News

Harvard Law School Makes Online Zero-L Course Free for All U.S. Law Schools Due to Coronavirus

News

For Kennedy School Fellows, Epstein-Linked Donors Present a Moral Dilemma

News

Tenants Grapple with High Rents and Local Turnover at Asana-Owned Properties

News

In April, Theft Surged as Cambridge Residents Stayed at Home

News

The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

All-Ivy Council Discusses Common Issues

By Elizabeth A. Gudrais, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

The spirit of competition between the eight schools of the Ivy League will probably always be fierce.

But this weekend, representatives from those schools' student governments convened at Harvard to set aside their rivalry and pool their resources.

At the Ivy Council 1999 spring conference, the council--which convenes twice a year at one of the Ivy campuses--gathered to discuss common problems facing all the colleges. The conference included sessions on career services, space issues, building a sense of community, student rights, relations between student government and student body, student activism, security and the Ivy Council itself.

At the council elections, Harvard delegate Matthew C. Ebbel '00 was elected next year's Ivy Council president, and Robert J. Baror '00-01 was elected treasurer.

In spite of the $1, 425 Harvard's Undergraduate Council shelled out for the conference-nearly $900 came from other schools' registration fees-the event did not run as smoothly as planned.

"Harvard as a host was actually pretty horrible," Ebbel said.

Ebbel cited the dearth of Undergraduate Council members at the luncheon they were supposed to be hosting, and Dean Epps' failure to show up at his keynote address to the council Saturday afternoon.

"That was just an oversight," Epps said last night.

And Ebbel compared Harvard's delegates--who he said were "really scrambling" to finish up last-minute set-up--to the group who hosted the same conference at Dartmouth in the fall.

"There is much more institutional support [among student government, for the Ivy Council] at Dartmouth," he said.

Harvard delegate Fentrice D. Driskell '01 said the Ivy Council is needed because of the unique problems faced by these colleges--one of those being the issue of legitimacy in the eyes of the student body.

Driskell said because students at these colleges tend to be very focused on their work, it can be a challenge to get them interested in student government.

"How do you get people to see that these policies will really have an impact on their lives?" she asked.

Issues such as lack of community, because of students' tendency to ignore the social in favor of the academic, and issues of financing--that is, the problem of insufficient funds even in the face of mammoth endowments--are other problems common to all the schools.

Baror said particular progress was made on the issue of why some Ivies have a healthier sense of community than do others.

He mentioned more frequent campus-wide Springfest-type activities at the University of Pennsylvania and Dartmouth College as reasons students at those schools are more community-minded.

Baror said he thinks Yale's policy of assigning students to residential colleges at the beginning of their first year helps build cohesion within those colleges.

"They get into [the Colleges] at the beginning, instead of after they've already established their ties," Baror said.

Ebbel said he feels Harvard's system of assigning students to upperclass Houses is a source of student dissatisfaction.

"Look at the number of sophomores who tried to transfer this year," he said.

Ebbel also suggested a way to make use of the resources available in Harvard's current system: extending the hours of Loker Commons.

"If, after the library close, there's still food and there's still study space,...people might use it," he said.

Ebbel said a similar measure met with success at Dartmouth.

Another conference accomplishment was the planning of the Ivy Leaders Summit, an Ivy Council-sponsored leadership conference to be held next year for student leaders from each of the Ivy League schools.

The Harvard delegates to the summit must submit an application to attend the event.

Driskell said the council would attempt to bring in both high-profile and behind the-scenes leaders from their campuses.

The summit, she said, would focus on qualities such as integrity and responsibility, but also on specific professions such as medicine, law, politics, journalism, entrepreneurship and even professional sports.

And Ebbel said he hopes to introduce one more innovation: a book portraying and evaluating life at the Ivy League schools, written by students of those schools, marketed to the general American public.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags