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UC Votes to Subsidize Storage for Low-Income Students

Sunday Night with the UC
Catherine L. Zhang '19 and Nicholas D. Boucher '19 preside over an Undergraduate Council Meeting.

UPDATED: April 18, 2018 at 3:40 p.m.

The Undergraduate Council voted at its Sunday meeting to allocate $8,000 to subsidize summer storage for certain low-income students.

Residents and soon-to-be residents in Quincy, Dunster, Winthrop, Mather, and Leverett Houses who are eligible for the Student Events Fund—a College initiative that provides event tickets to undergraduates with demonstrated financial need—will be eligible for the $35 subsidy. According to the legislation, these five houses are the only ones that currently do not provide “free storage options” for their residents.

The UC sent a survey to residents of the five houses that don’t provide free storage to gauge their storage needs. Of the 575 students who responded, over 50 percent reported they spend at least $100 on storage each year. In addition, over 97 percent of respondents reported they would “take advantage” of a free or subsidized storage option if it were available to them.

Quincy House Representative Sarah Fellman ’18—who sponsored the legislation—said she and First-Year Class Committee chair Rushi A. Patel ’21 have discussed with Associate Dean of Students Lauren E. Brandt ’01 the possibility of obtaining funding from the College for summer storage. Patel and Fellman have broached a variety of ideas with Brandt at these meetings, including integrating storage funding into the financial aid package, according to Patel.

“It seems like this is something that the OSL and that Lauren Brandt care about,” Fellman said. “The Financial Aid office has been responsive to us and to her.”

In the meantime, though, the legislation’s co-sponsors reiterated the short-term needs of certain students.

“We want to help people now because people are really financially burdened with this now,” Fellman said. “We want to get good data on how important this is for students and we want to keep working with administrators to make a longer-term and fuller solution.”

Patel said they asked administrators about possibly allowing residents of houses without storage to use available spaces in other houses, but he said administrators told them that all storage spaces already reach capacity during the summer.

Finance Committee chair Henry S. Atkins ’20 asked Fellman about the long-term goal of this legislation.

“The specific policy is what the administration is willing to do,” Fellman said. “The general policy is we don’t want students to have to pay for storage, especially inequitably.”

Sunday’s vote to subsidize summer storage marks the Council’s second effort in less than a month to financially support SEF-eligible students. At a meeting in late March, the Council voted to subsidize purchase of bicycles and other means of transportation for SEF-eligible students in the Quad. The UC voted the following week to include Dunster and Mather in the program.

In response to a question from Education Committee chair Sruthi Palaniappan ’20 about storage costs at other institutions like Yale and Stanford, Fellman said that on average, summer storage costs at those schools were higher for students. Storage, she said, could be one Harvard perk that informs prospective students’ college decisions.

This article has been revised to reflect the following corrections:

CORRECTION: April 18, 2018

A previous version of this article indicated Sarah Fellman '18 co-sponsored the legislation regarding summer storage. In fact, Fellman sponsored the legislation.

CORRECTION: April 18, 2018

A previous version of this article incorrectly indicated that the Undergraduate Council voted at its Sunday meeting to allocate $7,000 to subsidize summer storage for certain low-income students. In fact, the UC voted to allocate $8,000 for that purpose.

—Staff writer Jonah S. Berger can be reached at jonah.berger@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonahberger98.

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