The Justice Logo

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 | Last updated: 3:51am




Student Union elects seek improvements




In the latest round of Student Union elections on April 3, 16 students were elected to fill positions across the Union for the upcoming academic year. The Justice interviewed several of the recently-elected members to hear more about their goals for next year.

Aaron Finkel ’20

Finkel was elected one of the two Senators-At-Large, scoring 49.51 percent of the vote. In an email to the Justice, Finkel wrote that he believes that students face three major challenges on campus: a lack of consistent communication and transparency when it comes to student services, resources and activities; inefficient student services and lack of proper campus maintenance; and a lack of spirit and pride.

“Our campus community seems disconnected at times, and we don't do a good enough job of demonstrating appreciation for the school we all love,” he wrote. “In the future, I see the Union being more proactive and innovative in addressing this issue.”

He wrote that he would like to continue working on the free menstrual product initiative that he has helped lead as chair of the Campus Operations Working Group. He added that, among various other initiatives, he would like to improve transparency, efficiency and communication throughout the Union.

Above all, Finkel stressed that, as Senator-At-Large, he will be there to serve the entire community. “I'm not just a name on a website. If you have a question, ask me! … Let me try to help you,” he wrote. “My end goal is to make sure that I do everything I can to make a difference in our community. I want all members of our Brandeis family to make the most out of their time here, and to graduate knowing they wouldn't have gone anywhere else if they had the chance.”

Benedikt Reynolds ’19

Reynolds was elected one of the two Class of 2019 senators, securing 67.05 percent of the votes cast in his race.

In an interview with the Justice, Reynolds explained that he also wants to target school spirit when he takes office. “A lot of people don’t enjoy the Brandeis experience, because they come into this school not wanting to enjoy the Brandeis experience, … and I think this is a common thing that many people feel,” he said. “So I’m hopefully going to help turn that around and kind of build up school pride.”

Reynolds, a member of the Senate Sustainability Committee, also explained that he wants to see the University become a leading school in campus sustainability. Specifically, he said that he would like to look into installing new indoor lights that would adjust brightness and energy usage depending on ambient lighting.

Brooke Granovsky ’18

Granovsky was elected one of five associate justices of the Union Judiciary, earning 61.91 percent of the vote.

In an email to the Justice, Granovsky said that one issue she has seen students deal with is “the knowledge gap” between club members, club constitutions and the Student Union constitution. She said that many students find club and Union constitutions either vague or outdated, which can discourage them from trying to update their club constitutions to better avoid conflict. “It creates a cycle where constitutions remain unchanged, and their perceived legitimacy wanes, and the Judiciary has to rely on them anyway,” she wrote in an email to the Justice.

In the coming year, Granovsky said that she wants to see the Judiciary encourage students to engage in constitutional reviews in order to better facilitate the judicial process.

Lilly Hecht ’18

Hecht was also elected one of the five associate justices of the Union Judiciary, with 61.62 percent of the vote.

Citing needs for improvement in communication about student resources and opportunities, Hecht wrote in an email to the Justice that students should have access to a centralized source of academic, financial, administrative, professional, medical and extracurricular information.

In addition to collaborating with other Union branches to promote efficiency, Hecht wrote that she looks forward to increasing the Judiciary’s caseload. “I'm really looking forward to increasing our caseload so we can help resolve more conflicts and support more students and clubs,” she wrote.

Linfei Yang ’20

Yang was elected to fill the newly-created International Student Senator position, earning 60.19 percent of the vote.

In an interview with the Justice, Yang noted that representation and generalization are crucial issues for the international student community. “When [people] view the international community at Brandeis, they tend to generalize,” he said. “For example, sure, there are a lot of Asians in the community, but that does not mean they are all international students. There’s the difference between Asian-Americans and Asian international students, and I think that it’s very important for that distinction to be made.”

He added that he wants to make sure the international student community feels that they have access to resources and information to help integrate them into the broader Brandeis community.

Tal Richtman ’20

Richtman was re-elected Class of 2020 senator, earning 68.85 percent of the votes cast in his race.

Richtman, like other Union members, spoke about wanting to bolster school pride and spirit, which he said could be lacking because students don’t view their college experiences holistically. “People are very invested in their clubs, and it takes their time and their connection or relation to Brandeis,” he said in an interview with the Justice. “They see their social life here as part of their a capella group, their soccer team, … but they don’t understand that this is all part of Brandeis.”

He also noted that he would like to work on the Club Support Committee next year to improve the club recognition and chartering process and to ensure that clubs are getting adequate resources and support. This could potentially involve removing inactive clubs to reduce the total number or restructuring financial resources, he said. “I prefer to have fewer clubs with more money to make bigger events than a lot of clubs with some of them not active,” he said, adding, “Clubs are an important part of our life here on campus.”

Also elected were Racial Minority Senator Hangil Ryu ’20; Senator At-Large Shaquan McDowell ’18; Class of 2018 Senators Matt Kowalyk and Abhishek Kulkarni; Class of 2019 Senate Vidit Dhawan; Class of 2020 Senator Yuxuan Chen; Associate Justices Jessie Kinsley ’20, Xiangyu Mao ’20 and Charlotte Aaron ’18; and Brandeis Sustainability Fund Representative Nicholas April ’18. They did not return requests for comment as of press time.

—Editor’s Note: Brooke Granovsky ’18 is an Arts writer for the Justice.


Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Justice.