How many of you have eaten in Sherman since Passover break? I am right now. I’ve been eating at Sherman a lot more since the latest round of improvements, and it’s become more crowed than it used to be since word has spread about the changes. There are more options, more food cooked to order, and everything seems fresher and more appetizing. All of a sudden, Sherman seems like less of a joke and more of a decent place to enjoy a meal. And while credit should go to the Brandeis administration and Dining Services for their responsiveness to the community’s complaints, we should also remember what helped get the ball rolling on the path to large-scale dining reform: the advocacy and hard work of former Union President Andy Hogan.
I’m living in the Charles River apartments next year, as I’m sure many of you are. If someone had told me before this semester that I’d wind up in Grad, I’d have been sorely disappointed; visions of leaky buildings and broken appliances would have crossed my mind. However, I’m now excited for next year. Grad is receiving a thorough renovation, and I’ll be one of the first to inhabit the fresh new living space. Once again, I, along with the rest of the student body, owe a thank you to Andy Hogan for making this happen.
I feel that Andy often received an undeserved bad rap during his time in office. He was censured by the Union Senate over the insignificant midyear senator amendment, and though he avoided the impeachment that Diana Aronin suffered, she at least got a public validation through her decisive reelection. Despite the fact that he did everything he could to minimize the issue and keep it from becoming a distraction, he bore the brunt of the bad press the Union received in the wake of the impeachment fiasco. The nadir came in the February 5th Hoot, which featured an editorial cartoon cruelly depicting the Student Union as a beheaded chicken. The symbolism was tacky and completely uncalled for, particularly as the “head” of the Union continued succeeding in his advocacy projects and improving campus life.
Adding additional BranVan service during high traffic times? Thanks, Andy. Working to eliminate wasted energy by shutting off after-hours lights? Thanks, Andy. Expanding the awesome Clubs in Service project? Thanks, Andy. Getting a student voice on the powerful Presidential Search Committee? Thanks, Andy. The Union’s focus on student surveys this year allowed it to keep a finger on the pulse of the Brandeis community, and it used that knowledge for tangible results in many small but tangible ways, improving everything from our dining to our bathrooms.
Jason Gray definitely left some massive shoes to fill as Union President, and I can’t pretend I agree with every decision Andy has made over the past year. But his term in office was punctuated with success on a number of levels, and I hope that the student body recognizes that. Despite the manufactured controversy, a lot of us were looking only for results, and I think that Andy Hogan delivered. I hope Andy knows that his hard work didn’t occur in a vacuum; I, at least, was watching, and I appreciate what he was able to do.