UC Celebrates Coming Out

Sporting colors from the rainbow flag and gay-friendly pins, Undergraduate Council members opened the second General Meeting of the year by taking part in a photo project organized by the Office of BGLTQ Student Life.

The National Coming Out Day photo opportunity was just one item on the agenda. On Sunday, the Undergraduate Council allocated fall grants, affirmed Council members’ duties, and appointed students to student-faculty committees.

“We are the representatives of student government,” UC President Danny P. Bicknell ’13 said of the Coming Out Day celebrations. “This is a symbolic gesture to show the support here on campus. It’s really to show the breadth of support that exists here on campus.”

Edith C. Benavides ’14, an intern at the Office of BGLTQ Student Life, said she is taking photos of campus organizations, including student groups, sports teams, the Harvard University Police Department, and the Office of Student Life, as part of the National Coming Out Day project.

“We’re trying to bring visibility to the LGBTQ community on campus,” Benavides said at Sunday’s meeting. “The goal is to create visibility and support while networking with student groups.”

Bicknell said that he and Vice President Pratyusha Yalamanchi ’13 have worked with the director of the Office of BGLTQ Student Life to promote projects that create a more open campus.

The UC also passed a number of pieces of legislation Sunday night, including a round of fall grants totaling more than $18,300. The grants, ranging in size from $11.50 to $2,000, fund everything from food at student events to movie screenings.Only one group—the Harvard Islamic Society—was denied funding. The group had originally requested $1,000 for a Ramadan event.

“Ramadan was over the summer, and the College mandates that we cannot fund events that happen over the summer,” said UC Finance Committee chair Matthew R. Marotta ’14.

Bicknell added that the UC is also prohibited from funding events that take place during shopping or reading week. The UC also unanimously passed the UC Outreach Improvement Act, which mandates that Council members host study breaks once per semester in their Houses or Yards, hold monthly meetings with House masters or resident deans, and act as liaisons to a number of student groups.

Finally, UC representatives approved unanimously several appointments to student-faculty committees. According to Bicknell, the Council received nearly 150 applications this year—60 more than last year—for the one-year and two-year committee positions.

—Staff writer Quinn Hatoff can be reached at quinnhatoff@college.harvard.edu.

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