The Undergraduate Council voted Sunday to provide funds to subsidize peer counseling groups’ meals during Opening Days this year, fulfilling a campaign promise of UC President Yasmin Z. Sachee ’18 and Vice President Cameron K. Khansarinia ’18.
The UC will distribute a $2,000 grant across Room 13, Contact, Sexual Health and Relationship Counselors, Eating Concerns Hotline and Outreach, Response, and Indigo. Members of these student groups return from summer break during Opening Days in order to train before offering counseling for the full year, according to Sachee.
“Every year, these groups come back to campus early to go through training for a week before school starts. And they do this so that they can start all their programs the minute students get to campus, so they can service the students for the entire year,” she said.
Sachee said that last year, members of the groups that came back to campus received no funds for food during Opening Week.
“When they come back to campus in the first week last year, they did not have access to dining halls and they weren’t given any food [provided by the College],” Sachee said.
Sachee said discussions between herself and mental health groups began in the fall before she became UC President. During Sachee and Khansarinia’s campaign, the duo prioritized improving mental health services by working on “things we actually have control over.”
Khansarinia said he and Sachee began working with administrators from Harvard University Health Services in February to locate funding sources for the meals.
“It wasn't really important for us if it came from us or if it came from them,” he said.
The UC voted to fund the grant as part of the Grant for an Open Harvard College—a $30,000 student initiative fund. While the grant will go towards funding meals for members of the groups this year, Sachee and Khansarinia said they hope the College will pay for it in the future.
“We also have been talking with the College to see if there’s a way if they can foot the bill there, as well. What we have to remember is this is not something the college has funded in the past, this would be a new addition to their budget and so obviously there would have to be things that have to be worked out there,” Sachee said.—Staff writer Andrew J. Zucker can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewJZucker
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