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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, April 19, 2024

Tufts Class of 2027 senators: Their plans to make an impact at Tufts

Senators share their aspirations and goals for the road ahead.

TCU Class of 2027 Senators.JPEG

The seven TCU Class of 2027 Senators pictured

The Tufts Community Union Senate introduced seven new first-year senators voted in by the Tufts student body. After a competitive election at the start of the semester, the Class of 2027 senators were announced on Sept. 29. These first-years — Jackie Brand, Isabela Silvares Lima, Keziah Gyimah-Padmore, Jonah Feldman, Brendan French, Aaron Dickson and Mikey Glueck — are now part of the 41-seat TCU Senate body.

While these newly-elected senators represent Tufts’s first-year class, the TCU Senate also contains nine community senators representing specific communities on campus, and four non-voting trustee representatives.

The Class of 2027 senators reflect the diverse community at Tufts and express a broad array of interests and backgrounds. While all of the senators cite past experience in student government as a motivation for joining TCU, many other factors also contributed to their decision to join. Many of the senators excitedly embrace this experience as a new opportunity to represent their community on campus.

TCU Senator Isabel Silvares Lima discussed the importance of voicing the needs of international students on her decision to run.

“I feel like I could represent a much bigger student body, especially as an international student from Brazil. International students are not really represented in a lot of areas on campus,” she said.

TCU Senator Keziah Gyimah-Padmore voiced her desire to join TCU in order to play an active role on campus.

“My main reasoning for joining TCU was to help be a facilitator of change,” Gyimah-Padmore said. “[I wanted] to be receptive to the ideas and concerns of our class … and to bring that to administration.”

All of the Class of 2027 senators shared this sentiment with Gyimah-Padmore. They each stressed the importance of taking part in changing Tufts while on campus. TCU Senator Brendan French, who was involved in student government for all four years of high school, echoed Gyimah-Padmore’s statement.

“If I want something changed, I want to be part of it. I want to take action,” French said. “Being a part of TCU, with the work that we can do with administration, would definitely be a role that would allow me to help my community because I really do care about Tufts.”

Now that they have been elected, the senators are excited to begin working on many different projects, from improving textbook affordability, to standardizing dorm quality, to increasing the number of trash cans and recycling bins in the outdoor spaces on campus.

After noticing a lack of trash cans around campus, TCU Senator Jackie Brand, in conjunction with the Services committee within the Senate, has suggested a project to address the issue while simultaneously decorating the area.

“I was thinking, first of all, of putting more trash cans up, but making it kind of a community project where different groups on campus can paint the actual trash bins … and put them on campus [to] showcase the different communities that we have at Tufts,” Brand said.

The senators, amid their many individual projects, are united by one project in particular — meal swipes. This project is mainly focused around establishing the ability to use multiple meal swipes within a meal period at on-campus dining facilities. According to the senators, this was by far the most common complaint voiced by first-years during the campaigning process.

TCU Senator Jonah Feldman commented on the unifying nature of this project.

"[The meal swipe project] was an issue that we all discussed when campaigning, but now it’s sort of an issue [for] all of the freshman senators, regardless of committee,” Feldman said. “We’re working on it together, which is really awesome.”

Additionally, TCU Senator Aaron Dickson, another new senator, emphasized that he is guided by the suggestions and concerns of other students.

“I’m … always talking to people to see what they might want,” Dickson said.

While the Class of 2027 senators have only just started, they were already impressed by the weekly Senate meetings, which are open to the public and take place every Sunday in the Joyce Cummings Center in room 160 at 7 p.m. These meetings, usually lasting approximately two hours, have been very different from the past high school student government meetings that some of the senators have taken part in.

TCU Senator Mikey Glueck mentioned his surprise at the productivity of these sessions.

“In my high school, it felt like the student government meetings were pretty mellow, and us listening to someone older than us and just nodding our heads,” Glueck said. “But now, we have more of an opportunity to voice our opinions and actually talk about things that need to change.”

Similarly, Lima commented on the efficient nature of these meetings.

“I think not a lot of people really understand what [the] Senate is like. It’s 40 people representing over 6,000 students. So, I think as soon as we get into that meeting … [the senators] really want to make sure that they represent who they are there to represent,” she said.

Overall this sense of shared purpose permeates every aspect of these senators’ experiences on TCU so far. They all communicated a genuine joy to take part in the community.

“I’m really glad to be a part of a group that is so student-led and just really looking to improve the school,” Gyimah-Padmore said.

Unfortunately, not all Tufts students may be aware of the role that TCU plays on campus. The senators hope to combat this by improving TCU’s social media presence and continuing to host events such as town halls to facilitate communication between students and senators. According to French, any Tufts student can write resolutions and bring them to the Senate if they would like.

The Class of 2027 senators also strongly urged Tufts students to reach out to the Senate and to use them as a resource. Some senators fondly recounted incidents where students had approached them with ideas about how to improve Tufts. These types of encounters are crucial to bridging the divide between students and administrators.

“If you have an issue or if you have a problem you can always know that you can go to someone on TCU for any help in any aspect of college,” Brand said.

Lima also appreciated the openness of administration, who she described as being very receptive to well-supported proposals thus far.

As the school year progresses, the Class of 2027 senators will begin putting their various initiatives into action. Despite their many different projects and objectives, the senators all share a devotion to their role in improving the Tufts community for all of its members.

All seven Class of 2027 senators echoed Mikey Glueck’s sentiment of joining TCU in order to “make Tufts a happier place,” and they hope to see this mission through over the next four years.