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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Walia ’15 wins Student Union presidency

Published: April 25, 2014
Section: News

The Brandeis University Undergraduate Student Union represents the voice of the students and sets out with the intent of improving University life. With the school year coming to a close, the positions for next year’s members became available once more. After weeks of campaigning, on Saturday, April 12, the votes were tallied for the newly elected representatives of the 2014-15 academic year. The winners and positions of this year’s Union Executive Board election are as follows: President: Sneha Walia ’15, Vice President: Sofia Muhlmann ’16, Secretary: Charlotte Franco ’15 and Treasurer: Andrew Miller ’16.

Walia received the majority of the vote over her two other opponents. An advantage she held in the election was her previous extensive experience within the Union. She acted as the Class of 2015 Senator in 2011-12 and 2012-13 and performed the position of Secretary in the 2013-14 year. After having run for various positions in the Union in the past, Walia was familiar with the process. She stated, however, that the experience of “campaigning for President is different … from campaigning for other Union positions I have run for.”

The duties of the position differ from those of her past positions in the Union. As Union President, Walia will hold various responsibilities, the first of which is representing the Brandeis student body in the larger community. To ensure that she is fully prepared to adopt this responsibility and the rest, Walia said, “I definitely recognize that I have a lot to learn and am trying to reach out to as many current Union members, especially our current President Ricky, to learn from them.”

Some students criticized her campaign claiming that her platform lacked substance and avoided concrete ways to fix problems at Brandeis. Walia’s leading promise was that her primary focus would be acting as an advocate for the students and making sure that the students would be involved in all campus processes next year. Now elected, Walia’s intentions have not changed and she has outlined more specific ideas. She hopes to “hold forums and create an online comment system so students can directly interact with administrators or have Union reps who meet with [administrators] bring student concerns forward.” Additionally, while Sneha believes that this year’s running of the Union “was done really well,” to advance the Union Editorial Board she hopes to next year “allow E-Board members to coordinate more on common goals . . . to make sure that tasks are carried out efficiently.”

In recognizing the overarching purpose of the Student Union, Walia has mentioned that her ultimate goal is “making sure that the Student Union lives up to its goal of being an advocate for students and a connection between students and administrators.” While students may feel as though there is a large disconnect between themselves and the goings on of the university, Walia holds that “Brandeis students deserve a direct voice in campus life.” To ensure that this is accomplished, Walia will “create a collaborative culture within the Student Union and in relation to the Student Body so we can work on improving our community together.”

As the Student Union election period comes to a close, Walia is elated to have won and appreciates the support she received through the entire campaign process. Walia and the rest of the received candidates are currently in the process of getting applications for E-Board appointed positions and are excited to meet as a full E-Board.