EngSoc candidates square off in president & senator debate

Richard Hum insists that he isn’t a joke candidate

Senator candidate Max Berowitz.

On Wednesday night, the foyer of the ILC was crowded, not only for the complimentary pizza, but to hear the EngSoc presidential and senator candidates answer questions.

While Max Berkowitz, Sci ’20, will most likely be acclaimed in the role of Senator with a vote of confidence, Nat Wong, Sci ’18, and Richard Hum, Sci ’17, are competing against one another for EngSoc presidency.

Despite refusing to give any interviews with The Journal during his campaign, with a platform he declared in Golden Words “will be wooden in construction” and will measure “approximately 5 feet wide, 3 feet deep, and 2 feet high”, Hum said he isn’t a joke candidate.

Presidential candidate Nat Wong.

In the opening statements of the presidential debate, Wong laid out his three key platform points: furthering industry development, a focus on upholding traditions with the new incoming Dean of Engineering and increasing EngSoc’s transparency.

Hum said that he didn’t prepare an opening statement. “May the best man win and let the games begin,” he declared.

When asked what the president’s relationship with the vice-presidents should look like, Hum said that they shouldn’t be hierarchal and be more like a friendship. Wong said that the relationship is crucial and requires communication, as they will be relying on each other throughout their tenure.

Both presidential candidates have served as directors on EngSoc — with Hum as the Director of IT and Wong as the Director of Professional Development — and both reflected on how it would affect their management style with the incoming director team.

Presidential candidate Richard Hum.

Hum said that he doesn’t see himself interfering with the daily duties. Wong said that he believes the current exec has done an exceptional job of letting the directors do their jobs and recognizes that he, as president, will respect the directors’ autonomy.

With the overlap of the outgoing and incoming, Wong expressed interest in working with the deans to hire a staff member dedicated to engineering career support. Hum sees a new dean as an opportunity to start fresh with the faculty.

When asked how he plans to engage the incoming Engineering class of 2021 with EngSoc, Hum said “the same way we’ve done it for a million years, by providing them with a kickass Frosh Week.” Wong also said that Orientation Week is the key but it extends to offering second year students other opportunities outside of being FRECs to get involved in Orientation Week.

Following up on the topic of EngLinks becoming a service — an issue discussed during the Vice-President (Operations) debate — Wong recognized that EngLinks should transition to a service, granted that the entire tutoring team is ready for that.

However, Wong did acknowledge that the portfolio of the Director of Academics would have to change to accommodate the transition. He suggested moving the discipline clubs under their oversight.

Hum disagreed by saying that the Director of Academics should still have ties to EngLinks since it’s an academia-based service. Following the presidential debate was the open forum for Berkowitz.

In his opening statement, Berkowitz said he owes his campaign to the current Director of First Years, who encouraged him to get involved and run for Senator.

Berkowitz said he hopes he can demystify what a Senator actually does to students — particularly first years — and the issues that Senate deals with that affects them. He said he was amazed by the passion his classmates had over the issue of a Fall Reading Week and wants to continue to be a voice for his peers at Senate.

Berkowitz said that advocacy would mean having his ear to the ground to listen to all student groups across campus as well as increasing accessibility.

The EngSoc election voting period will be from Jan. 30 to 31, with results at Clark Hall Pub on the night of the 31st.

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