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Simmons, Aramark Vie for UMOC

By Maral Shamloo

STAFF REPORTER

If you’ve never experienced the foul stench of a six-year-old carton of milk rotting away in a dorm fridge, visit Random Hall today. Then decide whether mandatory dining or Simmons Hall could possibly be any uglier than Random Hall Milk.

MIT’s chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity is running the annual Ugliest Manifestation on Campus contest once again. Today is the last day to vote in Lobby 10 by donating money to charity in the name of a favorite UMOC candidate.

This year’s candidates include perennial favorite Random Hall Milk, new undergraduate dormitory Simmons Hall, mandatory dining plans, Aramark, the MIT Museum, the Lobby 7 scaffolding, East Campus artwork Transparent Horizons, and objectivism, the Ayn Rand-inspired philosophy. As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Simmons Hall led the mandatory meal plan $93.83 to $77.49, with Random Hall Milk a close third at $62.62.

UMOC organizers were not surprised by the top three candidates. “Although the mandatory meal plan concerns more students, Random Hall milk has a whole dorm behind it,” said UMOC committee member Andromeda Yelton. “Or in the case of Simmons Hall, there are many people who are concerned about the issue, for instance those who are interested in living in Simmons Hall in future.”

Contest changed since inception

APO originally sponsored the Ugliest Man on Campus contest, until a woman described as “rather stunning” by APO’s web site won the contest on the premise that she was an ugly man. The contest was subsequently renamed, and in recent years has focused more on policies and physical objects than ugly individuals.

“Back in the 1980s, people used to nominate themselves or their friends ... and they would campaign for them, which had been more interesting in my opinion,” said UMOC manager Benazeer S. Noorani ’04. “That's why they used to raise much more money those days.”

To try and make up some of the lost ground since UMOC changed formats, APO has been actively publicizing the contest. “We have put up posters around campus, distributed flyers in infinite corridor and we have e-mailed the potentially interested e-mailing lists about UMOC,” Noorani said. “However, the event is still not as well known to new students as it could be ... The money we have raised this year is similar to last year’s UMOC.”

Noorani said that APO used to offer a small campaign fund to UMOC candidates, but no one has requested it for several years.

One student said he knew about UMOC simply from being at MIT. “I have been here for couple of years and that's how I know about UMOC,” said David E. Euresti G. “I voted based on the most interesting manifestation rather than the charity it was supporting.”

Charities supported this year include Amnesty International, Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts, and the Jimmy Fund. When voting finishes, all donated money will go to the winning charity.