Freshmen Choose Officers
Class of 2004 Elects Kim as PresidentBy Jennifer Krishnan
The Class of 2004 elected Patrick Y. Kim ’04 as their new president in last week’s class council elections.
Joining Kim as newly elected officers are Vice President Matthew G. Richards ’04, Secretary Katherine L. Garrison ’04, and Treasurer Reuben L. Cummings ’04. Vanessa Pena ’04 and Stephen V. Samouhos ’04 will serve as Social Chairs, and Nancy L. Keuss ’04, Maxwell E. Planck ’04, and Kristin D. Smith ’04 will serve as Publicity Chairs.
33 percent of the class voted in the election, which was open for voting for more than three days. The candidates for Secretary and Publicity Chairs ran unopposed.
Seven out of nine of the new officers participated in pre-orientation programs. Garrison, Pena, Keuss, Planck, and Smith all participated in the Freshman Leadership Program, and Richards attended the Freshman Outdoor Program. Kim, a member of the Freshman Urban Program, beat out Parul Deora ’04, a member of FLP, whose posters were noteworthy for their yellow “Caution” tape.
More vote than in last year
Significantly more ballots were cast in this year’s election than in last year’s, in which only 182 freshmen voted and publicity was generally considered inadequate.
However, despite the relatively high turnout this year, many freshmen were not aware that voting was going on. “I didn’t know about it until my friend asked me on Friday night if I had voted,” said Sonya C. Tang ’04. “Hopefully in the future, Class Council will keep the freshman class better informed than we were about this election.”
Pamela V. Chang ’04 felt that the UA could have provided more publicity for the elections. “I saw posters for the candidates, but I never saw any signs with the date of the election,” Chang said.
Others did not vote because they believed that they could only vote online. “I didn’t vote because I had a problem getting my certificates,” said Sarah E. Smith ’04. “I didn’t know about paper balloting.”
Still others just never got around to voting. “I didn’t vote because I missed the deadline,” said Roberta L. Hsu ’04. “I had a lot of work to do that night. I was planning to vote.”
Sisir Botta ’04 also did not vote. “I was planning to vote on Friday, but I had to go to the IFC (Interfraternity Council) retreat,” Botta said.
Daniel Lee ’04 said that he didn’t vote because “I didn’t know any of the people running.” Lee said he wasn’t aware that the candidates had posted platform statements on the web.
“I asked each of my friends to get two or three people to vote for me, to physically take them to the computer and have them vote,” said Kim, the new Class of 2004 President. “It’s really easy to get people to make promises, but actually physically voting is another thing.”
New officers address turnout
Voter turnout is a major concern for the new Council. “It’s normal that a lot of people didn’t vote, but it’s not right,” said Smith, one of the new Publicity Chairs. “Everyone has a voice and everyone’s voice is equally important, but not everyone is as vocal about it as everyone else.”
Smith, Keuss, and Planck, the three Publicity Chairs, have decided to reach out to freshmen through living groups. “Freshmen should have people they can go to in their living groups to communicate with us,” said Smith.
The Publicity Chairs plan to make their e-mail addresses known to the entire freshman class. According to Smith, the publicity committee wants “to make people aware of the fact that [their class officers] do want to hear them.”
“We can’t force people to speak,” said Garrison, the Class Secretary, “but we can try to have surveys and info sheets for freshmen to fill out. They won’t come looking for information. We have to get in their faces.”
Pena, one of the new Social Chairs, still thinks the students need to get the ball rolling. “If they don’t get out there and put forth an effort, there’s not much we can do.”
Another major concern of the 2004 Council is class unity. “I want Study Breaks for us to get together, away from the stresses of MIT,” Kim said. Kim plans to have “Theme Days,” when all freshmen wear a funny hat or a sports shirt, as “just something that bonds us together.”