The Undergraduate Council announced that its new Loans Pilot Program—an initiative which will enable the Council to bankroll more student-run programming—will go live starting this week.
“We didn’t like turning down organizations that wanted money for fund-raisers,” UC Treasurer Jonathan Y.H. Li ’14 said. “This loans program allows us to support them.”
Previously, the Undergraduate Council, which funds many student groups on campus, could only provide monetary grants for not-for-profit events that directly served Harvard students. The creation of this new program allows the Council to now allocate money—in the form of loans which must be repaid within three weeks—for charitable fundraisers, projects targeting the greater Boston community, and other for-profit events.
The Council has designated $10,000 of its over $500,000 budget, which is drawn from student fees, for such loans.
“Because we receive our finances from students, everything has to benefit the students,” said Li, who represents Mather House. “We’re happy to fund information sessions and meet-and-greet events, but we’ve never been able to fund anything that makes a profit because we wouldn’t know where that money goes.”
UC Finance Committee Chair Matthew R. Marotta ’14, a Kirkland House representative, said that he is glad the Council will now be able to fund a greater variety of student activities.
“The UC has never been able to support fundraisers, but now we can,” said Marotta, who spearheaded the loan initiative along with his committee. “Events as simple as bake sales can now be funded by this loans program.”
In October, the Council passed legislation for the loans program, which was sponsored by Leverett Representative Nicholas Oo ’13, with a landslide majority of 29 to 1.
The new program, however, circumvents rather than amends existing UC funding guidelines.
To apply for loans, students must fill out a form that can be downloaded from the UC’s website. Students will then be invited to an interview with the UC’s Finance Committee.
Unlike grant applications, which require previous organizational standing, Marotta said that students can use this program to generate initial income.
“People can apply right now. The portal’s open,” said Marotta. “These are funds that are just waiting to be tapped into, and we’re eager to help student groups get started.”
—Staff writer Michelle Denise L. Ferreol can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.