On March 21, after weeks of campaigns from three tickets, Shruti Sharma ’15 and Billy Ndengeyingoma ’15 emerged as the winners of this year’s Undergraduate Association elections for president and vice president. In preparation for their upcoming administration, Sharma and Ndengeyingoma have described three overarching themes for their tenure on their campaign website: the MIT educational experience, communication and visibility, and the residential campus of the 21st century.
To achieve the long-term goals stated on their website, Sharma and Ndengeyingoma said they would look to the Presidential Advisory Cabinet and the Corporation Joint Advisory Committee as “channels of advocacy.” By requesting “transition documents” for each position on the UA executive board, the pair hopes to “ensure a smooth continuity between UA administrations.”
Sharma and Ndengeyingoma said that they would be continuing a number of the initiatives set forth by Sidhanth P. Rao ’14 and Devin T. Cornish ’14, the previous UA president and vice president. Specifically, Sharma and Ndengeyingoma found the “Chief of Staff summit, weekly Institute committee lunches, and semesterly Institute committee policy reports” particularly effective and will maintain these programs in the coming semesters.
During debates and campaigns, all of the presidential candidates touched on the perceived lack of transparency and communication between students and the UA. Sharma and Ndengeyingoma said they would establish or reestablish several UA programs to help address these problems.
“In order to bridge this gap in communication, we are planning on reinstituting the format of presidential summits of the Craighead and Walsh term two years ago,” said Sharma and Ndengeyingoma in an email response to The Tech. The summits have not continued during Rao and Cornish’s time as president and vice president.
“These summits will assemble IFC, Panhel, and DormCon presidents as well as representatives from cultural groups and department associations,” Sharma and Ndengeyingoma wrote. “This will ensure a continuous flow of information, avoid misconceptions, and allow for diverse representation.”
The newly elected pair will also establish new programs they said would make the UA more effective. They plan to “hold meetings with all the undergraduate course presidents in one room to discuss how advising, tutoring and academic events is done in each of the majors.”
A new UA Advisory Board, Sharma and Ndengeyingoma said, would “be available to all students to discuss the workings of the UA and MIT administration” and “help resolve the stigma surrounding mental health and support resources and clarify common misconceptions and academic appeals to the Committee on Academic Performance and the Committee on Discipline.”
They also said they planned to work with administrators like Provost Martin A. Schmidt PhD ’88 and Professor Sanjay Sarma, the director of digital learning.
The election results were announced by the UA on March 21. Sharma and Ndengeyingoma claimed 946 of the 1787 ballots cast for their positions. The other tickets were for Andrew M. Acker ’15 and Grace E. O’Malley ’15 and for Jeffrey M. Sperling ’15 and Nathan H. Varady ’16.