Students compete in last round of Student Union elections
During this round of Student Union elections, 19 candidates faced off for 14 open seats in the Senate and Judiciary. This week, some of the candidates spoke to the Justice about their aspirations and the issues they consider most important.
Geraldine Bogard ’20
Bogard, who is running for the Racial Minority Senator seat, served as the Myra Kraft Transitional Program senator during the 2016-17 academic year. She also actively participates as a member of the Service and Outreach Committee, as well as a non-senate chair for the Club Support Committee.
In her biography shared by the Student Union, Bogard explains that her time spent on both committees has motivated her to “consistently advocate for the student body’s needs.”
If elected, Bogard resolves to make the Student Union more accessible to students and to advocate for student voices when crafting laws. One of Bogard’s specific goals is to provide “sensitivity and prejudice training” for all members of the Student Union in order to help them better serve their fellow students.
Linfei Yang ’21
Having already served one term as the international student senator, Yang is once again vying for the position. He shared in his biography that “with your support, we will make history once again.” As the international student senator, Yang promises to work more closely with the Club Support Committee and the Intercultural Center.
Yang also hopes to bring together various clubs and departments across campus to “make a positive difference for the international student community.”
Richard Kisack Jr. ’18
This past year, Kisack has served as the Village Quad senator, and is now a candidate for senator-at-large. In his biography, Kisack said he hopes to make the methods of communication between the school’s administration and students more accessible. He is also looking forward to “discussions with students and helping to find concrete solutions.”
Matt Stenerson ’19
Stenerson has served as the off-campus senator and is now running for senator-at-large. In the past, Stenerson has spoken with the administration regarding changes to how the University Writing Seminar program is run as well as acting as the liaison for the Student Health Advisory Committee.
In his biography, Stenerson shares that some of his goals include “establishing designated smoking areas on campus, organizing free STD testing days and installing vending machines for various health products such as contraception and first aid.”
Noah Nguyen ’21
Nguyen, an international student from Vietnam majoring in International and Global Studies and Business, shared in her biography that her experience as senator to the Class of 2021 and three senate committees — Club Support, Sustainability, and Dining — makes her a strong candidate for the senator-at-large position.
Nguyen also leads a probationary term project with the goal of clarifying the funding process for clubs on campus.
Vidit Dhawan ’19
Dhawan currently serves as the Class of 2019 senator, senate representative to the Allocations Board and the undergraduate representative to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee on the Student Union. This year, Dhawan would like to reprise his role as Class of 2019 senator. In a statement to the Justice, Dhawan explained that in addition to these many Student Union roles, his participation in different clubs on campus allows him to “have a strong presence on campus, where different students can reach out to [him] with any concerns they have.”
If elected, Dhawan plans on making the Student Union a more transparent body, promoting diversity and inclusion and encouraging “the Student Union to have more open meetings, build relations with administrators and collaborate with them in more efficient ways.”
Kent Dinlenc ’19
Dinlenc, looking to join the Student Union for the first time, is running for Class of 2019 senator. Dinlenc is also involved in many clubs, including on-campus media outlets such as the Justice and WBRS. In his biography, Dinlenc states that he hopes to see the Student Union “improve its communication with the student body and limit bureaucracy to streamline effective policy and work efficiently.”
In a statement to the Justice, Dinlenc also noted the problem of students not going to “SU-hosted discussions and the Union [not being] vocal about what they’re up to legislatively.” He added, “It’s important we bridge that gap so students have an optimal college experience and ideal representation.”
Joshua Hoffman ’21
Hoffman has served as the senator to North Quad this past semester, and is now running to be the Class of 2021 senator. He also works on the Health and Safety Committee and Campus Operations Working Group. In his biography, Hoffman expressed his desire to create an amendment in the club bylaws that allow for clubs with goals similar to the Jewish Feminist Association of Brandeis to be more easily chartered.
Katrina Zhang ’21
Zhang is a candidate for senator to Class of 2021. In an email to the Justice, Zhang shared that her motivation to run stems from everyone being kind and helpful to her, despite her status as a midyear. Zhang wrote, “Our school is also tolerant to any culture. … I am cared [for] and loved [at] Brandeis so I want to contribute more in our big community.”
Abdul Rehman ’19
Rehman, a candidate for the Judiciary, stated in an email to the Justice that he was inspired by the work of the Student Union to run for the position and desires to “contribute towards its betterment.” He stressed his belief in “leading through commitment and sacrifice,” and said that through his experience he has learned about collaboration. Though he has never served on the Student Union, he has collaborated with it through various leadership positions in the Brandeis Society for International Affairs and the Brandeis Muslim Students Association. If elected, Rehman said he wants to increase the exposure of the Union, adding that “it needs to grow through creating interest among the students to contribute to it.” Rehman also mentioned improvements to the Club Support Committee’s chartering process, which he sees as dysfunctional due to the “incompetence of the members.”
