Student Groups Plan for J-Term

Student group leaders hoping to offer their own programming during the next January Term have responded positively to the College’s recent decision to allow all students to return to campus more than a week before spring classes begin.

Many groups believe that next year’s J-Term schedule will give them an opportunity to organize their own activities during the last week of the break.

“Having everybody being able to be back is a big boon,” said P. Kenzie Bok ’11, president of the Institute of Politics’ Student Advisory Committee.

Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds announced on Friday that the student body would be allowed to return to campus on Jan. 16, 2011—eight days before classes begin.

But many logistical problems remain for student groups as they work to transform their ideas for programming into reality by next January.

Before the guidelines for next January were made public last week, many groups had initially planned to develop activities that would span multiple weeks.

“Having [the period] a little shorter than two weeks is not ideal from our perspective,” Bok said, since the IOP had originally envisioned a two-week program of political workshops and service events.

Harvard Undergraduate Television also had plans for a longer J-Term program, in which they hoped to gather students to produce a short film on campus.

HUTV President Tiffany N. Fereydouni ’11 said that the group has not given up on the undertaking and plans to apply for approval to stay over the earlier portion of J-Term as well.

Undergraduate Council President Johnny F. Bowman ’11 said that the UC will try to lobby the administration to allow more groups to stay on campus.

“Last year there were many student groups that received housing, mostly in public service and the arts,” Bowman said. “We’re hoping [it] will be extended to [other groups].”

But the UC may face some challenges, as Hammonds has said that the College will limit the number of students on campus during the restricted period to the capacity of Annenberg Hall—the only dining hall that will be open for most of January.

Student group leaders say they are still working out the logistics of their programs and are waiting for more information from the College before they can fully plan for the last week of J-Term.

For example, although larger organizations like the IOP and HUTV have their own budgets, many smaller student groups may need to procure additional funds in order to host programming.

Though the College does not plan to provide funding for J-Term activities on campus, Bowman said that the UC will “definitely consider” providing financial support for student group programming if there is enough interest.