Call him the George W. Bush of North Yard.
While it won't be until November 7 that voters will decide if the Bush family name will return to the White House, the Undergraduate Council already has a new right-leaning politico with a familiar name.
Eliah Z. Seton '04--the brother of former council president Noah Z. Seton '00--earned the most votes of any candidate in the first-year North Yard this year.
The two Setons are best friends, Eliah Seton says, and they both selected the student affairs committee as their council choice.
So is Eliah Seton destined to rise to the top of the council, like his brother? He is the first to say that it's far too early to tell. But his close friends say he may have what it takes to be council president.
Each Seton brother, according to Eliah Seton, is the other' s best friend.
Both began running for elective office while attending the Horace Mann School in the Bronx.
Both are avid baseball fans--though Noah was elated and Eliah frustrated at the result of this year's Subway Series.
Eliah Seton says geography helped foster both his close relationship with his older brother and his interest in politics.
The two grew up in northern Westchester County, N.Y., and attended school in the Bronx. As a result, they had to commute into the city together everyday and home each night.
"We didn't live too near most of our friends from school," Eliah Seton says. "So we spent a lot of time together."
He says he and his brother got plenty of opportunity to bond on the long car rides to and from school.
"My parents worked in the city, so they would drop us off on the way to work," he says. "We would talk a lot of politics."
Seton says he was interested in the ideological conflicts that occurred between his politically conservative father and more liberal mother.
Somewhere along the way, both Seton and his brother began to lean toward the right of the political spectrum.
"I'm a pretty conservative guy," Seton says. He cast his first-ever vote for Republican presidential candidate John S. McCain in the New York primary.
"I felt like I could trust him," Seton says. "Weighing the candidates now, I don't think I can trust anything Gore says. But when I listen to Bush, I feel a much greater degree of integrity. He's the guy who'll bring character back to Washington."
The College Campaign Trail
Neither his brother's encouragement nor his family name guaranteed Seton a seat on the council.
"I went door-to-door in Canaday and Thayer, introducing myself to as many people as possible," Seton says. "I wanted to show them that I wanted to be their representative."
Aaron D. Burakoff '04, a first-year who helped with Seton's campaign, says hard work paid off for the candidate.
"I think he won his election here because of his dedication to the campaign," Burakoff says. "I went with him to Kinkos the day before posters could go up to find out information about buying poster paper, and then he made lots and lots of signs. Because he already had the respect of a lot of people in Thayer, many rooms were happy and willing to put his posters outside of their windows in strategic locations."
Laura A. Mancini '04, who says she likes to think of herself as Seton's campaign manager, quips that it was really one poster that made the difference in the election.
"It was the 'Top Ten Reasons to Vote for Eliah' and all of those reasons rhymed with his name," Mancini says. "Example: He's the freshman messiah."
"Actually," Mancini says, "Eliah got elected because he is a genuine person. When he talks to you, you don't get the feeling that he's campaigning or trying to win votes. He was exactly the same during the campaigning week as he always is--his door is always open."
In high school, Eliah fared better than his brother in student government elections, winning the student body presidency after his brother had been "trounced" seeking the same office four years earlier.
"I learned about responding to the needs of constituents," he says of the job. "I like finding out students' problems and trying to get stuff done to address them."
He says it was his positive experience with student government in high school that served as his main impetus for running for a council seat.
The other, he says, was his older brother.
"Noah always encourages me to go out and get involved," Seton says.
UC 2000 (and Beyond)
As the top vote-getter in his district, Seton got his first choice of sub-committee within the UC. He chose the Student Affairs Committee--the same committee on which his brother served.
He was also recently elected by fellow council members to the serve on the College's Student-Faculty Committee on Advising--the only first-year student named to the position.
"I wanted to be involved in the student services aspect of the
UC," Seton says. "I want to make tangible changes for the student body."
Noah Seton made his name on the council by helping put into place the fly-by lunch program, which allows students to pick up bagged lunches in Loker.
And Eliah wants to improve students' dining options as well.
"I have heard many complaints that the brain breaks are too limited-- the food goes too fast," he says. He also says he will try to help his first-year constituents by reducing the lengths of the lines at Annenberg and securing 'universal access' capacity for first-year swipe-cards.
For now, Seton, who names history and social studies as possible concentrations, says he will concentrate on a few issues and "get his feet wet" on the council. He also wants to get involved with a singing group at Harvard--something he says he loved in high school--and find out about community service opportunities involving tutoring.
His friends' expectations are far less modest.
"He's the kind of guy who has most likely to succeed written all over him," Mancini says. "If he wants to be a doctor, he'll be an amazing one. If he wants to be a lawyer, he'll be great. If he wants to go into politics, there is no doubt in my mind that he'll be successful."
"He is a very determined person," Burakoff says. "I would not be surprised to see Eliah Seton as UC President in 3 years."