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Jonathan Berkowitz ’23-’24 and Spencer W. Glassman ’23-’24 are setting their campaign promises low — the pair say they are campaigning for Harvard Undergraduate Association co-presidents on a platform of realism.
Summarized by the pithy slogan of “FACT,” the pair want to prioritize financial aid, club funding, and transparency. Berkowitz and Glassman vow to post every HUA financial transaction online and increase the club funding budget.
“We’re trying to be sensible representatives of the students — make everything as easy as possible, as inclusive as possible, and do what we can do and do it well,” said Glassman, a Crimson Editorial editor.
As part of their platform, the duo say they will lobby the Harvard administration to expand financial aid to cover the $200 annual student activities fee. At the same time, the two would make the fee mandatory, increasing club funding by 30 percent, per their projections.
Berkowitz and Glassman said many of their initiatives can be done without cooperation from the Harvard administration, but that they plan on working with administrators when necessary.
“Our platform is not based on antagonizing the administration,” Berkowitz said.
“Like the website to post every single HUA transaction — I could create that in one hour,” Glassman added.
The pair say they first met at a Visitas brunch event in 2019.
“A while back,” Berkowitz remarked.
“Oh my goodness,” Glassman added.
Glassman, a junior from New Jersey concentrating in history, had a brief stint on the Undergraduate Council before it was dissolved in March 2022. He said he was frustrated by the bureaucracy he saw on the Undergraduate Council.
While Glassman supported the dissolution of the UC at the time, he did not run for HUA election the following year, citing the stress of the dissolution campaign.
“That was a very stressful period,” Glassman said. “A lot of people were really mean during that.”
Glassman also serves on the General Education Committee and is the treasurer of The Harvard Orthodox Minyan, an Orthodox synagogue at Harvard Hillel.
Berkowitz, a junior from New York concentrating in philosophy, has never served in Harvard student government.
“I pride myself on having no prior experience in Harvard elections,” he said.
Berkowitz, who recently joined the Harvard Philosophy Review, said the HUA presidency doesn’t require specialized skills, saying “there’s not so much that goes into being HUA president.”
“I don’t think it’s like HUA president has to be this crazy role that requires so much executive skills, or skills that aren’t just going to be present in your given Harvard students,” he said.
Both expressed concern over what they consider an inefficient and self-serving student government.
“We’re not people who are coming in from being UC insiders, HUA insiders, IOP insiders — there is clearly another goal, which is more sort of self-promotion as opposed to just strictly wanting to do what the students want,” Berkowitz said.
Glassman said that neither he nor Berkowitz are aspiring politicians.
The pair said they see the HUA presidency as an organizational role, adding that they would support changing the position’s name to coordinator if students supported the idea.
“We see ourselves as people who are coordinating what this organization has access to — namely the student activities fee money,” Glassman said.
The pair said they think they have created a platform of achievable goals. Berkowitz said they initially planned to campaign on bringing back shopping week, but the duo ultimately decided it wasn’t realistically possible.
“We’re trying not to make promises that we can’t keep,” he said.
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