By a wide margin, John S. Brown ’19 was elected president of the class of 2019 last week. Trevor L. McMichael ’19 was elected vice president.
Allison Fu ’19 and Allison L. Nguyen ’19 became social chairs, Muhammad E. Eltahir ’19 and Sarah J. Wu ’19 became publicity chairs, Emily C. Cimmino ’19 became secretary, and Alexa K. Martin ’19 became treasurer.
In stark contrast to the hair-thin margins seen in last year’s elections, the victories this year were rather lopsided with all winning candidates finishing with comfortable double-digit leads. Four of the six positions were won by a margin of over 100 votes (two of those elections were uncontested).
Voter turnout dropped slightly from 55 percent to 50 percent, though it is still up from 2013 when 45 percent of freshmen voted.
Campaigns this year distributed copious volumes of candy to freshmen and participated in extensive postering as candidates tried to gain name recognition on campus. Social media also played a large role in the campaigns.
Face-to-face time still had a part, too. “It’s important for people to be familiar with you,” Brown, the presidential victor, said.
Since the election takes place in the thick of the school year, campaigning is a challenge for candidates. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that they have not yet had a chance to get acclimated to campus and meet fellow freshmen.
“I kind of wish they would push elections back a little so that people would have a little more time to meet each other,” Brown said. “Most freshmen haven’t even seen many of the candidates in person.” Brown also mentioned that the rigor of MIT coursework made finding time to campaign difficult.
Candidates still made sure to share their platforms and goals for the future. Social chair Allison Nguyen had a plethora of ideas for events she wanted to bring to campus “from cross-college mixers between MIT and Harvard, to a Casino Night, to a block concert with cool artists.” She emphasized that she intended to “bring something different to campus” and listen to what the freshman class wants and make it a reality.
Brown also shared details about what he wants to see change in the future. In addition to study breaks and intercollegiate mixers, he also wants to focus on more high-level issues like bringing the campus as a whole closer together. Brown said he made a point of communicating his goals specifically enough to be held accountable to voters.
Brown said that some of the more serious issues MIT faces include problems like sleep deprivation and isolation. He said that carefully considering the causes of these problems could help solve them.