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Acheampong reflects: State of the Union

Published: April 29, 2011
Section: Front Page


change of the guard Outgoing president Daniel Acheampong ’11 delivered the State of the Union Thursday, before welcoming incoming president Herbie Rosen ’12 to the podium.
PHOTO BY Alex Patch/The Hoot

Union President Daniel Acheampong ’11 boasted his administration’s successes in the areas of student-administrative representation, curriculum and dining changes in his second and final State of the Union address Thursday night in Rapaporte Treasure Hall before an audience of fellow students and members of the university senior staff.

Acheampong announced that beginning this fall “the senior representative to the board of trustees will have a seat on the governance committee,” the highest administrative organ of the university.

He congratulated his fellow Union members who are the student representatives to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, which successfully approved a reform of the pass-fail system last month, wildly popular with the student body according to polls, that allowed a “pass” grade to count for one university general requirement.

“And as you all know, a new ‘P.O.D.’ has opened in the Village,” with the V-store increasing access to food to lower campus, Acheampong said.

He also celebrated the fact that, despite the university stating last year that it will allow itself to look at students’ financial statuses for some applications, the class of 2015 was admitted on an entirely need-blind basis.

Acheampong reiterated this news saying that the community should be committed to the responsibility that “no scholar should be denied access to a Brandeis education because they do not have the money to pay for it.”

The president celebrated a number of successes that clubs outside of the Union achieved this year, including Student Sexuality Information Service’s invitation to a San Francisco conference on social media in sex education; the Brandeis Haiti Initiative’s second Hoops For Haiti event (of which Acheampong played a key basketball role); and Student Events’ widely-attended winter concert that featured the Super Smash Bros.

Another point of celebration as Acheampong reflected on the 2010-2011 year was the men’s basketball team’s winning of their conference, ECAC Division III, New England title this year.

In terms of Union initial achievements, Acheampong said that the administration pioneered a complaints section on the Union website, instituted the first Union newsletter and organized a housing lottery feedback initiative.

As Acheampong mentioned in his first State of the Union, when he announced that the Union was doubling the number of vouchers in its popular “Take Your Professor to Lunch Program,” the number of students availing themselves of this opportunity this semester was “the greatest participation in this program’s history,” he said.

But he also remarked that “this academic year was not exactly on a paved street: … we were challenged by the death of Kat Sommers … who touched us all because she was one of our own.” Sommers, a first-year, died in an apparent suicide Feb. 15.

Acheampong also referenced the Westboro Baptist Church’s visit last Novemeber and applauded what he called the student body’s “love in the face of the WBC’s hatred.”

His final act as president was to introduce the Union president-elect, Herbie Rosen ’12, who is the current secretary and will be officially sworn in Sunday.

Rosen said that his main hope was to “encourage the type of enthusiasm” he has felt since election day and his tangible goal: “that at least 75 percent of the student body is voting in Union elections one year from now—the 47 percent of last Thursday must be higher.”