in the special election.
In the Senate, Zach Kern ’21 and Nakul Srinivas ’21 ran unopposed for the two open seats for class of 2021 senator. Both were elected to the position. Srinivas won with 63 out of the 151 votes, with Kern winning with 56 votes.
Srinivas wants to bring Union committees closer to other parts of the Union, so all students have an opportunity to work closely with the Union. Srinivas also wants more students to have an opportunity to give feedback after events and contribute ideas for the class of 2021.
“I feel like in the Brandeis Student Union that anyone who wants to participate in the Union
should be able to,” he said. “Sometimes I feel like people on the committees don’t feel like they’re a part of the Student Union.”
Srinivas, who has run for three Union positions before and serves on the Student Union Social Justice Committee, said he wanted to be a voice for the class of 2021.
Kern did not respond to The Brandeis Hoot’s requests for comment.
Nathan Sayer ’22, Jonathan Ayash ’22, Zhengmao Sheng ’22 and Nancy Zhai ’22 all competed for the single seat for the class of 2022 senator. Zhai won the election, receiving 98 out of the total 217 votes. Sayer, who did not win the seat, followed in second place with 47 votes.
Zhai will focus on three main things as a senator. The first thing is improving dining at Brandeis. As a member of the dining committee and now a senator, Zhai is looking to make food more accomodating for students with allergies and for students on campus during school breaks.
She will also work towards improving the Union’s outreach and is a part of this committee as well. She is hoping to plan more Meet the Union events, actively engaging with her constituents and increasing communication between them with email and social media.
The final thing is to work on increasing representation in the Union. As an Asian immigrant, Zhai feels that there is a gap between the international student body and the rest of the student body. “I understand the struggle, and I hope to increase representation of marginalized communities,” Zhai told The Hoot in an interview.
“Thank you to my classmates for electing me and entrusting me with this incredible opportunity to serve you. If you have any questions, concerns or general ideas, feel free to talk to me,” Zhai told The Hoot. She is also planning on hosting office hours in more locations that just the Student Union office, including the SCC atrium and library to make herself more accessible to students.
Yuechan Ta ’21 was unopposed for the international senator seat, receiving 55 votes out of 75 international students who voted. Ta is the current president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association and has hosted events to celebrate Chinese culture across the Brandeis community, she said during an interview with The Hoot.
She will work with the admissions office to help international first-years adjust to campus and host events to help non-native English speakers learn to succeed on campus. Ta will always stay in constant communication with international students to make them aware of different policies and deadlines that may come with hosting events.
Ta says that she is always thinking of different ways to help international students, including integrating them into campus by making cultural clubs more inclusive and helping international students learn to become more acclimated to American culture.
“Thank you. Thank you for believing in me and helping me to make Brandeis a better and more inclusive community,” Ta told The Hoot. “I will listen to feedback and suggestions to help international students and make Brandeis a better place.”
In the Judiciary, Rachel Sterling ’21, Jack Ranucci ’22, Shivam Nainwal ’22, Ian Duffield ’22, Adrian Orduno ’21 and Steven Luo ’21 ran for the two open seats in the Judiciary as Associate Justices.
Sterling and Ranucci won the seats. Sterling received 150 votes, while Ranucci received 114 votes out of the total 688 votes.
Sterling thinks that there should be a more honest dialogue between the Judiciary Board and the students. She is the personnel director for WBRS, and as a legal studies minor, she is very interested in the interpretation of law in a fair, unbiased way.
“I want to understand how the A-board establishes rules on how clubs can spend their budget. In WBRS, we don’t fully understand why there are certain restrictions, and I feel like other clubs have that same issue, so I’d really like to solve that ambiguity.”
Sterling says that there are some bylaws in the student Constitution that should be addressed and that the students should know more about the way that the Constitution is affecting them.
“I’m here to serve you, and I will do everything in my power to serve in an honorable and just way that you can easily understand,” said Sterling.
Ranucci did not respond to The Hoot’s requests for comment.