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Rao Ticket Stresses Community, Unity

By Alda Y. Luong

UA presidential ticket Sanjay K. Rao ’02 and Brian A. Pasquinelli ’02 hope to foster unity within the MIT community. They aim to bring together faculty members and students and to unite Dormcon, the Interfraternity Council and the Association of Student Activities.

The team hopes to foster this student-faculty cohesion through social events such as dinners, increased publicity for UA actions, increased student activities in the Stratton Student Center and reinforced relationships with administrators.

Rao, the ticket’s presidential candidate, is currently the Class of 2002 president, and Pasquinelli is the vice-president. The two have had extensive experience working together.

Both have experience in student government: Rao was freshman class president and has served on both the UA council and UA cabinet, Pasquinelli is the chair of the UA Committee on Faculty Student Relations/Advising and the Class of 2002 Community Service Committee.

“A lot of people have been shocked by how active we [2002 class council] are,” said Rao, describing his success in organizing the class formal, study breaks, and student-faculty mixers.

He also said that his team’s relative youth is not an issue. “We believe that our ideas are going to align with students,” said Pasquinelli.

Duo stresses faculty interaction

Pasquinelli discovered that alumni have considered their most valuable lessons to be “how you make the most of the people you meet.” Rao and Pasquinelli propose having dinners for students and faculty members to foster this social interaction and networking.

Though dorms and living groups currently have such student-faculty events, Pasquinelli thinks that these are ineffective because students don’t know about them. The team’s proposed solution would be to increase publicity for such events.

In addition, increased student-faculty interaction would improve the image of the Greek community in the eyes of the faculty and help them to learn about the issues facing FSILGs.

Pasquinelli also describes a desire “to foster a sense of community at MIT.” The team suggests filling the vacant space in the Student Center with pool tables and TV’s. The space, which was occupied by Newbury Comics, has been empty for the past two years.

Rao and Pasquinelli have also proposed to extend the use of the MIT card to allow purchases at LaVerdes.

“We want to make the UA down to earth,” said Rao. Rao hopes to increase communication between the UA officers and the students, allowing the officers to describe the differences that they are making in student life.

Rao would also like to receive increased feedback from his constituents. He pointed out the Class of 2002’s web-based polling system, which could be expanded to allow the entire student body to vote on issues.

Involvement in faculty decisions

Rao and Pasquinelli also want to increase UA involvement in decisions made by the faculty and administration, such as the building of the Stata Center, or the addition of the new Communications Intensive Requirement.

Forging better relationships with administrators would be key to increasing involvement of elected student officials in such decisions, the candidates said. The duo has already formed some of those relationships in their experience in student government, they said.

When asked what differentiated their team from the others running, Rao replied, “We’re going to work really hard -- we’ve worked hard in the past. We are going to dedicate ourselves ... and bring the UA to a higher level.”