Candidates announced for 2020 Class Council

The Undergraduate Association has formally announced the Class of 2020 class council candidates, and campaigns are now underway. Open positions are class president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, publicity chair, and social chair.

An email to the Class of 2020 from the Undergraduate Association establishes the class council as responsible for “promoting class unity, organizing class social events, and conducting any other business of the class.”

Candidates began the process of collecting signatures last Monday. A minimum of 125 signatures from their fellow freshmen are necessary to run.

“At first I thought getting all the signatures would be tedious and laborious, but now that I’ve started doing it, it’s actually really nice to be able to meet people and tell people about your platform,” treasury candidate Sara Wilson ’20 said, having already collected forty-three signatures in the previous two hours.

Wilson is also a staff member in The Tech’s Production department.

After collecting the requisite number of signatures, validated candidates officially began campaigning this Monday at 5 p.m. Candidates have taken a variety of approaches to publicize their platforms.

Some, like Wilson and Stella Yang ’20, candidate for secretary, have used sidewalk chalk in high-traffic areas.

Presidential candidate Nacho Nwana ’20 and his associated VP candidate Mateo Correa ’20 have run a social media based campaign, scheduling many events over Facebook to meet voters.

Limited to $210 in total spending, the campaigns are monitored by the commission.

Other rules governing campaigning include restrictions on postering (based on guidelines set by the Association of Student Activities), excessive emailing, and the use of chalk on non-horizontal surfaces.

The UA election code, available at, sets out many more guidelines for the election process. In the case that a write-in candidate wins the election and cannot prove their undergrad status, as would be the case for Batman, a popular write-in, the official candidate receiving the second-most votes shall be declared the winner.

This year, the UA election commission also planned for physical polls to be set up on election day in the case that the website is not ready for election week. In an email sent out to the Class of 2020 two weeks ago, the commission mentioned that they are “renewing the website so it can be used during voting.”

In the case of a physical election day, they would “check people’s 2020 ID as they enter the voting area to ensure a fair process.” Plans were also made for absentee ballots to be made available to give everyone a fair vote.

“They’re optimistic that the online voting site will be on and working,” presidential candidate Kevin Petrovic ’20 said. “That being said, I think there’s still discussion about a back-up walk-in polling option. And I think that presents an interesting thing for the candidates as well because it’s quite a different campaign strategy for the walk-in voting as opposed to online voting.”

Presidential candidate Nacho Nwana ’20 spoke more about the advantages and disadvantages to physical polling.

“If it’s online, you’ll expect a better turnout because it’s a simple click. But physical voting requires you actually make the effort to go vote, which means that, to some extent, you’re feeling strongly about,” Nwana said in an interview with The Tech on Tuesday evening.

The four official presidential candidates for the class of 2020 are Amir Farhat, Ciara R. Mulcahy, Nacho U. Nwana, and Kevin Petrovic. Mulcahy, Nwana and Petrovic are running in close cooperation with VP candidates Kate Hunter, Mateo Correa and Loewen Cavill, respectively. Voters, however, are not limited to choosing pre-established pairs.

The Tech contacted all four presidential candidates about their campaigns, and interviewed Nwana, Petrovic, and Mulcahy. Farhat declined to interview, citing bad experiences he’s had with newspapers in the past.

Kevin Petrovic

Kevin Petrovic, Burton Conner resident and Course 15 prospective, seeks to unify the class and promote interaction as class president. Though he originally hails from Princeton, NJ, Petrovic has lived in 5 states, having resided most recently in San Francisco, CA. In his spare time, he shoots for the MIT rifle team, enjoys skiing, swimming, and woodworking, and runs his own small businesses. His favorite class so far is 3.091.

The Tech: What is your quest?

Kevin Petrovic: My quest is to lead the Class of 2020 onto great things as president of the class council.

The Tech: What is your favorite color?

Petrovic: Yellow.

The Tech: How do you like this weather?

Petrovic: I think I’ve been spoiled by San Francisco. San Francisco is so mild and consistent, and it’s great. I do like snow and some kind of variety in the weather. You know, I’ll complain about it with everyone else when it gets cold, but I actually do really like the snow.

The Tech: How has campaigning been so far?

Petrovic: We’ve started gathering signatures, going around and talking to people, telling them that we’re running. But campaigning starts, I think, in full force Monday evening.

