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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

First year wins ISO Presidency

The International Student Organization elections last week ended in surprise when Natalie Richardson Gentil ’14 was elected President after taking third in a close first round vote.

Rachael Hitchins ’13 and Cyril Afeku ’13 tied for (26.9%) ahead of Richardson Gentil (26.1%) in the first round of elections. Because these numbers are so close, the ISO election board thought it would be fair to include Natalie in the run off. Normally, they only include the top two candidates.

“Upon seeing the closeness of the votes, we decided to be generous and allow Natalie in the run-offs,” said Austin Redman ’12, ex-Vice President of ISO and Election Coordinator.

In the runoff, Richardson Gentil (31.1%) pulled ahead of Akefu (24.5%) and Hitchens (27%) to win the presidency as a first-year. Despite her age, Richardson Gentil believes her connection with lower-classmen will help her.

“It can be very intimidating to have an organization ran by upperclassmen, especially if the organization wants to reach out to first years. So having rising second years in that position helps a bit,” she said.

Abraham Kohrman ‘13, who worked in last year’s International Pre-Orientation Program (IPOP) will serve as ISO’s Vice President.

Nediyana Daskalova ’14 and Christa Lee ’12 were elected Social coordinators. Daskalova expressed that this election season was also particularly competitive.

“There were a lot of amazing candidates this year, all of them would have done a great job, no matter who won,” she said. “It was interesting for the run-offs; we all had almost the same number of votes, so people really did think everyone was equally qualified. But then they just had to choose between their friends, which is always too hard.”

Lee, however, thought the election was more about the candidate’s character rather than their campaign.

“Spreading the word around did really help, but I did not make any posters,” Lee said. “A lot of international students know each other, so it’s not about how you advertise yourself. To promote your campaign, it is really about who you are,” she said.

Teodora Kljaic ’14 and Samira Sadeque ’12 were elected Publicity Coordinators, and the vacant secretary position elections will take place on Wednesday.
The new cabinet members seem to be confident and positive about the future of ISO and right now. Richardson Gentil wants to expand ISO’s influence and profile outside of the semesterly parties,

“During the election time, many people would see my posters and would talk to me,” she said. “They did not know if they could vote and they do not know what exactly the ISO does besides the parties. They had no idea if they could get involved in the ISO even though they are domestic students. So we want to make people understand who we are, what we do, who can join, and who can vote.”

ISO tries to facilitate community among international and domestic students. In addition to its parties, ISO sponsors cultural events that reflect the cultures of the students that make up the organization. Both domestic and international students are encouraged to join and anyone involved with ISO can vote.

As for future plans, Lee expressed her feeling about working in a group.

“The most important thing of working in a group is that you cannot really do what you want,” Lee said. “You have to know the budget; you have to know the capability of the group and who you are working with.”

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