Aaron Finkel ’20
After serving on the Student Union for two years as Massell Quad senator, senator-at-large and executive senator, Finkel is running to be the Class of 2020 senator, as he wants to “continue working for the student body,” he stated in an email to the Justice. His other work in the Union includes chairing two Senate committees, planning “numerous projects and services” and meeting with “many students and administrators.” Finkel stated that he wants to focus on “improving the club chartering process … [and] communication between the Union, administrators and the student body.” In his email, Finkel also discussed transforming the University’s campus culture to make sure “all Brandeis students feel they are getting their money’s worth from this institution,” and ensuring that “every individual in our community feels valued, connected, informed, and included.” Overall, Finkel said, he wants to focus on bringing the student body and administrators together, mentioning that he wants to bring the “student’s perspective” to administrators as well as helping the Union “reach its full potential as a governing body and a resource for the community.”
Albert Gutierrez ’20
Gutierrez, another candidate for the Class of 2020 senator, stated in an email to the Justice that he wishes to join the Student Union because of a desire “to see a difference” in the University and to pay his debt to “the place [he calls] home away from home.” Throughout high school, Gutierrez led many service projects, but as senator he would like to “hear from … the students, about what needs to be better.”
He also stated that he wants to communicate with the administration by expanding upon the open campus forum project started this year, which, he stressed, highlights “what the students desire.” Another problem Gutierrez discussed was affordable housing for students. He stated that “most of us have struggled with housing at some point in our Brandeis careers,” suggesting a monthly, rather than yearly, expense plan.
Morris Nadjar ’19
Nadjar, another candidate for the Judiciary, stated in an email to the Justice that his past work as Massell Quad senator taught him the intricacies of the Union and prepared him for the position of associate justice. His interconnectedness with different student spheres, he mentioned in the same email, gives him a plethora of knowledge about the University, and he stated that he would like to use that knowledge to listen to new ideas and make them work. If elected, Nadjar said that he will consult the Union bylaws and various club constitutions to ensure that there are no injustices. Finally, Nadjar added, he wants to ensure that the legacy of Louis Brandeis is not just remembered as “a statue on a hill,” but as a symbol of justice and truth.
Mack Schoenfeld ’21
Schoenfeld, a third candidate for the Judiciary, said in an email to the Justice that he had never considered joining the Student Union, but when searching for a way to make an impact on campus, he discovered the opening for associate justice and seized the opportunity. Though this would be his first position in the Union, he was a Senator for his high school class and so he is no stranger to student government. His internships and work in the University’s Alumni Relations Office, he stated in the same email, have made him able to “stand up for [him]self when an opportunity comes [his] way.” If elected, Schoenfeld wrote his priority would be to “rectify conflict between students, clubs, faculty, etc.,” as well as ensuring that students feel their voices are heard and know their problems will be resolved fairly.
Sam Sano ’19
Sano, another candidate for the Judiciary, stated in an email to the Justice that his interest in law and justice made him believe that the Judiciary was “up [his] alley.” As an Undergraduate Departmental Representative for the Legal Studies and the History of Ideas programs, he said he has had experience answering student questions and promoting programs. If elected as associate justice, he would like to build on that experience by bolstering campus awareness of the Judiciary, potentially by hosting events and increasing transparency.
Gabriela Gonzalez Anavisca ’19
Anavisca, who is running for the Judiciary, stated in her bio that her work as senator to the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program and Student Union secretary has given her insight into the “various forms the Student Union works and its necessary balance.” If elected, Anavisca said, she would like to enforce that balance and safeguard students from discrimination through an impartial and fair judiciary. Anavisca did not respond to the Justice’s request for an interview.
Shangyuan (Gloria) Xu ’21
Xu, another candidate for the Judiciary, stated in her bio that her work as midyear senator and high school treasury experience have given her knowledge about conflict resolution. If elected, she declared in the bio, her main priority will be to “help the student body.” Xu did not respond to the Justice’s request for an interview.
Xiangyu Mao ’20
Mao, who is running for the Judiciary, did not have a bio and did not respond to the Justice’s request for an interview.
—Editor’s note: Kent Dinlenc ’19 is a writer for Arts, and Mack Schoenfeld ’21 is a writer for News.