It’s been really good [so far]. We’re getting a lot of feedback and ideas from people. And we’re really taking the time to explain to people how class council works, what the goal of it is, and how all those organizational structures work. I think a lot of freshmen have kind of heard of these things, but they don’t really know how it fits together with UA and DormCon.

The Tech: Tell me more about your platform.

Petrovic: I think the goal of class council to unify the class. Our platform — I’m running with Loewen Cavill — our thought and idea is that meeting people in the class is almost more important that the classes themselves, establishing those connections. And even not just within MIT but with other colleges in the Boston Area. Our goal, if we’re elected, is to do a lot of programs and a lot of events where you can meet people outside your floor, your specific classes, your sports team.

We want to really bring different sides of campus together, so you have a chance to meet some of these really talented and smart people who you might start a company with at some point. They might help you get a job, or they might just be your really good friend for life. I think that’s such a good part of the college experience, otherwise you could do all the classes online. Meeting with people is so so important.

The Tech: So you are running as a ticket?

Petrovic: We can’t officially consider ourselves as a ticket because we can’t make people vote for the two of us jointly. But all of our campaigning has been around why we can work well together and run an effective council.

The Tech: Have you considered what would happen if you ended up with a different VP?

Petrovic: For sure. Look, everyone at MIT is super talented, and people who are running and taking the time and someone who does win obviously is very committed also to the council as well. So I think it will work out either way, but Loewen and I share a lot of ideas. I think we work really well together, and I think we’d be in a really good position to run effectively.

The Tech: What is your motivation for running?

Petrovic: One of the reasons why I really wanted to run is because I think my time investment just multiplies so much. Like I can spend this many hours a week on the council, but so many people are going to get such a big benefit out of what we as a council do.

The Tech: What are some of your qualifications?

Petrovic: I’ve spoken to Liana, the Senior President; I’ve spoken to Trevor, the Sophomore President; and a couple other people on the council as well, just to understand really what it’s like, what the responsibilities are. I’ve done a lot of work that way to get advice from people. That’s a really good strategy to learn what works and what doesn’t.

I think my business-running experience from before will be really helpful and will allow us to run a really effective council. I did a nonprofit where we raised money to build wells in remote Indian villages, started in 8th grade and went through high school. Actually, post-high school, I started this startup with my friend. I’ve actually been out of high school for a while, running this business. So we had this idea where we would basically bring car-sharing to the airport, meaning that we’d allow you when you travel to park your car with us.

I really love starting stuff and going through the process of setting it up and getting it rolling. It’s a ton of fun! There’s always something new; there’s always new challenges; it’s always exciting.

The Tech: What do you consider as the role of Class Council?

Petrovic: I think the objective is to promote class unity. Giving people the opportunities to get to know other people in the class and feel proud of being part of the MIT class of 2020 and address issues that are relevant to only the class of 2020. If there are issues that affect the whole student body, that’s a UA issue. But issues that are 2020 specific are in the purview of class council.

The Tech: Do you have ideas for things you’d do as president?

Petrovic: The one caveat I’ll add is that I’m actually not sure how large the budget is for class council.

But I can go and offer concrete suggestions that I know we can afford with our budget. Some things that I think would be really cool are movie nights, with free or discounted admission. Field days where you’re working with a team of people and get to know them really well. I think there’s an opportunity for cross-college mixers between MIT and the many many colleges within two miles of here. Class apparel is another big one that the council does.

I think people made a lot of really good friends during the Freshman Pre-Orientation Programs. I certainly did in the Freshman Leadership Program FPOP. So I think changing the environment that you’re in is a huge thing.

Nwanacho Nwana

Nwanacho Nwana, Baker House resident and Course 15 prospective, strives to give everyone a voice in student government. Originally from Nigeria, Nwana seeks to use his education to give back to his community. Outside of classes, Nwana plays for the MIT Varsity Basketball team. He also recently submitted an application for the MIT100k entrepreneurship competition pitch contest.

The Tech: What is your name?

Nwanacho Nwana: So my full name is Nwanacho Nwana, but people usually have trouble pronouncing it. So I just by “Nacho.” It seems to catch on, so that’s why I go with it.

The Tech: What is your quest?

