Earlier this semester, B Connect celebrated the one-year anniversary of its launch with a party on campus, providing merch and cupcakes for the students and alumni who joined to celebrate a year of B Connect. This event was both a celebration and a way to increase student and alumni awareness of the new online network in the hopes of encouraging more members of the Brandeis community to get involved.
In the summer of 2020, as Black Lives Matter protests against systemic racism and police brutality erupted across the globe in response to the murder of George Floyd and other high profile police killings of Black people in the United States, Sonali Anderson ’22 began thinking about ways to make change happen on an institutional level at Brandeis.
When Marta Kauffman ’78 H’20 enrolled as a student at Brandeis, there was no way for her to know where her four years at the University would take her. Since her time at Brandeis, she has amassed Emmy nominations and critical acclaim, but before she was the co-creator of the hit television series “Friends” and “Grace and Frankie,” among others, she was a student, figuring out who she was and what she wanted to do with her life.
On April 26, Leah Timpson ’22 was walking past Upper Usdan when she felt a sharp, jabbing pain on her heel. A Kiwibot — one of a fleet of at least 15 food delivery robots brought to Brandeis by Sodexo — had driven into her foot from behind her. “I was wearing flats, so when it hit my foot it pulled my shoe down,” Timpson told the Justice on April 30. “I kept walking, and I got to the SCC and looked at my foot and it was bleeding a little bit. My foot was red, and I have a bruise now.”
“Aside from art being just an expression of your ideas and expression of who you are and what you think the world is about, I think it’s just also a connection tool,” Jonathan Joasil ’22 said when asked how he defines art during our April 7th Zoom interview. Jonathan is a Black painter and visual artist whose work has been featured in the senior exhibition at the Dreitzer Art Gallery in Spingold Theater.
On Thursday, April 7, Brandeis’ Take Back the Night returned as an in-person event for the first time since 2019. A global movement with a long history, Take Back the Night is an annual stand against sexual violence which has taken place all over the world for decades, and has been held on campus for over 15 years. Hosted as a collaborative event by the Prevention, Advocacy and Resource Center; the Intersectional Feminist Coalition; the Black Action Plan; the Gender and Sexuality Center; the Disabled Students’ Network; and students from other organizations, the event began as an evening march from the Light of Reason to the Rabb steps.
The year was 2019. Alex Dainis ’11 had just graduated from Stanford University with a doctorate degree in genetics. Many of her peers stayed in academia to continue their research, and others joined the biotech industry. Instead of taking one of those traditional paths, Alex took a leap of faith and started making science videos on YouTube full-time. She also started her own video production company and named it, in classic biology nerd fashion, Helicase Media, after a protein essential for DNA replication in cells. At this point, she had been making science videos on YouTube since 2012, a year after she graduated from Brandeis. Now, she just needed to make it a real job.
The Disabled Students' Network, run by Luca Swinford ’22 and Zoe Pringle ’22, got its start in April 2021, a year after Swinford and Pringle met in the course “Disability Policy” taught by Prof. Monika Mitra (Heller) in spring 2020. It was during this class that they discovered that there wasn’t a space for the disabled community at Brandeis, and this inspired them to create one themselves. Unfortunately, these plans were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, it was during this time that Swinford and Pringle realized there needed to be a community more than ever
Standing atop Fellows Garden with the sun to his back, a bronze Justice Louis D. Brandeis watches over the campus bearing his name. It is a heroic statue, triumphant even. The Justice withstands an adverse wind, his gaze fixed on the heavens like the statues of classical antiquity. It also resembles the numerous statues of the American South which depict Confederate icons in similarly honorific poses. Like them, Justice Brandeis helped advance caustic ideology tied to many of the 20th-century’s tragedies.
Bergman serves as the associate provost for academic and strategic initiatives, reporting directly to Provost Carol Fierke. She has worked at Brandeis since 2008, with a gap between 2016-19.
