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UC Funds MBTA Tickets and Free Detergent Program

A recent Undergraduate Council weekly meeting, held in the Smith Campus Center.
A recent Undergraduate Council weekly meeting, held in the Smith Campus Center. By Mayesha R. Soshi
By Mayesha R. Soshi, Crimson Staff Writer

The Undergraduate Council passed legislation establishing a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority subsidy program and providing free laundry detergent to College students during a Sunday meeting.

The transportation legislation allocates $2,880 from the Social and Residential Life Committee to subsidize MBTA tickets for undergraduate students. It aims to eliminate the financial burden T tickets impose on low-income students.

“Transportation constitutes a substantial financial constraint on low-income students at Harvard College,” the legislation reads. “Students and low-income individuals have called for a free MBTA and have proposed resolutions in light of the financial burden it imposes.”

The MBTA offers an 11 percent discount to students at more than 50 colleges and universities in the area. Though the program extends to graduate schools at Harvard, it does not include the College.

As a result, the UC will choose 200 students through a lottery and grant them three round-trip T tickets.

The legislation also calls for the UC to communicate with the MBTA to promote future partnerships to subsidize tickets for undergraduates.

The legislation was sponsored by Pforzheimer House Representative Lisa R. Mathew ’24 and Winthrop House Representative Kimani E. Panthier ’24.

The second piece of legislation provides environmentally-friendly detergent to undergraduate dorms and houses to relieve the financial burden laundry expenses impose on students.

“Providing free laundry detergent to students will lessen the financial burden of doing laundry,” the legislation reads.

In 2020, the Council partnered with the detergent company ECOS — the most sustainable brand of detergent, according to the Harvard Office for Sustainability — to offer free detergent to affiliates living in undergraduate residential housing. The UC halted the program at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and officially reinstated it with Sunday’s legislation. The Council plans to distribute the detergent bottles to the dorms and houses over the course of three weeks.

The council said it will look into reestablishing its partnership with ECOS to expand the free detergent program in the future.

“The Undergraduate Council [will] reopen communications with ECOS to explore possible long-term partnerships regarding laundry detergent for students,” the legislation reads.

The legislation was sponsored by Ivy Yard Representative Michael Zhao ’25 and Lowell House Representative David Zhang ’23.

—Staff writer Mayesha R. Soshi can be reached at

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