The Student Life Fund has been renewed with $50,000 for the current academic year, according to an announcement by Dean of the College Evelyn M. Hammonds last Thursday.
The money for the fund—first created by Hammonds in the 2008-2009 academic year—comes from the dean’s discretionary fund, and is intended to support domestic travel opportunities for student groups, as well as House Committee events, according to Undergraduate Council Vice President Eric N. Hysen ’11.
This year’s fund will also support student group travel during winter break, Hysen said.
“[The fund] is a great opportunity for a student group to expand its reach nationally,” said Amanda Lu ’11, former chair of the UC’s Financial Committee.
The financial support from the fund has been especially useful to club sports teams, which have faced shrinking budgets in recent years.
The Harvard Taekwondo team, for example, used a grant from the fund last year to send members to a national tournament in Denver, where several of its members earned medals.
“We sort of count on getting the money,” said Henry S. Xie ’11, president of Harvard Taekwondo. “We wouldn’t have been able to go without it.”
A portion of the Student Life Fund will be distributed directly to various HoCos to support House events, most commonly House formals.
In the past, HoCos received an additional $1,200 each semester from the fund—with the exception of the 2009 fall semester—when the College delayed the renewal of the fund until the spring semester, citing a need to review the purpose and use of the fund.
Management of the fund also switched hands last year from the UC to the Office of Student Life, which will retain responsibility for reviewing and approving grants from the fund this year.
Though Hysen said the UC is pleased with the earlier renewal of the grant this year, many representatives say they would like to see the Council play a bigger role in the distribution of the fund.
“The UC would be a more appropriate body to make these allocations,” said Luis A. Martinez ’12, chair of the UC’s Financial Committee.
Hysen added that he hopes the fund will eventually become a fixture of student life at the College.
“Because it’s coming out of the dean’s discretionary budget, it’s tougher to make it a permanent program,” he said. “We definitely would like to formalize it in the future.”
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