In an effort to increase minority representation on the Undergraduate Council (UC), the student-run organization Vote or Die is helping a dozen minority candidates solidify their campaign platforms and publicize them on campus.
The student-run organization, created in 2004 by Lori M. Adelman ’08, and Amadi P. Anene ’08, works with minority candidates to ensure accurate and fair representation. It helps them campaign and provides them with techniques and guidelines in developing their platforms and strategies. The organization also aims to encourage students to vote.
Both Adelman and Anene served on the UC last year and are running this term.
On Wednesday, Vote or Die held a party and information session from 9 to 11 p.m. in the Lowell House basement to disseminate the platforms of its candidates to voters and current UC representatives.
The gathering of about 30 students featured pool and arcade games, a bit of hip-hop, and some snacks.
Anene said that there has been great need for an organization like Vote or Die at Harvard.
“Two years ago, the UC was much more homogeneous,” said Anene. “Now there are more minority representatives.”
UC Vice President Clay Capp said that Vote or Die plays a key role in addressing the need for diversity on the UC.
“Good representation is something that the UC has not historically been good about,” he said.
Although the UC is making progress, there is room for improvement, too, he said.
“Last year was decent with minority representation, but it wasn’t good enough,” he said.
This year’s Vote or Die candidates are running with a range of goals.
Brian L. Jackson ’08, who is in the running to represent Kirkland House, said that one of his goals is to shed more light on student accomplishments at Harvard.
“In a majority of cases, accomplishments receiving awards and recognition are regarding professors and the administration,” he said. “Harvard has a collection of talented and diverse scholars. There is no reason why the students shouldn’t have a larger piece of the recognition.”
Samson F. Ayele ’09, from the East Yard, has financial goals in mind.
“I want to serve on the Finance Committee. I’d like to explore how it works,” said Ayele. “I can’t set a more direct agenda until then.”
But some candidates, like Evan M. Rose ’09, of the North Yard, are pursuing more specific ambitions.
“I want to facilitate dialogue between the UC and freshmen,” he said. “And I also want to extend the hours of Annenberg and petition for better food selection.”
Although Vote or Die works with candidates to make their campaigns run as smoothly as possible, this does not guarantee a painless process.
“I was not on the official e-mail listing of candidates, and I thought it was totally unfair,” said Ayele. “Lori Adelman worked with me to appeal to the Election Commission about this problem.”
UC Election Commission official Michael B. Love ’08 attributed this problem to a glitch in the software, and said that he is an advocate of Vote or Die.
“Vote or Die has excellent goals and is a great value to the community,” he said.
Adelman said that Vote or Die will continue next year.
“It’s a public service and a necessity,” she said. “Without Vote or Die, the UC would not be the phenomenal thing that it is today.”