MIT is at a crossroads. Amidst news of the budgetary crisis and GIR reform, students are troubled by repeated overtures against established traditions of hacking and dining. At the same time, the student body as a whole has become increasingly aware of the existence and the value of the Undergraduate Association.
Administrators have finally begun openly and consistently pledging to maintain transparency, which has been the UA’s watchword for years. In the midst of these debates and discussions, two names stand above the others: Michael A. Bennie ’10 and Margaret K. Delano ’10.
As current Undergraduate Association vice president, Mike has shouldered the herculean task of representing a student body that constantly oscillates between the extremes of “aggressively critical” and “completely apathetic” — and he has performed it admirably. Over the past year, Mike has demonstrated a refreshing willingness to tackle complex issues head-on—most notably, the current dining situation — rather than let the issues simply languish, unaddressed, in committees.
At the same time, Mike has never lost sight of other, more subtle concerns such as GIR reform and Saferide performance. He has also been instrumental in orchestrating the internal affairs of the UA, taking pains to meet with each committee chair one-on-one during the winter break to discuss their plans for the spring.
A cornerstone of Mike and Maggie’s campaign has been their commitment to communicating with the student body. Mike’s actions as UA vice president affirm that this promise is more than just empty rhetoric. Over the past year, Mike has vastly improved the UA’s external communications, as well as affirmed its commitment to transparency, by contributing to the totally overhauled UA website and by fostering strong relations with The Tech.
Mike has also been diligent in maintaining the UA’s standard fare of student programming — Fall Festival, DormStorm, Student-Faculty dinners, and the upcoming Spring Weekend — while also coordinating the addition of initiatives such as the Program in Leadership and Undergraduate Success (PLUS) and the Sustainability@MIT pamphlet, which have received praise from the student body as well as the Office of the Dean for Student Life.
While Mike brings an unparalleled mastery of the intricacies of the UA’s executive branch to the ticket, Maggie’s greatest strength lies in her unyielding commitment to fully represent the student body. As vice-chair of the UA Senate, Maggie has demonstrated her ability to work effectively with a large body of students who represent a broad spectrum of different but equally valid viewpoints.
This trait is especially important for a future vice president, who is primarily responsible for maintaining order within the UA and coordinating the activities of its Executive Board. Behind the scenes, Maggie has been instrumental in assisting the current speaker of the Senate with his duties, such as determining the short-list of administrators whom the UA invites to Senate meetings.
Moreover, Maggie is no stranger when it comes to organizing large projects. As vice president of East Campus, she was responsible for assigning incoming freshmen to their temporary and permanent rooms. While rooming assignment is a formidable task in and of itself, Maggie went above and beyond her duties by taking pains to increase the quality and transparency of her decisions.
If this isn’t exactly the kind of attitude the UA needs, I don’t know what is. I firmly believe that Mike and Maggie represent the very best pair of student leaders MIT has to offer. Not only are they individually the most qualified students for these roles, but together they form an unbeatable team. Mike’s passion for change will balance Maggie’s quiet dedication, and her experience with the Senate and his understanding of the UA’s committees will prove an unstoppable combination.
The pair has already garnered an impressive array of endorsements from student leaders across campus, including the majority of UA committee chairs, as well as a number of UA senators, dorm presidents, and DormCon officers. While many candidates have claimed a desire to communicate more personally with the student body, Mike and Maggie have actually “walked the talk” by visiting students on all sides of campus — not just east and west, but north and south, too.
Thanks to their years of commitment to the UA, Mike and Maggie already enjoy strong personal ties with a vast network of administrators. Most importantly, these connections are based on mutual respect for the decisions the UA has made. Whereas outsiders to the UA would need to spend weeks or even months building relationships with the relevant administrators, Mike and Maggie can simply step into their new roles and immediately begin advocating for students, with virtually no transition period necessary.
Mike and Maggie’s impressive track record of genuine passion and concrete accomplishments speaks for itself. At this critical crossroads in the future of the UA, and even of MIT itself, only Mike and Maggie have the experience and the dedication to ensure that student voices are properly heard. Vote for experience — vote for Mike and Maggie.
Paul Baranay ’11 is the Chair of the UA Nominations Committee.