Next year's student government now decided
Last week, next year’s student government was decided by the Carnegie Mellon student body. Voting began at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 29, and closed last Monday at 6 p.m., using an online single transferable voting system, sometimes known as a ranked-choice voting system. It was the second year of the use of this system, which student government chief technical officer Marat Valiev, a third year Ph.D. student in societal computing, stated would avoid “wasting your vote” when deciding between candidates, channeling the systems “successful in the Netherlands.” Valiev shared the elections results with The Tartan, which are to be published in full shortly on the student government website. Below is a report of those who won and the platforms by which they were elected.
Student Body President and Vice President
Evan Feder, a sophomore in information systems and statistics and machine learning, has been elected Student Body President. His running mate, Wenyi Zhu, a sophomore in business administration, has been elected Vice President. Between them they have three years of experience in student government, which they have said is essential to managing the influence of these positions. Feder served for the past year as Student Body Vice President for Finance, and before that as the Vice Chair of the Joint Funding Committee.
Before student body elections, Feder told The Tartan that the unique responsibility of the SBP is the ability to “choose your priorities.” One of Feder and Zhu’s primary goals is to improve communication between students and the student government. Zhu has said that while student government is meant to be “bridge between the student body and administration,” students often don’t know where to go to bring problems. Feder explained that when students are unable to find channels to express their issues, problems that student government may be able to address persist, and just become “memes in the meme group.”
Feder and Zhu’s platform also includes a range of quality of life issues. Feder and Zhu plan to partner with food vendors around campus to accept DineX, increase access to study spaces, and improve toilet paper on campus.
Their third major goal is to increase interdisciplinary communication. They have said that though Carnegie Mellon emphasizes interdisciplinary learning, it can be hard for students to explore topics or access resources in other colleges, including helping graduate students navigate working in different colleges and undergraduate students access restricted spaces.
Feder and Zhu received a total of 385 “first choice” votes. Runner-ups Asher Silverglade and Qianyi Chen, who began their campaign with a promise to “shut down all the other colleges except Tepper and undecided” before announcing an earnest candidacy centered on combatting a harmful sleep culture and reducing “favoritism” in the treatment of different colleges, at the start of the debate, trailed Feder and Zhu by just 41 “first choice” votes.
Student Body Vice President of Organizations
Elizabeth Guo, a first-year economics major, has been elected Student Body Vice President of Organizations (SBVPO). The role of the SBVPO is to oversee, advocate for, and advise student organizations. The SBVPO also serves as the chair on the Committee on Student Organizations (CoSO), which is responsible for overseeing the recognition process for student organizations on campus.
Guo’s primary goal is to ensure that students don’t shy away from developing their ideas for organizations due to the time and effort required, or lack of resources. As someone who is “extremely passionate about participating in multiple activities, [she] would love to assist others in actualizing their ideas through the SBVPO position.”
Guo is also seeking to provide new perspectives within CoSO, expedite the process of recognizing student organizations, and increase the lines of communication between student organizations and CoSO.
As SBVPO, she wants to fulfill her responsibility to the campus by remaining open and available as much as she can be, and to “fully devote her time and best ability to offer advice to others.”
Student Body Vice President for Finance
Frank Fan, a junior majoring in computer science, has been elected Student Body Vice President for Finance. Though he ran unopposed, Fan has some significant plans for reform. Most notably, Fan has proposed paying returning members of the Joint Funding Committee (JFC) in order to incentivize those who have experience in allocating money to continue to work with organizations year after year. This would dedicate a yet untold sum of activities fee funding towards funding of the JFC itself as an internal payment. The JFC is in charge of allocating the more than $1.5 million collected by the student activities fee.
Fan has raised that past SBVPFs have attempted to “reinvent the wheel” once they take office, and created “no continuity” or incentive to return to the job. Though continuity might not be seen as a traditionally inspiring campaign promise, most candidates highlighted the difficulties navigating the vast, multi-chambered bureaucracy of student government.
Fan has also proposed establishing principles for different categories of organizations to treat them more fairly and consistently. This plan entails more in-depth auditing of how organizations spend this money. Fan cited the Activities Board specifically as a body that could use more scrutiny, since AB groups get up to 30 percent of activities fee funding. Fan is the Finance Chair of AB Tech, which is an AB organization that receives a lot of the funding.
Fan also wants to apply more quantitative measures to the duties of the SBVPF, aiming to meet a quota for meetings with student organizations held each semester instead of just holding open office hours.
The College of Engineering has 12 seats on the undergraduate senate, but following the election, two vacancies still remain. The winning 10 candidates for College of Engineering senate seats are Ethan Rich, sophomore in electrical and computer engineering; Aditi Raghavan, first-year in material sciences and engineering; David Cohen, first-year in mechanical engineering and engineering & public policy; Alexandra Poltorak, first-year in mechanical engineering; Likhitha Chintareddy, first-year in electrical and computer engineering; Ruben Sriskanda, first-year in chemical engineering and engineering & public policy; Adrian Kager, first-year in electrical and computer engineering; Manav Trivedi, sophomore in electrical and computer engineering; Shraiy Gupta, sophomore in chemical engineering and biomedical engineering; and Andrew Osborn, first-year in mechanical engineering.
In Dietrich College, the new representatives are Jeffrey Ko, sophomore in the Institute for Politics and Strategy and modern languages; Colby Yu, sophomore; Abigail Glaser, first-year; Priya Agarwal, first-year; Dennis Lo, first-year in Dietrich interdisciplinary studies; and Kayla Griffin, sophomore in the Institute for Politics and Strategy and philosophy. Three vacancies still exist.
All six Mellon College of Science senate seats have been filled by Juliette Wong, sophomore in mathematical sciences; Manushka Bonhomme, sophomore in biological sciences; Kendra Adegbesan, sophomore in biological sciences and English; Naren Karur, first-year in mathematical sciences; Sandra Ho, first-year in biological sciences; and Joseph Glanzberg, sophomore in biological sciences.
The School of Computer Science’s five seats are filled by Gabriel Philip Rasskin, first-year in School of Computer Science; Oliver Pennington, first-year in School of Computer Science; Emmanuel Eppinger, sophomore in computer science; Neha Sridhar, sophomore in computer science; and Arnav Mahajan, sophomore in computer science.
The two BXA seats are held now by Liam Edward O’Connell, first-year in humanities and arts studies, and Theodore C. Warner, a sophomore in the Science and Humanities Scholars program.
One open seat remains for Tepper School of Business senate representation, but the three who won last week are Navid Mamoon, first-year in business administration; Shiwani Pathak, sophomore in business administration; and Uma Kommineni, first-year in business administration.
The College of Fine Arts too remains unfilled, with two vacant seats, but the four who won are Ye Lim Kim, first-year in art; Lucy Altus, first-year in music; Christopher Calder, senior in drama; and Emma Reichard, senior in drama.
Chief technology officer Valiev raised a curious example of the power of writing in candidates: Juliette Wong, now senator representing the Mellon College of Science, as well as Christopher Calder and Emma Reichard, both representing the College of Fine Arts, won with just one single write-in vote.
The vacancies that still exist in the undergraduate senate can be filled “by completing a petition with at least 25 signatures from Activities Fee paying undergraduate members of your college” to create a special runoff election, according to an undergraduate senate form. The Tartan will continue to report on the filling of undergraduate senate seats and actions taken by the student government in upcoming issues.
Likhitha Chintareddy also holds the position of Online Editor at The Tartan.