The Harvard Institute of Politics last week launched the “IOP One Fund,” a new initiative that will provide support for College students and student organizations to engage in public service.
Students can apply for up to $100 in funding to support various expenses related to public service, such as purchasing business attire, organizing student-led events, and traveling for professional purposes. The fund also offers non-monetary support for students and student organizations by offering event services including event space, speakers, and microphones.
IOP President Janna E. Ramadan ’23 and IOP Vice President Tabitha L. Escalante ’23 lauded the new program in a statement Sunday.
“It is no secret that barriers to public service exist beyond unpaid internships,” they wrote. “For college students, there exist major financial barriers to accessing workplace attire or travel costs to important conferences or interviews.”
“We’ve experienced it ourselves and it is our hope that this fund will alleviate this burden for other students as they endeavor to pursue long-term public service journeys – at and beyond Harvard,” Ramadan and Escalante added.
IOP Treasurer Stephanie Lin ’24, who helped spearhead the new fund, said it seeks to fill a void following the dissolution of the Undergraduate Council, which she said left students without a way to receive some types of funding. Undergraduate students voted last spring to eliminate the UC in favor of the Harvard Undergraduate Association, which began meeting this semester.
During a Sept. 27 meeting of the IOP’s Student Advisory Committee, Lin said, some members raised concerns that student organizations might lean on the IOP for resources too much, using it to replace funding the organizations should be receiving from student government.
The IOP One Fund is supported by the IOP’s budget, Lin said. Student group funding dispersed by the UC came from money allocated by the Harvard College Dean of Students Office.
“Our student budget was created for the express purpose of supporting the Institute’s mission, which is why we’ve had to work this fund in a way where we can support the Harvard community, but still in a way that the student budget was initially created for,” Lin said.
The current version of the One IOP Fund only allows individual students to apply for monetary funding, while both student organizations and individuals are eligible for non-monetary support.
“We integrated everyone’s concerns and we kind of went through, bullet by bullet, each of the things that were raised and how to best address it,” Lin said. “As a team, we came to this current iteration of the fund, which very much has been updated by the feedback from our Student Advisory Committee.”
—Staff writer Miles J. Herszenhorn can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MHerszenhorn.