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UPDATED: February 20, 2015, at 3:21 a.m.
A year after their predecessors requested—and were not granted—$250,000 in funding, Undergraduate Council President Ava Nasrollahzadeh ’16 and UC Vice President Dhruv P. Goyal ’16 on Thursday spent their first meeting with University President Drew G. Faust updating her on recent work including a smartphone calendar application.
Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal’s approach to their only meeting of the semester with Faust stands in stark contrast to last spring, when former UC President Gus A. Mayopoulos ’15 and former Vice President Sietse K. Goffard ’15 rallied outside Massachusetts Hall equipped with toilet paper in advance of their meeting. After running a social media campaign calling for an increase in student group funding, Mayopoulous and Goffard walked into Mass. Hall and asked Faust to increase their budget.
This year, Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal did not make any monetary demands.
The new UC leaders have said that, unlike their predecessors, they do not plan to pursue projects that involve heavy collaboration with administrators during their term, and instead hope to turn to more independent initiatives that they hope will be easier to deliver. Faust did not grant Mayopoulos and Goffard their demanded $250,000 last year.
Despite the lack of demands they brought to Faust, Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal said their meeting was generally met with success.
“It was fantastic. It was everything we expected,” Goyal said.
According to Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal, Faust agreed to attend an administrative forum held by the UC later this semester. UC leaders hope that Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana and Dean of Faculty of the Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith will also attend. Undergraduates may approach the three administrators with general questions at that meeting, the UC leaders said. They have not yet set a date.
Also at the meeting, Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal updated Faust on the UC’s most recent initiatives: a proposed Harvard extension of a United Nations gender equity campaign, which is set to launch through the Institute of Politics later this spring, and Ventfull, a campus calendar smartphone application that the Council paid to bring to Harvard for the semester.
Faust indicated that she would attend the gender equity’s campaign launch “if her schedule allows,” Nasrollahzadeh said, and liked the calendar app. According to Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal, administrators are considering adding events from the President’s Office and Harvard Public Affairs and Communications to the app.
“She’s very appreciative of all of these initiatives that the UC is taking,” Goyal said. “She branded us as being very proactive this year, with concrete, tangible things that make a difference to the entire community.”
Nasrollahzadeh said she and Goyal also asked Faust about the possibility of the Smith Campus Center serving as a hub for cultural groups on campus. According to Nasrollahzadeh, Faust suggested that the Council work with Khurana on the proposal. The renovated campus center is scheduled to open in 2018.
—Staff writer Jalin P. Cunningham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @JalinCunningham.
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