Students campaign for 18 open Student Union seats
Candidates for the upcoming Student Union elections registered to run this week, in advance of election day on Thursday. Four seats on the Allocations Board and 14 Senate seats are up for grabs.
The hottest competition, as usual, is for the Senate seats available for first-years. Notably, the two Senator to the Class of 2020 seats and the one seat for Senator to Massell Quad have 11 and six candidates, respectively.
Massell Quad Race
Michael Silveira ’20, a New Bedford, Massachusetts native who is aiming for law school post-graduation, told the Justice in an email that he feels “it is a civic duty to serve on the Student Union” as a Brandeis student. He points to his dedication and seriousness as reason s for his constituents to trust him, writing that “we do not need a leader whose constituents are unaware of when their office hours are or how to reach them in general.”
Leon Rotenstein ’20 hopes to clean Massell Pond without harming its wildlife, install modern and eco-friendly water fountains in Massell halls, bring more food trucks into Massell and institute a “neighborhood watch” around Massell to prevent sexual assault. The watch would be “[j]ust a few people to hang out on Friday or Saturday nights in Massell to make sure everyone makes it home to their dorms safely and that everything is consensual,” he wrote to the Justice. Rotenstein is a child of immigrants from the former Soviet Union and has lived in Ashland, Massachusetts for most of his life.
Aaron Finkel ’20 was inspired to run after taking a tour of Brandeis while in high school. “I remember a couple of the parents and students making remarks about how run-down the quad looked. The pond was filled with trash, there was very little landscaping, and altogether, it wasn't a highlight. Some students even said that they wouldn't consider Brandeis because of the quality of the Freshman housing,” Finkel wrote. He hopes to engage the community through close work with Massell Community Advisors. Finkel is also aiming for law school after college and is from Miami.
Itay Kazaz ’20 credits his friends and hall-mates for encouraging him to run “because they think I am fitting for the role and know me to be a good leader,” he wrote to the Justice in an email. Kazaz hopes to create monthly quad bonding events like movie nights and was president of his high school’s Honor Society, model debate and model U.N. teams. He is considering a pre-med track and is from Glen Rock, New Jersey.
Also in the running are Dustine Reich ’20 and David Piegaro ’20. Neither returned requests for comment by press time.
Class of 2020 Race
Two seats are available for first-years looking to represent their class as a whole. One of the 11 students vying for those seats is New Jersey native Madison Alnemy ’20. She hopes to pursue law and politics after graduation and wrote to the Justice, “My reason for wanting to be Senator is simple: power. Of course my yearn for a powerful position comes from my inherent need to be actively involved in the community I live in. I want to try my best to make Brandeis the perfect home for our class.”
Aseem Kumar '20 called himself "a global citizen" in his email to the Justice, citing that he's lived in Myanmar, India, Germany, Laos and South Africa. Fittingly, he hopes to "influence global issues by working with the U.N." after college. Kumar has five years of experience on student councils, and plans to investigate laundry and printing costs, along with having more books on reserve and creating "student to student therapy." His campaign slogan is "I'll make your 60k at Brandeis worth it."
Natalie Cohen ’20 is from the suburban town of Northville, Illinois and hopes to study business at Brandeis, potentially pursuing a Wall Street career after graduation. She is a four-year veteran of high school student councils and hopes to make changes that will benefit the whole Brandeis community.
Giselle Santillana ’20 hails from Houston and is hoping to be a part of the Student Union for all four of her Brandeis years. She hopes to install new lighting around campus to deter sexual harassment at night, gain the right for students to opt out of meal plans and communicate with campus police to “set clear rules and regulations for parties and decide when it is justifiable to shut them down.” Santillana has experience in the American Red Cross and Medical Reserve Corps bringing relief to Houston flood victims.
Samantha Barrett ’20 is vying for a career in international and constitutional law after Brandeis. She wrote to the Justice that she hopes to foster a sense of community on campus through quad competitions and “leave behind the cliquey-ness of high school and come together as a class.”
