On Tuesday night, potential student council members got their chance to plead their cases to their friends and fellow candidates, and explain why they should be the one elected on Wednesday.
Naomi Kohl, the director of student life, started off the evening by thanking those students who had stepped up to run for leadership positions and those who had come to hear the candidates speak. “These council members are in your hands,” she explained. “You’ve got to vote for them.” She then said that, although most of the the candidates are running unopposed, it is still important to hear from them. She also stressed that there is always the possibility of a write-in candidate, so they are not truly unopposed.
The first to speak was Keren Neugroschl, running for president of Stern College for Women’s Student Council (SCWSC). Neugroschl began by stating that she has been involved in many academic and extracurricular activities throughout her time at Stern, including working for The Observer and the J. Dunner Political Science Society. “From those experiences, I have learned how diverse the student body is,” she said, and expressed that this is one of the most important aspects of Stern to her. Therefore, she wants to create a wider variety of events to match the diversity of the student body. “I want every person to feel welcome,” she continued. Neugroschl also suggested holding open student council meetings next year, so that the student body could become more involved.
The next two candidates to speak were running for SCWSC vice president of Academic Affairs: Kyra Englander and Rivkie Reiter. Reiter spoke first, and started by saying that she cares a lot about YU and the student body, and is invested in making the resources available to students better, citing the Writing Center and libraries as two specific examples. Additionally, she wants to “smash the ‘Stern girls in the library’ stigma that exists uptown…Stern is YU as much as YC is,” and said that she would encourage students on the Beren campus to journey to the Wilf campus to use the library there if they want. “I want students to feel comfortable taking of all of the opportunities offered to them as YU students,” she concluded.
Englander began her speech by discussing the frustration with classes that most students have felt, for instance, when multiple requirements are offered in the same slot. If elected, she aims to fix that issue, and “be a voice in helping the student body have an enriching academic experience.” She also promised, “I’ll put in my all to sure that you will feel part of the community, where you can get involved in your own unique way.” She concluded her speech by having everyone in the audience bang and clap as she rapped about why she should be elected.
Shoshana Marder, the candidate for the vice president of Clubs, explained that, like the current vice president of Clubs, Carly Friedman, she dreams of running an a capella group, though this dream has not yet been realized. She then split the audience into three groups and had them perform a Fifth Harmony-Rihanna-Hamilton mashup. “That is magic,” she said when it was done, “and that is only some of the things that I can do.”
Lizzi Soclof, who is running for SCWSC secretary, spoke about the fact that she is from Cleveland, an out-of-towner. As an out-of-towner, she gets to see all of the ups and downs at Stern, especially on weekends. “My plan is to reinvigorate those experiences,” she said. She added that she has the experience to qualify her for the job, as she was on student the council in high school.
Rivka Winter, from LA, is running for treasurer of SCWSC and mentioned her many extracurriculars, such as TAMID and Project Sunshine, ending her speech by saying that she loves YU.
Kohl announced then that, though there are no candidates on the ballot for senior president and vice president, Chaya Levinson is running for president and Goldie Felsenstein is running for vice president, and students can write them in.
The two candidates for junior class president, Rachel Zak and Eliana Moss, spoke next. Zak explained that she is running because she believes in the school and wants to make juniors the most distinguished class on campus. She encouraged students to “mark your ballot for change and unity.” Moss mentioned her previous student council experience, as she was the senior class representative at Maayanot, where she looked out for her grade and fought for them. “Vote for Eliana for Junior Class President and your voice will be heard!” she concluded.
Kayla Plutzer, the candidate for junior class vice president, said that she is passionate about this school and wants to help improve it and help students create as many memories as possible, mentioning that she hopes to plan events that allow students to take advantage of living in Manhattan.
The positions for sophomore class president and vice president are open and write-ins, and the Office of Student Life is considering holding another election in the fall for the sophomore class, as many students are currently in Israel.
The TAC candidates spoke next, beginning with Shira Wein, who is running for vice president of speakers. She gave the parable of a person traveling to a desert island who is scared and not sure what to expect, yet, as she gets closer she sees a table full of her favorite foods and a welcome banner. “That is student council,” she said. Wein is hoping to start new initiatives, such as teaming up with madrichot to find out when different speakers and rebbeim are going to be in New York and might be available to speak. She wants to be in touch with students from all parts of the student body, and to utilize the faculty as well as the faculty uptown in bringing more Torah to the Beren campus.
Adina Cohen, majoring in computer science, is the candidate for vice president of Shabbat. Cohen said that her older sisters, Stern graduates, never stayed in for Shabbat, preferring to be home where it was more comfortable. As the middle child contrarian, she vowed to always stay in for Shabbat and make it something she would enjoy. Cohen said she hopes to continue the minyan initiative on campus, as well as to start new initiatives, such as potluck Shabbat meals in the 35th Street dorms.
Tehilla Berger, running for TAC PR secretary, promised to fill the hallways with eccentric posters and Facebook feeds with atypical posts. Berger said that she has witnessed a thriving Torah community on the Beren campus, but still wants to widen the scope of activities available and the amount of people that the programming will reach. Berger hopes to help students create programs they are interested in and cited the new gemara shiur beginning next semester and the Yomei Iyun during breaks this year as prime examples.
Devora Meisels is running for TAC treasurer because, she said, she decided that “if I wanted something to be done, I had to do it myself.” She watches Brookdale empty every Thursday night, but wants to create more opportunities for events to take place during those times in her position next year.
The candidate for TAC president, Temima Kanarfogel, is also not officially on the ballot, but encouraged everyone to write her in (and to spell her name correctly). “TAC represents a unique opportunity to bring together student body. I believe that every Stern student is entitled to contribute to the community…anyone with a deeper understanding knows that there are many different nuances to the student body here,” she said, making it clear that TAC is open to everyone’s feedback. She hopes to start more chesed initiatives, and promised that “if you elect me, you will hear bigger and better ideas!”
Yael Saban, the candidate for Syms president, said that she decided early on in the year that she wanted to be involved in student council. “I read every single sstud,” she explained to the audience. She was involved in so many extracurricular activities in her first year in Syms that she was never in her room, and continued that involvement this year. Saban said she wants to open up the great opportunities that she had to every Stern and Syms student and hopes to ensure that every major in Syms has the opportunities that she has had as an accounting major. She also wants to help with the Academic Advisement situation in Syms, hoping to bring alumni to help advise current students.
The last candidates to speak were the four students running for Syms vice president: Ashley Solomon, Rebecca Shiner, Sabrina Benmoha and Shirel Swissa.
Solomon is a marketing major who is involved in many extracurriculars, such as Tamid and Shield News. She wants to have more classes offered in different slots and to bridge the gap between the two campuses, especially between the Syms students. She encouraged students to vote for her, describing herself as “very compassionate and enthusiastic,”
Shiner is from Chicago and transferred from Boston University last year. She wants to be on student council in order to change the things that she is not happy about at what she described as “my school.” She hopes to start a mentorship system and better the school overall.
Benmoha has spent the past three years at Syms, and has been involved in many clubs, currently serving as the business manager of The Observer. Benmoha told everyone that “there is always room for improvement is Syms and I believe that we can do that together.” She wants to ensure that the administration prioritizes the women’s campus and gives female Syms students the classes they need.
Swissa is studying accounting and has previous experience in leadership roles, from her time in high school. She said that she wants to make this more than just a school; she hopes to help make YU a place where students can reach their full potential and where it will feel like a home.
The ballot will be e-mailed out at 9 AM on Wednesday morning.
The Observer encourages all to make their voices heard and vote.