USG vice president Josh Weinstein '09 won an overwhelming victory in the race for USG president, garnering more than 80 percent of the 2,500 votes cast in polling that ended yesterday at noon.
Weinstein follows the path of his predecessor, Rob Biederman '08, in springboarding from vice president to president despite campus-wide controversy.
Photos of Weinstein wearing black face-paint and dark clothing posted on ivygateblog.com, which covers Ivy League news, provoked concerns about whether voters would be concerned by the possible racial connotations of his costume.
"There are some people who seek to use race as a weapon to divide us," Weinstein said. But, he said, by "coming together, we will overcome the anonymous[ly submitted] pictures on IvyGate ... we will continue to overcome racism on campus."
As president, Weinstein intends to "focus on improving campus life, continuing Rob Biederman's strategy" and "partnering with student groups."
Weinstein received more than five times as many votes as his opponent, Sarah Langberg '09, garnering 2098 votes compared to Langberg's 419.
"The reason that I won with that margin wasn't really about, 'Do people like me? Do people like Sarah?' " Weinstein said. "The student body wants a USG that's more active in terms of campus life and in terms of campus policy issues."
"I think Sarah brought up a lot of good issues in her campaign, and I'm excited that we will have the opportunity to work together in the upcoming year," he said, referring to Langberg's current position as U-Council chair.
Langberg said she intends to continue pursuing the objectives she discussed during her campaign. "I hope to provide the student body and USG with a credible voice to administrators on the issues and policies that matter most to us all," she said. "I look forward to improved and expanded U-Council initiatives in the upcoming spring, and hope to get feedback about the projects that students would most like to see."
Some of Weinstein's presidential projects are already in the works, including a USG blog. "We're just finishing up the design," he said. "It should be up by the beginning of my term, if not before."
Weinstein also hopes to create a listserv system so that people staying on campus over breaks can sign up to communicate with each other via mass emails. Possible ways to accomplish this, Weinstein explained, include creating lists with netIDs like "wbreak@" or "sbreak@" or using the TigerForums message board.
Another goal is expanding late-night dining options. "I'm under the impression right now that Cafe Viv will be open 24/7 in the fall of next year," he said.
Weinstein also explained the "pet-project-proposer" idea he outlined on his campaign website. "There's going to be a system where people type in their name, netID and other contact information, and they say what they want the USG to work on."
Weinstein will be succeeded as vice president by Mike Wang '10, who defeated Roby Sobieski '10 and Kenton Murray '09.
One of Wang's goals is to improve the dining halls, particularly Wu, which Wang thinks may help eliminate some of the overcrowding at Whitman College's dining hall. He also stressed the need for "more collaboration between the USG and student groups and getting us a role that facilitates communication."
Wang said he was "very much excited to be vice president" and eager "to work with Josh [Weinstein] and ... the rest of USG this year."
"We are all talking about how next year will be even more fun because a lot of us are returning members," he added. "There's not going to be a huge learning curve, and rather, we can get started really quickly."
Mike Monagle '09 will serve a second term as USG treasurer, and Class of 2010 Senator Ben Lund will be academics chair. Both races were uncontested.
Arthur Levy '10 defeated Jose Munoz '10 to become the new undergraduate life chair.
Incumbent Cindy Hong '09 successfully defended her position as campus and community affairs chair against opponent Jay Thornton '09.
Bruce Halperin '09 and Tracy Vu '09 were elected junior class senators, and Nathan Krinsky '10 and Cole Morris '10 will serve as sophomore class senators. Both races were uncontested.
George Tsivin '11 and Nicholas DiBerardino '11 will be the freshman class senators.
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