Harvard To Increase Wintersession Programs

As Harvard College prepares for its second-ever Wintersession, offices from across the University have increased programming in the works, and the Undergraduate Council plans to streamline its funding processes for student groups.

Harvard offices planning events for Wintersession include the Office of Career Services, Department of Athletics, Center for Public Interest Careers, the Harvard Alumni Association, and Office for the Arts.

HAA plans to expand program offerings to Harvard Clubs around the world, including “career treks” and “winternships” that are planned jointly with the OCS.

HAA will also repeat the on-campus book talks and the Global Networking Night programs held last year, said Clint Ficula, Student Outreach Coordinator at HAA.

The OFA will offer several new programs, including a master class with Christine Ebersole, a Tony award-winning singer and actress, said Tom S. Lee, coordinator of OFA’s Learning From Performers series.

According to Lee, last year’s workshop with screenwriter and producer A. Carlton Cuse ’81 was especially popular. Lee said that the OFA hopes to add a different screenwriter or producer from Hollywood to its schedule in January 2013.

This year, the UC will work with the OSL to streamline approval of student-initiated programming. Last year, students were required to apply to the OSL for program approval and the UC for funding in separate processes, according to UC President Danny P. Bicknell ’13. The new system will result in a more student-friendly process, he said.

UC funding decisions will continue to be made by students, not administrators, Bicknell said. The UC will distribute up to $20,000 in funding to student-initiated Wintersession programs, which is on par with 2012 funding levels, he added.

Wintersession program proposals from College students and other eligible members of the Harvard community must be submitted by December 10, according to an email from Dean of Harvard College Evelynn M. Hammonds.

For the first time, the UC will also provide organizational training to student program leaders to ensure that programs run smoothly, Bicknell said.

Cassandra E. Euphrat Weston ’14, current president of Harvard College Speak Out Loud, said that Wintersession offers a unique opportunity for student organizations to undertake projects that they may not have time for during the academic year. In January 2012, Euphrat Weston and then-co-president Kyra A. Atekwana ’14 planned a spoken word poetry performance with about fifteen participants.

The event was successful largely “because of the time everyone can commit to writing and putting on a show” during Wintersession, Euphrat Weston said. “It's also great because the first week that people are back there aren't a lot of events planned," which results in a larger audience, she said.

Lisa M. Boes, chair of the Winter Break committee and resident dean of Pforzheimer House, did not respond to requests for comment.

In an email to students on Thursday, Hammonds divided the intersession into three periods. Wintersession programming will run from Jan. 18 to 27. This period “provides opportunities to explore a creative passion, learn new ideas, develop a new skill, or delve into an extracurricular or career interest,” wrote Hammonds.

During the first session, the college will be closed to everyone except athletes and lab-based researchers. During the following session, from Jan. 2 to 17, students can apply to stay on campus for thesis research, athletics, and a variety of other reasons.

--Staff writer Henry A. Shull can be reached at hshull@college.harvard.edu

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