Five semesters ago, it likely would have been difficult for students at Brandeis to imagine quarantine ever being an integral part of college life. Since Brandeis reopened and welcomed students back to campus following the near-complete shutdown of campus in spring 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has had to devise plans and strategies for when students contract the virus. Over the past two years, terms like “contact tracing,” “quarantine,” and “isolation housing: have become a standard part of Brandeis students’ vocabulary. However, quarantine and isolation on campus due to exposures and positive tests have proved to be a struggle for many students who have faced difficulties concerning food, classes, and communication from the University.
While looking at a map will tell you that the wooded area just beyond the southeast edge of campus is Fox Park, most Brandeis students probably know it as simply the woods by “Grad,” the colloquial name for Charles River Apartment student residences. The woods — a two-minute walk from “Grad” and a twenty-minute walk from central campus — contain about a half-mile worth of public trails. With swampy inlets surrounding the forest on one side and campus housing on the other, the forest is mostly contained to a small strip of land that extends out from Mt. Feake cemetery. The woods are small, but the mysteries within them are anything but.
When she first arrived on campus after the break, Assia Hamana ’25 hoped to have employment in the new year. However, to her surprise, most employers had fulfilled their quota. “Everyone else was getting jobs and it felt like I was getting left behind,” she told the Justice on Feb. 11. Hamana explained that in high school, she wasn’t planning on working in college. She wanted to enjoy her time, especially as a first-year, exploring her interests in various activities. It was not until her senior year of high school that she learned about Work-Study.
Brandeis professors explain the situation in Ukraine: “The people of Ukraine have a right to self-determination that doesn't get to simply be run over with Russian tanks”
According to the New York Times, senior Biden administration officials last week told Congress that Russian President Vladimir Putin “has assembled everything he would need to undertake … the largest military operation on land in Europe since 1945.” The Justice spoke with two Brandeis faculty members, Gary Samore (POL) via email and Steven Wilson (POL) in person, to provide some insight to this complex situation.
Contamination without communication? University leaves students and staff out of the loop about high lead levels and water fountain closures
On Sept. 22, 2021, chemistry and biochemistry students and professors received an email with the subject line “IMPORTANT! Do NOT consume water from the faucets in Edison-Lecks” from Meghan Hennelly, a Chemistry department administrator and manager of space and buildings for the division of Science at the University. Sent via a listserv titled “chemall-group,” those on the email blast were some of the first students to receive official word about lead levels in various buildings around campus.
When Nicholas Ong ’23 started his first year at Brandeis, it didn’t take long for him to find LGBTQ+ communities on campus and meet other queer students. But something was always missing. “I always found myself in white queer spaces,” he told the Justice in November 2021. Ong is Cambodian and grew up in a culturally diverse area in Providence, Rhode Island. At Brandeis, however, he struggled to find other students who were both queer and people of color.
The Journalism program at Brandeis has gone through many changes since the July 2020 arrival of Neil Swidey, director of the program and professor of the practice. Over the past few years, Swidey has worked to expand and improve Brandeis’ Journalism program, cultivating his vision for the program along the way.
This semester, Brandeis Pre-Health Advising launched several initiatives that incorporated student contributions and institutional collaboration in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work for the department. These initiatives included releasing an anti-racism statement in addition to an amendable Black Action Plan (both of which were based on student feedback) and forming a discussion group on social justice in healthcare in collaboration with the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students.
Remember the Dearly Departed took place during Transgender Awareness Week on Nov. 16, four days before the National Transgender Day of Remembrance. Organized by the Gender and Sexuality Center and the Brandeis Latinx Student Organization, the event was held in honor of TDOR as well as Day of the Dead.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. and the complete shutdown that followed, universities and their students have been forced to continuously adapt to a non-stop string of changes. Clubs and extracurriculars were hit especially hard and many were forced to find new ways to participate in their old activities. For choirs, it has been particularly difficult, as Alyssa Knudsen ’24 explained to the Justice over Zoom on Nov. 13.