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The Harvard Undergraduate Association convened for its final general meeting of the fall semester Sunday, allocating nearly $17,000 in grants for social, academic, and professional development initiatives.
With the Association’s inaugural semester drawing to a close, the body also outlined plans for an “organizational review,” which could see the creation of an “Inclusion Team” and an expanded “Co-Treasurer” position.
The working group, which will convene over winter recess, will propose structural and procedural recommendations to the HUA executive team. Any changes to the HUA’s constitution would require approval via a College-wide referendum.
During the meeting, HUA leaders confirmed this spring’s referendum may include a question on the creation of the “Inclusion Team,” a move that comes after the body drew criticism from Harvard Primus, a campus group for first-generation, low-income students, early in the semester.
In September, Primus leaders alleged the student government rejected the group’s efforts to establish an HUA diversity, equity, and inclusion team, a charge the HUA deemed “misinformation.”
With $47,493.74 remaining in its total fall semester budget, the Association moved to approve two costly initiatives Sunday.
Citing a need for accessible professional clothing on campus, HUA Co-Presidents LyLena D. Estabine ’24 and Travis Allen Johnson ’24 introduced a “Professional Clothing Closet” initiative, which would allow Harvard students to borrow formal wear for professional development purposes, free of charge.
Estabine and Johnson said the project would source its inventory from a combination of donations from Harvard affiliates and purchases made by the Association. Students would not have to demonstrate financial need to use the closet.
Voting Sunday, the Association unanimously approved a $10,000 allocation to fund the project, which is set to begin operation in early February.
The Association also approved a $6,456 grant from its Social Life Team budget to Harvard Datamatch, a service that matches Harvard students with 10 potential love interests or friends via an algorithm based on responses to an online survey. The grant will go toward the service’s technical costs and meal subsidies for matched students.
Harvard Datamatch Co-Presidents Alexander V. Cheng ’24 and Chelsea E. Guo ’24 said they requested the money in part due to the rising cost of food in Harvard Square. Additionally, the funding will allow participants to go on subsidized dates with all 10 of their matches, rather than just the top matches as in years past.
Thirteen students, including Guo and Cheng, voted in favor of the grant. Two voted “unopposed.”
At Sunday’s meeting, HUA Finance Officer Alexander J. Zurovec ’25 also presented a brief summary of fall semester funding.
According to the presentation, which rounded figures to the nearest dollar amount, 254 student organizations submitted $682,175 in eligible funding requests, $225,503 of which was ultimately approved by the HUA.
Zurovec said he hopes to improve clarity for club leaders around what costs are eligible for HUA funding and solicit feedback on the disbursement process via a survey form.
—Staff writer J. Sellers Hill can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SellersHill
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