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Harvard Graduate Council Ushers in 7 New Chairs in Monday Vote

The Harvard Graduate Council — pictured at its first meeting last week — held its fall elections Monday night.
The Harvard Graduate Council — pictured at its first meeting last week — held its fall elections Monday night. By Pei Chao Zhuo
By Isabella B. Cho, Crimson Staff Writer

The Harvard Graduate Council held a vote for seven chair positions Monday evening, finalizing its slate of executive leadership for the 2021-22 academic year.

The Council holds two cycles of elections in the spring and fall, respectively. Ten chair positions, as well as the president and vice president, comprise the 12-member executive board.

Chair positions are grouped in “functional pairs” that allow for increased inter-board collaboration, per HGC Vice President Himaja Nagireddy.

“We have a fall election so people — even if they’re new to Harvard, if they’re new to student government — can still participate in a meaningful way at HGC,” she said.

“That’s why we have functional pairs,” Nagireddy added. “For each chair position that we nominate in the spring, we have a chair position that we nominate in the fall, and they work together.”

Carlos A. Gonzalez Sierra, a joint-degree student at the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School, said he hopes to help clarify constitutional procedures that guide Council meetings in his new role as chair of governance.

“The Chair of Governance is responsible for ensuring the constitution is most up to date, and that there are no inconsistencies, that there are no ambiguities and defects that could cause potential conflicts between the different schools,” he said.

“After having reviewed the constitution, I noticed there are things that I would like to help the Council resolve — that’s what I’m going to be working on the most,” he added.

Harvard Graduate School of Education student Kathleen Dillon, who will serve as this year’s chair of finance, said she looks forward to leveraging the Council’s budget to foster fellowship amongst students and faculty.

“What I’m most excited about is being able to build events in the community — that means with students, faculty,” she said. “So making the most of the budget that we have, and just creating great opportunities.”

Nagireddy said she is energized to collaborate with the incoming board to gauge student opinions on urgent issues, and more proactively anticipate their needs.

“[HGC President] Peter [Choi] and I really want to make sure that we’re being inclusive of everyone’s ideas, and through our executive board, also getting a pulse on what students’ opinions and thoughts are on really important issues — and how we as a board can be more responsible to that, and more proactive with anticipating student needs,” she said.

“The expertise of this board and the interests of this board — the new one that we’re electing tonight — is a great example of how we’re going to be moving forward,” Nagireddy added.

Other chair positions elected Monday evening include Law School student Janet Park as Chair of Operations, Graduate School of Education student Shankar Ravi as Chair of Student Groups, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences student Landon A. Fortenberry as Chair of Community Engagement, Graduate School of Education student Max Espinoza as chair of Policy, and Extension School student Troy McDonald as Chair of Communications.

—Staff writer Isabella B. Cho can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @izbcho.

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Harvard Law SchoolHarvard Kennedy SchoolGrad School of EducationHarvard Graduate Council

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