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About 20 percent of undergraduates voted to elect new members to the Undergraduate Association Senate and the 2012 Class Council this fall. Rishi Dixit ’12 and Andy D. Kalenderian ’12 have been elected Class of 2012 president and vice president. Twenty-six new members have been elected to the senate, the majority of which are freshmen.

East Campus faced a tie for the second seat in the senate. Voting in a run-off election to break the tie will end today.

About 25 percent fewer students voted this year than last. President of the Undergraduate Association, Noah S. Jessop ’09 attributes this decreased voting rate to the change in timing of the voting period, which happened two weeks earlier than last year. Jessop said that “[election] visibility suffered” due to the change in dates and that many students, especially freshmen, did not have time to learn about and vote for the candidates. However, he said that he thinks bringing the senate together earlier than usual will help make the group “stronger” and “more productive.”

Jessop said the earlier elections also contributed to some dorms lacking official candidates: “A lot of people missed the deadlines” for applications to the senate, he said. He also said that the “number of people who want to get involved every year varies” and that perhaps fewer people wanted to be a part of the group this year.

Due to the lack of official candidates, some senators were elected by write-ins. Cody R. Daniel ’11 was one of the unofficial candidates who was voted into the senate to represent Senior Haus. He said that he had not thought about candidacy until Senior Haus sent out e-mail to its residents about the lack of official candidates to the Senate. He said decided to “step up” as he felt he was “capable of the job.” His campaigning was mostly casual, he said: he sent out an e-mail to the Haus informing them that he was running and asked his friends to vote for him.

Jorge D. Simosa ’12 was another unofficial candidate who was elected to represent MacGregor in the senate by write-in votes. Simosa said he first became interested in the UA Senate during the Activities Fair and didn’t think that he “would have a chance to win,” but decided to run when he learned that no one else was running. His campaign also included sending out e-mail to the dorm and requesting residents to write him in as a candidate.

Jessop said he hopes to make “the different ways that the UA serves students more apparent and easy to understand” so that more people are encouraged to apply for Senate positions. He said he is excited to work with the large number of freshmen in this year’s senate. He wants to “make it clear to the freshmen what the UA does” so that they can contribute to the MIT community.

Like last year, Bexley did not elect a real candidate in this year’s UA elections; they instead chose ‘Wellesley Girl’s Crossbow’ — a reference to the stabbing last year at Next House — to represent them in the Senate.

2012 elects Dixit and Kalenderian

The 2012 class President Rishi Dixit ’12 says the competition for this year’s presidency was high. Dixit said that in such a situation, he and Kalenderian thought that the person who would win would be the person with “the most name recognition.” Dixit said he and Kalenderian decided to “go out, talk to people and be funny.” They made and distributed ten distinct flyers to “get their names out.”

Dixit and Kalenderian met in the Freshman Leadership Program during pre-orientation. Dixit said that FLP played a big role in his success as it made him “much more comfortable with people” and helped him to “understand them better.”

Both Dixit and Kalenderian have already started brainstorming ideas for study breaks for the class of 2012. One of these is a “puppy study-break” in which they would bring in puppies for people to play with. Dixit said, “MIT students know how to relax. Our job is to facilitate their relaxation. And the best way to relax is to laugh.” He also said that he and Kalenderian will be in the student center between 12 and 1 every Sunday to answer questions and take suggestions from members of the Class of 2012. “Anything you want,” he said, “we’ll be there.”