UC Discusses New Website, Study Break Funding

Uliana V Savostenko

Tara Raghuveer '14, the 2013 Undergraduate Council President, welcomes members of the UC to their fisrt meeting of spring semester. They have much in agenda to discuss: upcoming elections, budget spending, and the incoming Dean of Student Life.

Undergraduate Council representatives discussed the launch of a new UC website and an initiative to increase funding for UC-sponsored study breaks during the group’s first general meeting of the spring semester Monday night. The meeting was the first led by new UC President Tara Raghuveer ’14 and Vice President Jen Q. Zhu ’14.

The website, which is still in its beta version and went live at 1 a.m. Monday morning, is designed to be more user-friendly than the blog-like format of the organization’s previous website.

“I think this is something that is going to be a really big step for the UC if we have an intuitive website that’s really easy to use and really accessible,” Raghuveer said.

Though members were generally enthusiastic about the new website, some going so far as to describe it as “beautiful” and “sleek,” others voiced concerns about its technical aspects.

During the meeting the UC also debated legislation about study break funding, ultimately deciding to table the issue until after spring recess.

The legislation, entitled the “Study Break Funding Act,” would have increased funding for UC-sponsored study breaks from $50 to $80 for each House per semester.

Sietse K. Goffard ’15, the act’s sponsor, argued that $50 is not enough money to purchase the food necessary to hold an effective study break, especially given the increasing price of food.

Goffard reasoned that increasing the budget for UC study breaks would increase their frequency, which in turn would bolster the visibility of the organization on campus. Only two UC study breaks were held last semester,

“Especially during exam week and especially when the workload starts increasing, even just one study break makes a big difference,” Goffard said.

Although members seemed generally supportive of the initiative, the members voted to postpone a vote on the act until they have more information on whether there is room in the group’s operations budget for the spending increase. The motion to table the legislation passed 13-10.

In an interview with The Crimson after the meeting, Goffard said he was disappointed with the tabling of the legislation and the lack of emphasis on study breaks on campus. He said that even though study breaks are budgeted for, many UC members tend to hold very few of them.

“I didn’t think it would be so controversial because it was just $500,” Goffard said, “I really wanted to encourage people to do these study breaks and to reach out, and the fact that we only had two last semester was a little disappointing.”

Raghuveer said that she thought that overall the UC’s first meeting represented a succesful start to the semester.

“I think [the meeting] went really well and honestly it doesn’t feel like this was my first UC meeting because the [representatives] were active over winter break,” Raghuveer said in an interview following the event. “It doesn’t feel like anyone is unprepared to get started on a really productive semester.”

—Staff writer Steven S. Lee can be reached at stevenlee@college.harvard.edu. Follow Steven on Twitter at @StevenSJLee.

Tags