Student Union hosts State of the Union address, reports on semester’s activities, future plans
The Student Union hosted its semesterly State of the Union address on Friday, Dec. 3, at which Union leadership reported on their activities this past semester and their future plans. Numerous administrators, including University President Ron Liebowitz, attended the talks.
Student Union President Krupa Sourirajan ’23 opened the event with a reminder about the Midnight Buffet, which the Union is hosting from midnight on Dec. 8 into Dec. 9. Sourirajan also said that the Union created an allocations board task force this semester in order to address club leaders’ issues with the allocations process.
She talked about the Union’s other activities from the past semester, including organizing funds for the Thanksgiving Turkey shuttles and holding a food drive for the Waltham community.
Inaara Gilani ’23 and Sonali Anderson ’22, the respective junior and senior class representatives to the board of trustees, said that they have continued working on the University’s anti-racism framework. Anderson said they will continue updating the framework as an “ongoing and living” document.
Allocations board chair Emma Fiesinger ’23 spoke about both the challenges her board faced this semester and what went well. “We finally have a full board,” Fiesinger said. She also said that the initial voting for marathon had concluded, and that the appeals process had started.
Co-head treasurers Amanda Schneider ’22 and Joshua Hopen ’23 talked about how the treasury has successfully processed hundreds of transactions this semester, including for the turkey shuttles, kindness day and a variety of other Union events. Schneider said that although she is pleased with how the treasury is operating, they are always open to feedback and suggestions from students.
Chief Justice Eamonn Golden ’24 spoke briefly on the judiciary’s review of bylaws surrounding new Union members, and that they want to provide an intro to the Union for incoming officers. He also thanked former Chief Justice Sophia Reiss ’23, an “incredible source of knowledge,” for her advisory role towards the entirely new members of the judiciary.
Courtney Thrun ’22, the Vice-President of the Union and President of the Senate, listed the accomplishments of the various Senate committees. She referenced the Health and Safety committee refilling the condom dispensers and the Sustainability committee working to increase the Union’s use of compostable utensils at their events. Executive Senator Joseph Coles ’22, who spoke after Thrun, also emphasized the work of committee members.
Shelley Polanco ’24, the undergraduate diversity, equity and inclusion officer, spoke about her work with the Intercultural Center, to improve communications between the Union and the ICC.
Director of sustainability and climate justice Selah Bickel ’24 opened her address with a brief land acknowledgement to the Indigenous groups who previously lived in the area on which Brandeis now resides. Bickel continued that she helped bring in an Indigenous speaker who “debunked the Thanksgiving myth” and gave students an opportunity to participate in Indigenous justice. Additionally, Bickel said that she is working to ensure that all student organizations, including the Union, have access to sustainable materials for their events.
Clay Napurano ’24, the director of health and wellness, said in his statement that he was working to make sure that the Brandeis Counseling Center is well advertised as a “robust resource for all students, regardless of needs or language.”
Other executive board members and Union leaders gave brief statements as well.
Sourirajan concluded the address with a summary of some of the Union’s work from the past semester, as well as appreciation for Union members. “Every day I’m amazed and inspired by the work of our student leaders,” Sourirajan said.