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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sinha delivers State of the Union

Published: March 14, 2008
Section: News

Student Union President Shreeya Sinha ’09 delivered her State of the Union address Monday night in Shapiro Atrium. Her speech reflected on Union activities and initiatives during her term.

“I set out this year to inject a spirit of activism into the Student Union; to make it socially and globally conscious to empower all of you to create change,” Sinha stated at the beginning of her address.

Sinha immediately pointed out the challenges the Union faced during her term, recalling the resignation of former Union Secretary Mike Goldman ’08 last October as well as the controversy over the allocation of the Student Activities Fee. The Union organized a protest outside Bernstein-Marcus last December to protest a decision that would allow Student Events direct access to the Student Events Fee. She referred to this issue as “a real test of a representative government to respond to these challenges and still remain connected.”

She discussed the Union’s Brandeis Citizenship Campaign, an effort to improve the Brandeis community and connect Brandeis citizenship to local, national, and global citizenship. She applauded the efforts of Student Peace Alliance, Students for Environmental Action, VOCAL, as well as the first Brandeis delegation to travel to the West Bank for their efforts toward improving the Brandeis community and increasing global awareness.

Additionally, Sinha thanked numerous members of the Union for all the work they had accomplished throughout the year. She was especially proud to acknowledge the efforts of the Union toward improving the running dialogue between students and representatives. The creation of, a website that allows students to voice their concerns, and the Stall Street Journal, which keeps students up to date with Union activities, demonstrates the Union’s commitment to involving the student body, Sinha said.

Her address mentioned the creation of a Firearms Policy Advisory Committee in response to student concerns regarding the arm ing of campus police. She pointed to the successful creation of a late night dining option, stating, “because we listened to the voice of the students, Ollie’s Eatery has been a tremendous success, filled to capacity during late night hours.”

Sinha went on to recognize the efforts of Ziv Quad Senator Justin Sulsky ’09 and Village Quad Senator Michael Kerns ’09 as “advocacy at its best.”

“Union advocacy has touched all areas of the campus this year,” Sinha remarked. The Union, she explained, has advocated for about $2 million in renovations for the Hiatt Career Center, improved health services and awareness of suicide prevention. Sinha thanked the many Union members involved in these large projects, and also recognized the work of Union Treasurer Choon Woo Ha ’08 in building the office and new website of the treasurer.

In an effort toward improving diversity around campus, one of the goals of the Brandeis citizenship campaign, the Union has been active in trying to increase the number of study abroad opportunities, which “allow Brandeis students more opportunity to be part of the global community and improve intellectual and cultural diversity on campus,” Sinha explained.

The organization of Communiversity classes, which were taught by students and faculty, was also in line with the citizenship campaign. Sinha pointed out the importance of diversity, insisting that promoting it was “not an initiative, but rather a mentality we wish to instill.”

Sinha also mentioned the Union’s upcoming projects, including an initiative that would inform individuals of their rights and responsibilities on campus. In addition, the Union is currently working on reducing the price of Whocards, , dealing with syllabus problems, and introducing Zipcar to campus. Sinha also pointed out the need for more venues that are able to accommodate large-scale events.

At the end of her speech Sinha expressed her belief that student life on campus has significantly improved during her term. She commented, “the state of our union is focused, it is determined, and we should be proud.”