Jenny Ye ’13 and Julia B. Konrad ’13 were elected president and vice president of the Institute of Politics, respectively, Sunday evening in the first contested race since 2008. Their ticket emphasized integrating public service with existing programs and building a community within the IOP.
“I’m really excited about building civic interest and passion at Harvard, may that be among students who are already involved in the IOP or among my peers who are CS concentrators,” Ye said.
Ye and Konrad ran against Sophie B. Fry ’13 and Jordan E. Sessler ’13. Both tickets emphasized cohesion among the IOP’s 13 programs, publicizing the IOP’s resources on campus, and public service.
To build camaraderie across programs, Ye and Konrad have proposed a mentorship program that would connect members of the IOP community who share common interests—be the pairs alumni-student or even student-student.
But many members believe that the main challenge facing the IOP is that the campus at large does not understand what resources, connections, and opportunities the IOP provides students.
“When people think about politics on campus, the IOP should be at the top of their mental map,” said outgoing IOP President Jeffrey F. Solnet ’12. “We could do more to advocate for that on campus.”
Sessler expressed similar sentiments, saying that the IOP functions well for a core group of 30 or so members but not for the broader membership base of 300 students or for the 6,000 students in the College. Ye and Konrad say they will work to ameliorate this through active outreach to student groups.
Both Ye and Konrad have strong backgrounds in service at the IOP. Konrad served as the chair for the Citizenship Tutoring Program while Ye has participated in multiple IOP programs that facilitate teaching and tutoring.
Medha B. Gargeya ’14 said that while both tickets were qualified and highlighted the importance of service, one ticket stood out, though she declined to state which ticket received her vote.
“Some people hide behind broad words like community and service,” Gargeya said. “I looked for the ticket that delineated ideas the clearest.”
IOP member Benjamin S. Raderstorf ’14 said that the pair’s experience falls in line with the IOP’s mission.
“If the IOP isn’t including some form of service in everything that it does, then it’s not fully accomplishing what it should be,” Raderstorf said.
Ye said she envisions cross-program service initiatives, such as bringing writers from the Harvard Political Review together with teachers from the Civics Program to hold journalism workshops.
Solnet said that fusing service and politics should be a priority.
“All the programs in the IOP should have some component that teaches students about direct service and the nuts and bolts of politics generally,” Solnet said.
—Staff writer Caroline M. McKay can be reached at email@example.com.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction.
CORRECTION: NOV. 16, 2011
The Nov. 14 article "IOP Elects New Leaders" incorrectly stated that Julia B. Konrad '13 was the chair of the Institute of Politics Civics Tutoring Program. She was, in fact, chair of its Citizenship Tutoring Program.