Over the past two weeks, Brandeis students have voted in two delayed spring elections—elections that were shifted to the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic—to elect new members of the 2020-2021 Brandeis Student Union. As the new members of the Student Union are inaugurated, we, the editorial board of The Brandeis Hoot, want to express our hopes for the Union and what they will accomplish during their term as student leaders.
In these confusing and ever changing times at Brandeis, clear communication between the Student Union and the student body is essential, but this communication should not come in only one form. With a completely virtual campus, students are receiving a deluge of emails every day from their classes, clubs and the administration. While emails are a great way to communicate, information can often be lost in between the thousands of unnecessary listserv subscriptions clogging up a student’s inbox. Social media, the Branda app, posters on campus and word of mouth are great alternative methods that we encourage the Union to use to keep our community up to date.
The Union needs to continue to keep the student body up to date on the administration’s plans, particularly in regards to the format of the spring 2021 semester. The entire student body, especially students who do not live in the greater Boston area, need easy access to information to prepare for the coming semester. This information includes travel arrangements and signing up for classes that work for the time zone that students are in. It is crucial that the format of the spring semester is announced to the student body as soon as a definitive decision has been made by the administration, with the understanding that the plans can change quickly if the pandemic becomes more serious or there is a widespread outbreak in the Brandeis area.
In addition to clear communication, we ask that each elected member of the Student Union remain committed to their position and their constituents during their term. In the past, the Union has been forced to hold a number of special elections in response to elected members’ resignations or offices that are persistently vacant. This high turnover rate makes it difficult for the student body to become familiar with a single person in a role and is not in the best interest of our community.
We also encourage undergraduate students who have not been elected into the Union to also get involved in the governing body if they are interested in making a difference on campus. Having both elected Union members and members of the student body working together in the Student Union will bridge the gap between the Union and the general undergraduate population.
Students interested in getting involved in the Union without being in an elected position can apply to be part of the Executive Board of the president and vice president. Alternatively, they can serve as general members in the various committees within the Senate: Each senate-led committee has both a chair position held by a senator as well as a co-chair position held by a member of the student body.
To our Union—we look forward to learning more about our representatives in the coming weeks. As a student body, we want to hear from you, to get to know you both as the people responsible for helping guide the student body through the pandemic but also as our classmates, colleagues and friends.