The Undergraduate Council announced a major partnership with Harvard Undergraduate Television last night, granting HUTV an unprecedented amount of almost $12,000 that will allow it to support the 12 campus TV shows that it manages.
Of that sum, $9,000 is a one-time grant that will go towards the purchase of new video equipment, which will be shared among all the shows.
Additionally, the legislation stipulates that HUTV will not be eligible to receive significant funds towards equipment for the next five years, based on HUTV’s financial estimates.
The additional $2,000 represents a semesterly grant to HUTV that will cover operating costs for all 12 shows—six of which were newly added to the HUTV roster this year.
According to HUTV President Derek M. Flanzraich ’10, the act will save the UC a substantial sum of money, as HUTV will oversee the sharing of costly technical equipment between the shows. The group will also be able to save costs by coordinating publicity and screenings for the shows.
Finance Committee Chair Amanda Lu ’11 estimated that without the partnership, each of the 12 shows would apply for grants individually at a total cost of about $26,000 over the next three to five years.
UC President Andrea R. Flores ’10 said that giving HUTV jurisdiction over distributing grants to its 12 shows sets a precedent in the UC’s grant-giving process.
“We have to collaborate with other groups who have a better special knowledge of costs,” she said. “This is one of the greatest UC-student group collaborations I’ve ever seen.”
The legislation also launched the UC Cameras Program, which will allow for the purchase of two camcorders that will be made available to Harvard students at no charge for their own personal use.
HUTV will also be responsible for managing the production UCTV—a new initiative of the Student Relations Committee to televise the UC’s student outreach. Currently, the committee plans to televise all town hall meetings and produce five 2-minute spots that are intended to highlight issues important to the student body.
Flores said that since 2007 the UC has been aware that FiCom routinely spent “exorbitant amounts” of money funding independent shows that were not using their equipment efficiently.
Earlier this semester, the UC approached HUTV, which acts as a central organization for campus televised productions, about the prospect of developing better funding partnership that would be more cost-effective. In response, HUTV submitted a 50-page proposal to the UC at the end of October that detailed the estimated financial needs of the organization and its shows for the next five years.
“This is a very tangible step that the UC has taken to show that students are supporting other students who are creating content for all the students here,” Flanzraich said. He added that the partnership is not only a means of supporting student innovation, but also a major step toward “embracing the future” of the digital world.
In addition, the Student Initiatives Committee passed legislation that partnered the UC with discount company Groupon Inc. and the Harvard Student Agencies to bring Groupon’s discount services to local Cambridge businesses.