Students voted to elect board, Senate members
On Sept. 13, 41 candidates ran in the Student Union election for 19 open seats in the Senate, Allocations Board, CEEF Board, Alumni Board and Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. Biographies of the candidates were released by the Student Union prior to the election, and the winners were announced in a Sept. 14 email to the Brandeis community.
Senator for Class of 2022—Topaz Fernandez Fragoso ’22
Fragoso is one of the two elected Senators representing the Class of 2022. In her candidate biography, Fragoso said that she will draw on her high school experience as the student body vice president to work with students and faculty to represent peer “needs, concerns, and wants.”
In the same bio, Fragoso shared that “moving seventeen hours was scary and I wasn’t even sure I would like Brandeis.” She continued, “But, after meeting a lot of you and hearing people’s different backgrounds, ideas, and stories, I couldn’t be more thankful for the class of 2022.” Fragoso did not return the Justice’s request for a comment.
Senator for Class of 2022—Alexander Chang ’22
Alexander Chang won the second seat for Class of 2022 Student Union Senator. In his candidate biography, Chang highlighted three issues that unify the Class of 2022: fair representation on the Senate and Allocations Board, housing accommodations and upholding of social justice values both on and off campus.“I know that this year’s Freshman Class has some powerful potential, and I want us all to realize that,” Chang wrote in his bio.
Senator for Massell Quad—Kendal Chapman ’22
Kendal Chapman ’22 won the seat for Massell Quad Senator. In her candidate biography, Chapman presented improving the quality of quad spaces and number of quad events as foundation of her campaign platform.
Chapman wrote, “As senator, I want to represent your interests as new students and improve the place we now call home.”
Senator for North Quad—David Hui ’22
Newly elected North Quad Senator David Hui ’22 ran uncontested. During his campaign, Hui outlined the importance of improving life in North Quad, particularly the bathroom conditions.
Senator for Rosenthal and Skyline Quads—Joshua Hoffman ’21
Joshua Hoffman ’21 previously served as the North Quad Senator and member of the Campus Operations Working Group during the 2017-2018 academic year.
In his candidate biography, Hoffman mentioned taking part in various initiatives on campus, such as the Tampon Initiative and programs in collaboration with the Brandeis Health and Safety Committee. Regarding his plans for the upcoming year, Hoffman shared in his candidate biography that “there are quite a few big issues regarding limitations for club approval as well as finally implementing successful initiatives” that he started last year and would like to see finished.
Senator for Village and 567—Jake Rong ’21
In an email to the Justice, Jake Rong ’21 said that he plans to “improve communication, increase administrator visibility and foster a greater sense of campus community” as the newly elected Senator for Village and 567.
Rong also sent words of advice to fellow students. “I encourage ... all students to get involved,” he wrote in the same email. “[Send] ideas, comments, or questions, [visit] the Student Union during our office hours, [join] a Senate Committee, and most importantly, [vote] in elections.”
Senator for Ziv and Ridgewood Quads—Leigh Salomon ’19
Salomon ‘’19 has previous experience serving as a senator to the Student Union. “If I’ve learned anything about representation from my first term as a senator, it’s that there is no secret trick or level of experience for getting the job done that can replace one-on-one interactions,” Salomon wrote in an email to the Justice. He added that as a Quad Senator “with a smaller constituency than, say, a Class Senator, I can devote more time to each of my fellow residents.”
Salomon plans to reduce the meal plan requirement for those living in suite-style dorms. He also wants to more closely monitor facilities employees and submitted work orders in Ziv and Ridgewood.
Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program Senator—Gisel Urena ’22
In her candidate bio, Gisel Urena ’22 shared that encountering homelessness when she first moved to the United States in 2009 also taught her “the value unity and teamwork holds.” As the newly elected Senator for the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program, Urena carries this life lesson into her position.
In an email to the Justice, Urena shared her belief that “a true leader is someone who feels comfortable sharing power by fostering others’ capacity to lead and makes decisions to reach their potential.”
Senator for Off Campus Students—Hanyu Deng ’21
In her candidate biography, Hanyu (Andrea) Deng ’21, described how difficult it was for her to “adapt to this new environment called America and Brandeis.”
“There still [remain] many struggles in off-campus outreach and communication. [We must] engage and support off-campus students and commuters,” she wrote.
Deng declared that while in office, she will ensure that off-campus students are “as equally essential as other members of the entire Brandeis community.”
Racial Minority Senator—Coco Zhang ’22
Zhang just started her first year here at Brandeis after attending an international high school, according to her candidate biography. Born and raised in China, Zhang said that she plans to work on reducing the cost of printing in the library and getting more air conditioning in the residence halls.
“My goal is to speak on behalf of racial minority students in this Brandeis community, and to ensure that your voice is heard, encouraged, and valued,” Zhang wrote in her candidate bio.
