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The Undergraduate Council unanimously voted Sunday to allocate $4000 to fund an event for juniors whose families will not be able to attend Junior Family Weekend.
The event will be a three-course lunch on March 2. Amanda Claybaugh and Sindhumathi Revuluri, the dean and associate dean of undergraduate education respectively, will attend the lunch. Professors from several departments, including History of Science, Psychology, and Romance Languages and Literatures, will also be present.
UC President Sruthi Palaniappan ’20, Vice President Julia M. Huesa ’20, and Winthrop House Representative Shivani R. Aggarwal ’21 proposed the event.
“Both junior and sophomore class-wide programming has traditionally lacked on campus, so this event in particular strives to accomplish that amongst a demographic of students who might not also have that support when a bunch of other students are here with their parents,” Palaniappan said.
The team predicts roughly 50 students will attend the event, as well as 20 faculty members. They said they hope the event will give juniors an opportunity to reflect on their futures while faculty members serve as mentors.
“Having this [lunch] gives them the ability to also talk about more broad questions of what it means to be a student on this campus and how to think about your last year and a half and even future plans,” Palaniappan said.
“There’s lots of interest from faculty members to engage in this particular type of event as well, so I think it gives them the opportunity to gain insight as to where juniors are mentally in terms of their time here at Harvard and how they can also support them when it comes to their time in the classroom together,” Palaniappan added.
The lunch was inspired by a similar event for freshmen whose parents could not attend First-Year Family Weekend.
“Currently, there isn’t an alternative event for juniors whose families aren’t able to come to Junior Family Weekend, as there was for first-years,” Huesa said. “We wanted there to be an opportunity for something like that for juniors.”
Mai-Linh Ton ’19, the organizer of the freshman dinner, said she created the event two years ago to make Harvard more inclusive and have faculty “take the place” of parents who could not be in Cambridge that particular weekend.
“I think the junior parents weekend is a perfect continuation because that’s something I had in mind, too,” Ton said. “I'm so happy that the UC ended up doing the other half.”
The team asked the Office of Diversity Education and Support to institutionalize and help fund the event, but since the office had already planned its budget for the year, it could not accommodate an additional event, according to Palaniappan. She said, however, that the office may be able to sponsor the event in future years.
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