UC Leaders Seek To ‘Institutionalize’ Projects This Semester

As they begin the final semester of their terms, Undergraduate Council President Ava Nasrollahzadeh ’16 and UC Vice President Dhruv P. Goyal ’16 say they do not plan to focus their efforts on creating new initiatives. Instead, they say they want to make their past ones last beyond their tenure.

Harvard UC Meeting
At the Undergraduate Council’s general meeting on April 26, representatives discussed the Evaluation Task Force’s reports of its Student Faculty Committee, Freshman Class Committee, and calendar application, Ventfull.

In an interview Tuesday, Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal pointed to two Council initiatives last spring—"Side by Side," a gender equity campaign, and Ventfull, a calendar smartphone application that the Council paid to bring to Harvard last spring—they want to establish as fixtures for the College’s future.

“Ensuring that they go on beyond [our administration] will be the focus of this semester,” Goyal said.

Goyal said he believes that the Council had already pushed through many initiatives last semester in addition to "Side by Side" and Ventfull, citing the establishment of a pilot spring break dining plan and a pilot program that combined Harvard University IDs and Charlie Cards.

“Launching more stuff [this semester] will actually be detrimental,” he added.

Specifically, Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal said they plan to approach student groups that submitted a gender equity pledge and see that they follow through on those pledges.

For the Ventfull smartphone application, which incorporates student group events on one platform, the UC leaders said they are considering introducing different filters to sort events. They said filters for health and wellness and “special events” such as freshman orientation and the Harvard-Yale football game are potentially on the horizon.

For his part, UC Rules Committee Chair Brett M. Biebelberg ’16 said there are other steps that need to be taken before the UC attempts to make Ventfull and "Side by Side" permanent fixtures of life at the College. Specifically, he said, the Council needs to determine usage of Ventfull. While more than 2,000 undergraduates have downloaded it, UC representatives have not said how many undergraduates use the app on a regular basis.

If usage of the app is low, Biebelberg said, the Council ought to reconsider a more effective way to use their money and resources this semester. “If it turns out that they are attracting use, then it might be worth exploring how these things can be continued,” he said.

Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal said they will also focus on an improved campaign and voting process for prospective UC representatives.

“We’re deploying a much more robust recruitment campaign,” Nasrollahzadeh said, adding that this semester, the UC will host a series of information sessions on the election process and encourage students from diverse backgrounds to pursue involvement with the Council.

—Staff writer Jalin P. Cunningham can be reached at jalin.cunningham@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @JalinCunningham.

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