The Undergraduate Council met with members of the College administration Saturday at a Leadership Intensive Program in an effort to improve communication and build deeper relationships between the two groups.
The event, which UC President Danny P. Bicknell ’13 had been planning since last semester, is part of the UC’s continued effort to increase student voice on campus and give undergraduates a larger stake in the University’s governance.
In the Governance Panel portion of the program, UC representatives spoke directly to heads of the administration including Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds and Dean of Student Life Suzy M. Nelson. Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris and Secretary of the Faculty Susan L. Lively were also in attendance.
UC representatives said that the event helped establish a good rapport with Harvard’s leaders and taught them how to best use channels of communication to speak on behalf of students at the College.
Bicknell and UC Vice President Pratyusha Yalamanchi ’13 emphasized bridging the student-administration gap in last semester’s UC elections.
“We’re really trying to find ways to incorporate the students and have them bring up the issues that they’re passionate about,” Bicknell said.
UC freshman representative Ting-Ting H.T. Liu ’15 stressed the importance of strong student-administrator relationships in completing UC projects.
“We now know that the administration is willing to work with us and that we’re all working towards the same goal,” Liu said.
UC Quincy House representative Jen Q.Y. Zhu ’14 said that the meetings were a great opportunity to interact directly with the administrators and to let them know what the UC has done.
“Most students are unaware that both the UC and the administration are open to them,” Zhu said. “They can just email the UC committee chairs and come to a meeting if they want to talk about an issue. Even Dean Hammonds has office hours.”
The Leadership Intensive Program also acted as a kick-off for the Task Force on Student Voice, an initiative started by former UC President Senan Ebrahim ’12.
The Task Force, which will begin in late February, will give students a direct way of offering feedback and suggestions to the administration in order to maximize efficiency and productivity.
“Hopefully, the task force will be the most comprehensive analysis and examination of the decision-making process that the college has ever had,” said Bicknell.
—Staff writer Michelle Denise L. Ferreol can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.