Though Hannah Brown ’19 is running unopposed in the 2018 Student Union presidential election, her wealth of experience in the Union, comprehensive platform and knowledge of how to bring her visions to reality make her a natural choice. As such, this board chooses to endorse her as the next Union president.

Having served as a quad and class senator, executive senator, Senate committee chair and now Union vice president, Brown has more than proven her leadership skills within the Union. Through her work on the Union’s executive board, she also has the experience necessary to collaborate with administrators in order to achieve her goals. Notably, her work on the executive board under two different Union presidents may help her succeed where past presidents have failed or fallen short. 

This board supports Brown’s extensive agenda as she looks to work intimately with students and administrators alike. Brown has voiced avid support for student clubs across campus and plans to implement new changes to further help them prosper. She has discussed removing certain barriers for new clubs trying to gain Union support, realizing that this year’s changes to the club recognition and chartering process make it more difficult for some clubs to become legitimized through the Senate. Brown recognizes the faults of this blanket policy; not all clubs have the same needs, financially and otherwise. Collaboration between clubs — including the resource-sharing umbrella system seen in groups like the Undergraduate Theater Collective — can help achieve the same cost-cutting benefits without creating undue barriers. This board supports Brown’s emphasis on collaboration and communication.

Furthermore, Brown’s agenda is promising in the area of campus accessibility. This board supports Brown’s plans to work with Director of Student Accessibility Support Beth Rodgers-Kay and to continue Student Union President Jacob Edelman’s ’18 collaboration with Joy von Steiger, the director of the Brandeis Counseling Center. These goals highlight Brown’s dedication to improving campus life for students with disabilities and promoting the awareness and effectiveness of Brandeis’ mental health services. This board recommends that she take her plans a step further by periodically checking in with affected students, as Edelman has begun doing through the March 1 mental health open forum. 

Brown has already expressed an openness to working with students of color in order to promote diversity and inclusion within the Union and on campus. Though she recognizes her personal limitations in regards to thinking critically about diversity, Brown wants to work collaboratively to come up with solutions that give everyone a voice. Specifically, Brown would like to look into adding another racial minority senator to the Union Senate. 

Another component of Brown’s platform is affordability, specifically reducing “nickeling and diming” in punishment — the cost of a late library book or forgotten room key — laundry and printing fees. Brown also advocates for the use of low-cost academic tools, such as free textbooks and homework software already licensed by the University — as opposed to paid software like Sapling or Top Hat. This board supports Brown’s affordability initiatives — college is already prohibitively expensive for many, and it is crucial to reduce costs wherever possible.

Of course, write-in candidacies and “abstain” are always an alternative when the polls open today. However you vote, this board urges all Brandeis students to choose the option that best suits their values and needs. Ultimately, we feel that Brown’s experience, realistic expectations and personable approach to student needs make her the best choice for Brandeis.