Made up of 17 Seniors and Juniors, the Student Council of the College plays a part in the direction of Freshman activities as well as those of the upperclassmen. But, in addition, the Freshmen have their own class government. For more particulars see page 13.
The House Plan, with its tendency to separate students into groups, has made the Council the unifying factor in the undergraduate life. While the majority of members are elected, the constitution of the Council makes sure that there are enough appointed positions to insure complete representation of all groups. Almost all questions which concern undergraduate life as a whole come to the attention of the Council. In general these questions are educational or athletic, but the Council is also in charge of all class elections, all appointments of committees and routine duties. It issues reports on all question which seem significant from the undergraduate point of view.
The result is that the Council has the duties of the executives, the judge, and the reporter. Its position is very different from that of like bodies to which the Class of 1941 has been accustomed at school. Its prestige results more from its position as reporter and judge than as executive. Harvard is too fundamentally individualistic to pay great respect to a body whose only claim to fame is that it represents the undergraduates. The individual members of the Council are not necessarily "big men on the campus." The only way to be a big man on the Harvard scene is to be over seven feet tall. The Council has therefore deliberately tried in the past years to build up a reputation of giving reasoned judgments on educational matters. If it tried to control undergraduate opinion it would be both wasting its time and losing its prestige. The Dean of the college often asks the Council's opinion on any University decision which directly or indirectly affects the undergraduate body. He is always cooperative in giving any information which the Council seeks in its investigations. The result of this cooperation has been eminently satisfactory, far more satisfactory than if the Council had preserved an attitude of magnificent if puerile independence. For example, a report of last year on intra-mural athletics resulted, within a month, in a complete change in the managing of these contests--a change from which we hope you will profit when you become members of the Houses. The Tutoring School report of last year opened the eyes of many members of the faculty to the fact that the schools were a menace to the type of education which Harvard Hopes to give.
The direct relation between the Council and the Freshman Class is through a member of the Council who has charge of Freshman activities. This member will be appointed within a few weeks, and Freshmen are urged to consult him at any time. The problem of the Freshmen in adjusting themselves to the intellectual and social atmosphere of Harvard is a very pressing one. In past years the Council has made repeated efforts to insure that the Freshman have adequate advice on their problems when they enter the college. Thus far no completely satisfactory method has been worked out. The Council would welcome any suggestions or complaints from the Class of 1941. The President of the Council will keep office hours in Phillips Brooks House and will be glad to see members of the Freshman Class.
You will seen be asked to contribute money to this Council budget. The majority of this money is given to charities in Cambridge and Boston, and a certain amount to such national organizations as the Red Cross. Each year roughly three thousand dollars is given to the Phillips Brooks House fund. Around a thousand dollars is laid aside to help students deemed worthy by the Council who are unable to meet a form bill. The purpose of this original contribution is then to take care of requests from Charitable Organizations with which you would otherwise be flooded during the rest of the year.