UC to Pilot Gender-Focused Freshman Study Breaks

{shortcode-b9c1d4633c80e2d06076e489a11f49b5ee9d1fc9} The Undergraduate Council voted Sunday to allocate $1,000 from its First-Year Class Committee budget to provide “Gender 101” training sessions in freshmen entryways.

The sessions, which will be led by the the Harvard College Women’s Center, will focus on “establishing shared knowledge and language around” gender-related topics, according to the legislation. The UC plans to pilot the program in the spring in as many as 15 freshman entryways.

Entryway proctors must first opt-in to the trainings, which would take place during study breaks. The program will give proctors $4 per student to spend on food for these events. After the meetings, the UC will collect feedback from students alongside the Harvard College Women’s Center and the Freshman Dean’s Office.

“This is giving people a common set of language they can use to discuss often unknown issues,” Crimson Yard representative Sonya Kalara ’21, a co-sponsor of the legislation, said.

Leverett House representative Salma Abdelrahman ’20 said she hopes the program will continue into the next academic year and become mandatory for all freshmen entryways in the future.


“If we get really good feedback, this would be used potentially to advocate for the Women’s Center to get more interns,” Abdelrahman said.

All but one representative voted in favor of the legislation.

During the UC’s meeting, the Council also voted to develop a “Plan for Inclusive Excellence” in an effort to promote diversity and inclusion within the student government.

The move comes after the release of the Presidential Task Force for Inclusion and Belonging’s draft report. Abdelrahman said she has spoken with Task Force co-chair Danielle S. Allen about holding the UC accountable to advance the goals laid out in the report.

One member from each UC caucus will join a new “Caucus Advisory Board” to create a guiding document concerning diversity and inclusion for Council committee chairs to utilize.

Abdelrahman explained that the board will identify “long term goals and actual steps to achieve those goals.”

Utilizing its new “burst pack,” the UC also partially funded a new app to help students place orders at the House Grilles—student-run late-night dining options on campus. Although some representatives, including Rules Committee Chair Evan M. Bonsall ’19, expressed reservations about funding the app without an itemized list of expenses provided in writing, it ultimately passed.

UC President Yasmin Z. Sachee ’18 and Vice President Cameron K. Khansarinia ’18 also said they met with University President Drew G. Faust on Friday. Sachee said the duo discussed Faust’s advocacy work in Washington D.C. and updated Faust on the Council’s efforts. Sachee said Faust was “impressed” with the UC-backed event during Freshman Family Weekend for students without family on campus.

—Staff writer Andrew J. Zucker can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @AndrewJZucker.


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