I just came from the 2010-2011 school year State of the Union in which Undergraduae Student Union President Daniel Acheampong talked about all of Brandeis’ achievements, stuggles and plans for the future, before introducing next year’s president-elect, current secretary, junior Herbie Rosen.

I have to start off by saying that Daniel Acheampong is an amazing speaker. You’ve seen him at Pres. Lawrence’s Innauguration, at the Student Union ’11 Presidential Debate and many more places, but here, at his final State of the Union, he really shone. It brought tears to my eyes, sadly.

Acheampong’s major themes were the democracy and representation which he has tried to cultivate at Brandeis and which he hopes to see more of in the future. As Daniel said, we are a “resilient” student body, and despite all the struggles we’ve faced this year, we’ve come out on top.

Some of the major achivements he highlighted include:

-A restructuring of the Provost’s office and redefining of which responsibilities fall under that position.
-The formation of the Social Life Committee, composed of students and faculty, which serves to improve student social life on campus. The Committee will be presenting its recommendation to the administration shortly.
-The creation of the Village P.O.D.
-The promise of a pool in the Gosman Sports Center by 2012
-The first ever Student Union monthly newsletter
-The renovation of the Student Union website and a new complaints section
-Reform of the pass/fail system thanks to the Undergraduate Reps to the UCC

Acheampong also talked about the amazing volunteering and fundraising done by a variety of student groups, with money going towards Haiti and Japan relief funds, women’s medical expenses and the American cancer society. The groundbreaking sports achievements, including the men’s basketball team winning the 2011 ECAC Division III New England championship. The production of an astounding amount of student shows (“the Lonesome West” and “Rent” in particular, both of which Rosen was involved with), and the numerous events put on by student clubs.

Among elements we could improve upon, Acheampong mentioned the status of our financial aid policy. Currently, we review applicants need-blind until money runs out, at which point we regard them in a need-sensitive way, Acheampong explained. For the incoming class of 2015, we were able to remain need-blind and supply all students with full financial packages, however leaving the policy the way it is remains a threat to future applicants. This is an important matter to look into, despite our financial strains, and the student forum held on it earlier this year is indeed a practice we should repeat in coming years, giving students a chance to ask questions and offer opinions to the administration.

Another announcement Acheapong made was that the Senior Representative to the Board of Trustees will now sit on the Nominating and Governance Committee, which screens potential Trustees. For more information on the Committee, look at the Brandeis University Bylaws.

Following Acheapong’s speech, which received a standing ovation, President-Elect Herbie Rosen took to the podium and reiterated his thanks to the Student Union and student body and elaborated on his platform and goals for the new year. Rosen’s ideas, including more student representation, continued efforts to improve housing and dining, and collaborating with student groups, sound good and foreshadow a promising year for Brandeis.

Also, sneak peek at the first picture of the past, the present and the future of Brandeis:

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