The first round of the spring elections saw all seven positions filled for the Executive board and other representatives in the student union. A total of 999 students voted in the election.
In the Executive board, Simran Tatuskar ’21 will be the new president of the Student Union. Tatuskar beat out Lizy Dabanka ’20, David Hui ’22 and Oliver Price ’20 for the position. Tatuskar received 395 out of the overall 999 votes, while Dabanka trailed by only 26 votes with 369. Hui received 78 votes, while Price received 73.
While at a debate held this past Monday, all the candidates were given the opportunity to speak about their platforms and answer questions submitted by the student body.
Tatuskar highlighted her previous experiences to help drive her campaign. She is currently serving as the secretary of the Student Union, the chair of the Health and Safety Committee and a member of the Dining Committee, Campus Operations Committee and Rules Committee. Tatuskar is also the only presidential candidate that has previous Executive board experience.
“I learned that it’s more important to work smartly than to work hard,” said Tatuskar during the debate. “All of the work I have done around campus has been to make the student body better.” She assisted in the menstrual products initiative that brought menstrual products to campus, dining committee to decrease prices in the C-Store and currently working with the Brandeis Counseling Center to make “students voices heard by the counselors and the counselors voices heard by the students,” she said.
Tatuskar is pushing for more communication through all the branches of the Union because she realized that “the point of the union is collaboration and working towards that collaboration… By focusing on ourselves individually, as a union we forget that we are supposed to be working together,” she said.
Guillermo Caballero Ferreira ’20 defeated Trevor Filseth ’20 for the position of vice president. Caballero Ferreira received over 60 percent of the total votes, with 584 votes. During the debate, he spoke about his campaign during the previous special election for vice president, when he did not win, and how he didn’t realize how many people were behind him until after the election was over. “I am really happy to be here to honor the people who were behind my team,” he said in the debate.
Caballero Ferreira will work towards maintaining the current projects in the Union and making sure they succeed in the long term. He will also post Student Union posters around campus to keep the student body informed about everything that is happening in the Union and increase transparency.
“As vice president, I will continue a sense of family and community that Brandeis has and things that make us unique and different from other universities,” he said.
Taylor Fu ’21 ran unopposed for the position of secretary, obtaining 616 out of the total 952 votes. As the current East Quad senator and the chair of the Campus Operations Committee, Fu is working on various projects in East Quad, including cleaning the storage space in the basement so clubs will have access. She was also one of the organizers of the appreciation day for facilities and Sodexo workers a few weeks ago.
As secretary, Fu will work to “maintain a bridge of communication between the student union and the student body,” she said at the debate. “I will implement and utilize social media as a way to foster communication.”
Yona Steinman ’20 is the new treasurer of the Student Union, having run unopposed. He won over 70 percent of the total vote with 673 votes. Steinman has been a part of treasury for three semesters and served as a deputy during the fall semester. He is currently studying abroad.
As treasurer, Steinman will work towards “making the treasury process easier for everyone involved, whether it be the deputy or assistant treasurer on the Union but also club treasurers to make it an overall smoother process for everyone.”
Zoe Fort ’21 will act as the new junior representative to the Board of Trustees. Fort beat out Jake Rong ’21 for the position with 487 of the total 960 voters.
Fort currently is serving as the Student Union Diversity and Inclusion Officer and is serving on President Ron Liebowitz’ Task Force for “honoring our founding values,” according to her candidate profile.
Gabi Burkholz ’21 is the new junior representative to the alumni board, having ran unopposed and gaining 614 out of the total 947 votes. She is the incoming director of the Brandeis National Committee Student Ambassador program, which is a group that works with alumni and donors on campus.
Burkholz hopes to bridge the gap between the student body and the alumni, so current students will have the ability to meet alumni and form the relationships that she was able to make. “I love what I do,” she said at the debate. “I love the student body and the ones who aren’t on campus with us anymore. I would love for the student body to get to know their alumni.”
Isaiah Freedman ’20 and Ben Silver ’20 are the new representatives to the Brandeis Sustainability Fund (BSF). Freedman won a majority of the votes with 231 of the total 618 votes. Silver received 165 votes.
Freedman is a biology and environmental studies major who has taken a lot of environmental-oriented classes, which he believes makes him qualified to be on the board. Freedman spoke about his high school experience where he completed a capstone aimed at decreasing plastics use at their school. He also spoke about how he had the opportunity to compete in SaveOhno this semester, a project that was funded by the BSF.
Silver’s highlighted in his campaign that “Brandeis has made steps in the right direction towards addressing sustainability and climate, but there is work to be done here on campus to reduce our carbon footprint.” His main goal as representative on BSF is to help students take advantage of the BSF and make the campus more sustainable.