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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Acheampong next Union pres.

Published: April 16, 2010
Section: Front Page

PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

The student body elected Daniel Acheampong ’11 the next Student Union president in Tuesday’s election in which he defeated classmates Sahar Massachi and Matt Kriegsman and J.V. Souffrant ’13 with an outright majority in the first round of the instant-runoff system.

Other winners include Vice President-elect Shirel Guez ’12, Secretary-elect Herbie Rosen ’12 and Treasurer-elect Akash Vidalia.

“I’m really excited for next year, because we have a great opportunity, we the student body and Union, to make meaningful and long-lasting changes,” Acheampong said.

One of Acheampong’s main campaign platforms was to better facilitate communication between students and administrators. The President of the Union acts as students’ representative to the Brandeis administration through meetings with the university president, deans and directors.

“I want to tell the administration to establish stronger communication with the student body,” Acheampong said. “With more open forums and e-mail alerts, this year was pretty good, but this is only the beginning.”

Acheampong said his responsibility as president is particularly great this coming year as the university continues to increase the undergraduate population by an additional 100 students in the class of 2014.

“How the university is transitioning with overcrowding, we need tangible solutions to see where we can give more space,” he said. “Dining, finding improvement in housing—not just short-term solutions but impactful and beneficial change for the future.”

Another thing on the agenda for next year’s Student Union is the improvement of the institution’s image itself. After the winter impeachment, removal and subsequent reelection and restoration of Secretary Diana Aronin ’11, much of the student body has been skeptical of the merit of the Student Union.

Earlier elections this semester displayed this with low voter turnout for Union Judiciary and Senate positions and even the lack of a willing candidate for some posts.

Immediate contrast was provided Tuesday when nearly half the electorate cast online ballots for Union offices.

“How the student body came together to make something special happen—almost 50 percent voting is incredible,” Acheampong said. “They felt like they were a part of it—every candidate was dormstorming, tabling—this should not just be happening at elections but all year round.”

Indeed, Acheampong promised that his executive board, which he will announce later this year, will be active throughout next fall and spring, and would even try to use his influence on the collective unit, to include the Senate.

“I’m going to make sure the Senate will not sit and expect questions to come to them, not wait for things to happen,” he said. “We will be asking the questions.”

Concrete proposals from the incoming student leadership will build upon successes next year.

“The improvement at Sherman, for instance should be reflected by improvements in every aspect of dining … in every dining location on campus,” Acheampong said. “We are not stopping and remaining satisfied, but will keep wanting more.”

Referring to overcrowding, the priority he had named first, Acheampong said that he wants to take a hard look at the gains made to residence halls this year and only get better next year.

“In the castle, in Massell’s Shapiro Hall, people had things ruined by flooding. Renovation should not just be happening in one place,” he said refering to the Board of Trustee’s February announcement that the Charles River Apartments would be renovated in time for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Personally, Acheampong’s success, with a large enough margin that negated the need for the new instant-runoff system’s vote seconding, was important to him because of the sheer amount of students who voted at all.

“People know that I really care about the student body, have a passion for this university; I’m trying my best,” he said. “And I had a strong campaign team to help me.”

Guez, in the vice president’s role as president of the Senate, highlighted her work with Acheampong in the Treasurer’s office to look for coordination between the branches now.

“As assistant treasurer, I have worked with [Acheampong] before. [He] was never a boss, but always about working together,” she said.