What is the Student Council, and what does it want? It's a group of 17 undergraduates who meet once a week in Phillips Brooks House to discuss College affairs. It wants nothing this summer, but it would like to be kept in mind when it makes its annual subscription campaign in the fall.
So when the student at the long table in Memorial Hall on the fall registration day asks you to cough up five bucks, don't try to put him off by saying you've already subscribed to the Lampoon--he's only trying to collect money to finance the far-flung activities of the Council.
Council to Serve Year Around
Originally set up in 1908, the Council will continue to serve the undergraduates of the College throughout the summer term as well as in the fall. The 17 members (11 Seniors and six Juniors) may be augmented by Sophomores as present members leave College, but for the most part the make-up of the Council will continue in its present form.
Representing the student body in the College government is its business, and since of its 17 members are elected by their classmates. The other eight are appointed by the elected men to ensure that all Houses are represented.
Supplies Needed Scholarships
With a budget of over $7,000 each year, the Council spends by far the largest portion for charities and for term-bill scholarships for needy students. With the exception of special war drives, your Student Council pledge frees you from all obligations to give money to charity. And much of the money is also given to your fellow students who might not be able to pay all of their term bills without the help of Council scholarships.
Other big items on the Council budget are a large appropriation to Phillips Brooks House, underwriting of all Freshman activities such as dances, the Red Book, etc., and defraying the expenses at class elections and other activities. Only a small fraction of your contribution is used for expenses of the Council itself.
But the activities of the Council are by no means entirely financial. The Council exercises its office of student representative and reporter by means of reports on questions which seem significant from the undergraduate point of view. Except when it issues such reports or when it periodically awards small "scholarships" to needy students, the Council is seldom either seen or heard.
Reported on Harvard Education
These reports, of course, are the ones which make the headlines, while the rest of the Council's activity goes unhonored and unsung. Typical of the Council reports, for example, were the two on the state of Harvard education. The first report, published in the spring of 1939, urged that Harvard's curriculum be broadened and undergraduate specialization decreased. Later reissued in printed form, this report has been sent to colleges and universities all over the country, and served as the basis for discussion at several Faculty meetings a few years ago. A year later the Council issued a second "education" report, implementing and expanding the 1939 document.
Other Council reports in the past decade have dealt with the overcrowding in the Houses; the Faculty tenure system and its impact on undergraduate instruction; and the relation between intramural and minor sports in the College athletic program.
Llaison to Faculty
The Council has done an enormous amount of liaison work between Faculty and students that most of the College never hears about. Whenever Faculty member wishes to obtain the opinion of a representative number of undergraduates, he is free to come to a Council meeting and discuss the problem with the members. Similarly, the Council often invites members of the dean's office or professors to discuss affairs of the moment.
Direct relations between the Freshman class and the Student Council are provided by a Junior member of the Council whose job it is to supervise Freshman activities. He is assisted by a Sophomore appointed by the Council.