Nwana: My quest at MIT? I want to become successful enough that I can go back to Nigeria and make a difference. Throughout my high school years, I’ve become very in touch with my culture, and I’ve seen Nigeria really fall apart. So I feel like I’m in a good place of privilege where I can go back and make a different, but that would require being pretty successful initially. So that’s kind of my quest right now.

The Tech: What is your favorite color?

Nwana: Favorite color would have to be light green.

The Tech: What has been your approach to campaigning so far?

Nwana: So we’re pretty much trying to meet people, but I think we’re trying to do more than that. We’re trying to have events where we’re interacting with the people, and they get to know us on a more-than-surface basis. So I think that that will allow them to really see our personality, not just through our platform or just a handshake. We’re really getting to interact with them in pretty fun events too. It’s definitely a time commitment. But I think we’re having a lot of fun with it, and that makes it worth it.

The Tech: What motivates you to run for office?

Nwana: I think just meeting everybody. I want to know people in the grade. And I was talking to Mateo the other day and saying, even if we lose, just the whole week of meeting everybody, I think that’s going to be something I’ll hold onto throughout MIT regardless of the outcome.

The Tech: Do you have any comments about the time commitment of being president?

Nwana: I think many people see that it’s gonna be a time commitment, and they weigh the cost versus benefit, and they see that it’s not worth it. For me, it’s definitely going to be a time commitment. I’m also playing a varsity sport. I also just sent in an application for MIT100k. But like I said in my platform, when I’m passionate about something, I’m willing to make those sacrifices. And it’s going to be some late nights, but because I love it, it’s going to make it.

The Tech: What is your experience with student government?

Nwana: I actually did not run for president or vice-president at my high school because I didn’t like the way politics were run at my high school. But I think the people at MIT are so different, like they view things so differently, that I think my persona can fit well into leading our grade identity. But I did do leadership. I was president of the environmental club; I was chair of the diversity club. I like to lead in things where I feel like I can make an impact, and things that I really enjoy. And just through CPW and orientation, I feel like I really enjoy the kids in our grade. And I think it’ll be great to lead them and make this year as great as possible.

The Tech: Tell me about your platform. What sort of changes would you like to make at MIT?

Nwana: It’s tough to say what changes I would make, since we’ve only been here for a few weeks, but I have some ideas of what I would like to see. My main thing is unity. When you come to college, everybody’s coming from different places, different backgrounds, and I want us to, as much as possible, I want us to come together. And I think that could be achieved through grade-wide activities, whether it be like a field day, or even community service events where we go to habitat for humanity and build houses with each other. Those are the type of events that bring us together, and we’re also achieving something beneficial.

I also want to give everyone a voice. I want to be an accessible person, to be a president for the people. So if somebody were to call me or text me with any concerns with what’s going on in the grade, and didn’t feel comfortable themselves saying something about it, then I want to be an advocate for everybody.

So those are the two major things. And of course, if I get the position, as I go, I’ll learn what I have the power to do, and also listen to other people, but those are the main tenets of what I’m trying to do.

The Tech: What do you consider the role of the Class Council?

Nwana: So from what I understand, the freshman class president pretty much facilitates the meetings with the council. And we’re given some sort of budget. We’re pretty much called upon to schedule events for the grade. That’s the main thing. Events can vary from like a formal to any type of event that the group decides to throw. That’s our responsibility. And it’s really a team effort, from president to vice-president to treasurer to secretary, everyone has a really important job. And that’s also what I like about this position. I’m going to have a lot of help from a lot of very talented people. I’ve seen the other people running, even the other presidential, are all great people. So I’m really excited to be a part of the whole process.

The Tech: Tell me about your associated VP candidate Mateo Correa.

Nwana: I did a summer program with Mateo, and I can say that he’s become like a brother to me. We’ve become really close, and we can depend on each other for so much different stuff. He was really the only guy I could choose for this job.

The Tech: Have you given any thought to what happens if you get a different VP?

Nwana: I’m just thinking positive thoughts right now. There’s so much to think about with organizing the campaign that I haven’t even thought about what would happen.

The Tech: How has campaigning been so far?

