Race for New UC Chief Begins

Two campaigns flank the Science Center on first day of posters, tunes, anarchy

Undergraduate Council presidential hopefuls kicked off their campaigns yesterday with an assortment of banners, anarchist slogans, and displays of technological prowess.

Two of the six presidential candidates from the Class of ’08, Tom D. Hadfield and Ryan A. Petersen, saw their supporters out in force at the Science Center, sporting bright t-shirts and enormous posters. Campaigners faced off directly and tried to out-shout one another.

Supporters of Ali A. Zaidi ’08 began postering early yesterday morning, following a midnight kickoff event that drew a crowd of over 50 to the Lowell House Junior Common Room.

Zaidi spent a slice of the $400 the Undergraduate Council (UC) allots per presidential ticket to buy two 10-pound pies from Unique Pizza and Subs to feed his flock.

“A rocking chair moves but it doesn’t go anywhere,” said Zaidi, frustrated with what he said he sees as the Council’s insularity. Zaidi, whose running mate is fellow junior Edward Y. Lee, said that he and his schoolmates are dissatisfied that their college experiences have not lived up to the “Harvard Promise.”

Steve Lin ’08 described the Zaidi-Lee ticket as “fucking amazing” before performing an angst-ridden pop tune, accompanying himself on the piano. Lin said his lyrics, which included “’cause every day’s another living hell,” reflected campus-wide disillusionment that Zaidi’s campaign will address.

Tim R. Hwang ’08 and his running mate, Alexander S. Wong ’08, have taken the least traditional approach to the race, using an anarchist symbol and the slogan “Kill the UC.”

“We are deadly serious,” Wong said. “About as serious as two slightly frail Asian boys can be.”

“We’re having a lot of our stuff done by various semi-secret organizations,” quipped Wong, who described his campaign strategy as a “roll-out approach.”

Hwang reported plans to buy matching red jumpsuit uniforms emblazoned with large dollar signs for his ticket’s staff.

Taking a more conventional tack, Hadfield said his goal is “to run the most professional campaign that any student government anywhere has ever seen,” and added that key parts of his strategy were to have the biggest banners and the best Web site.

Hadfield, also a Crimson editorial editor, is the founder of the sporting site Soccernet—now a part of sports network ESPN—which The Independent of London called “the most successful football website in the world.” He is running alongside fellow Crimson editorial editor Adam Goldenberg ’08.

Candidates’ professional-looking campaign Web sites were mostly designed by friends at no charge.

The campaign of Petersen and Matthew L. Sundquist ’09 features the most personal Web site, on which Petersen encourages supporters to Facebook friend his attractive twin sister, and Sundquist reveals his love for “four-cheese Hot Pockets.”

Amadi P. Anene ’08 said that his campaign will not involve any major gimmicks but rather seek to engage students in a dialogue about issues.

“You’ll probably find that our campaign will be unlike the others,” said Anene, who is running with Crimson editorial editor Kyle A. De Beausset ’08-’09.

Brian S. Gillis ’07-’08 said that his “campaign was started for one idea and one idea only and that was a restructuring of the UC.”

His running mate, Morgan C. Wimberley ’08, is the only woman among the dozen office-seekers.

“What’s important for us is getting this idea across and not being victors,” Gillis said.

—Alexandra H.S. Hiatt contributed to the reporting of this story.