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UC Passes Annual Budget With ‘Burst Fund’

A UC meeting earlier this month.
A UC meeting earlier this month. By Amy Y. Li
By Andrew J. Zucker, Crimson Staff Writer

The 36th Undergraduate Council passed its annual budget with a new fund for representatives to finance campus-wide initiatives, following two hours of discussion and three failed amendments Sunday evening.

At the meeting—the first including representatives from the Class of 2021—UC members proposed six amendments to its $678,466 annual budget. Only three passed.

The UC’s final budget allocated $385,000 towards funding undergraduate student groups—its largest expenditure—and $159,080 to fund activities in the upperclassmen Houses. For the first time this year, the UC’s Education Committee was allocated its own budget of $1,000.

Most of this year’s budget came from the College’s Student Activities Fee, an optional $75 fee that undergraduates pay annually. This year, students’ fees contributed a total of $501,075 to the budget.

Several amendments revolved around the new fund, called the Burst Fund, which originally offered UC members and committees to apply for ten “packs” of $6,000 to jumpstart initiatives that benefit the College’s student body.

Nicholas D. Boucher ’19, the Council’s treasurer, said the Burst Fund differs from past budget items like the Council’s Crazy Idea Fund and Grant for an Open Harvard College in that it funds a wider range of initiatives and activities. The Crazy Fund, created in 2015, contained less money than the Burst Fund, while GOHC only funds initiatives in five policy areas: race, culture, and faith relations, mental health, sexual assault and harassment, social spaces, and financial accessibility.

“There are a lot of different things this could be used for, but the idea is...that you can claim one of these ten funds and use it for whatever project you’re working on,” Boucher said.

At the meeting, UC Vice President Cameron K. Khansarinia ’18, Mather House representative Eduardo A. Gonzalez ’18, and Quincy House representative Sarah S. Fellman ’18 proposed successful amendments regulating the ways in which the Burst Fund may be allocated.

Khansarinia’s amendment requires two-thirds approval of in order to approve a pack, Gonzalez’s amendment requires Burst Fund-sponsored events to be open to all College students and have partially subsidized tickets, and Fellman’s divides the Burst Fund into 20 packs of $3,000 dollars instead of 10 packs of $6,000.

Also at the meeting, the UC’s Executive Committee announced creation of the Council’s First-Generation and Low-Income Caucus and Women’s Caucus were announced. Furthermore, Adam E. Harper ’20 was appointed to be the Chair of the Freshmen Class Committee and Jungyeon Park ’20 was appointed to the Student Faculty Committee.

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