Two-Semester Representative to A-Board—Aseem Kumar ’20
Kumar’s time serving as Chairperson of the Allocations Board gave him the experience he needed to be reelected to the Allocations Board, Kumar wrote in his candidate bio. While serving on the A-Board previously, Kumar worked on club reports, marathon reports, Allocations Board infographics, and more, increasing the transparency of A-Board’s decisions. “I don’t have any comments really,” Kumar said in an email to the Justice. “My work speaks for me.”
In terms of his future plans, Kumar said in his candidate bio that he wants to enforce accountability for A-Board members and clubs. He also emphasized his commitment to diversity and equity when it comes to the allocation of resources for clubs. Kumar cited his economics major as a reason for his focus on efficiency in student government.
Two-Semester Representative to A-Board—Kate Kesselman ’19
New York City native Kesselman has been serving on the Allocations Board since her freshman year, according to her candidate bio. Now a senior, Kesselman said she hopes to continue the improvements she has making to the Board for the past three years. “I want to help clubs continue to grow and make well supported, attended and embraced events,” Kesselman said in an email to the Justice.
According to Kesselman, the A-Board has not always been an efficient entity. “When I first joined the Board three years ago,” she wrote in her candidate bio, “the Allocations Board was disorganized, lacked leadership and was not helpful to our students.” Kesselman said that she has been working to make changes to the A-Board and plans to continue that. “I have spent three years of my Brandeis’ career improving the Allocations Board and I am excited to continue my efforts this year,” she said in the same email.
Two-Semester Racial Minority Representative to A-Board—Marshall Smith ’21
Smith is a sophomore from Atlanta, Georgia, who ran unopposed for the Racial Minority Representative to Allocations Board seat. In an email to the Justice, Smith explained his plans for his time in office. “I want to ensure the chartered and secured clubs understand the established policies ... [and] funding decisions.”
Smith said in his candidate bio that his time as a finance intern in the allocation department of Turner Broadcasting prepared him to serve in the position. Smith said that after allocating funds to different projects at Turner Broadcasting, he “can help ... projects come to life here.”
Three-Semester Representative to A-Board—Roland Blanding ’21
Blanding is going to be working with the Student Union for the first time this year as Three-Semester Representative to A-Board. According to his candidate bio, while in office, Blanding wants to “have a pragmatic, enduring, and unifying impact on this university.”
“I intend to stick to my platform of pushing to expand cultural events on campus by working with the Multicultural Council, [the Brandeis African Students Organization], [Brandeis LatinX Student Organization], [Brandeis Asian American Student Organization], etc.,” Blanding said in an email to the Justice. He also said that he is working on reaching out to various campus organizations “to familiarize myself with all of their narratives, as well as to educate myself to better represent the interests of the student body.”
Representative to the Community Emergency and Enhancement Fund (CEEF) Board—Tal Richtman ’20
According to Richtman’s candidate bio, his experiences serving as Class of 2020 Senator, Senate Representative to the CEEF Board and Club Support Committee Chair are what qualify him to be Representative to the CEEF Board. In addition to helping redesign the CEEF Board, Richtman is also a two-time winner of the Student Union Innovator of the Year award.
Richtman wrote in his candidate bio that he plans to “bring innovation, creativity and improvement” to the Brandeis community. “I’m excited for the year and for what projects [the CEEF will] approve this year,” Richtman wrote in an email to the Justice.
Representative to the CEEF Board—Michael Scott Bender ’22
According to his candidate bio, Bender’s experience in an office environment, where he “developed organizational and clerical skills,” prepared him to be on the CEEF Board.
Bender also said in his candidate bio that he wants to “make sure that the Brandeis student body gets what they want,” citing bus station heaters and additional coffee shops as examples. “I am excited about the prospect of working in allocating money to support what you, the students, want to see happen on campus,” he added.
Representative to the Alumni Board—Samantha Barrett ’20
Barrett ran unopposed for the position of Representative to the Alumni Board. According to her candidate bio, Barrett’s time serving as Senate as the Class of 2020, East Quad Senator, and Health and Safety Committee Chair over the past two years has given her the necessary experience to serve on the Alumni Board.
“I believe that cultivating a relationship with the Alumni Board is an opportunity to share current student interests and update alumni on the students attending today,” Barrett said in her candidate bio.
Representative to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee—Brandon Stanaway ’19
Stanaway, an Economics and History major, has served as Ziv Quad Senator and the Non-Senate Chair to the Dining Committee. He is currently the Director of Academic Affairs as well. Stanaway ran unopposed for the position of Representative to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee.
According to his candidate bio, Stanaway has “worked on the free menstrual products pilot program, Meatless Monday initiatives, and other [Student] Union projects.”
Sam Zuckerman ’20 was elected Senator for Charles River Apartments, but provided no biography and did not respond to the Justice’s request for comment.
—Editor’s note: Leigh Solomon is a staff writer and Roland Blanding is a contributing writer for the Justice.