By Jacob Shiner
The Spring 2020 semester has seen a great deal of restructuring in Wilf’s student government, specifically in the Yeshiva Student Union (YSU). The primary change is due to Ariel Sacknovitz relinquishing his role as YSU’s president because he was becoming a part-time student. The Wilf Student Constitution states that in the event that the YSU President resigns or is removed from office, the YSU VP of Clubs is promoted to President. After a short legal battle, Zack Greenberg, the former YSU VP of Clubs, was promoted to the YSU presidency and he appointed Jared Benjamin to fill the vacated role of VP of Clubs, as per the constitution.
Students may be skeptical of the recent turn of events due to their lack of involvement and awareness of the matter. To bridge that gap, I would like to explain why each one of them is well-suited and qualified to fill their new roles in YSU. I have known both Zack and Jared since we attended the same gap year institution from 2016 to 2017. Since then, I have truly gotten to know both of them and could not be more well assured in their appointments.
Zack’s resume is a testament to his qualifications for the YSU presidency. In his previous role as VP of Clubs, Zack’s focus was on approving clubs for the Wilf Campus and helping the clubs work to achieve their goals. Through his work, he showed the lengths he would go to help others and make Wilf Campus student life more vibrant. Time and again, he would assist club leaders in formulating emails and posters, as well as in planning events. During his tenure as VP of Clubs, Zack exhibited his commitment to Yeshiva University and its Wilf student body.
In addition to his deep concern for YU students, Zack has taken great strides to enhance the student experience for members of the student body. In the Fall 2019 semester, he served as a Resident Advisor for the seventh floor of the Rubin Hall Dormitory. There, he worked to get to know his peers and used his YU experiences to help out first-year students. His room was always available to others who needed somebody to talk to or a place to decompress. I even found myself on an occasion or two in the comfort of Zack’s room. Lastly, as an RA, Zack spent multiple Shabbatot on campus either with the entire student body, or solely with his floor. During these weekends, he went above and beyond to plan exciting activities and Shabbatons to engage his fellow students. Zack’s time as an RA gave him the capacity to establish himself as a man of his peers.
On top of Zack’s past positions on the Wilf Campus, he is also a man of tremendous fortitude and character. Zack is the captain of the YU Macs’ cross country team, an honor he earned by constantly pushing himself to achieve excellence. The stamina and perseverance required in cross country is the same stamina and perseverance that Zack employs constantly to achieve his goals in every facet of life, including as YSU President. Zack also serves as a coach for the Torah Academy of Bergen County high school track team, his alma mater. He volunteers his time there to take the same skills he learned and “pay it forward” to his successors. As the president of YSU, Zack will do the same — he will use his experience and determination to create a better campus through programming, events, and initiatives.
Jared was appointed as the new YSU VP of Clubs by Zack. While his public roles on the Wilf Campus are less numerous than Zack’s, I believe that a mélange of Jared’s work in and out of YU are proof of his credentials. In the Fall 2019 semester, Jared and a colleague founded the Marvel Cinematic Universe Club. The purpose of the club is to bring students together in a fun atmosphere. As a member of the club, I can attest that the events provide an enjoyable distraction from the rigors of class, and that Jared worked assiduously to ensure the the MCU Club was a success. I am positive that he will replicate his efforts on a grander scale this semester.
Vital to any successful club is a long-term vision and planning skills. In my encounters with Jared, I have observed that he uses both of these. He regularly plans events far in advance in a detailed manner. A few examples include proposing to his fiancé at Disney World, planning the logistics of a friend’s cross-country baseball road trip, and his plans (from a young age) to pursue medicine, specifically urology. Jared will succeed in helping clubs thrive with his foresight and organizational skills.
Jared is also big-hearted. He spent two summers working in Camp HASC, routinely works at HASC homes on weekends, and is quick to provide support for others in the form of a high five, joke, or smile. Jared is truly determined to help his peers and brighten the lives of those around him. I have no doubt that he will do his utmost in his new capacity as VP of Clubs to enrich the lives and experiences of his fellow students.
Zack and Jared are examples of good-hearted individuals who will do everything in their power to improve the student experience at YU. I am excited and optimistic about their futures.