Brandeis Student Union President Jacob Edelman ’18 excited to lead

jacob edelmanPhoto/Mike Lovett

Jacob Edelman

Jacob Edelman ’18 almost didn’t attend Brandeis, let alone serve as its Student Union president.

The Monterey, Massachusetts native didn’t even plan on applying until a family member – who’s coincidentally a Brandeis alumna – urged him to give the university a closer look. Edelman, a Politics and History double major, took the advice and visited the campus twice. In the end, that was all it took to get him hooked.

“I always felt a strong desire to contribute positively to society,” said Edelman. “Seeing that this was a campus so focused on that type of contribution and meeting all these students who had that drive for helping others was really eye opening.”

In short, Edelman easily related to Brandeis’ commitment to social justice. He credits his upbringing for teaching him the importance of giving back, though he’s been further inspired to help others by the campus community.

However, giving back by means of the Student Union came about differently. During his first and sophomore years, Edelman served as a features editor for The Brandeis Hoot, one of the student newspapers. He also covered the Student Union Senate meetings, which gave him a unique look at undergraduate governance and leadership.

“At the meetings, I’d usually have some thoughts or criticisms. People who were on the Union at the time will probably tell you I asked a lot of pointed questions, sometimes unnecessarily,” Edelman said with a laugh. “But it got me thinking, ‘I’ve been on the newspaper for two years, maybe it’s time to switch it up?’ So I started considering running for a place in the Union.”

Edelman ran for and won a place on the Curriculum Committee his sophomore year and was later appointed to the executive board. The experience he gained encouraged him to run for president, which he did successfully last spring as a junior.  

Edelman talked with BrandeisNOW about some initiatives he hopes to tackle in his Presidency:

Campus Sustainability: Continuing Brandeis’ progress in sustainability is a high priority for Edelman. Working with campus sustainability manager Mary Fischer, he wants to devise new ways for the student body and the administration to work together to reduce Brandeis’ carbon footprint.

Student Life: Edelman wants to foster a strong relationship with Campus Operations, Facilities Services, and Campus Dining. He wants all students to feel they have a high quality of life on campus as it relates to their residence halls, dining options, transportation and other services. He also wants to help students feel they can bring up any concerns to the Office of Students’ Rights and Advocacy, which Edelman re-launched this year with the help of Student Union Vice President Hannah Brown '19.

Activities: Edelman doesn’t want students to ever be bored. He is unveiling the Campus Activities Group, an arm of Student Activities, also with Brown’s help. His goal is to have fun activities and events planned every weekend this school year.

Constitutional Review: Edelman is tasking a team of 15 Student Union members and non-members to spend the entire first semester re-examining the Student Union Constitution. This process happens every four years and sets the legislative parameters by which the Union advocates for their fellow students.

Unity: Edelman wants to foster a greater sense of community among students. As Student Union president, he wants every student on campus to feel that he is accessible, open, honest and happy to help.

Edelman encourages his peers to contact him if they have any questions or concerns and is looking forward to serving as the Student Union President.

“I think in politics there’s a tendency to overextend and underdeliver,” Edelman said. “I hope I can deliver exactly what people are hoping for from me.”

“I try to be accessible and communicative and I really try to respect to the max – It’s important that students are helped and listened to, and that they have someone at Brandeis to support them,” he added. “I’d like to be remembered as that person.”

Categories: General, Student Life

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