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Since voting opened for the Undergraduate Council elections on Monday, the C.C. Gong ’15 and Sietse K. Goffard ’15 campaign has earned more endorsement from student groups than the other two tickets—Chika-Dike Nwokike ’15 and Una Kim ’15 and Samuel B. Clark ’15 and Gus A. Mayopoulous ’15—combined.
Gong and Goffard have garnered the endorsements of the Harvard Democrats, Harvard Republican Society, Queer Students and Allies, Latinas Unidas, The Crimson, Woodbridge International Society, Harvard Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Students Association, The Social Innovation Collaboration, and the Asian-American Society. Additionally, according to Gong, “93 percent of the UC supports our ticket.”
“We have gotten the endorsements of every student organization we’ve met with and heard back from, which means the other tickets haven’t gotten a single endorsement,” said Gong in an email to The Crimson.
However, the Clark-Mayopoulous ticket reported the endorsements of the Voice Actors Guild, Satire V, and On Harvard Time. Additionally, Nwokike and Kim have been endorsed by the Black Men’s Forum, the Association of Black Harvard Women, and the Korean Association, according to Nwokike.
In addition to gaining group endorsements, tickets have launched volunteer teams and Facebook campaigns to attract voters.
The Gong-Goffard ticket has built a team of 60 core members and more than 200 other volunteers to “get out the vote,” Gong said.
According to an internal document provided to The Crimson detailing campaign infrastructure, the team is composed of four campaign managers, various levels of advisors and strategists, directors of policy and communications, a creative team, two “hypemasters,” and specific coordinators for finance, web pages, and election rules.
The Nwokike and Kim ticket preferred to keep the size and structure of their campaign secret.
“We would like to keep all internal campaign intel within our campaign staffers only,” wrote Arthur A. Raiford ’15, a campaign volunteer, in an email to The Crimson.
“We don’t want to leak out too much information,” said Nwokike, echoing Raiford’s sentiments.
Mercedes N. Flowers ’16, a volunteer for the Clark-Mayopoulous ticket, speculated that there are “at least a dozen but probably more” students working for that campaign.
Taylor K. Phillips ’15, the Clark-Mayopoulous campaign manager, described their team as “an army...sort of like Dumbledore’s Army in Harry Potter” in an email to The Crimson.
Volunteers have spent much of their time putting posters up around campus, speaking to friends, and publicizing their candidates.
Ingrid Y. Li ’17, a Yard Captain for Gong-Goffard, said that she has been reaching out to fellow freshmen by knocking on doors. “I feel like it’s so worthwhile...I have a lot of faith in their ideas,” Li said.
Candidates and their volunteers are also working to create a strong online presence by sharing posts from campaign Facebook pages and developing personalized websites.
The Facebook page for Gong and Goffard has reached over 400 likes, while Mayopoulous and Clark’s page, subtitled “You Could Do Worse,” has surged to almost 800 likes. Nwokike and Kim do not have an official Facebook page, but both they and Gong and Goffard have constructed websites that showcase their platforms.
Even with the campaign teams’ strategic outreach efforts, some voters are still unsure of the importance of the UC election.
“As a freshman, I don’t feel like the UC has really made it clear to me why I should be engaged with the UC,” Colin A. Mark ’17 said. “This interview was the first time I found out there were platforms available to read.”
Joe C. Dechario ’14 was unsure of the candidates names, saying that, “The only people I know are the funny guys.”
Meanwhile, other students read the platforms and had mixed responses.
Javier F. Aranzales ’16 said that Clark and Mayopoulous stand out, but the Nwokike-Kim platform seemed “doable...like a checklist.”
Eli D. Lee ’17 had read the platforms and said they were not “substantively different” from each other but still plans to vote.
When asked if the UC has an impact, David G. Su ’14 said, “I’m sure they do. I personally don’t feel it...but I definitely know that they’re doing a lot.”
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