Election Profile: Paul Gusmorino & Sujean Lee
In the age of the political sound bite and the professional politician, Undergraduate Council presidential candidate Paul A. Gusmorino III '02 says he's different.
He's not a natural-born hand-shaker.
His personal website from his first year at Harvard, "Gusmorino World," features a picture of his own head--which is animated and spinning--and a section describing four different ways to calculate the mathematical constant pi.
If elected, Gusmorino would be the first computer science concentrator to serve as council president.
"Maybe he's not mister slick urbanite, but he is a really likeable guy, the cute cuddly CS concentrator that everyone loves," says Todd E. Plants '01, vice-chair of the Student Affairs Committee (SAC), the committee which Gusmorino chairs. "Whenever I'm walking in the yard with Paul, it seems he knows and says 'Hi' to everybody. He always has something nice to say."
Housemate James R. Griffin '02 confirms the description.
"He's not like a partying type of person, but he does get to know everyone's name in the House," says Griffin, who is working on Gusmorino's campaign.
Gusmorino says he is more substance than style--something that has cost him politically.
"One of the problems is I like to talk, and I'd spend a half-hour with every person," he says of a losing bid for student body president in high school. "My opponent cut classes to shake hands--I had issues and ideas."
Gusmorino says a council president's personality should take a back seat to his plans for the student body.
He says his campaign will focus on "the issues," and by issues, Gusmorino means using the council to provide concrete services for students--like cheaper telephone rates and textbooks. "The past year has been a mixed bag," Gusmorino said. "What we want to do is bring the focus of the U.C. from the president and vice president to back on services for students."
Gusmorino cites the creation of "U.C. boxes" and an investigation into "even cheaper phone rates" as logical extensions of the council's current money saving programs.
The boxes program would use the bulk buying power of the council to provide students with a moving-out week staple: cardboard boxes, for at-cost prices.
Gusmorino says he would continue to look into negotiating cheaper phone rates, following the success he and Plants had in lowering rates last fall. Now, a focus could be on negotiating discount cellular phone service for students.
Though he could make no concrete promises, Gusmorino says he will fight for parties that are allowed to continue past the current 1 a.m. deadline.
Gusmorino also promises a CUE-type guide for concentrations, a sophomore formal, a first-year rape prevention program, and a concert by the bands "Roots" and "Black eyed peas."
Having served on the council since coming to Harvard, Gusmorino is the current chair of SAC, a group that reviews legislation before it is voted on by the full council body.
Sujean S. Lee '02, a second-year council member and the social chair of the Campus Life Committee, is the only woman on a council ticket this year.
Lee brings more than experience alone--a woman has been on every winning ticket since the council turned to popular elections five years ago,
"Having a balance in the ticket, you are more essentially getting a real representation of the student body," Lee says.
Gusmorino's supporters say he has always focused on results. During last year's impeachment scandal, Gusmorino was busy creating U.C. books, the councils' textbook price-comparison website.
"U.C. books was the most impressive effort any student has put together on the U.C.," says John Paul Rollert '00-'01, a former SAC chair who serves with Gusmorino on council. "[Just look at] the amount of effort that it took, the number of different administrators that had to approve it."
The key, supporters say, was that Gusmorino was able to convince the administration that his idea was feasible, and that he would be able to see it through.
"Paul Gusmorino has been phenomenal because he's gained the trust of the administration--that's what you have to do as SAC chair. He's been unparalleled in that," Rollert says.