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SPEV Program Chair Candidacy Statements

Alexandria Rengifo
I am Alexandria Rengifo, and I am excited to run for Program Chair of Special Events. Having
two semesters of experience with the program, I understand where Special Events is strong, and
where it can be improved. Pizza and Politics should continue its’ course of five or more events
per semester, striving to maintain a high student turnout at all events. To do so, we will benefit
by cooperating with other student organizations. My objective is to reach out to different
organizations that would be interested in specific events. By getting groups interested, and
hopefully getting them to sponsor events, the IOP community will expand. Cooperation is also
important within the IOP. Our Social Committee can facilitate such cooperation by arranging
events that bring different groups together. There should be small scale events, like a social
mixer between two groups, and larger scaled events, like an IOP movie night or outing. I also
want to establish a better relationship with IOP fellows. One way would be to arrange dinners,
or “cocktail” hours with fellows, where all IOP members are welcome. Lastly, with second
semester ahead of us, we must keep in mind the planning of the DC trip. As a committee we
must research what students would like to see in DC, as well as make sure that the lottery isn’t
exclusive to IOP members. The DC trip should be a chance for other students to get a taste for
Special Events and the IOP.

William Ruben
I am running for SPEV chair because I believe that I have the requisite qualifications and
enthusiasm to take the program to the next level. Elsa will leave the next SPEV chair with a
much more prominent and successful program, and I believe that, with my diverse IOP
experience, I can effectively build on her success. Some of my goals as SPEV chair would be:
• To make this year’s DC trip even greater than last year’s. I went on last year’s trip, and it
was amazing! However, with a new, exciting administration with lots of ties to Harvard
and a freshman Senator who is a former IOP Director, this year’s trip can be even better.
As Fellows Selection Chair and a three-time liaison, I know many of the past IOP fellows
and will use these connections to make the D.C. trip as great as it can be.
• To hold a series of Director’s Dinners and Pizza and Politics events on the First Hundred
Days of a presidency and to partner with specific student groups – especially
international ones -- when planning our P&P events.
• To hold more social events, especially between programs, and to continue the IOP formal.
• To use the IOP fellows more often in SPEV’s events.
• To plan an amazing J Term program in DC during January 2009, potentially including
short internships.
• …and more. Feel free to email me at
DJ Smolinsky
As one of the leaders of the Special Events Committee's New Members of Congress
Program I have seen first hand the challenges of putting together a comprehensive and exciting
program that can bring the Harvard community, our newly elected public leaders, and globally-
notable individuals together to learn and observe, and most of all, to meet one another. This is the
challenge the Special Events Committee continues to face.
In the coming year, we will not be holding our New Members of Congress Program, nor
our Campaign Manager's Conference as it will not be a congressional or presidential election
year. I hope to fill that void with new, uniquely accessible programs for Harvard undergraduates,
offering a similar unparalleled experience of meeting with our most important political leaders in
a personal setting.
Perhaps we could also add new programs: film screenings and question and answer
sessions with the cast and crew of politically signficant movies (such as "W." was this year),
workshops on political journalism with television pundits and members of the White House
press, the continuation of panel discussions analyzing actions and decisions of the Obama
administration, discussion on the future of the GOP and the 2012 presidential elections, etc.
Accessibility to notable political leaders and observers and direct participation in such
programs by all Harvard undergraduates is my most important goal if I were to become Special
Events Committee Chair. It would be a privilege to be elected chair and thank you for your time.

Jeff Solnet
I’ve always defined politics as the study of how people interact to achieve a change.
When I applied to the special events committee, I wrote the following in my application: “"Not
only does SPEV facilitate students interacting with professors, politicos, pundits, and other
knowledgeable people from around the world but also allows politically savvy students to meet
other students. The opportunity to help create these chance meetings really interested me."” After
spending some time as an active member of SPEV, I'm even more confident that there is no
better way for students to learn about politics than by opening up these lines of communication
and interaction.
Special Events has a unique responsibility at the IOP by serving as an intermediary
between the formal Forum events and the structured Study Group program. SPEV has freedom
to design social and informal events that brings people together in ways that the other IOP
programs cannot. As chair I will:
-Continue to expand the role of the special events committee within the IOP.
-Pursue events that perpetuate the energy and inspiration of this election season.
-Develop new social monthly social events to inspire conversation among all members of the
- Use the Special Events committee as a platform for other Harvard organizations to come to the
Over the course of the next few weeks I hope I can further discuss my vision for SPEV and the
IOP and also get to know you all a bit better.

Much SPEV love,

Jeff Solnet