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Seventy-Eight Students Declare Candidacy for Undergraduate Council

The Undergraduate Council held its first meeting of the fall 2018 semester in the newly renovated Smith Campus Center.
The Undergraduate Council held its first meeting of the fall 2018 semester in the newly renovated Smith Campus Center. By Caleb D. Schwartz
By Jonah S. Berger, Crimson Staff Writer

Seventy-eight students declared their candidacy for seats on the Undergraduate Council over the weekend, representing a slight decline from the roughly 100 students who ran each of the past two years.

The deadline to declare was extended from Thursday to Saturday last week because the number of available seats exceeded the number of declared candidates in Adams House, according to election commission chair Jubin Gorji ’21. Even with the extension, only two students declared their candidacy in Adams, meaning one seat will remain empty.

Each freshman dorm and upperclassman house sends three representatives to the Council, except for Dudley House, which sends one representative.

Consistent with past years, the plurality of declared candidates are freshmen. Thirty-six freshmen — fewer than the 60 who declared last year — are vying for just twelve seats on the Council.

Multiple house elections will be competitive as well. In Kirkland, six students declared their candidacy, while five are running in Mather.

In interviews with roughly a half-dozen freshmen candidates on Friday, students cited a variety of factors motivating them to throw their hats in the ring.

Michael Y. Cheng ’22, a candidate in Elm Yard, said he hopes to use his influence on the UC to “reform” the comp process that some campus clubs use to select members.

“I didn’t come into college planning to run, but I think... during opening days and pre-orientation, I felt like Harvard was kind of like heavenly and everything went well,” he said. “But lately, I’ve been noticing some problems or complaints, which admittedly aren’t the end of the world.”

“I want to run to try to at least spark a discussion around some of those [issues],” he added.

Seoyoon Kim ’22, a candidate in Crimson Yard, said she plans to focus on fostering a stronger sense of “connection” between the Council and the broader student body.

“I feel like the UC does play a big role in terms of writing grants and passing large legislation throughout the College but a lot of people don’t view it as something that’s personal,” she said.  “So I want to make it more personal by hosting more Yard-wide and class-wide events.”

Candidates plan to campaign in different ways. While some said they plan to go door-to-door to speak with eligible voters, others said they will rely primarily on social media and postering.

The campaigning period will start on Monday at noon and run through Thursday at noon.

— Staff writer Jonah S. Berger can be reached at jonah.berger@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonahberger98.

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