In a push to increase transparency in Harvard’s administration, the Undergraduate Council will publish reports from student-faculty committee meetings on their website this academic year, according to UC Vice President Pratyusha Yalamanchi ’13.
“Transparency is a huge part of why we do this,” UC Education Committee Chair Terah E. Lyons ’14 said. “We want there to be transparency in the administration but also in the UC.”
Student representatives plan to regularly post updates of every committees’ progress to the council website, though it is still to be decided whether the few committees dealing with confidential information will similarly publicize their workings.
In conjunction with the launch of Navigate Harvard, a new UC initiative that maps out the hierarchy of the University’s administration, the website will allow students insight into the inner workings of Harvard’s higher levels, according to Yalamanchi.
“The Harvard administration can seem like a huge black box and no one knows what goes on inside,” she said. “This will help us to see who is responsible for what and who we can go to with concerns.”
The council will also factor undergraduate input into areas of student life that are of growing interest to the administration by implementing three new student-faculty committees on Wintersession, relations with University Health Services, and library support. The UC will accept applications for nearly 60 open positions on 17 committees until the Sept. 29 deadline, at which point the interview process will begin.
Applicants will progress to the interview round after review by Lyons and Student Life Committee Chair Michael C. George ’14, who is also a Crimson news writer.
“We look for students who are dedicated to a cause and passionate about whatever committee they are a part of,” Lyons said.
For many students, involvement in student-faculty committees serves as a convenient introduction to the UC as an organization. For example, newly elected Currier House representative Sietse K. Goffard ’15 said his work with the Harvard University Dining Services committee to implement both healthy and festive options in dining halls across campus inspired him to run for the UC this fall.
“HUDS motivated and inspired me to become a more active advocate for the student body—not just about food, which is a very important issue, but also about student life,” Goffard said.
After being involved with his high school student government, Donny R. Yung ’16 said he hopes to increase swipe access, expand social space, and work closely with administrators by applying to the Committee on Student Life.
“In my high school I did a lot of working with faculty and administrators to enhance student life and experience, and I want to try to help to do that here as well,” Yung said.