`Goofy' Gusmorino Revolutionized Job

At an Undergraduate Council meeting last year, Council President Paul A. Gusmorino ’02 stood up—in a blazer and orange shoes—to endorse an amendment he had drafted. He wanted the name of the council to be changed to “HUGS”—short for the Harvard University Government for Students.

The council almost took him seriously, until, at the end of the speech, he winked.

While some council members may have been perplexed, then-Student Affairs Committee Chair Todd E. Plants ’01 knew what Gusmorino was up to.

“He’s a goofy, silly kid,” Plants says.

But he’s also a very powerful kid—possibly the most powerful council president ever, many council members agree.

Gusmorino, the computer science concentrator with the orange shoes, is forging a legacy as one of the council’s most revered politicians ever.

At Sunday night council meetings, there’s no doubt about who’s in charge. Gusmorino, the council’s ninth president, rarely uses the gavel that is the only outward sign of his authority—but when he speaks, the room quiets.

Recently, he became the first student ever to speak at the installation of a Harvard president.

“He’s universally respected and liked,” says Adam M. Johnson ’02, a council veteran. “I’ve never heard anyone make a disparaging remark about him personally or the job he’s done as president.”

Politics and Big Signs

Gusmorino’s path to council history began his first year.

“He stood up at a meeting and said he was going to try to look into more study space for freshmen,” Plants remembers.

“Everyone was like, ‘Okay, whatever.’”

Six weeks later, however, Gusmorino announced to the council that he had secured classrooms in the Grays basement as a 24-hour study space for first-years.

“That’s when people realized he wasn’t just a goofy kid who wore bright colors,” says Plants, who later supported Gusmorino’s presidential candidacy.

Before deciding to run for the council presidency last fall, Gusmorino had held every major position on the influential Student Affairs Committee of the council.