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Undergrads Overwhelmingly Back Shopping Week Referendum, Elect 48 to Undergraduate Council

Students rally in support of shopping week on Sept. 14, the first day of voting on an Undergraduate Council referendum in support of the tradition.
Students rally in support of shopping week on Sept. 14, the first day of voting on an Undergraduate Council referendum in support of the tradition. By Thomas Maisonneuve
By Mayesha R. Soshi and Lucas J. Walsh, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard College students voted overwhelmingly in favor of a referendum on shopping week and elected 48 students to the Undergraduate Council with high voter turnout, the UC Election Commission announced Friday afternoon.

Out of a total of 3,167 votes on a referendum to “save shopping week,” 96.46 percent of students voted in favor, with the remaining 3.54 percent voting against it. The referendum comes as more than 1,300 people have signed a petition urging Harvard to restore the tradition after three semesters of virtual early course registration, while an FAS panel also voted this week on a proposal to eliminate spring 2022 shopping week over public health concerns.

FAS spokesperson Rachael Dane declined to comment on the referendum. She wrote in an emailed statement, however, that the UC’s characterization of the FAS panel’s shopping week vote as a “faculty” vote is incorrect.

“First, it is important to know that students were part of the discussion and part of the vote by the EPC. The UC’s characterization of this as a faculty vote is incorrect,” Dane said. “Second, preparing for course registration takes roughly four months. The vote and action is needed now to plan.”

In addition to the referendum, students also cast votes for their respective UC representatives, filling 48 seats on the 40th Council. The UC added three seats this year with the addition of the fifth freshmen yard, Maple Yard, to accommodate the largest freshman class in College history.

This year's election saw high voter participation; about twice as many students voted this year compared to last year, when the UC's election saw just over 1,500 students cast ballots — roughly a quarter of the student body.

A total of 117 undergraduates ran for election, marking an increase from last year’s 88 candidates. Freshmen made up more than half of the candidates at 75 while 42 upperclassmen entered the race, matching trends from previous years.

Freshmen also had the highest voter turnout, with roughly 42 percent of all votes coming from the freshman class and roughly 58 percent coming from the three other classes. Historically, freshmen have always had the highest turnout rate in UC elections.

Elm Yard had the most competitive election this year with 20 students running for three seats, followed by Crimson Yard’s 19 candidates.

Eliot, Cabot, Winthrop, and Lowell Houses had the least competitive elections; candidates from those Houses ran in uncontested elections.

The full list of newly elected representatives is as follows:

Adams House

Tarina Ahuja

Joy Lin

Esther Xiang

Cabot House

Damien Chang

Pallas Chou

Currier House

Niel Katzman

Jack Swanson

Jaron Zhou

Dudley Community

Baptiste Gibrat

Dunster House

Shikoh Hirabayashi

Samuel Taylor

Juan Venancio

Eliot House

Giulia Mazzarelli

Arthur Palelogos

Ben Weatherwax

Kirkland House

Sheila De La Cruz

Elijah Suh

Jac Tubbs

Leverett House

Matthew Mansour

Anant Rajan

Sam (Sam'aan) Saba

Lowell House

Lylena Estabine

Zachary Lech

Mather House

Yousuf Bakshi

Shruthi Kumar

Desiree Rickett

Pforzheimer House

Lisa Matthew

Shreya Nair

Jane Oh

Quincy House

Daniella Berrospi

Dina Kobeissi

Winthrop House

Travis Allen Johnson

Kimani Panthier

Oak Yard

Laila Nasher

Arjun Purohit

Namirah Quadir

Crimson Yard

Dara Adamolekun

​Owen Ebose

Ethan Kelly

Elm Yard

Matthew Allana

Jeremy Ng

Kevin Wu

Ivy Yard

Sebastian Ramírez Fuene

Amina Salahou

Michael Zhao

Maple Yard

John Cooke

Suhanee Mitragotri

Jada Pierre

—Staff writer Lucas J. Walsh can be reached at lucas.walsh@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer Mayesha R. Soshi can be reached at mayesha.soshi@thecrimson.com.

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CollegeUndergraduate CouncilHouse LifeStudent GroupsFAS AdministrationFront FeatureFront Middle Featureshopping week