Michelle L. Kim ’18 is nostalgic for freshman year.
The senior isn’t eager to go back to the days of getting lost on campus or lugging laundry across Harvard Yard. Instead, she said she’s hoping to restore the sense of community she experienced as a freshman by assuming the role of senior class marshal.
Kim is one of 36 seniors who announced their candidacy for the position last week. Over the weekend, candidates began reaching out to their peers by launching Facebook events and reconnecting with old acquaintances. First, second, and program marshals will be selected this week through two rounds of elections, the first of which begins Monday.
The Senior Class Committee operates with the goal of “connecting members of the Class of 2018 to each other” and “modeling and facilitating communication, participation, volunteerism, and philanthropy among classmates,” according to the Harvard Alumni Association, through which the Committee is run. Class marshals and other members of the Committee plan class events and arrange the Senior Gift, among other activities.
Many of this year’s candidates say they are running for marshal to restore a sense of camaraderie that they feel has been missing since freshman year.
This disconnect was especially apparent to Kim, who upon returning to campus after studying abroad in Amsterdam last spring, said she felt like a first-year student again but missed the enthusiasm for new people and experiences that she encountered in the Yard.
“My platform is essentially having a freshman mentality,” Kim said.
Camille N’Diaye-Muller ’18 said she would also like to see members of her class become better acquainted.
“I want to connect people, who because of life, interests, and different concentrations haven’t had a chance to meet,” she said.
Another candidate, Charles S. Krumholz ’18, said recent events have played a role in the degradation of a sense of community. Citing “an extremely polarizing political climate,” and “many different policies that have been controversial across campus and the wider world,” he said he believes Harvard has become a divided place.
“The class of 2018 has to realize our identity as one class that should be united and respect each other,” Krumholz said.
While many candidates have been brainstorming fun activities for the class, Sara M. Surani ’18 has developed a three-tier strategy to bring seniors together.
“I want to focus on the community level, the interpersonal level, and the personal level,” Surani said.
If elected, she said she plans to look beyond the Committee’s typical class-wide events by arranging several smaller events events like self-reflection workshops.
Though voting for class marshals begins Monday, many candidates said they weren’t overly stressed by campaigning.
N’Diaye-Muller said she’s taking a “laissez-faire” approach to campaigning, as she believes most people already know who they’ll be voting for.
Michael J. Sanky ’18 also plans on taking it easy with an occasional Facebook post and word-of-mouth outreach.
“Campaign efforts aren’t necessarily a representation of how much effort that candidate [would] put into the actual senior programming,” he said.
The first and second marshal positions will be filled by the two candidates that receive the most votes, with the next six top candidates appointed as program marshals. Results of the election will be released on Friday.
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