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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

News analysis: Name recognition key for Rosen

Published: April 15, 2011
Section: News

Junior Herbie Rosen’s victory in the presidential election represents the success of a campaign that began with the most name recognition of any of the candidates and succeeded in large part because of a detailed platform that described not just the areas of desired reform but also how to enact it.

While Akash Vadalia ’12 as Union Treasurer and Amber Kornreich ’12 as president of the Brandeis Democrats are both campus leaders, Rosen held an immediate advantage in his campaign with instant name recognition as Student Union Secretary because he sends out at least one e-mail each week to the student body.

The night before the election, all three candidates participated in an open debate. While the candidates appeared to agree on most issues, Rosen and Vadalia tried to show that their previous Union experience would make them the best fit for president. In contrast, Kornreich said that her role as an outsider to the Union would bring a fresh view at how to run student government.

She emphasized that the key to a powerful Union was one that prioritized concerns of students more than the concerns of the administrators. Rosen’s victory came after a week where he led as the favorite on Facebook, gathering the most supporters under presidential candidate event pages.

The Union elections also came at a time when a student advocacy group, the Justice League, has tried to launch an ambitious campaign around dining and increased student representation on university committees.

The Justice League’s initiative reflects a group of students with progressive ideas who believe that the Union is the most effective organization to deliver the change that they want.

But as president, Rosen will have a chance to evaluate how closely he wants to work with the League versus address the concerns of individual students.

The issue of dining has recently become politicized with many students explaining a different view on why Brandeis does not allow other companies to compete for the food services contract.

While the Union has recently made progress in Dining Services, with a new five meal per week dining plan and a new P.O.D. market that opened on lower campus outside Ziv Residence Quad, the Justice League wants to see an option to replace Aramark with other companies at the beginning of the year.

Dining Services will represent only one area in addition to Housing and student social life, where Rosen will soon have to balance the demands of students with the caution of administrators who believe that the current trends at Brandeis are the right ones.