To the Students of Harvard College: We are here to reinvigorate the Undergraduate Council, and we ask you to reimagine your role as a student on this campus. Even if you have not paid attention to prior UC elections, this election presents an opportunity to engage.
It is commonly believed around our campus that the UC has untapped potential and can do more. We want to show you how that can finally be achieved through your participation in this election.
In recent years, the Undergraduate Council has focused primarily on its role as an allocator of student group funds, an event planner and promoter, and an arbiter of student voice. These roles are an important part of college life, but we should not be afraid to broaden our ambitions. We are not out to “stage a UC coup” or to create a party system; rather, we believe in the promise of the UC. This is an opportunity to transform student government and use it as a tool to build student empowerment.
The time for change is now.
A legitimate, effective student government pursues high-minded objectives. We envision a student government that addresses a wide range of student concerns—from campus-wide policy issues, to Harvard’s role in the local community and the world, to issues of day-to-day student life—advocating on behalf of sound solutions directly to the University administration. With a renewed mentality, we can align the present role of the UC with Harvard’s storied history of student activism and empowered student government.
We seek to build on past UC student empowerment efforts. First, we believe that an improved referendum process should allow student groups to propose ballot questions every semester. Six years ago undergraduates cast ballots in a UC-sponsored referendum to support a proposal for Harvard to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The move led President Drew G. Faust to implement an ambitious set of policies to realize that goal.
Second, we want to revitalize the idea of a Forum for Change, as an innovative platform to bring together diverse student groups and individuals to pitch their ideas for change and to provide a broad arena for productive collaboration.
We also seek to implement several preliminary initiatives. Working in cooperation with student government organizations across Harvard, we aim to ensure that students are included in University-wide governance. We believe that student representatives deserve seats on the Harvard Corporation, along with other high-level University governing bodies.
We also intend to utilize the UC to create a University-wide coalition of student governments to confront issues that affect all members of the Harvard community, regardless of school affiliation.
This election, the Crimson Coalition is running to bring you an alternative on the ballot. We seek to re-invent student government from the inside out by electing like-minded change-makers committed to harnessing student power and awakening student consciousness on substantive University issues.
Whatever our differences on particular policy points, we can all agree that the UC should prioritize expanding its role in University governance. Change, moreover, requires a cultural shift within the UC, which our candidate coalition proudly embodies. With our victories, we stand to build a UC that supports coalitions of student group leaders and other members of the Harvard community, addresses substantive administrative policy decisions, and provides opportunities for the student body to create positive social change at Harvard.
This is just the beginning. We come equipped with the energy, vision, and drive to guide in a new era—but we ask for your support to help make our bold plans an even bolder reality. The Crimson Coalition needs to be more than just our voices; it must be a resounding echo of the student body.
So vote for Crimson Coalition candidates this week. Vote for a transformed UC. Vote for the chance to make your voice matter.
Zaki Djemal ’15 lives in Adams House. Larson C. Ishii ’15 lives in Cabot House and is a current Undergraduate Council Representative. Chloe G. Veron ’14, a government concentrator, lives in Lowell House.