State of the Union Press Release: Open to Student Input

The Student Union just sent out an official press release concerning the State of the Union, which will be this Thursday from 5:30-7:30 in the Mandel Atrium. 

The State of the Union, which has typically consisted of the SU President, and sometimes members of the President's Executive Board, delivering speeches, including reflections on the past term and predictions or unveiling of plans for the upcoming semester.

However, in an effort to make the event "more transparent and interactive," this year the State of the Union will consist of a short speech from SU President Rosen and then an open floor for questions from anyone in the audience, and featuring a "panel of Student Union representatives."

In a reception to follow the address, Rosen, Provost Steve Goldstein and Senior Vice President of Students and Enrollment Andrew Flagel will jointly "lead one of the first student Strategic Planning sessions."

This sounds like a great initiative. Rosen's administration has talked a lot about reforming the Student Union to place more focus on open communication, transparency, and increase student input, but events like these are necessary to put those lofty ideals into practice. 

Having attended the past 2 spring State of the Unions, I can say that the crowd is usually made up of more "adults" than students. Hopefully, this effort will increase student participation and attendance.

Anyone want to liveblog the event for us here at IMP?



The full text of the press release follows below: 

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A New Brandeis Study: Mental Health and Recession

Treatment of mental health conditions has long been the most underfunded aspect of the American health care system (the other contender is preventive care, but the Affordable Care Act has finally taken steps to address it).  People with mental health disorders are frequently denied not only the funding to seek appropriate treatment but also, all too often, recognition that they even suffer from a disorder to begin with.  Conditions that can be as debilitating as a physical disability are dismissed as existing ‘only in the sufferer’s head’, and schools are forced to deal with a myriad of separate conditions by cramming students into catch-all special needs classes that cannot provide the individual attention they require.

Therefore, it’s disheartening to hear of the double whammy that mental health patients have suffered as a result of the recession.  A new study from Brandeis’s Dominic Hodgkin reports that state and local mental health services have been substantially cut in the past few years; meanwhile, the difficulties of living in a recession economy have caused demand for mental health services to increase.  These effects have been seen on a global as well as national scale.

If all this seems self-evident (of course recessions lead to spending cuts!), then check out the press release for more details or read Hodgkin’s full study in the International Journal of Mental Health.  While the conclusions are grim, it’s always great to see Brandeis researchers contributing to understanding global issues, and I hope that Hodgkin can play a small role in finding a solution to the mental health crisis.

Hiatt gets prestigious thing

I don’t quite understand what’s going on, but it sounds cool.

Hiatt gets to be the only New England school to host 1 of 10 Presidential Management Fellows pilot sites, which, according to the press release, means this:

This rigorous leadership opportunity recruits top graduate students for a two-year developmental fellowship at various federal agencies. Fellows receive two-year paid fellowships, competitive pay and benefits, 80 hours of training each year, and accelerated promotion potential within the federal government. Last year, two graduates of The Heller School for Policy and Management were selected for this prestigious award, and 16 Heller students have been nominated for the program this year.

Good? I don’t see how this changes my life in one way or another.

Our Great Swim Team

I’m still on the Brandeis Athletics press release e-mail list from my time as the Hoot’s sports editor, and I still read the e-mails and keep up with how the teams are doing.  Today’s release about the NCAA D-III Swimming and Diving Championships was particularly impressive:

Brandeis University rookie swimmer Marc Eder (Princeton, N.J./Lawenceville School)  had a pair of lifetime-best performances, including a school record, in two optional events at the NCAA Division III Men’s Swimming and Diving championships at the University of Minnesota… On the first day of competition, Eder improved his time by nearly five seconds in the 200-yard individual medley… [In the 100-yard breast stroke] Eder improved 16 places… missing All-America honors… by 1.04 seconds.

Wow!  A rookie swimmer breaks a school record and exceeds expectations at the NCAA Championships!  If anyone knows Mark, be sure to congratulate him on this incredible performance.

However, it becomes a real shame when you realize that Eder has only one year left to swim at Brandeis before funding issues and the lack of a pool will probably force the swim team to disband.  And he’s not the only great freshman talent that we won’t get to see mature fully.  Angela Chui broke two Brandeis records in her very first meet and came very close to making the NCAA Championships herself.  Now, both Marc and Angela will have to decide whether to stay at Brandeis and not swim or to transfer to another school.  I’m not sure what I’d advise for them.  On the one hand, I passionately love Brandeis and believe it’s the best place in the world to get the particular education and experience it offers.  On the other hand, Marc and Angela both came to school expecting to swim, and it would be difficult to see their tremendous potential go unfulfilled.

I have a close friend on the swim team, and I’ve seen first-hand the hard work and dedication the swimmers put into their sport and the disappointment they will feel if they can continue competing.  Our budget may not allow for a swim team beyond next year, but these athletes deserve the chance to keep doing us proud in the water.  Lindsey Pool should have been renovated long before it’s problems reached the critical point, and though I understand that reality that’s facing the administrators and appreciate the difficult position that they’re in, I still hope we can find away to keep Brandeis Swimming and Diving alive into the future.

To read more about the the team and to find out how you can help, visit

Sports Information Director Adam Levine’s full press release is below the fold.

Continue reading “Our Great Swim Team”