Council To Fund Pre-Springfest Activities

Springfest will still be drier than a desert, but the Undergraduate Council took steps last night to ensure ample pre-event festivities, passing a bill to fund House Committee social events scheduled to precede the fair’s kickoff.

With only a week to go before the annual carnival, the council allocated each House $125 for “stein clubs, open houses or similar social events.” The council also added $500 to grants previously awarded to 27 student groups planning activities for the day.

Springfest will be cosponsored for the second straight year by the council and the office of University President Lawrence H. Summers. But this year, Summers’ office is picking up the full tab for the event—freeing up funds for related activities, Council President Rohit Chopra ’04 said.

Chopra said that he hopes events will span much of the weekend, as they do at many other schools spring festivals.

Both funding bills were passed by comfortable margins.

At the meeting last night, the council also debated a wide range of proposed constitutional amendments and put aside $13,000 for improvements to House gyms.The gym grant would provide either $1,000 or 50 percent of procurement costs—whichever is lower—for House gym equipment purchased between this January and May.

Chopra, the co-sponsor of the bill, described the grant as a pledge meant to spur further purchases by the Houses. Calling the Malkin Athletic Center “inadequate,” council member Joshua A. Barro ’05 said improvements to House gyms should be a priority.

Chopra said after the meeting that he expects four or five houses would take advantage of the house gym grants.

Possible amendments to the council’s constitution, suggested by four members charged with studying the council’s rules, were discussed at length but no final decisions were made last night.

Christina L. Adams ’06, one of the four to suggest changes, said that streamlining the constitution and bylaws would make future council members’ lives easier. Adams said the changes will clarify the duties and interactions of various council bodies.

Chopra said last night’s discussions were only preliminary, and that the recommended changes need to be considered closely. “It’s going to be tough to get through all this,” Chopra said.

A resolution thanking outgoing Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis ’68 for contributions he made to College life—ranging from “faculty advising to public service to athletics to [the] housing system,” was tabled until the end of the year.

—Alexander J. Blenkinsopp contributed to the reporting of this story.

—Staff writer Faryl W. Ury can be reached at ury@fas.harvard.edu.