Chris Elizondo, SEAS ’11, was elected Engineering Student Council president Monday night, beating out current secretary Heidi Ahmed, SEAS ’11, his only opponent. Elizondo was previously the vice president for student life.
The ESC elections, unlike those for the Columbia College Student Council, are internal, meaning the current ESC board holds closed votes after the candidates present five-minute speeches and conduct a short question-and-answer session.
After Elizondo, the other victors were Ahmed for vice president of policy; Narayan Subramanian, SEAS ’13, for vice president of intergroup; Santosh Balachandar, SEAS ’12, for vice president of student life; and Carla Williams, SEAS ’11, for secretary.
“I’m here to win,” Elizondo assured the council in his speech. He said that although he has served mainly in student life, “That doesn’t mean I’m a one-trick pony.”
After Ahmed lost the presidential race, she earned a second chance to be on the executive board. Zak Accuardi, SEAS ’11, was running unopposed for vice president of policy, but withdrew his name from consideration close to midnight because he believed that “Heidi is the best person for this position.” Losing presidential candidates are permitted to run for vice presidential positions, and after Ahmed delivered a second speech, the ESC voted her in.
“I’m about to cry,” she said to Accuardi before hugging him. She thanked Accuardi for being a “really amazing and qualified candidate for the position.”
Ahmed said afterward that she was surprised by Accuardi’s move. The two had worked together previously on the policy committee.
“I realize that it takes a really great person to step down,” Ahmed said. “He could have done a great job as well.”
Though Ahmed did not originally run for the vice president of policy position, she said she wants to make sure that ESC initiatives are based on student interest.
Subramanian prevailed over Jennifer Vettel, SEAS ’11, for vice president of intergroup. Subramanian quoted Dwight D. Eisenhower in his speech, saying, “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight—it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
“A vote for me is a vote for the fight in the dog,” he said.
Subramanian said the quote was meant to address the concern that, as a first-year, he is not old or experienced enough for the job. Subramanian said he hopes to enhance governing boards.
Balachandar won the position of vice president of student life uncontested.
“It’s definitely going to be a big responsibility, but it’s one that I’m ready for,” Balachandar said.
Williams, who beat out Mary Byers, SEAS ’13, for secretary, was the last of the candidates to speak, at 12:50 a.m.
“I am an immigrant who is going to work for you,” Williams said in her speech. Williams said she is not only a foreigner to the United States, but to ESC as well—she has never held a position on the council.
Williams also cited her organizational skills—micromanaging her various activities and nine-class course load, using tactics like color-coded notes with tables of contents.
“My room is like a library,” she said.
The races ended at around 1:30 a.m. when security gave a final warning.