Name: Nyah Macklin
Hometown: New Haven, Connecticut
Major: African and Afro-American Studies
Her Campus: What attracted you to Brandeis University?
Nyah Macklin: I actually transferred to Brandeis my sophomore year. One of my best friends from high school was going to Brandeis at the time, and when I visited her I immediately noticed how the dynamic of the students at Brandeis was completely different from the dynamic of the students at the other school. While I’m not comparing the two schools, I felt that when I came to visit her that one time, the students at Brandeis were so incredibly welcoming to me as a visitor. I was only here for a couple of days, but people would come up to me and ask who I was and how I was doing. They were just incredibly nice and the campus environment was so welcoming. At other schools you go to class, go back home, and do it all again the next day—it’s not like that at Brandeis. So after visiting my friend I decided to put Brandeis on my list and now I’m here and I love it!
HC: What activities are you involved in on campus?
NM: I’m a member of the Company B Acapella Group! I’m also going to be in the play Distance, which will be directed by Sarah Waldron, and I was recently in for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, which was directed by Ra Malika Imhotep.
HC: Congratulations on being elected as the Student Union President for the 2015-2016 school year! What was your reaction when you heard that you won?
NM: Dennis (Hermida-Gonzalez) and I were in the Stein, just getting out of a Company B practice. We were relaxing after a long and busy day, and then all of a sudden Dennis read the email and shouted “We won!” It’s always hard to beat abstain, and it’s hard to beat ModCat sometimes, but my reaction was “This means so much to the university.” I am going to be the university’s first black female President and that is massive; that is historical. I know there was a bit of controversy about the fact that I ran unopposed, but I want people to know that there were actually people running against me, but then decided to drop out and work with me. I think that’s really big and that says a lot to what the university values and who they want to see in leadership. It shows the kind of change that I’m trying to make with my presidency.
HC: How did you first get involved in the Student Union?
NM: At my other college I was Vice President of the Class of 2016, so I knew that I had to be involved in the Student Union here at Brandeis. I tried to be a Quad Senator fall semester of my sophomore year, but I don’t think I was well-known enough. My following semester I won the position for the Class of 2016 Senator.
HC: What projects are you most excited to tackle as President?
NM: I’m most excited to tackle our “Campus Climate.” What I mean by that is I want to make sure that people here are comfortable having tough conversations. Right now, I think that we as students are avoiding these conversations because we don’t want to enact any controversy, but I think that having these tough conversations is necessary for creating sustained change. I feel that no change can happen with moderate ideals; you have to be radical in some type of way. I don’t want these conversations to happen one time and then stop: I want it to be a continued dialogue. I want Brandeis to be this lab of intellectual thought and understanding of the type of people that go to this school. I think once we are able to band together in that way, we will be able to attack some of the issues that are larger than us.
HC: What are your goals for the remainder of the semester?
NM: I want to ensure that things are put in place for change and for success to happen next year. I have a lot of big goals, and I want to create connections now: I want to speak with seniors about their interactions with the E-board, the Union, and the Senate; I want to speak with administrators that are leaving and connect with them and see what they have learned from their experiences. I want to find out what people have learned in the past and apply it to creating a more sustainable future.
HC: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
NM: I’ll be out of graduate school and medical school as well. I hope to be practicing International Humanitarian Aid.
Hidden Talent: I can draw
Favorite Spot on Campus: The atrium in the International Business School that brings in a lot of light.
Favorite Song: “Cold War” by Janelle Monae
Favorite Quote: “Silence is betrayal”—Martin Luther King, Jr.
Favorite Boston Attraction: The Starbucks on Boylston Street
Favorite Class at Brandeis: “Critical Perspectives on Urban Education” taught by Professor Derron Wallace