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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Schwartzbaum gives State of the Union

Published: April 20, 2007
Section: News

Outgoing Student Union President Alison Schwartzbaum '08 gave her final State of the Union address Monday night in the Shapiro Atrium. Highlighting the best of an eventful semester, Schwartzbaum heralded her administrations successes working with the school and the faculty to change portions of Brandeis policy and aesthetics. Among projects initiated by the administration was the now-defunct Campaign for Peace, an organization intended to “to meet with students planning events with a potential to polarize and divide members of our community… and to build student capacity for dialogue,” founded shortly after former President Jimmy Carter visited campus in January. Schwartzbaum felt that “that the Campaign for Peace brought our low tolerance for real debate of meaningful issues, to the forefront of the Student Union's agenda. I hope that the Union will continue to find appropriate ways to create a more open, tolerant campus.”

Kevin Montgomery '07, most known for his role in bringing the former president to campus, said of the committee, “Despite her claims, the Campaign for Peace was an unnecessary barrier to advocates for both sides of the debate. The Brandeis community is much better without it, and the Union should be applauded for eliminating the bureaucracy.” Montgomery went on, “The World Speaker Forum seems like a much more appropriate response to the Carter speech than the Campaign for Peace. The forum sounds like it will help increase legitimacy and improved the academic image of Brandeis.”

Schwartzbaum's administration has not only been concerned with such complex issues;

she and her staff have focused on changing other Brandeis policies, including the new Club Sports initiative, which moved the 22 club sports under the direction of a to-be-hired administrator in the Atheletics department, in theory better-serving students participating in club sports. The Union also worked to change several university policies, notably those related to alcohol and student-hosted parties. Of the latter, Jordan Rothman '09 said “I think a positive improvement by Alison's administration was the subsidy to parties. That was a good way to enliven the Brandeis community and affectd a number of people. I only wish they would have been more public and well-advertized. That would have taken it to the next level!” The subsidy, $50 per party, two parties per weekend, is allotted by lottery to registered parties on campus every weekend.

The most recent change to University policy is to be tested this weekend at Springfest. Instead of featuring exclusive 'beer gardens' for those over the age of 21, wristbands and 'x's will be used to distinguish between those who can and who cannot consume alcohol at student events. In theory, this change will allow those of age to mingle with those under-21 throughout school-hosted events with alcohol. Schwartzbaum appealed to her constituency, saying “If Springfest goes well, we will see the adoption of the proposed policy as university policy. However, that is only possible if the student body respects the rules–if underage students refrain from trying to get beer, and of-age students refrain from helping. The destiny of our social life is in our own hands. I call upon the student body to help make this policy work by respecting the rules, so that we can all benefit from events with free alcohol in the future.”

Another project encouraging student activity and social life that was put into action this semester was the Brookline shuttle, engineered in part by Mike Goldman, Senator '08. “The bus is a very long term project, and when I first approached this project I was well aware of this fact. The initial run was a tremendous success, and it is clear the there is a consistent need for this outlet in the Brandeis community,” said Goldman. Schwartzbaum announced in her speech that the shuttle would run once per month next semester;

service may be expanded as students use the bus to get to the Green line and to the shops and restaurants in Brookline.