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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

New Union E-board to begin 2007-2008 term

Published: September 7, 2007
Section: News

The Student Union Executive Board, which had a few weeks of transition in last April before breaking for the summer, will have its first meeting Sunday, approaching this years term with a new three-pronged focus of priorities.

The Union wants to focus on what it means to be a Brandeis student and how that relates to global consciousness, campus and social life improvements, and working on student integration and the collaborative process with offices such as Hiatt, according to Student Union President Shreeya Sinha 09.

I feel privileged that the community has elected the first international student to president, and I hope to bring a multi-cultural perspective to the student body, said Sinha, who is the third female president of the Student Union, whose campaign message included raising global and diversity awareness.

In terms of global efforts, we have a social justice committee who works on some of those aspects. Often the committee is focused on clubs that already exist on campus to help them to do what they want to do and we will continue to support that, explained Student Union Vice President Alex Braver 08.

In an effort to make the Student Union more available to the student body, the Union will also begin holding weekly office hours in the atrium. The Union wants to also better publicize its online weekly executive officer project reports, as well as its weekly reports from committee heads, and senators.

The weekly reports are for internal and external communication, explained Braver. They function to keep other union members informed of what we are doing, but the hope is also that constituents will see them and see which senators are working on certain projects and talk to those senators.

Earlier this semester, Student Union Treasurer Choon Woo Ha 08 conducted a mandatory meeting for all club leaders at the beginning of this year to discuss all information that club leaders will ever face financially with their clubs, said Ha.

As the Treasurer, I am required to provide information sessions to all club leaders on campus. It's always been around, though I do not think all Treasurers provided sessions, he added.

The Student Union, with its new collaborative focus, is also working this semester to target student responses taken in polls last year about initiatives the community wants to build on this year.

One such effort is to advocate to the Administration that there is a great deal of student interest in improving Gosman Athletic Centers Weight Room and lobby for them to include these improvement costs in their budget for the upcoming year, stated Sinha. The Administration budget will be determined in November.

According to Assistant Athletic Director Robin Seidman, the original dialogue on this project began, when then-Student Union President, Alison Schwartzbaum 08 approached her and Sheryl Sousa, the Director of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation, with concerns from students regarding the age and viability of many of the machines in the general weight room.

Sheryl and I agreed that the weight room needed to be updated, but explained that unfortunately the scope of the project exceeded what the Athletics budget alone could support, wrote Seidman in a statement to The Hoot. According to Sinha, these changes will cost upwards of $100,000.

The Union, upon request from the Department of Athletics, gathered information via survey on what equipment students most preferred in a survey last semester.
This continued effort will emphasize that athletics is one of our priorities, Sinha stated. The equipment is old, and some of it has become a safety issue.

In this proposed endeavor, the weight room and adjoining room which is often used for classes such as ballet and yoga, would merge to have a larger new weight room with new equipment and Olympic weights.

The new room would also be more female friendly, providing weights of different sizes and different types of equipment that more women might utilize, added Sinha.

If this improvement is made, other rooms in Gosman may be shuffled to accommodate the existence of a mirrored dance studio.

Sinha explained to The Hoot that increased athletic growth often results in more spirit for the community.

The Student Union is also spearheading an effort this year to work with the community to cater to student interests of setting up the new late-night dining option in the empty Village C-Tower space scheduled to open in January. Factors such as what food will be served, who will supply it, and its hours are yet to be determined.

Further shaping this years Union work is the creation of new Union positions filled by presidential appointees There are now three new positions called the Director of Outreach, the Director of Research and Development, and the Union Advocate. Also, two former positions were consolidated into a new Director of Campus Life.
Article III, Clause 9 of the Student Union Constitution allows Sinha to create additional Union Executive Office positions and nominate appointees to fill such positions.

These positions were created to fill the changing needs of the campus, said Sinha.

I chose these candidates based on experience, individual goals, and their willingness to work with the Union, Executive Board, and community.

According to Article IV, Clause 9, these members must be confirmed by the Senate. They are scheduled to be confirmed at this years first Senate meeting on Sunday.