Frosh Run for All Class Positions In Departure from Past TrendsBy Shawdee Eshghi
Despite a 20 percent decrease in the total number of candidates, this year's freshman class elections offer a much broader field of candidates than elections in the past few years.
The candidates this year are spread out over all six elected offices. This has not been the case in past years, when there have been a large number of freshmen running for president and few running for other offices.
There are six candidates for president, three for vice president, two for treasurer, and three for secretary. There are two teams of two students each running for social chair and one team running uncontested for publicity chair.
"The fact that fewer people are running for each position should make the contests more spread out," said Undergraduate Association President Richard Y. Lee '97. The elections for the Class of 1999 last fall were very close, with three offices being decided on a margin of less than 10 votes.
Voting - which will run from midnight on Thursday to midnight on Sunday - is once again being conducted electronically on Athena. Freshmen can choose to read candidates platforms and vote by typing "add ua" and then "vote" at the Athena prompt. Election results will be available by next Tuesday.
Six run for president
The candidates for President are Brandy A. Karl '00, Lars C. Oleson '00, Marianna S. Parker '00, Mark C. Phillip '00, Sandra C. Sandoval '00, and Zhelinrentice L. Scott '00.
"I'm running for president because I'd like to be [as] involved as possible," Sandoval said.
"I hear that the class presidents here at MIT are basically figureheads, and I'd definitely like to change that," Phillip said.
The candidates for vice president are Darrell M. Drake '00, Danielle A. Hinton '00, and Ricci H. Rivera '00.
"I'm running for vice president because I'd like to promote unity and create a community that will embrace differences," Hinton said. "I feel that it is easiest to do this form a leadership position."
The candidates for treasurer are Gillian M. Deutch '00, and Shobha D. Williamson '00.
"I'm interested in becoming treasurer because I've held this position before and I really enjoyed it," Deutch said. "I'd like to get involved in any aspect of the student government here."
The candidates for secretary are Jui-Chen Chang '00, Puja Gupta '00, and Reshma Patil '00.
"In the month that I've been here, it seems to me that there is a lot of potential for improvement here at MIT," Chang said.
"I have four years of experience as a class secretary," Patil said. "It was something that I enjoyed and would like to continue."
The candidates for social chair are the teams of Elsie Huang '00 and Aron K. Qasba '00; and Michele S. Micheletti '00 and Nicole Spooner '00.
"I'm really interested in getting our class unified from the start. My partner and I have several new ideas, including a Spades tournament and maybe a dating game," Micheletti said.
"I've heard some negative things about the UA, and I want to work to make it more useful," Qasba said.
The team of Jesse K. Baker '00 and Stephanie E. Chen '00 is running uncontested for publicity chair.
Candidates share concerns
One of the common themes mentioned by the candidates was improving the food situation on campus.
"I need to learn more about the UA before I know how things work, but I would like to do something to improve the food at MIT," Chang said.
Several candidates also mentioned class unity in their platforms. The Freshman Leadership Program and the Interfraternity Council retreat "reinforced to me that the MIT population is very divided, and I'd like to try and change that," Qasba said.
Almost three-quarters of the candidates participated in the FLP, a leadership program for freshmen that took place right before the start of Residence and Orientation Week.
"FLP gave me the opportunity to meet more people coming into MIT, which gave me more confidence in choosing to run for office," Patil said.
"One of the things that we discussed at FLP was the gender and race problems on campus, and Ithink that this made us all more aware of what needs to be done here," Sandoval said.
"FLP was definitely a factor in influencing me to run," Qasba said. "It really gave me some ideas as to where the problems are on campus."