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Undergraduate Council presidential candidate Michael C. George ’14 is not shy about comparing himself to another successful presidential hopeful.
According to the biography section of his campaign website, “As a biracial Hawaiian who has lived in a Muslim country, and whose father works in Kenya, Michael will provide a copy of his birth certificate upon request.”
Like his U.S. presidential counterpart in the weeks leading up to Election Day, George and running mate Nicole E. Granath ’15 say they have come to eat, sleep, and breathe this election.
Both say they have devoted their lives to this campaign in the last few weeks, although George concedes that he sleeps about 4 hours per night, and “sometimes you still have to eat and write essays.”
Despite the grind, George says he has enjoyed the process of campaigning in the last week.
“Living it has been a thrilling experience,” he says.
George and Granath, who are campaigning under the name G&G for UC, are running on a platform of bringing students together around campus-wide issues.
The duo says their diverse backgrounds lend their campaign both the know-how and the vision to effectively lead the council. While George has served as UC secretary and the chair of the Student Life Committee, Granath—a sophomore and the co-coordinator of the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition—is not a UC member.
“This ticket is out of the ordinary,” George says. “Usually it’s two UC insiders on the Executive Board and two juniors.”
THE COUNCIL VETERAN
George, a government concentrator in Quincy House and a Crimson news writer, was elected to the Undergraduate Council Executive Board as a freshman.
He says his long-term experience—he is the only current committee chairperson running—has allowed him to “see the inner workings of the Council” and taught him what does and does not work.
As a freshman, George worked on then-president Senan Ebrahim’s proposal for a Forum for Change, an initiative to bring together students, faculty, and administrators to discuss campus issues that never got off the ground.
“As the only chairperson running, I’ve had to deal with these issues on the ground level,” he says.
Since then, George has successfully pushed several initiatives through the council.
“He’s been in charge of pretty much every UC initiative that the student body has heard about,” said Raul P. Quintana ’14, the campaign’s deputy campaign manager and a Crimson editorial writer. “The shuttle survey, extended hours for Lamont—everything that’s actually affecting us as students, he’s worked on.”
Though George currently serves as the chair of the Student Life Committee, his roommate Kyle E. Rawding ’14 says George believes that the work of the UC should not stop at student life issues.
“Compared to other candidates, he has visions for the UC that are much bigger,” Rawding said. “He has a lot of plans to try to expand the ambition of the UC.”
According to Quintana, “That’s where Nicole comes in.”
Both members of the G&G ticket say that Granath, an engineering concentrator in Currier House and a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority, would bring a new perspective to the UC.
Granath serves as the co-coordinator of the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition, an advocacy group that pushes Harvard to take environmental, labor, and other social concerns into account in the management of its endowment.
So far, over 35 Harvard student organizations have endorsed the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition.
“Before they started, no one cared about how Harvard managed its $32 billion endowment,” George says.
Through her work with the Coalition, Granath has met with University President Drew G. Faust twice—more times than George in his three years on the council.
“She has more advocacy experience than anyone else,” Quintana says. “She has experience engaging the broad community as a whole.”
This ability to mobilize and engage students as well as administrators makes Granath an invaluable running mate, according to George.
“The heart of our campaign is about uniting students behind big issues,” Granath says.
G&G FOR UC
The George and Granath team plan to use their diverse backgrounds and experiences to focus on university governance, student life, and finance.
George and Granath’s platform focuses on their hopes to “rebuild the UC from the ground up” through initiatives including overhauling Harvard’s social spaces, standardizing the alcohol policy, reforming campus-wide events, and amending the UC constitution to improve the procedure for funding student groups.
“I think our mindset is that obviously a lot of these issues are going to be tackled on a long-term basis, but its our responsibility to start those conversations and start that ball rolling so our successors will have that base off of which to build,” Granath says.
Friends and campaign staff say that George and Granath’s enthusiasm and energy would help make these larger goals a reality.
“When he’s passionate about something, he doesn’t stop until he sees what he wants, and I think that’s something that the UC needs,” says George’s friend Kefhira F. Pintos ’14.
George and Granath say they are excited to put that passion into practice.
“This is our University, and it’s our experience,” Granath says. “So it’s what we make of it and the legacy that we want to leave here on campus.”
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