ESC, etc.: Midnight Appointments

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Fu Foundation Bureau Chief Tony Gong stayed up all hours to report on the biggest night of the ESC calendar year, with the possible exception of Mole Day.


After seven grueling hours, twelve speeches, and far too many handfuls of complimentary grapes and cheese, ESC finally finished up electing next year’s Executive Board last night, while everyone I have ever known in my life was sleeping—barring my grandma in China. (What’s up Grandma?)

The winners and their opponents are as follows:

President: Peter Valeiras ’09

(vs. Prish Dunstan ’09)

VP Student Life: Huei Ong ’09

(vs. Angela Blackwell ’11, Daniel Gundrum ’10, Esther Zuckerman ’09)

VP Intergroup: Lauren Minces ’09 (vs. Gunnar Aasen ’10, Krissie Zambrano ’09)

VP Policy: Prish Dunstan ’09 (vs. Boris Mindzak ’09, Ken Yearwood ’09)

Secretary: Whitney Green ’10 (vs. Jiaying Xu ’11)

Presidential Candidate Prish Dunstan began his speech and our night with a nonsensical joke that would foreshadow our delusional states by 4:00 AM: “Hi, I’m Prish, and I enjoy long walks and short beaches.” The council, no doubt shocked by the hilarity of this man, sat in stunned silence. Prish went on to articulate his primary concern to “remedy the connection between us and student body,” which was probably severed when the student body vocalized its affinity for long beaches. LOL.

Opposing Candidate Peter Valeiras expressed a similar concern regarding the involvement of students at ESC meetings. He lamented: “While the meetings are open, students do not see the time as a chance to talk with the council members…Everyone else is back here looking at our backs. I want people not just sitting and watching!” An awkward moment followed when the attention of all the council members shifted momentarily to the tacit public, which was looking at Peter’s back just sitting and watching.

An interesting outcome resulted when Student Life Committee non-member Huei Ong, riding on her strong experience as a CPA, was elected as VP Student Life over the other candidates, all full-time Student Life Committee members. Perhaps this affirms the use of indirect elections, which did not advantage its ESC constituents. Or, perhaps this just shows that Student Life Committee sucks. Regardless, Huei’s opponents Daniel Gundrum and Esther Zuckerman contributed highlights of the night with the best speeches I have ever heard, including Jean-Claude Van Damme’s awesome speech at the end of Street Fighter, which is probably #3.

Daniel, proved to be a charismatic fellow when he prefaced his speech by ignoring the podium and striding to the side of the room, where he was in plain view of the public. He explained: “I don’t feel comfortable having my back to people because I’ll never turn my back on students.” Cue another awkward moment as immediately each council member glanced surreptitiously towards my direction. C

Daniel continued demonstrating his charm with a sage-like introduction to his speech: “Let us take a journey, back to the past two years…” What followed was a dramatic and heartfelt account about attending his first Student Life Committee meeting as a freshman, and his current devotion. Daniel ended delicately by informing us that he has never missed a committee meeting before—a fact that nearly had me in tears, until I realized that that sounded pretty geeky.

Esther, while maintaing Daniel’s apparent fervor, also took on Prish’s nonsensical style of humor, amalgamating them into a wonderful speech that left me clueless – but excited about it! Esther expressed crazed enthusiasm for flyering, marshmallows, and planning engineering wide-events for Mole Day (October 23rd! Get it? Because I still don’t, someone please explain it to me…). And Esther’s plan for Mole Day: “I think it would be really cool to get a huge pinata,” which makes a lot of sense. However, Esther demonstrated that she was a layered personality, not just into pinatas on Mole Day. when prompted to speak about her serious side. She responded: “Sometimes I like to use really big words.”

The final candidate elections were peppered with interesting moments, none of which really lived up to either Daniel, Esther, or Street Fighter. For the VP Intergroup speeches, Lauren Minches gave a well-planned articulation of her characters: “good with numbers, meticulous, able to work well under stress, organized, with good people skills,” but cited her love for Columbia as what distinguished her for the role. However, I was much more invested in Gunnar Aasen’s speech, during which he accidentally kicked off my laptop plug from the Satow outlet, probably symbolizing something.

For the VP Policy speeches, incumbent VP Prish expressed his experienced understanding of the multi-pronged nature of policy, winning him the position. And finally, as the night quietly ended with the Secretary election, winner Whitney Green greeted us cleverly with “good morning,” giving me the strong urge to call my grandma.

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  1. i usually don't  

    care about seas, but peter is such a tool.

    • seriously though?  

      i actually can't think of a person who is less tool-ish. he's just a nice guy, and he does SO MUCH WORK for ESC and gets no credit for it (until now, anyway).

      • Maybe  

        but Peter and Prish haven't uttered a word about Student Groups. They will have the responsibility of divvying up a large sum of money between Community Impact, SGB, ABC, the Greeks, Club Sports, etc. - things they know nothing about. Yet their and ESC's glaring flaws are protected by the sham that is their communist elections.

        • ESC rocks  

          First and foremost, you obviously weren't there at the elections meeting. Peter spent much time supporting the current VP Intergroup Dan Wong's initiative to form meetings between the four undergraduate council and the five governing boards. He's proposed that members of the Intergroup committee become designated liaisons with weekly updates. I think this is a great beginning that NONE of the other undergraduate councils have started tackling. Furthermore, Prish is now and will be VP Policy, he doesn't need to deal with the governing boards. Finally ESC works as a team. VP Intergroup next year, Lauren Minches, has close ties in ABC and SGB and has promised to set up meetings with the next year's governing board leaders to further understand their duties and positions.

          Finally, ESC this year elected Huei Ong which has never been involved in student council on any level. Her election onto E-Board shows that if you do your research and can prove yourself capable, you can absolutely be an outsider elected into ESC.

  2. about him

    I had a class with Peter a couple years ago and he seemed like a really nice guy. Didn't strike me as the "leader" type, though.

  3. Excuse me  

    Pi day is the biggest night of the SEAS Calendar. Many stay up till 1:59AM.

  4. yay huei!  

    Huei is amazing! One of the nicest people here, hands down.

  5. 7 hours?  

    for 12 speeches?

  6. huge chem nerd  

    Mole Day is 10/23 (at 6:02) in honor of Avogadro's number = 6.02 x 10^23 atoms or particles constitute one mole, an important unit of measurement in chemistry.

    For more info:

  7. Whitney Green  

    I heard Whitney Green eats babies.

  8. boo  

    ESC sucks and the elections are a sham. but the reporting was appropriately mocking, nice job!

  9. ...  

    Not only is Lauren Minches hot, but she'll do an amazing job.

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