Hoping to strengthen ties with local community service programs, Shaw Natsui ’05-’06 won an uncontested race for the presidency of the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) last night.
“I want to really strengthen the interactions with our community partners,” said Natsui, who has held PBHA office before and has directed the group’s Summer Urban Program, “everyone from the participants in our programs to our adult ESL students to children’s parents, as well as community organization leaders and other activists.”
Natsui will become the official leader of PBHA in the middle of January, along with new vice president Laura Jean Ridge ’06, who also ran uncontested.
Natsui says he sees an important campus-wide role for PBHA, the College’s largest student organization, with a $1.6-million budget and around 1,800 student members.
“Harvard associates community service with PBHA, and this brings a lot of responsibility,” he said.
He added that he would try to improve internal PBHA organization, hoping to mend the current disconnect often felt among the organization’s numerous community service programs.
Natsui will replace outgoing President Kristin M. Garcia ’05. Ridge, who currently serves as the group’s student development chair, will replace Vice President Sonya E. Kpaduwa ’05.
During the first few months of Garcia’s tenure at the beginning of 2004, PBHA saw the post of assistant dean for public service abolished during the College restructuring. According to Garcia, her tenure saw the group become more community-based as it worked to register and mobilize voters for this month’s presidential election.
While the top two posts were filled without opposition, Garcia said a number of other positions were hotly contested in this year’s election.
“There was more interest in positions than there has been in years,” she said.
—Staff writer Faryl W. Ury can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.