ESC Elections Wrap-Up: “Heart,” “Persistence,” “Bullshit”
Written by Bwog Staff
You know the results, but what about the grit and passion of the battle? Bwog Election Sentinel Sean Zimmermann was on the scene last night (and this morning) as ESC chose its new council.
Last night, ESC gathered to elect the council’s new executive board. Whitney Green, the current council Secretary, ran against Gunnar Aasen for the council presidency. Aasen, who has worked on the council for the last three years, said he would focus on developing a good rapport with the new SEAS dean (who should be chosen by the end of the semester), and work on getting more internship/job opportunities for students. He said his experience on council gave him an understanding of how the university “ticks.” When asked how he would work with an uncooperative administration, he said “persistence never fails.”
Green, who has also been on the council for the last three years, spoke about her goals of creating a better alumni-student mentoring framework, enhancing “SEAS pride campus wide,” and making the council more approachable for student organizations. She described her success in reaching out to clubs and groups to get their feedback on current council initiatives and ended by saying that ESC was her “heart,” and “to put it bluntly, I really want this position.” After about thirty minutes of closed deliberations, Green was declared the next council president.
After losing to Green, Aasen decided to run in the VP-Intergroup race against Varun Gulati and Kim Lipman-White. Aasen, who has served as the treasurer on the interschool governing board and has worked on the Co-Sponsorship Committee for the last three years, reiterated that he had an excellent knowledge of how the system works, and said he would continue the spirit of the ESC partnership network to work to bring engineering student groups “back in the loop.” When asked if he was capable of saying no to clubs requesting money, he explained that when it came to saying no, he’s “been doing it for a while.” He also said that he was “comfortable with looking at a budget and saying, ‘This is bullshit.’ ” The council voted him the new VP-Intergroup.
The race for VP-Policy was the most hotly contested. ESC 2011 Rep Albert Miller, Academic Affairs Rep Eric Hirani, Student Services Rep Emma Lebwohl, and the 2010 Class Council Policy Rep Kelly Chen all ran for the position. After the speeches, Chen was declared the winner. Chen, who is also the current secretary of the Society of Women Engineers, spoke about her plans to revamp Carlton Lounge and the Mudd Library. She also said she would aim to put vending machines in Butler, and institute a faster off-campus flex system. Chen expressed her view that Lerner is no longer a “student center;” since clubs reserve most of the available space, there is no room for individual students. She described her plan to create more room for individual students in Lerner by finding other places clubs could meet, or finding other spaces on campus that could serve as alternate lounges for individuals. When asked how she would deal with an unresponsive administration, she explained, “if you are clear and serious in your initiatives, the administration will help you.”
The race for VP-Student Life, between Chris Elizondo and Joffre Andrande, was the closest. After over 40 minutes of deliberations, Elizondo was declared the winner. Elizondo, in cowboy boots, opened with a quote from Albert Einstein: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” He explained that he believes in “positive leadership,” and asked for the council’s confidence as well as their vote. He said his goal was to hold an event workshop for first year class councils, and to work with each class council independently to “touch all levels of the student body.” He also spoke about instituting a flyer-for-food system to help spread the word about large campus events. The plan would have class councils host dinners before an event, and later ask the people who attended to post a few flyers to help raise awareness.
By the time candidates for Secretary began giving their speeches, it was well past 1:30 in the morning, but the exhausted Epsita Hoque, Jennifer Vettel, and Heidi Ahmed all spoke as planned. Ahmed, who has not worked on the greater ESC in the past, was declared the winner after speaking about how she “got an odd kick” from her job as secretary for her class council, and explained that she had decided to run for a position on the greater ESC after serving on her class council because she would like to work on more events that affect the entire Columbia community. She explained that what had drawn her to the position of Secretary was that, under Green, the secretary had become a communications position – a liaison to the student body. She said she would want to continue in that tradition; to play a large role in meetings, but also expand her responsibilities beyond what the constitution requires.