The Undergraduate Council dramatically increased funding allocated to student groups for Wintersession programming, doling out $20,000 for workshops, trips, and creative projects.
The success of last year’s Wintersession programming led to an increase in applications for funding along with general interest in the not-for-credit programming, UC Finance Committee Chair Matthew R. Marotta ’14 said.
The Office of Student Life worked with the UC to create a user-friendly online application platform for students seeking funding. Under the new system, the OSL first reviews applications before passing the information to the Council to conduct interviews and allocate funds.
“Because of the popularity of Wintersession in years past and, I believe, because of this streamlining with the OSL, we increased the number of applicants to over 60,” Marotta said.
Those applications totaled more than $87,000 in requests, according to Marotta. Though the Council had $20,000 to allocate, he said it only denied five to ten of the requests outright. The UC encouraged applicants who were denied funding to collaborate with similar programs that did receive grants.
Marotta said that the UC is considering a proposal to provide training to student program leaders. Receiving UC grants would not be contingent upon participation in training, he said.
“In general, if an individual applies for an idea, it’s something that they are pretty passionate about and something that they know they have some experience with,” he said,
Group leaders who received funding last year said that UC grants helped them bring their ideas to fruition in a way that might not have happened otherwise.
Mary C. Hallowell ’14, who led a Wintersession sketch comedy workshop for Respectably French!, wrote in an email to The Crimson that Wintersession is “a really great way to allow a group of students to work together on a creative project without the stresses of the academic term.”
Looking to the future of Wintersession, Marotta said the UC would need to increase funding to meet student demand.
“There are so many ideas that are out there, and we are under a real squeeze here,” he said. “Hopefully, in the future, we will be able to get more funding so we don’t have to make $67,000 worth of cuts like we did this year.
”Dario Guerrero-Meneses ’15, who produced a film on immigration in Boston last January, wrote that UC funding helped him explore a delicate topic that might not have received funding otherwise.
For Marotta, increased funding is essential to making Wintersession fufill its potential.
“The excitement is there. The demand is there. We just need the money to make all of these events happen,” he said.