Live-blogging the Fall 2010 SOTU

For those of you who can’t make it tonight, here’s what is being said (refresh for frequent updates).

6:30- Still hasn’t started, food is very good.
6:42- Ryan Fanning is doing the introduction. He thanks Aramark. Nice plug.
6:43- Ryan: Financial Situations, Pachanga, it has not been a quiet semester. But we will succeed through the struggles. We as a community are stronger than we can possibly imagine.
6:45- Ryan thinks Acheampong is a snappy dresser.
6:45- Daniel: Thanks to the Union. General welcomes. The Union means “you”.
6:46- Financial History of the last 2 years: Despite our hardships, we chose to do something unique. We moved together as one, as Brandeis.

6:47- We’re moving forward. We’ll be better off in the future. This sense of shared community will maintain us. The state of the Union is strong. Our athletes are strong, our activists are also awesomeeeeeeeee. The challenges, however, are not over yet. We need to tackle Financial Aid and Student Issues. We must take responsibility for our future

6:48- We did much better in Fiscal Year 2010. in Fy 2009, the endowment dropped by 150 million, but in 2010, we increased by 11 million surplus, endowment has grown by 13.8%. We ask the budgeting office to continue to be transparent for the students’ sake. To that end, there will be a town hall on financial information beginning next semester.

6:50- Thank you President Reinharz. Let’s acknowledge the hard work he’s done. *Claps*

6:51- The committee to find a new president tried to make sure that Student Participation was crucial. They formed several student committees, including the Student Advisory committee. We reached out to every corner of the University. The committee then used this information to interview the candidates. And we have the best student wishes in Fred Lawrence. He’s a civil rights expert, he’s awesome.

6:53- Daniel likes F-Law because “He looked at me with confident eyes when we first met…..” F-law says his job is all about students.

6:54- Then people started resigning. Jean Eddy and Marty Krauss are both assets to our community who have strengthened us, and it will be difficult to replace them.

6:55- We started the Student Advisory Committee again to make recommendations to the President-Elect. This collaboration makes students equal partners, and shows that this is effective in communicating between Students and Administrators. We saw this in the Financial Aid town hall meeting early this semester. Brandeis currently takes students without taking need into account, currently meeting 85% of all student need. Under the new policy, Brandeis will admit as many students as possible need blind, and then will work on a need sensitive basis. The Student Union was against this, but we cannot ignore the financial difficulty that is inevitable in the economy right now.

6:58- No student should ever be denied an education because they can’t afford it. One day, we should hope to reach this goal. We should also be prepared to change this new policy as soon as we are afloat. We should continue our efforts to mold leaders who dare to be different, even crazy, because those crazy enough to think they can change the world, do.
7:00- We have great professors, and they play an important role in our development. Wabash study shows that Brandeis needs to improve the non-classroom interactions between students and professors. We’re working on expanding the “Take Your Professor To Lunch” program. We have offered 120 vouchers, but next semester, we’ll offer 240 vouchers, so all students should use them.
7:01- The pass fail system needs to improve, and we’re pushing for the pass/fail plus system. We see this option as cultivating diversity in knowledge fundamental to a liberal arts university. Then, *Second mention of activism as an awesome resource of passionate students**
7:02- Two questions for the administration: Where is the pool? When will the castle be renovated? We need better infrastructure. We cannot and will not fall behind. Our history demands we make changes. We request that the pool and the residence halls be put at the top of the list.

7:03- We have innovative student leaders to make sure this community is full of activities. Our staff make sure our events our effective and safe. We have great community cohesion. Waltham Group Blood Drive, Student Events. Waltham group serves 30,000 hours of community service each academic year. Waltham Group also did Halloween for the Hungry. Girl Effect did the Hope Infected Virus. Student groups like Project Nur, WBRS, Waltham Group, Student Union, Positive Foundations, etc. have worked to raise 25-30,000 dollars for Pakistan relief.

7:07- Athletics are also strong. Men’s and Women’s Soccer are very very strong. Tron also qualified for a National Level Tournament.
7:08- October 23rd raised concerns about drunk students. We must look at our mistakes and grow. The University has assembled a committee on Drug and Alcohol. We look forward to their conclusions. Those events do not shape us. Students should know that we should still be involved, and should trust in the staff who are here to help us. The Union will also sponsor a Student Life committee. The Student Activities Fee should be directed toward our enjoyment. We’ll work with Student Activities, and Conferences and Events to make sure materials for all clubs be made available.
7:10- Finance Board got $590,000 in requests, and wasn’t able to meet this. We must always keep an eye toward financial responsibility, but no club should be underfunded. The office of the Treasurer has 13 assistant treasurers now. When payments are dropped off, people get them in 2 weeks, pretty fast turnaround.
7:11- SEA and SJSF are working to get the Mass government to use 100% clean energy in 10 years. They also worked to start the BSF, which has seen many proposals. We are now profiled as a green friendly college, and also vegan friendly, by PETA. We expect that Brandeis will come out as number 1…. (Wait didn’t we lose to American already?)
7:13- Students support Real Food Cage Free Eggs campaign. Over 870 students care about these according to our survey. We will get Cage Free Eggs. Starting next fall, every single egg will be cage free.

7:14- Dining services now has 5 meal a week, now second most important plan on campus. POD has increased hours, chef at the vegan station, visual information boards are at Sherman, to advertise. An extra cashier has been added to Einstein. The Thanksgiving Dessert Charity is in full effect, and $1 from every pie sold will go to a local homeless shelter.
7:16- Every student now has a representative. The Senate has chartered the Bridge Club, the Interfaith group, and others (Tea Party kinda absent from this part of the speech lololol)
7:17- Through OSRA, we will work to ensure that students are aware of their rights, and treated fairly. No student should be punished for a lack of information. Let’s remember that we the Union work for you. You must have information to keep tabs on your Senators. We’ve formed a new office of communications, a new website, and we’ll start a newsletter soon. We’ll be in public so that you can talk to us.
7:18- Transportation is important. The new signs on the Branvans are very helpful. We want to put GPS tracking systems in the buses so Students can see where the buses are.
7:19- The University is considering a large adjustment in both Einsteins, and in putting a new Pod in next to the Village. These are progressive developments.
7:20- Once again, lets unite under Brandeis as a common cause.

7:22- Let’s celebrate Brandeis everywhere. Let’s work to make it a better place today.