Last week, four juniors were selected to chair the 2013 Milton S. Eisenhower (MSE) Symposium, the University’s annual autumn lecture series. Aidan O.H.W. Christofferson, Francesca Pinelli, Elias Rosenblatt and Aaron Tessler have been elected to take the reins from previous chairs Chris Alvarez, Corey Rogoff and Eva Smith.
This is the first year in recent history where more than three chairs have led the Symposium. Typically, three appointed chairs individually manage one of the three branches of the Symposium team: Programming, Marketing and Finance. Pinelli will serve as Marketing Chair and Tessler as Finance Chair. Christofferson and Rosenblatt, who is studying abroad in Paris for the semester, will share the position of Programming Chair, and will be responsible for enlisting speakers for the docket.
“Already in comparison with other years, our list of prospective speakers
are unequaled in their renown, prestige and intellect,” Christofferson, who will replace Alvarez as Programming Chair, wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
Christofferson worked on the Symposium’s financial operations last year, but is excited to focus more on the speakers themselves.
“It may seem a bit ironic that a college junior gets to select a distinguished group of some of the world’s most accomplished and successful professionals, leaders and politicians, but it’s a job I will enjoy intensely,” he wrote.
After a season of events whose attendance radically varied —Seth Meyers kicked off last fall’s Symposium to a full house in Shriver Hall, while other speakers saw fewer than a hundred audience members — the chairs seek to ensure the consistency of the Symposium.
Christofferson said that the team’s aspirations for the future of MSE will set the bar even higher than in years past.
“Simply put, I do not believe that the Symposium has yet reached its potential,” Christofferson wrote. “My drive to obtain more diverse and better renowned speakers — and to match them with a packed audience — will allow conversation on important issues to reach a greater percentage of the Hopkins community. I understand not only where the Symposium excels, but also where it needs to improve. My experience with running a speakers [program] would allow me to iron out these kinks, and ultimately create a harder-hitting Symposium that resonates within the Hopkins community.”
Rosenblatt also expressed his eagerness to become chair.
“I feel very lucky to help provide our campus with the opportunity to hear the stories and insights from a variety of men and women of vastly different fields and backgrounds who we can all look to as examples of success,” Rosenblatt wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
At present, the chairs’ first task is to decide on a theme for the upcoming season and prepare an application for the Symposium staff, both of which will be announced on Feb. 15.
To remedy budget limitations, Tessler, who will run the staff’s finances, expressed a need to establish lasting ties to potential benefactors in the university and alumni communities.
“I specifically chose Finance Chair as it is very important to me to build bridges with those individuals and organizations who sponsor the Symposium,” Tessler wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “I see my job as MSE’s liaison to these partners, charged with showing them just how valuable their investment in the MSE Symposium really is to our campus and student body.”
All this, he said, in the interest in preserving and fortifying a necessary campus institution.
Pinelli’s task is to find new ways to effectively market the Symposium to attract the student body. With widely varying numbers at the Symposium’s events in the past, her job is crucial.