Undergraduate Council presidential candidate John F. Bowman ’11 and his running mate, Eric N. Hysen ’11, stand outside the Science Center in front of a neon green poster. With last year’s pop hits blaring from a boom box, Hysen engages passersby as Bowman breaks into a little dance.
The duo’s colossal poster—spanning four-by-eight feet—is hard to miss. Its shade of high-lighter green may be unusual for a political campaign, but, for these candidates, the poster’s color supposedly symbolizes their vision of change and fresh approach.
In addition, the candidates themselves may not be the stereotypical pair to make a bid for the helm of the UC. Supporters say that Bowman, who dons a green parka and jeans while campaigning, and Hysen, who sports a Mather sweatshirt over a polo, seem more relatable than the typical candidates.
The combination of their unique backgrounds and quirky personalities lend Bowman and Hysen an original angle on Harvard’s most pressing issues, particularly in the context of a financial downturn.
Although Bowman isn’t the “traditional politico”—according to Amanda Lu ’11, who handles student group outreach for the campaign—Bowman and Hysen have garnered the support of both the Harvard College Democrats and the Harvard Republican Club. As of last night, the South Asian Men’s Collective, the Environmental Action Committee, and the Alaska Klub—which has endorsed the winning ticket for the past six years—had also endorsed the Bowman-Hysen ticket.
THE ACTIVIST AND THE INSIDER
Bowman, a sociology concentrator in Pforzheimer House, and Hysen, a computer science concentrator living in Mather, say their individual experiences have informed both the way they’re running their campaign and the platform they’ve outlined to the student body.
Though Bowman has been a UC member only starting this academic year, he cites his experiences in activism as an asset to the ticket.
Bowman was first exposed to labor activism two years ago during the Hollywood writers’ strike. After subsequently joining the Student Labor Action Movement on campus, he helped organize demonstrations against Harvard’s layoffs. Bowman spent the last two summers in Los Angeles and Mexico City, where he assisted housekeepers and steelworkers, respectively, as they sought to unionize.
As the chair of the UC’s Budget Cuts Task Force, Bowman says that he has extensively studied the university’s endowment.
“Johnny taught me a lot of what I know about budget cuts,” said current UC President Andrea R. Flores ’10, who will not endorse any ticket.
After seeing the direct effects of budget cuts on student life, Bowman says he switched his focus in the UC, and is now a member of both the UC’s Student Life and Finance Committees.
“The notion that ‘if you’re not actively pushing for something on a daily a basis, then it doesn’t happen’ is something that wakes me up in the morning and keeps me going,” said Bowman, reflecting on his activism.
Hysen, on the other hand, is a veteran member of the UC. Having served since his freshman year, he says he rewrote the UC’s constitution last year and currently chairs the Rules Committee.
“Bowman brings outside leadership to the UC, and Eric Hysen has this inside leadership,” said Jeffrey F. Solnet ’12, the campaign’s field director.
UC Election Profiles '09: A Green InitiativeThe sea of neon green Bowman-Hysen posters hanging all over the Yard on standard posts and countless freshman dorm windows shows that this pair of candidates have mastered the art of being seen and being heard.
Vote Hayward-ZhangHayward's approach and commitment to execution will be exciting to watch when enhanced by the leverage that comes with the UC president’s position and complemented by Zhang’s leadership experience on the UC and in student groups.
BREAKING NEWS: Bowman and Hysen Narrowly Edge Hayward and Zhang in Unofficial TallyJohnny F. Bowman ’11 and Eric N. Hysen ’11 won the Undergraduate Presidential Elections Thursday night in the closest race in UC history, according to Election Commissioner Brad A. Seiler ’10.
Party Time With Your UC Leaders
UC Swears in New Leaders
UC Launches New Online InitiativesUndergraduate Council Vice President Eric N. Hysen ’11 is no stranger to working with technology. The computer science major and self-termed “CS nerd” has been making Web sites since he was 10 years old.