Indian-American Sruthi Palaniappan Elected President of Harvard Student Body

Sruthi Palaniappan introduces the Iowa delegation at the 2016 Democratic National Convention (Photo courtesy: NBC News)
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CAMBRIDGE, MA–Sruthi Palaniappan, an Indian-American student, has been elected president of the Harvard University student body Undergraduate Council. Julia M. Huesa was elected Vice President, defeating Indian-American Vice Presidential candidate, Arnav Agrawal.

The Harvard Crimson reported that Palaniappan- Huesa duo garnered roughly 41.5 percent of the vote total, easily beating out second-place finishers Nadine M. Khoury  and Arnav Agrawal, who received 26.6 percent of the vote.

“It’s so surreal,” Palaniappan told Harvard Crimson Thursday evening, surrounded by fellow students who worked on her campaign.

Sruthi Palaniappan ’20 (right) and Julia M. Huesa ’20 (left) collapse onto a couch after hearing that they won the Undergraduate Council presidential election. Photo: Amanda Y. Su and Courtesy of The Harvard Crimson)

Palaniappan and Huesa — who will take the reins in December from current UC President Catherine L. Zhang ’19 and Vice President Nicholas D. Boucher ’19 — ran under the slogan “make Harvard home,” according to Harvard Crimson.

“The duo proposed offering funding for some undergraduate social events and called for the creation of cultural climate committees across all academic departments to bolster Harvard’s capacity to address sexual assault allegations,” Harvard Crimson reported. “The Government department created a committee earlier this year to evaluate departmental culture in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct against Government professor Jorge I. Dominguez.”

This year’s election saw significantly increased turnout from the 2017 race, with 2,797 students casting ballots. That figure represents a roughly 35 percent increase from last year’s turnout, according to Harvard Crimson.

Palaniappan, the Council’s education committee chair, has organized student town halls about proposed changes to shopping week and spearheaded legislation to fund faculty-student dinners.


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