As if Harvard seniors did not have enough decisions to make, yesterday's 3 p.m. deadline for Class Marshal petitions added another dimension to the complexities of senior life.
After having collected 25 signatures from fellow seniors, 75 applicants submitted their petitions yesterday to the Harvard Alumni Association office in Wadsworth House.
According to officials in the Harvard Alumni Association, the total number of applicants for Class Marshal was lower this year than it has been previously.
The drop is mainly evident in the number of men who applied this year, 24, down from 39 last year. But the number of female applicants, 51, was closer to last year's number.
According to Naeemah A. White '97, student assistant to the Associate Director of Classes and Reunions, the decline may be due to the many recent career recruitment meetings, especially in the field of consulting.
According to White, many male seniors may have been deterred from applying because they have been caught up in the recruiting process.
Once elected, the four male and four female marshals work with both the Harvard and Radcliffe alumni associations to plan social activities during the year and Commencement exercises. The marshals keep the title for life.
After graduation, the marshals are also responsible for assisting with alumni affairs-which encompasses communication, reunions and fundraising.
Associate Director of Classes and Reunions for the Harvard Alumni Association Diane Jellis, who heads the election, said that working with class marshals is one of her favorite duties.
"The thing that I enjoy most is working with the students," she said.
Andwele J. Lewis '98, a candidate for class marshal, said that he believes that the students who are running are primarily interested in improving the Class of '98.
"I really want to be involved in the way senior week goes," Lewis said.
A. Ryan Leslie '98, another marshal candidate, echoed Lewis' sentiments. "We want to make sure that the Class of '98 remains socially connected," he said.
And class marshal candidate Husani K. Barnwell '98 said that the he believes the position is important because graduates need a tie. "When people go in different directions, they'll have [Harvard] at their roots," he said.
The first round of voting for marshals will occur from Sept. 30 through Oct.3. During this time, seniors can obtain ballots at their respective houses and rank the candidates from their top choice all the way through, if desired.
The top eight male and eight female candidates selected then proceed to the next round of voting, scheduled to take place from Oct. 7 to 10.
The Alumni Association will post the four male and female winners on Oct. 14.
Though the election process is somewhat lengthy, most of the candidates say they are against campaigning for the spot.
A class marshal candidate, who refused to give her name, said that she "would be surprised if a lot of people campaign."
"If people know you and like you, you'll have a better shot," she added.
Neither Lewis nor Leslie said they plan to actively campaign for the positions.