Candidates discuss election platforms
This Thursday, the Student Union will be holding its annual presidential election, as well as a first round of elections for several other positions on its executive board. Voting will be open for 24 hours starting on Thursday.
The positions to be filled are president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, junior representative to the Board of Trustees, Allocations Board member and Racial Minority Allocations Board member. The current executive board met last Wednesday with those students interested in candidacy for the various positions.
Nyah Macklin ’16 is running unopposed for student union president. Also running unopposed are Shuying Liu ’16 for secretary, Nicole Lenchner ’16 for treasurer and Emily Conrad ’17 for junior representative to the Board of Trustees. Liu, Lenchner and Conrad did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
Macklin is currently serving as a Class of 2016 senator and has organized transportation initiatives on campus, as well as the Class of 2016-sponsored ski trip, over the past year. If elected as president, she said in an interview with the Justice, “I want to push administration, all the way up to the Board of Trustees, to reflect all of the voices in the Brandeis community... especially those who have been marginalized and silenced.”
“If [people] don't know me already, I am very approachable,” Macklin said. “I am able to communicate through all walks of life. I'm able to... be a friend, be a student and be incredibly personal. But I'm also able to represent [students] and talk intelligently to the higher-ups.”
The vice presidential position will be a race between David Herbstritt ’17, Dennis Hermida-Gonzales ’17, Daniel Koas ’16, Mary Michalos ’16 and Ze (Vera) Wang ’18.
Herbstritt was elected to the Senate at the beginning of this year and has served as executive senator since February. His goals, if elected, include focusing on student outreach and communication with the Union and pushing for greater student involvement in conversations with administration, he wrote in an email to the Justice. “I plan to use the skills and relationships that I have built this year to make Brandeis more transparent and more in touch with the needs of our student community in terms of issues such as dining, academics and housing,” he wrote.
Hermida-Gonzalez served as a senator during his first year at Brandeis as a Transitional Year Program representative and has worked with Student Events, he wrote in an email to the Justice. If elected, “I would hope to bring some transparency into the Student Union,” he wrote. “I hope that the Brandeis [community] can feel like they can come to the Student Union for support and be able to voice their concerns. I also want to make sure that students can be active participants in creating change in the Brandeis community.”
Koas, who is studying abroad this semester, does not have any experience with the Student Union, he wrote in an email to the Justice, but believes that his “involvement with clubs and other groups within different parts of the Brandeis community has prepared me to be [vice president],” he wrote. Koas added that coming in as an outsider will allow him to critically analyze the Union. He wrote that, if elected, he would like to tackle problems in student life, sustainability and issues around fostering dialogue and transparency on campus.
Michalos is currently serving as the Off-Campus senator and the Services and Outreach Committee chair. “I look forward to implementing an outreach program so more students know and understand that the Student Union is here to better the Brandeis community and experience,” she wrote in an email to the Justice. “We need to bring the focus back to the students and making Brandeis safer and better overall.”
Wang did not respond to request for comment by press time.
The candidates for the four open positions for A-Board members are Alex Mitchell ’17, Judy Nam ’16, Millie (Mengyuan) Wu ’18 and Uros Randelovic ’18.
Nam is currently the co-chair of A-Board and is running for re-election to make sure she “can leave behind a lasting, organized structure for future Allocations Board members,” she wrote in an email to the Justice. “I've been working with members of the Student Union and Student Activities to find a way to improve the quality of club leadership on campus and make club funding procedures more accessible to new and/or struggling clubs.”
Mitchell has served as an A-Board member before and would like to focus on enabling students to produce large-scale events and on the fair distribution of funds, he wrote in an email to the Justice. “If elected,” he wrote, “I will largely support funding for large-scale events, interactive programs, campus activism, and other activities that I feel will benefit the whole campus, and not a select few.”
Randelovic is currently serving as the co-chair of the Club Support Committee and has enjoyed his time working with clubs as they evolve, he wrote in an email to the Justice. “In the future,” he wrote, “my goal is to work toward reducing the bureaucratic demands of the system and thus improving the overall ease of the process. By bringing up the aspect of 'ease,' I refer to providing clubs with a platform that will assist them in achieving responsible and sustainable usage of allocated funds.”
Wu did not respond to request for comment by press time.
Ziyang Chen ’18 and Hanyang Li ’17 are running for the one open position for Racial Minority A-Board member. Li did not respond to request for comment by press time.
Chen served as president of both her high school and middle school's student union, she wrote in an email to the Justice. Those experiences taught her how to genuinely serve and help students, she wrote, adding that “[i]f elected, I will dedicate to allocate your Activities Fee to serve your best interests. [sic]”
According to an email from Vice President Charlotte Franco ’15 to the Brandeis community on Monday, March 2, Thursday's election would also seek to fill two representative positions to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and two representative positions to the Brandeis Sustainability Fund Board, but no students are running for these positions in the first round of elections. These positions will be added to a second round of elections, President Sneha Walia '15 confirmed in an email to the Justice.
A second round of elections will take place on Tuesday, March 24, seeking to fill the positions of senator-at-large, class senators, racial minority senator and associate justices of the Judiciary. A mandatory meeting for candidates for these positions will be held next Monday.