UPDATED: October 6, 2014, at 4:44 p.m.
Undergraduate Council representatives approved their budget for the 2015 fiscal year and filled executive board positions of secretary, parliamentarian, and Rules Committee chair in their general meeting Sunday.
The Council held internal elections for the secretary position following Stephen A. Turban’s '17 resignation last week.
Yasmin Z. Sachee '18, of Elm Yard, won the election, which included three other UC representatives. Sachee pointed to her past experience on student government during high school and advocated for greater use of technology on the Council during her 30-second campaign pitch. Mayopoulos also announced at the meeting that William Oh ’18 had been elected as parliamentarian by the Council’s executive committee, and Brett M. Biebelberg '16 had been appointed Rules Committee chair. Riya N. Patel ’17 will serve as the new Freshman Class Committee chair.
UC Treasurer Meghamsh Kanuparthy '16 also introduced the Council’s budget for the 2015 fiscal year. Few changes were made to this year’s budget, but the Council did debate how to allocate additional funds it will receive in revenue, up $10,000 from last year, from the UC Student Activities Fee.
The UC grants fund, which comprises the majority of the Council’s budget, will see a 3.5 percent increase in revenue.
The Student Relations Committee’s budget will be augmented by more than 150 percent. Of that increase, $300 will be directed toward each House’s representatives to perform specific outreach efforts, according to Kanuparthy.
The Council initially debated an amendment introduced by Oh, which would would have reduced that number to $275 and earmarked the remaining sum for a gender and racial diversity fund on the UC’s Student Relations Committee.
The Council ultimately tabled Oh’s proposal and approved the budget as originally formulated. In the meantime, Student Relations Committee chair Ava Nasrollahzadeh '16 said the committee would release a more detailed budget and evaluate how to best address diversity of representation on the Council.
The UC also welcomed three representatives from the Harvard College Women’s Center to present a Gender 101 workshop for the second year in a row, according to Vice President Sietse K. Goffard '15.
Matthew E. Stolz ’15 led the majority of the presentation and described the ways in which gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation interact and how Council members can use and ask for preferred gender pronouns to make individuals of different identities feel more comfortable.
Stolz also fielded questions by several UC representatives about the ways the Council might best encourage individuals of diverse gender identities to run for and secure UC positions. This year’s Council is about one-third female. Stolz emphasized that the UC should think of the “little things” that can create a comfortable and respectful culture for all who serve on the UC.
“[It] is super important for us as a Council to...get this perspective,” UC President Gus A. Mayopoulos '15 said directly after the presentation.
The Council also tabled a vote on a freshman town hall event and approved another wave of grants amounting to about $7,000.
—Staff writer Noah J. Delwiche can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ndelwiche.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
CORRECTION: October 6, 2014
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the name of the termbill fee that helps fund the Undergraduate Council. In fact, the body receives funding from the UC Student Activities Fee.