Modi & Wyman take UA top spots in landslide win
Vrajesh Y. Modi ’11 and Samantha “Sammi” G. Wyman ’11 were elected as Undergraduate Association President and Vice President, receiving over 80 percent of votes in the spring election.
Roughly 40 percent of undergraduates — 1,686 students — voted. The results of the election, which included both electronic votes and results from paper ballots, were announced at 2 p.m. on Saturday March 20 by the UA Election Commissioner.
“I wasn’t expecting [to see] that much of a landslide,” Wyman said. “I was really excited to see how many people supported us.”
Modi said that the pair’s door-to-door campaigning — trying to reach out to as many people as possible — contributed to their success.
Modi and Wyman, who ran under the slogan “we do things,” will start serving their terms at the beginning of next school year in September 2010.
Highlights from their platform include improving freshman advising with an optional mentoring system, creating a system for student to add and drop classes online, and improving SafeRide.
Both running mates have been involved in the UA as dorm senators in previous years. They have been involved with several high-profile UA projects such as the Star Market shuttle, the produce stand, putting a PDF version of the Add/Drop form online, and the soon-to-be installed SafeRide monitor outside the Student Center.
Modi is an East Campus resident who is double majoring in Course 2 and 15. Wyman is majoring in Course 10 and lives in Burton-Conner.
To find out more information regarding the UA Election results, including the results of class council positions, visit http://web.mit.edu/elections/Spring10/results.shtml.
UA Exec meetings to be held in dorms
Modi said improving communication between the UA and the larger student body will be a priority. “The UA’s job is to represent all the students, with even more emphasis on outreach. We make sure that people are informed and people are incorporated into any recommendations,” he said.
“The main centerpiece” of the pair’s plan will be to hold UA Executive Board meetings in dorms.
Modi and Wyman plan to rotate UA executive meetings among dorms and the student center. “We hope that having exec meetings in dorms will have a big impact on the meeting’s focus: the way the meetings are run and the level of feedback,” he said.
Also “we want to make sure that any decisions we make are data driven — that’s something that’s a feature of MIT anyway,” Modi said.
Plans for freshman advising and online Add/Drop forms move forward
Among the projects proposed in their running platform, “improving freshman advising is what we’re the most excited about,” Modi said.
The pair hopes to implement a new, optional freshman advising system in which students are matched with a graduate student, faculty, or alumni who can give students more of a career guidance.
“In the current system, it’s really hard to achieve both someone who is both knowledgeable in advising classes and can provide a mentor-like role in the same person,” Wyman said. “Basically we want to improve functions for the advising program—having someone who serves sort of a mentorship role, helping freshman acclimate to MIT life and helping them look forward to future career fields.”
“The Task Force planning report suggested a freshman advising center where there will be a lot of staff to advise students on classes, which we think is really good,” but “some staff members may be great with classes, but what they’ve been involved in since college might not be the most relevant for advising students in career related tasks,” she said.
To get this project off the ground, Wyman said she has already spoken with the alumni association and Julie B. Norman, director of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming and senior associate dean of the Department of Undergraduate Education. Wyman plans to speak with Dean for Undergraduate Education Daniel E. Hastings PhD ’80 in the next couple of weeks to further develop this idea.
To move forward another major idea — putting the Add/Drop process online — Wyman said that she has already begun talking with the registrar’s office.
UA currently interviewing for committee positions
“We strongly encourage everyone to get involved with the UA,” Modi said. “There are a lot of things going on, a lot of rewarding projects that could shape the future of MIT.”
According to an e-mail sent out to undergraduates last Sunday, students can now apply to run for their dorm senate seats or positions as various committee chairs, as one of the major ways to become more involved.
“People who are part of a committee work on specific issues around campus, such as dining or education policy,” said Wyman.
According to Wyman, each committee has a chair and vice chair with positions, and these positions deal more broadly with different areas and can have a large role in advocacy. “It’s a way to choose issues that mean a lot to you,” she said.
In addition to running for a committee position, Wyman said that students can run for a senate seat in their dorm or give more feedback at the meetings in dorms.
For more information on executive and committee positions available, see http://ua.mit.edu/exec/positions and http://ua.mit.edu/committees.