Laila A. Nasher ’25 and Ethan C. Kelly ’25 have been friends since freshman year. Now, they’re joining heads in a campaign to lead the Harvard Undergraduate Association.
Nasher and Kelly pledge to improve student group funding by articulating “new financial guidelines” in the HUA budget for club funding, emergency funds, and an inaugural club funding portal, according to their website.
Kelly said the HUA ended last semester with $50,000 that could have been distributed to clubs.
“Part of the main reason why we wanted to run was to combat that level of discontent when it came down to club funding,” he said. “We wanted to ensure that the entire budget was being used.”
“Transparency is key. I think we put that at one of the main forefronts of our campaigns,” he added. “We have a vision when it comes down to club funding that in a sense is unmatched on the level of detail.”
Both Nasher and Kelly have gained leadership and mentorship experience through their work as student leaders of Harvard Primus — an organization for first generation, low income students — and the Leadership Institute for the First-Year Experience pre-orientation program, respectively.
Both sophomores boast strong ties to the FGLI community at Harvard. This past fall, Nasher helped organize the University’s inaugural First Generation Visibility Week.
“That’s where I felt like there was a very, very big gap in the sense that there are no institutionalized resources for first gen students,” she said. “But this also wasn’t really being heard in non-first gen spaces.”
“If we’re able to do this — having to advocate to admin on our own, one-on-one, without having this very large institutional backing behind us — why isn’t the HUA doing this?” Nasher added.
The ticket promises to organize “Occupy University Hall” protests, increase funding for affinity groups and provide safe sex materials to the Yard and every House, per their website.
“I think something that we’re really interested in doing with advocating for students is giving students a platform to advocate for themselves,” Nasher said. “We mean it when we say we want to make Harvard listen.”
Though there were questions regarding Title IX and inclusion in the HUA debates, Nasher said only their ticket included these issues in their platform.
“We were the only ones who had, actually, I feel listened to the current climate on campus,” Nasher said. “We didn’t decide to run and were like, ‘Okay, what are student issues?’ We saw the issues and we said, ‘Okay, now here’s a platform that we feel is best to actually address this.’”
“We’re ready to start these positions if elected,” Kelly said. “I think that we have the collective experience and overall platform to actually execute our vision — actually make a change on this campus and really do good for the student body.”
—Staff writer Madeleine A. Hung can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.