What is the Class President?

When polls open on April 7, Stanford will choose the future leaders of its student body. Among those positions to be elected is that of Class Presidents.

Steven Greitzer ’13, one of the current sophomore class presidents, summed up the position as “being responsible for creating class unity and class affinity by planning large-scale events for both the class and the entire undergraduate population.”

Full Moon on the Quad and Mausoleum Party are typically the biggest events put on by the sophomore and junior class presidents, respectively. However, class presidents also put on a formal, as well as other smaller events like field days and sending postcards to students studying abroad.

Additionally, this past winter, the Class of 2013 participated in “iDeclare Week,” which aimed to help second-year students find a major. The week was highlighted by the Sophomore Faculty Dinner, which featured a keynote address by Condoleezza Rice.

Cody Sam ’12, one of this year’s junior class presidents, noted his team’s focus on building alumni connections for the Class of 2012.

Said Sam, “this year, [the junior class presidents] did an Alumni Dinner and began working alongside the Alumni Center to build up those connections for senior year.”

While the sophomore and junior class president positions are relatively similar in the social events they plan, the role of senior class president is perhaps the most unique in its responsibilities. These include the tasks of nominating a Commencement Speaker and helping to organize future class reunions.

“The senior class presidents really need to establish the class unity and tie everyone together,” discussed Sam, who will be running for re-election as a member of the “Senior Shore” slate.

“These are events that people will actually remember for the rest of their lives”

The Junior/Senior “Drop-Off”

While the race for sophomore class president usually attracts three or more slates, there is a noticeable decline in interest among those running for junior and senior class president.

Last year, four slates ran for sophomore class president. Yet, both the junior and senior class president slates ran unopposed.

“After Frosh Council, a lot of people want to run for some ASSU Office position,” spoke Sam of the situation. “And then you become Class President and realize it’s a lot of work that maybe isn’t compensated as it should be.”

Unlike many other elected ASSU officials, class presidents receive no monetary compensation for their work.

Continuing the trend, five slates have entered this year’s race for sophomore class president. Only two slates will vie for senior class president. And until just recently, there were actually no slates running for junior class president. However, the deadline to gather the required signatures was extended by a week and three slates have since emerged.

Beckie Yanovsky ’13, a member of the “Leland Stanford Juniors” slate, offered her opinions on this apparent decline in interest.

“I think people often get jaded with student government and find that they can’t do all of the big, grandiose ideas they had as a freshman,” said Yanovsky.

Possibly related, another trend of recent Stanford class presidents is a rather high incumbency rate.

Four of the current junior class presidents were also sophomore class presidents. Similarly, three of the four senior class presidents also served as the class of 2011’s junior class presidents.

On the matter, Sam noted the benefits of having the same class presidents from year to year.

“It’s tough to pass on the experience and the sheer amount of information that goes into planning these events,” he said. “And it would be a disservice to not have all that experience and information continue with a slate.”

On the other hand, Yanovsky—whose slate does not include any incumbents—pointed out that “a lot of times, it’s hard to reflect on your own work and identify the things that aren’t working.”

Up until spring break, Greitzer believed that his current sophomore class president team would also run again for junior class presidents. However, Greitzer stated that ultimately, “planning Mausoleum Party was not a big enough change for [him] from planning Full Moon on the Quad.”

The new class presidents will be announced on April 9.

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