What You Don't Know About Senior Class Presidents
Every year, four seniors are elected to serve as the social leaders of their class. Each slate vehemently promises during the campaign to make their final year at Stanford the best ever. The position, separate from the ASSU, holds in its history some of the most energetic quartets you’re likely to meet. This year’s regime (clockwise from top)—Spencer Porter, Steve Myrick, Jen Graham and Paola Worsley—discusses the other Oval office.
Much more than social butterflies.
Each of the 2005 presidents simply added responsibilities to an already busy life. Graham, a history major, spent part of winter quarter in Egypt working on her honors thesis. Porter, an American studies major, is a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity and goalie on the University’s soccer team. He and Graham both work for the Stanford Daily.
Excuse me, I’m having a senior moment.
“We want to bring the high school idea that seniors own the place,” says Myrick, an economics major. Porter holds regular “chill sessions,“ claiming White Plaza with his boom box and tossing a Frisbee with anyone who shows up. So many classmates attend their weekly pub nights that only a handful of venues in Palo Alto can accommodate the crowd. But they also take time to get serious. Worsley, a communications major, serves on the Stanford Alumni Association board of directors. All four presidents help select speakers for Commencement and Senior Class Day, and work with campus offices on such issues as ensuring student safety during events.
Four heads are better than one—and necessary, too.
The presidents plan or assist with some 55 events during their nine months of active duty, including everything from those pub nights to the senior formal (held at SBC Park this year—major score), to career and community service events, to helping raise funds for the senior gift, to weekly meetings, to representing the senior class at campus events, to . . . Each of them spends 20 to 30 hours per week on executive duties. They also have a cabinet of six classmates who assist with specific projects, and an adviser at the Stanford Alumni Association who keeps them on track.
But they must get serious props from their classmates.
The job has notable perks, like having dinner with Commencement speaker Steve Jobs. But many classmates don’t even know the presidents are behind so many senior traditions. Occasionally they get a thank-you, mostly from “our friends who see us stressed out before a big event,” Worsley says.
There are some things you just don’t consider when you’re campaigning.
Indeed, there are low points. Porter and Worsley spent a late post-event evening picking shards of glass off the floor of Tresidder so that it would be spotless for Parents’ Weekend the next morning. “I spent one night standing outside with a plastic sign over my head watching people get on the bus [for a pub night],” Graham recalls.
Love the ones you’re with.
The presidents interact more like siblings than business partners, whether it’s gently chiding Myrick for being late to weekly meetings or laughing about Graham’s getting them back on topic when there’s, well, too much laughter. “Anyone who wants to try this job and doesn’t really know the people they’re with is just going to fail,” Porter says. “So many times we’ve been in seven-hour meetings . . . if you didn’t fundamentally like these people, you’d say, ‘You know, I’m out.’”
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Data is from the past two weeks.