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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Deroy Hall implements first ever residential government

Published: October 16, 2014
Section: News

Over the past month, Community Advisors (CA) and first-year students of Deroy Hall have worked to implement Brandeis University’s first-ever residential government.

Lisette Anzoategui (GRAD), an instructor and CA of Deroy’s Leader Scholar Community, presented the idea for a residential government to the other Deroy CAs. “I was interested to start this year by opening up spaces for Deroy residents to build leadership skills and a sense of community,” Anzoategui explained.

With aspirations of fostering a dorm where students could learn to be leaders and agents for change, Anzoategui collaborated with the other Deroy CAs to propose a plan for a Deroy Hall Government. After the Department of Community Living staff approved the idea, the CAs organized a student election, publicized through email.

“From the very beginning, we have been very behind the idea of it being run by the residents,” Deroy CA Shannon Morrissey ’15 said. As an email sent to the building residents explained, the government would be composed of six committees, each with a committee chair: Facilities Chair, Community Service Chair, Budget Chair, Events Chair, Publicity Chair and Sustainability Chair.

Elections have already been held, and there have been three meetings with the elected chairs and the CAs present. “What I love is that Brandeis students bring so much energy and passion around building community—for example, the second meeting had half of my floor in attendance,” Anzoategui said.

While the CAs plan on attending future government meetings as well, Anzoategui expressed the hope that the students will take the lead, with the CAs providing support when needed. As Morrissey reiterated, “We will probably be a bridge between the DCL and your ideas, but that’s pretty much it. We are letting you guys go.”

Though the program is in its early stages, the students are already planning exciting events for the future. They are looking to improve residential life as much as possible and are thrilled to be a part of the government.

“The dorm government will create a platform for discussion in which people can share their ideas freely. When everyone feels heard, an environment is much happier,” said Jade Eckels ’18, community service chair. Eckels plans to have dorm residents participate in at least one community service event per semester and encourage community engagement among her peers.

Sophie Warren ’18, sustainability chair, hopes that over the course of the year, new systems can be implemented to reduce the residents’ carbon footprint. One idea includes a hall compost. Tamara Garcia ’18, co-facilities chair with Sooyoung Jeong ’18, hopes to “address concerns regarding the facilities, and figure out the ways we could improve them.” Both Garcia and Jeong are looking to establish greater communication between the residents and representatives so that any possible problems can be handled with ease.

Budget Chair Kevin Healey ’18 stated that he wants “to create a system to keep track of all expenditures for the program, so it will be easy to expand the program next year.” While there has not been a specific government budget set aside, Morrissey noted that the DCL is funding projects on a needed basis. “If we come up with a good idea, they will really try to find a way to work that out,” she said.

As of now, Deroy is the only dorm on campus to have received approval for a building government, but there are hopes to spread the program across campus. Anzoategui said that Deroy “is serving as a pilot for other residence halls. Of course, I hope for wild success so that hall governments can be implemented across all Brandeis University.”