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Student Union hosts spring elections

The first round of spring elections has begun, according to an email sent by Student Union President Peyton Gillespie ’26 in an email to community members on March 27. There will be five seats needing to be filled in the election. 

The campaign period began on March 27 and will run until April 3 when the polls open. The election will be filling the positions of Student Union President and Vice President (2 seats, same ballot), Secretary, Senior Representative to the Board of Trustees and One Representative to the Brandeis Sustainability Fund. The Student Union in the same email also released the candidate biographies for the students running for the positions. 

 

Student Union President and Vice President (2 seats, same ballot)

There are two pairs running for the joint ballot for Student Union President and Vice President positions. The pairs include Noah Risley ’24 and Erica Hwang ’24 and Tyler Hupart ’26 and Tako Mikhelashvili ’26. 

 

Risley is currently Chief Justice for the Student Union and is running to be the next Student Union President. They have previously served as Chair of the Social Justice Committee and the Director of Communications in the Student Union. In these positions, Risley made sure that all gender identities were included when the transition of Workday was completed and advocated for greater connections between administration, Student Union and students. 

 

Hwang is currently the Class of 2025 Senator and the Chair of the Health and Safety Committee and is running to be the next Student Union Vice President alongside Risley. She is constantly working toward making students’ health and wellbeing better. A few of her projects this year include water quality testing, Sundown Scream and the distribution of 8000 condoms throughout campus. 

 

If elected, the two plan on working toward helping with funding for clubs and making sure that they are the voice for all students. “We’ll limit redundant allocations, create a shared club inventory of commonly requested items, and push Brandeis administration to give Union more money,” said Risley. Furthermore, they plan on addressing campus infrastructure concerns by reducing parking pass prices and fines. “Together, we can make a better Union and a better Brandeis,” said Risley. 

 

Hwang plans on improving health on campus. This includes making Brandeis Counseling Center resources more accessible to students. Furthermore, she plans on “promoting healthier academic environment.” She plans to work closely with Risley to make a better Union and Brandeis for everyone. “I want to use the position of the Vice President to ensure the Student Union is a voice for all students,” said Hwang. 

 

Hupart is the current Senator for the Class of 2026 and is running to be the next Student Union President. He has spent his time as a senator working across three committees, amending Student Union bylaws and volunteering for Student Union events. 

 

Mikhelashvili is currently a Senator at Large and is running to be the next Student Union Vice President alongside Hupart. She additionally is the Vice President and Communications coordinator on two additional club e-boards. 

 

Hupart plans on advocating for better communication and awareness of different resources on campus. This includes a public Union bulletin that describes all current projects. Furthermore, creating advisory positions to the executive board so community leaders can advocate for their organization. Hupart says, “I promise that if you place your faith in Tako and me, we’ll never fail to remember that Student Union exists only to represent the interests of students, above all.”

 

If elected, Mikhelashvili plans on creating an e-board position for the Director of International Student Affairs to advocate the needs of international students on campus. She also plans on addressing situations with the dining halls as some students do not have time to go back to dining halls for dinner due to class schedules. “I hope to advocate for making dining halls open longer and making Usdan open on weekends, especially during the cold weather,” said Mikhelashvili. 

 

Secretary

There are three students running for the one-seat position as secretary. The candidates include:  Carol Kornworcel ’26, Vivian Hamui ’26 and Shiqi Peng ’26

 

Kornworcel is the current Secretary for the Student Union after getting voted in during the winter 2023 elections. The term ends at the end of each academic year so Kornworcel plans to run again for the position. During her time as secretary this academic year, Kornworcel noted successes such as connecting students running with their predecessors to learn more about the position, meeting with the Department of Student Engagement to create a better emailing system and promoted and updated all union members’ contact information and office hours. In addition, Kornworcel noted that she responded to emails within 24 hours of receiving them. 

 

If reelected to the position, Kornworcel plans to, “continue the work already started this semester.” This includes creating a partnership with Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO), Dean of Students Office (DOS) and Ombuds to promote their resources to students. 

 

Hamui is the current Student Union Senator for the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program (MKTYP) which she won during the most recent round of special elections. Hamui said that she will “value truth and transparency, never choose optics over honesty, and make a full effort to work towards what matters to [the student body],” according to her candidate bio. 

 

If elected to the position Hamui has some goals outlined, including sending weekly newsletters with information on what the Student Union is doing and creating a publicly available roster with contact information of every student union member. This contact sheet will include the representatives’ contacts for both specific and general problems, according to her bio. 

 

Peng hopes to bring several changes if elected to the secretary position. These changes include shortening the time clubs need to apply for emergency funding to two days, shortening the time to apply for Community Enhancement and Emergency Fund (CEEF) funding to 10 days and improving overall experience for students to run a club and for students to engage, according to his candidate biography

 

“I am running for secretary because I have a thirst for leadership and serving the people,” reads his bio.

 

Senior Representative to the Board of Trustees

There is one seat available for the Senior Representative to the Board of Trustees position and there is currently one student running for the position. Farishta Ali ’24 is running unopposed for the position. 

 

Ali has experience working with the Student Union, having served as an Associate Justice and Academic Senate Chair. If elected to this position Ali outlined goals of hers that she would like to complete while holding this seat. Goals include hosting a Women’s Day in March to highlight the achievements of women and advocating for religious holidays such as Eid-ul-Fitr, Bodhi Day, Diwali and other celebrations. 

 

“My goal is to voice student needs and be a student advocate to the board of trustees,” wrote Ali in her candidate bio. To do this she plans to arrange monthly meetings with students to speak about their needs.

 

One Representative to the Brandeis Sustainability Fund

Aman Qutab ’24 is running unopposed for the seat for representative to the Brandeis Sustainability Fund. Qutab has experience working with the Sustainability Fund on campus because she has served as a representative to the Brandeis Sustainability Fund for the past year. During her time in this position, she writes that she has “enjoyed being able to be a part of the Board,” according to her candidate bio

 

“I hope that if I were to be re-elected, I will be able to further work on these projects and take more initiative in spreading the awareness on the importance of these projects,” wrote Qutab.

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