Tomorrow evening, Graduate Student Council representatives will vote in a contested election for GSC President for the first time in three years. From among the three candidates, Alex H. Chan stands out in his experience, vision, and dynamism, and we believe that Chan is the best person to lead the GSC in the coming year.
Charles A. Gammal, a relative newcomer to the GSC, focuses his platform on initiating sweeping reforms to the GSC’s internal structure. He wants to empower Council members by having more substantial discussions in Council. Additionally, he would encourage individual Representatives to become more involved as shareholders in the GSC, such as by serving on Institute Committees. Unfortunately, Gammal lacks the concrete ideas, knowledge, and experience to guide the increased participation he desires. Apart from his calls for reform, his platform has little else of substance. Ultimately, he does not have enough experience with the GSC or knowledge of the MIT administration to effectively serve as GSC President.
Paul R. Monasterio has served as co-chair of the Academic, Research, and Careers Committee of the GSC for the past year, and he has served as Tang Hall President for the last two years. His rather moderate platform focuses on improving communication between the graduate student body and the GSC and between the GSC and the administration, as well as reviewing GSC spending and developing an improved system for archiving GSC information. However, his approach to improving student engagement is, on the whole, rather passive. After the struggles of the Task Force on Student Engagement this year, the GSC needs an assertive leader to continue to push the administration and capitalize on the progress made by the current GSC.
Alex H. Chan (also a Tech staff photographer) has a record of being such a leader. As co-chair of the GSC’s Housing and Community Affairs Committee this past year, Chan has repeatedly demonstrated his ability to effect policy changes by approaching the administration with concrete requests, backed up by actual data. Perhaps most notably, Chan was instrumental in creating the new dental plan for graduate students, which he hopes to expand and improve even further next year.
Chan has also been involved in a wide range of other activities and efforts in the GSC, including organizing major events such as the Graduate Orientation iFest, the first BU-MIT Party, and the new Grad Gift campaign. Additionally, he has been active beyond MIT in the formation of the Boston Graduate Leadership Organization, an innovative forum for Boston area schools to share ideas about graduate student government and to foster collaboration across universities.
Beyond working to improve student engagement, Chan plans to reel in the GSC’s spending habits and work to more deeply involve Council members and Institute Committee representatives. While other candidates have expressed similar goals, Chan has the most specific knowledge of the GSC and of the administration’s internal workings and is therefore most likely to push the GSC forward over the next year.
Overall, Chan possesses the broadest range of experiences in the GSC and the strongest connections with the administration. His goals, while ambitious, build upon the successes of the current GSC and are backed up by a concrete plan for facilitating change. The editorial board endorses Alex H. Chan for GSC President.