Election winners look to new terms
The Union’s Senate, A-Board and E-Board gained new members from the 2019 winter elections.
After a tumultuous fall semester, the Student Union began the spring by electing new members to the Executive Board, Allocations Board and Senate. Students could vote electronically in the 2019 winter elections from 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to 11:59 pm. Wednesday, and the results were announced in an email to the Brandeis community last Thursday.
Simran Tatuskar ’21 claimed secretary, the sole available position on the E-Board. As secretary, she will “oversee the daily operations of the Union Government,” per the Union’s constitution. In her candidate profile, she stressed her leadership experience with different campus groups and described how she has “immersed” herself to “truly [be] a part of the Brandeis community.” As secretary, she hopes to increase transparency within the Union, she said in an email to the Justice. She also sees the new position as an opportunity to advance social justice causes.
There were four open seats on the A-Board, which decides how to allocate money from the Student Activities Fund to student groups on campus. Alan Huang ’21 was reelected to the A-Board as a two-semester representative, and his goals for this new term are to “maintain consistency and equity of allocations, … align the goals of the board with that of the student body” and increase communication between groups the A-Board works with, per his candidate profile. Huang envisions an ideal A-Board as “transparent, consistent, and accountable,” according to the same profile.
Newly elected Three-semester Representative to the A-Board Ruizhang Zhi ’21 also stressed the importance of communicating with clubs. In an email to the Justice, Zhi explained that clubs may not be familiar with their funding options, which is something he will aim to rectify during his term. Zhi sees clubs as places where a student “can find their true interest” and “real friendship,” and plans to support them by helping clubs get “the funding that they deserved,” per his profile.
Sonali Anderson ’22 will serve as a two-semester racial minority representative to A-Board. She comes to the A-Board with experience sitting on the Union’s Social Justice and Diversity committee and advocating to the Office of Student Rights and Advocacy, which she credits with giving her “a bigger understanding of how the Student Union includes the many diverse cultures within our University,” according to her profile. Anderson believes her new position will allow her to reassess racial minority clubs’ funding and to “better advocate” for their funding. Anderson also hopes to help non-recognized minority clubs and organizations on campus obtain recognition and funding, per an email with the Justice.
Zhi and Two-semester Representative Aria Pradhan ’21 both come to the A-Board without previous experience working with the Union. In emails to the Justice, both expressed their willingness to learn about the new position. “I hope to learn more and put my knowledge to use to benefit the Brandeis community,” Pradhan wrote.
Seven Senate positions were filled by Wednesday’s election. The junior class gained two new class senators, Thomas Alger and Trevor Filseth. Alger’s most important goal, according to an email to the Justice, is to “increase school pride” among Brandeis students. His plan for achieving this involves better publicizing campus events and athletic games, because, as he explained, students often don’t attend these events simply because they did not know they were happening — not than because they are not interested. He also wants to make it possible to guarantee four years of on-campus housing “so that everyone who wishes to live on campus has the ability to do so,” as well as to repair campus facilities, per the same email.
Both Alger and Filseth, in emails to the Justice, listed improving dining hall food quality as a focus of their platforms. Alger tied better quality food to improving students’ pride in Brandeis, and Filseth wrote that the Union “owes it” to the student body to “keep the quality [of food] as high as possible.” Filseth also said that as a senator, he wants to address the high cost of laundry services and keep the BranVans running on schedule.
Senator for Off-Campus Students Jacob Diaz ’20 also wants to improve the BranVan’s operations to benefit students who do not live in University housing. More frequent BranVan routes, easier parking and information sessions to help students with the “tough learning curve” of living off campus are policies that Diaz plans to pursue, per his profile. In an email to the Justice, Diaz explained that these info sessions would cover basics of off-campus life, such as “how to shop effectively, some basic cooking recipes and ideas, and things you should expect while living off campus.”
In her profile, Senator for Racial Minority Students Denezia Fahie ’22 described how she aims to “ensure the voices of those minoritized and often dismissed are not only acknowledged but highlighted and prioritized.”
Taylor Fu ’21 will take the experience she gained serving on the Union’s Health and Safety committee since last semester to her new role as senator for East Quad.
Madeline Scherff ’22, now senator for mid-year students, is dedicated to representing “the unique Mid-Year [sic] experience,” according to her profile. She also highlighted “sustainability and equity” as focus-areas for her term.
Newly elected Foster Mods Senator Matthew Reeves ’19 sees “serving on the Student Union as a unique opportunity to leave one final positive impact on Brandeis” before graduating, per his profile.
A vote to recall International Student Senator Linfei Yang ’20 passed. Yang was at the center of a controversy last semester over whether to install pianos in first-year residence quad lounges.
Huang, Scherff, Fu, Reeves and Fahie did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.
—Editor’s Note: Trevor Filseth is a Forum staff writer.