University News

UCS fills roles in internal elections

Half of races go uncontested, with newly formed position seeing highest competition

Staff Writer
Thursday, October 1, 2015

Adwa Habtu ’16 was elected as one of three student representatives on the Undergraduate Finance Board. The other two slots were filled by Caleb Hersh ’17 and Joshua Williams ’16.

Eleven students were elected to leadership positions on the Undergraduate Council of Students and the Undergraduate Finance Board at the UCS general body meeting Wednesday. Four of the eight elections for UCS leadership positions were uncontested.

The night’s most hotly contested UCS race was for the role of community and business relations liaison, a new position this year. Ryan Lessing ’17, who unsuccessfully ran for UCS vice president in external elections last spring, emerged victorious among the three candidates. In his speech to the council, he cited his wealth of UCS experience as parliamentarian and chair of the UCS Admissions and Student Services committee.

The role of  community and business relations liaison will be “very experimental,” Lessing said. Its wide mandate will allow for communication with previously unreachable institutions on College Hill, such as the Thayer Street Management Authority, he said. When tension flared between food truck owners and Thayer Street restaurants, UCS “didn’t have a way to respond,” he said. This position “will allow us to expand our bandwidth in areas where we don’t have a lot of experience,” he added.

Four students vied for three spots as UFB representatives, with Caleb Hersh ’17, Adwa Habtu ’16 and Joshua Williams ’16 selected by the general body.

Hersh received the most votes after being widely praised during the council’s discussion of the candidates. He emphasized his experience with accounting as treasurer of both the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity and the Greek Council. UFB should ensure that “funding decisions are transparent” and eliminate “arbitrary discrepancies” in the amount of money allocated to student groups with similar sizes and footprints, Hersh said.

Last spring, Habtu and Williams each ran unsuccessful write-in campaigns for UFB representative. This year, they decided to alter their approach and follow the conventional path toward the position.

“I’ve been interested in this for a long time,” Habtu said, noting that her role on Class Board the last two years gave her insight into UFB’s process. She said she plans to make sure that the process for allocating funding is “clear and streamlined.”

Molly Naylor-Komyatte ’19, running unopposed for appointments chair, said University committees “are some of the most important spaces for the exchange of dialogue between administrators and students.” She said she will work to “make different voices and perspectives heard” and “maintain links with committees” after the selection process has ended.

The election for alumni relations liaison also went uncontested, with Kayla Thomas ’18 claiming the title. Thomas emphasized the vital role of alums within the University. “There’s always that connection you have once you’ve left,” she said. She added that she will prioritize the development of “new, creative ways” to reach out to alums beyond simple fundraising.

Brandon Le ’18 was reelected to the position of webmaster, receiving enthusiastic affirmation from UCS executive board members. The UCS website is working effectively, Le said, adding that he will prioritize social media outreach in the coming year.

The new UCS secretary will be Helen Gerstenfeld ’18, previously a member of the UCS Admissions and Student Services committee and the UCS Outreach and Advocacy committee. Austin Lessin ’19, a Herald sales associate, took the position of parliamentarian unopposed, and Winnie Fan ’19 will serve as UCS-UFB liaison.

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