Tal Richtmann ’20 was a training officer in the Israeli Defense Force prior to Brandeis and hails from Tel Aviv.
This summer, he worked at a Pennsylvania summer camp for children with special needs. He sees the Student Union as a natural way to take part in the community through a leadership position and aims to complete the five year BA/MA program in international economics and finance.
Keven Macareno ’20, Jessica Rosner ’20, Molly Garyantes ’20, Richard Patton ’20 and Shai Amkraut ’20 did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
Another first-year seat up for grabs is the Senator to the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program, which is a program for first-years from under-resourced high schools or underprivileged backgrounds. One of the two students hoping to fill that seat is Geraldine Bogard ’20. Bogard hails from Port-au-Prince, Haiti and was a change agent in Port-au-Prince’s Mayor Youth Council, a group of young adults who advocate for young people in the community. She hopes to increase the visibility of TYP students on campus and form a tight-knit community within the organization.
New Orleans native Richard Kisack ’19 is vying for the East Quad Senator position, writing that he was inspired to run after noticing last year that the “dynamics between each of the halls in North Quad were different and that unity among individuals and halls were to some extent weak and lacking.” He hopes to build a more inclusive environment within East Quad, in part through regular meetings within the quad to discuss issues. He studies politics and creative writing.
Opposing Kisack is Elijah Sinclair ’19. He wrote to the Justice that he hopes to restructure meal plans to create an off-campus plan, open lower Usdan on the weekends, add community printers to dormitories and build outdoor work spaces with power outlets. Sinclair says that he feels tuition costs are the most serious issue students face right now at Brandeis and that while reducing tuition costs is outside of the Union’s scope, he can work to find ways for students to save and ensure that their dollars are used efficiently.
Maxwell Snider ’20 is competing for the Senator to North Quad position against Jack Rubinstein ’20. Originally from Morgantown, West Virginia, Snider told the Justice in a phone interview that he hopes to pursue a career in finance post-graduation, then a career in politics and eventually to run for president of the United States in 2044. Snider served as a representative for high school students to the West Virginia state government. He believes that his role as a Senator is to be “an instrument” for his constituents and that although the first-year class is still new to campus, if and when they approach him, he’ll “combine them into a singular vision and promote that vision more actively than anyone else.”
Rubinstein, Snider’s competitor, is from Evanston, Illinois and is aspiring to attend medical school after Brandeis. He says he was inspired to run “after seeing how great my fellow classmates were” and hopes to accomplish projects “big and small,” including a fixed pool table in Polaris and quad bonding activities. When asked why voters should trust him above other candidates, Rubinstein joked, “You should trust me because I don't have two first names. Never trust someone with two first names.”
Morris Nadjar ’19 is running for Village Quad Senator and was one of the inaugural first-years accepted to the BA/MA program in business and economics. Originally from New York City, Nadjar was frustrated at the difficulties of creating change as a Massell Quad Senator last year but wrote to the Justice that this experience means he knows how the system works and who to talk to. Nadjar wrote that he hopes to “heighten security on campus,” explaining, “although Brandeis is an open campus; in today's day and age it seems unrealistic to have especially after shootings across the country that upset Americans from all over the world. I will also speak and make aware the imminent downfall of [B]randeis' infrastructure.”
His opponent is Marko Stipanovic ’18, a two-time transfer student who was raised in Germany, though he is of Croatian descent. Stipanovic hopes to “[c]reate an environment that would aid in streaming concerns and questions in a more effective manner” and plans to pursue medicinal research on autism after Brandeis.
Amy-Claire Dauphin ’19 is the child of Haitian immigrants and wrote in an email to the Justice, “Like many children raised by immigrant parents, I grew up witnessing the hard work and sacrifice that my parents put into giving me the life that they wanted in America.” She is running for the racial minority senator seat and hopes to facilitate dialogues on different cultures throughout the year, as well as before and after events like Mela and Culture X.