Nwana: The first event, since we could only start campaigning at 5 p.m. yesterday, trying to promote an event at 9 p.m. was kind of difficult. We’re about to go and talk to people at Maseeh, and we have cookies here. So we expect that to go pretty well. We have more events coming through the week that people are looking forward to. So I’m feeling very confident about this campaign.

Ciara Mulcahy

Ciara Mulcahy, Baker resident and Course 3 prospective, hails from Roanoke, VA. Her campaign seeks to draw ideas from throughout the MIT class of 2020 and maintain a welcoming and collaborative culture. Ciara currently rows for the MIT Openweight Crew team. In her spare time, she enjoys art and writing. Ciara is a member of the No. 6 co-ed fraternity. Her favorite class is The Challenges of World Poverty.

The Tech: What is your quest?

Ciara Mulcahy: To graduate from MIT.

The Tech: What is your favorite color?

Mulcahy: Blue! Light blue, like the sky.

The Tech: What has been your approach to campaigning so far?

Mulcahy: So really the approach that Kate Hunter and I have taken is really emphasizing the collaborative aspects that really make MIT stand out as an establishment. So we’re planning event such as a designated pajama day this coming Friday. And I’m also distributing a Google form in which our classmates can submit their concerns or goals for this upcoming year, so that, regardless of who is elected, we can provide that information to the council. So really, the emphasis of our campaign is on our classmates rather than ourselves.

The Tech: Do you have any comments on the time commitment of being President?

Mulcahy: I’ve heard that it is a time commitment, but I believe it’s a really worthwhile investment of our time here, having an impact on the lives of our fellow classmates.

The Tech: Is that what motivates you to run for office?

Mulcahy: My motivation for running for president is the gratitude that I feel for having found such a place. MIT students are some of the busiest and most hardworking people in the world, but they’ll still take the time to get to know each other, to share experiences, and really find joy in the process of being a student here.

The Tech: Have you had experience with student government in the past?

Mulcahy: So I don’t really have formal, titular leadership former roles in student government. However, through high school, I was the captain of my athletic teams — cross country, swimming, and tennis. And then last year, I founded an inner city writing program for middle school students in which I led a team of forty high school students to teach journalistic writing in inner city middle schools.

The Tech: Tell me about your platform. What sort of changes would you make at MIT?

Mulcahy: So, similar to our campaign style, our platform looks outward in being very perceptive to the ideas presented by our fellow classmates, rather than considering that we can conceive the best ideas. It really draws from the constituency, I guess, from the aspects our classmates value. So that’s the role of the Google form, at this point, in having an online means to have those conversations that we’ve already been having throughout the student body.

The Tech: What do you consider to be the role of student council?

Mulcahy: To reflect the priorities and goals of the class at MIT.

So the Undergraduate Association plans events and formalizes initiatives to improve the experience outside the classroom that we all share at mit. So that can vary year to year based on what the student body needs and how responsive the class council is the those requests.

The Tech: Do you have any concrete ideas for achieving that?

Mulcahy: Not really. I mean, a few things have come up. People really value their dorm culture, but also being able to feel comfortable reaching out beyond those initially established friend groups and having communion with all of MIT. And really appreciating the sentiment of the beginning of our time here, that anyone could become friends with anyone just because we are classmates. And I feel like that’s the way it should be maintained.

The Tech: Tell me about your affiliated VP.

Mulcahy: So Kate and I are running together because we agreed that running for Class Council is a process that could become very strategic and competitive, and we really didn’t feel like that reflected the values that set MIT apart. So we opted that together, we could do campaign in a way that reflects advantage that MIT has of being such a collaborative, welcome culture.

The Tech: Have you thought about what would happen if you end up with a different VP?

Mulcahy: I found I’m pretty good at working with anyone and everyone, especially MIT students. I haven’t found a classmate yet that I cannot work with, and that has been a blessing for me here.

The Tech: Tell me more about what you have planned for the campaign.

Mulcahy: Well there is Pajama Day. Formally called Pajammin Friday. Because it has be a rough few weeks for myself and many other members of our class. So in order to celebrate this upcoming long weekend, we feel that giving an opportunity for the entire class to celebrate together and wear the most comfortable options to class and embrace having made it to Friday together would be most appropriate for what we need at this point.

The Tech: Would that be something you’d do every Friday?

Mulcahy: Now that’s up to the class itself. I would not be opposed to it though!