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Professor Ernest G. Cravalho, representing 2.006 (Thermal-Fluids Enginering II) has collected $1111.96, putting him in the lead of service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega’s annual Institute Big Screw contest, which is in its final day today.

This year’s contest has already raised $2,388.16, which is more than twice as much money as most previous years’ contests have raised. And there is still today left for people to vote.

“I’m not sure why, but it’s super-awesome!” said Kristin D. Kuhn ’11, Big Screw publicity chair.

The Big Screw contest collects student votes, typically in the form of pennies and small change, for the professor who has “screwed” the students the most. The winner gets possession of a 3-foot-long, left-handed screw engraved with their name…until next year, when it moves on to the next winner. Each professor represents a charity. All the funds raised by the contest go to the winner’s charity.

Cravalho is neck-and-neck with Professor Steven B. Leeb ’87, who represents 6.115 and 6.131, which are microelectronics and power electronics lab classes. Leeb has raised $704.93 so far.

In addition to large amounts of money (last year’s contest raised a total of $1,128.51), competition is much stiffer this year, and candidates have been campaigning.

“We had in one day the sort of gains we usually get in total,” said Matthew S. Goldstein G of APO.

Intense competition

Last night, with 6.115/6.131 in second place, Leeb wrote “Our honor is at stake,” in an e-mail to his “Course 6 Family.”

“This is unacceptable!” Leeb wrote. “My wife says that there can’t possibly be anyone more annoying than me.”

Vivek Goyal wrote that he was “honored” and “happy to have a reason to make [this] week’s 6.041 quiz very difficult.”

Cravalho’s charity is Partners in Health. Leeb’s charity is the Pine Street Inn. The Course 20 team, consisting of Professors Manalis, Han, Kam, and Lammerdinng (for 20.310 and 20.330), is in third place. The professors have selected both the Progeria Foundation and The Jimmy Fund.

There has been some controversy, though. Both Carvalho and Leeb have been soliciting outside contributions. Each raised hundreds of dollars yesterday, catapulting the total raised from $462.28 on Wednesday to $2,388.16.

Kuhn said in Thursday’s e-mail announcement (sent to the mailing list big-screw-interested) that “in years past, candidates have been discouraged from voting for themselves on the last day. However, since we forgot to mention that this year, candidates are indeed allowed to vote for themselves tomorrow.”

Kuhn told The Tech that APO was concerned about the outside contributors. In particular Kuhn worried that not all the contributors might realize that their money would not go to a particular professor’s charity if that professor did not win.

“It’s causing some talk amongst the [APO] brothers for sure — wow, this really changes the nature of the competition,” Kuhn said.

But ultimately, Kuhn said, “This is a charity fundraiser.”

More competitors

As if hundreds of dollars on the penultimate day were not enough, this year’s contest has also had many more professors accepting their nomination than in past years, and accepting much earlier in the contest.

Kuhn wasn’t sure why more candidates accepted, but said that “part of it was that we had more people involved in chasing down the candidates.”

“This year, every single [person] nominated” received a personal visit, she said.

The Big Screw results will be announced next week Thursday, April 15, at 6 p.m. in room 2-135.