Council Leaders Remained At Work

Student benefits, UC website marked agendas for tri-weekly meetings

Few things are more piercing than a parent’s disapproval.

But by late May, when Gund Professor of Neurosciences John E. Dowling—the chairman of the committee whose 1982 report paved the way for the foundation of the Undergraduate Council—told The Crimson that he was “disappointed” that the UC had not been more active in summer, the current council leadership had already decided to do something about it.

“We’ve always felt that the UC president and [vice president] are a full time commitment and in order to make good on that commitment you have to put in the full twelve months,” said UC President Ryan A. Petersen ’08, sitting with his white Apple laptop in the far corner of the Quincy House dining hall last week.

Petersen, together with his vice president, Matthew L. Sundquist ’09, stayed in Cambridge from June through late August working on projects ranging from securing student discounts from Square businesses to creating a new guide for student groups.

The two held tri-weekly planning meetings in the Lamont Library Café with Michael R. Ragalie ’09, the chair of the UC’s Student Affairs Committee. They also met with Faculty of Arts and Sciences administrators to discuss the appointment of a new secretary of the Faculty and a new dean of the College.

“We didn’t designate names for them,” Petersen said. “But it was a discussion that they took very seriously and we were very pleased with the response that they took towards council input.”


Featured prominently on the council’s summer agenda were student group issues, which Sundquist hopes to address with the impending release of a 70-odd page student group guide.

The guide, which will be circulated via e-mail and posted on the UC Web site, will include procedural information for getting an advisor, reserving rooms on campus, and applying for grants, among other things, according to Sundquist.

“It’s basically simplifying in a short document everything a student group needs to know to make their functions happen,” he said.

Petersen added that in July, the council reached out to Square businesses, soliciting discounts for students. Discount vouchers for items ranging from pizza to hardware will be available this fall if the council approves the arrangement. Agreements with Square liquor establishments C’est Bon and Doma are currently being sought.


No summer initiative seemed to excite Petersen and Sundquist more than the upcoming release of the revamped UC Web site, which is set to go online later this week.

“Isn’t that awesome?” Petersen shrieked, bouncing up and down *** and pounding on the table, when the conversation turned to the new Web site’s searchable archive feature that will make previous UC legislation available by online query. Sundquist, following suit, chicken- winged his arms and pursed his lips like a fish while cuing a song on Petersen’s laptop.

Costing $1,500, with 500 paid in advance to Web developer Tina Ye, a senior at Tufts University, the new site will include a blog featuring UC news, in addition to the digital archives.

The council also hopes to benefit from increased alumni outreach, according to Petersen, who worked to compile a list of former UC leaders and their contact information this summer.

“The way we utilize alumni will be something that will be discussed by the council,” said Petersen, who in the past has made a habit of reaching out to previous UC leaders.

“We just know that the council will benefit from having more alumni contact in whatever way that the council sees fit.”

—Christian B. Flow can be reached at