Members of the Undergraduate Council announced plans to form a Council endowment, reform student outreach efforts, and train representatives to better interact with students during their general meeting on Sunday.
Citing their recent meeting with Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith, UC President Gus A. Mayopoulos '15 and Vice President Sietse K. Goffard '15 explained to the Council that they will not be receiving funding from the University this year.
Student Relations Chair Ava Nasrollahzadeh '16 and Ivy Yard representative Charles A. Scherr '17 discussed ways in which the UC is planning to utilize alumni donations. Although Mayopoulos and Goffard have previously expressed a desire to seek alumni funding, the meeting marked the first time that the UC leaders discussed the creation of an endowment.
According to Scherr, the UC has already been in contact with an alumnus who is helping them plan and create the endowment. The funding will likely come from UC savings and alumni donations, Scherr said.
While the timeline remains tentative, Council members emphasized the importance of securing savings.
“It’s just something nice to have for the UC down the road,” Scherr said.
The UC subsequently shifted its focus to discussing ways that representatives may better communicate with students—an effort that Goffard and Mayopoulos have repeatedly said is the top goal of their administration.
Mayopoulos also addressed feedback he had received from UC representatives about current problems with Operation Ghost Protocol. The measure, which was passed by the Council in early February, requires UC members to be in their respective dining halls on Fridays to distribute surveys and answer students’ questions.
Mayopoulos said that the current implementation is “a little messy,” and pledged to introduce legislation next week with revisions. In the anticipated amendment, Mayopoulos said he would change the frequency of the Friday meetings to every other week and consider alternative ways to convey the Council's initiatives.
Mayopoulos also introduced a mockup of a UC weekly update that the Council might plan on distributing, and Council members brainstormed other methods of conveying Council endeavors more effectively and at a lower cost.
“We are trying to find a balance between talking to people and not overwhelming them,” Mayopoulos said after the meeting.
In a similar communications effort, Oak Yard representative Giora A. Ashkenazi '17 asked Council representatives to consider attending a workshop held by the leaders of Room 13, a student-led peer counseling service.
“It’s a huge step for people to realize that we really do want to listen,” Ashkenazi said of the training, which he said would equip representatives to listen to students who wish to discuss their troubles or “more sensitive issues” with the Council members. The majority of UC members expressed interest in completing the program and are working to schedule a time in the near future.
The UC also tabled a vote on a proposed Harvard Student Agencies video contract, the pricing of which Goffard described as “too expensive,” and approved another spring grants package, allocating about $12,500 to various student groups.
—Staff writer Noah J. Delwiche can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ndelwiche.