The five candidates for Undergraduate Council president start off the campaign agreeing on at least one thing: this might be the most interesting race since the council moved to popular elections five years ago.
Virtually everyone who could be expected to run for the presidency is running this year. The leaders of two council committees and two of the council's executives are on the ticket. And two brand new council members, Matthew Zanotelli '02 and B.J. Averell '02, have made the race even more interesting.
Many council members agree that Stephen N. Smith '02 is the man to beat this year.
An ally of current council president Fentrice D. Driskell '01 and an active member of Harvard Students Against Sweatshops and the Progressive Student Labor Movement, Smith also heads the Campus Life Committee, which sponsors events like the Harvard-Yale Battle of the Bands and Springfest.
However, some council members say he is too closely tied to the current administration of Fentrice D. Driskell '01.
Council member Todd E. Plants '01, who made an unsuccessful run for the presidency last year and shares Smith's liberal politics, says Smith may be too close to Driskell to win this year. Driskell has been criticized throughout her tenure for a failure to accomplish much of her original platform. In fact, some of the most significant council innovations of the last year, such as the popular online book selling program called UC Books, have come from the Student Affairs Committee--not Driskell.
"I look [at Driskell and Smith] and I see leadership that hasn't really accomplished a lot," Plants says.