Participation in Ivy Council Has Merits

To the editors:

The recent coverage of the Ivy Council (Feature, Feb. 28; Editorial, March 7) has neglected several key issues and has misrepresented a few others. The main question raised by The Crimson and certain council members is, essentially, "Is the Ivy Council worth $1,000 a year to the council?" To answer this, we think it is necessary to know exactly what the Ivy Council does. The organization serves to facilitate the flow of information between the student governments of the eight Ivy League schools. In addition, the Ivy Council uses its unique role as the facilitator of communication to organize Ivy-wide events.


The recent success of the Ivy Leaders Summit, a conference that brought together ten accomplished student leaders from each school, speaks to the potential of this organization. Furthermore, on April 8, the Ivy Council is organizing an Ivy Wide day of Community Outreach and Public Service. (HAR'D CORPS at Harvard). These, along with our core role of bringing about dialogue, certainly add considerable value to the council. In particular, Harvard's Census 2000 grew out of Ivy Council communication and promises to be the major project of the current administration.

Now to address a few facts that were misconstrued in the recent coverage. First, the cost of the Ivy Council is $250 per year to the council. This cost covers expenses such as food, materials and conference book production. The additional $750 represents transportation costs for the delegates. In the future, we will recommend that a co-payment system be developed for the delegates to decrease the cost to the council. Second, Harvard delegates completed six of the eight required reports. The two that didn't get completed were the responsibility of a delegate who became sick at the last minute. Finally, we agree with those who believe more conference time needs to be spent in focused conversation. While the current structure allows time for more informal meetings, certainly more time can and will be spent to maximize the value to our home councils.

Putting value on the different services is not easy but it must be understood that this is only the beginning. The Ivy Council is still a young organization and it is constantly trying to improve itself and to provide more value to its members. We believe that the Ivy Council is valuable to Harvard now and will become even more valuable in the future. Harvard, rather than withdrawing, needs to make an active commitment to the council and provide that critical feedback that will lead to growth.

Matthew C. Ebbel '01

Fentrice D. Driskell '01

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