Students in Service and Leadership at Harvard

2022 Student Recommendations on Strengthening Student Leadership and Service at Harvard

Written by (in alphabetical order): Leslie Arroyo, Noelle Castro, Elynna Chang, Hannah Chew, Elizabeth Denehy, Tabitha Escalante, Luis Esteva Sueiro, Ellie Grueskin, Sho Sho Leigha Ho, Joseph Jang (JJ), Camryn Jones, Abia Khan, Alex Kim, Andrew Kim, Nyckole Lázaro-Quintero, Alex Mazzella, Ryan O’Malley, Sung Kwang Oh, Khin Oo, Charlie Paradis, Arjun Prasad & William Yao


Student names: Leslie Arroyo, William Yao, Nyckole Lázaro Quintero, Alex Mazzella, Alexander Kim


  1. Training videos that can be easily accessible for all student leaders; particularly important for those who cannot make required training due to emergencies, and to also answer any questions that may be raised after the in-person training and may not be fresh in the minds of the students. 
    1. tracking effectiveness of student leadership training
    2. difficult to balance student autonomy + staff support (train students on how to ask for help, how to interact with support staff) 
  2. More formal feedback loops between students/student leaders and administration
    1. University helps with finding and directing faculty advisors
    2. Hire new staff that could be hiring people to talk to the students directly. 
  3. Make SEO administration more accessible
  4. Deans / Faculty must become more accessible
    1. Coming into the groups that they are overseeing to learn
    2. Publicizing office hours and office locations
  5. A structured hour a week Ask Me Anything between faculty / deans and student leaders. 
  6. Through the training videos, norm set 
    1. I.e. setting the standard for how to navigate a power position on campus and not abusing the authority / letting it bleed into other aspects of the college experience
  7. Consultations with student groups who have salient issues or concerns. Then, provide essential training to solve these issues or concerns and move forward. Then, a check in after some time would be critical to ensure steps to resolve the issues or concerns have been implemented. 
  8. DSO can play a role in aggregating information (how to run elections, how to run good meetings, what are other student organizations doing) and creating a central location for access. 
  9. Student leadership forum run by the University that brings in speakers to give talks on leadership to students. 


  Student names: Elizabeth, Camryn, Ellie, Noelle 

  1. Restructuring faculty advisor → add SOCH advisor to help with leadership transition year to year (if needed/requested by organization)
    1. Tailored person to mentor student leaders in their organization’s topic of interest
    2. Adopting Yale’s student organization consultant positions where students serve as points of contact for specific niches of clubs
    3. Smaller / newer organizations to meet with SOCH/DSO point of contact monthly to help institute their foundation
  2. Conduct surveys about how the Hub/SOCH website can be more centralized, student-facing, easy to navigate
    1. Ensuring theHub is up to date
    2. Have a specific subpage for the various trainings (HUECU signing, assigning contacts on the HUB, etc.)
    3. Have a semesterly feedback form that student leaders can use to provide recommendations on how the SOCH can continue to best support them.
    4. Compile resources from former leaders (training videos, advice, sample constitutions/budget proposals, etc.)
  3. Facilitate peer groups or forums for student leaders across organizations to discuss topics & receive support from one another 
    1. Monthly student leadership town halls by SOCH / DSO where student leaders can raise concerns and workshop with other leaders 
    2. Sociology 1130 can be used as a model 


Student Names: Andrew, Arjun, JJ, Sung Kwang, Tabitha, Luis, Sho Sho

Case study: Student Advisory Panel for the Dean’s Council


  1. Publicize the Advisory Board (or equivalent) and make it more open to students, considering factors such as ethnic diversity and concentrations, and consider making the board to be on a rotating basis to accommodate more students
  2. Internally: codify what the role of the board would be and what impact/voice they have
  3. Externally: publicize this to students to make the board more accessible without ultimately compromising the integrity of the board
  4. Broadly speaking, this type of structure can become a useful tool in the administration’s belt, in that Harvard College students are always ready and willing to speak/advise/make their opinion known – giving them the formalized opportunity to voice their opinion can lead to a more civil discourse when it comes to the student-admin relationship.

Key guiding questions:

  1. How do people get on there?
    1. It is publicized
  2. How representative is it of the student population?
    1. Whose voices get heard?
  3. How much say does their voice get heard?
    1. Doesn’t meet too often
    2. How is it perceived?
  4. The website isn’t updated - do they still meet?
  5. Be clear about the role of the student advisory board
    1. Your suggestions will take into account when making decisions
    2. Setting boundaries clear
    3. Right now, the advisory board seems performative
  6. Students can voice their opinions against/for an administrative decision after it has been made


Student names: Abia, Khin, Hannah, Charlie, Ryan, Elynna



  1. Attachment of meeting notes to create transparency over what was thought about before making administrative decisions
    1. Students feel left in the dark whenever the university makes decisions - big or small.
    2. Have student representation in administrative board meetings 
    3. More referendums (that actually carry weight), less focus groups!
  2. Mental health resources
    1. Harvard needs to do better in establishing effective, accessible, and coherent structures focusing on mental health 
      1. Start by restoring services to pre-COVID hours, resources, and personnel
      2. Walk-ins and Urgent Care access!
      3. Increase diversity across staff, doctors, and counselors
      4. Create feedback structure for student reviews of CAMHS and HUHS personnel
      5. Incorporate sensitivity training 
    2. Remove roadblocks to getting mental health resources
      1. Being forced to navigate through multiple administrators, offices, and resources can be extremely taxing on mental health
      2. Resources need to prioritize getting students help as soon as possible rather than putting bureaucracy first
  3. Administrators need to be held accountable — there’s many lapses in sensitivity, tone, and care that are never addressed because admin is not supervised
    1. Have students present in administrative board meetings (whatever that looks like) so that administration are not physically/emotionally removed from students they’re impacting while making decisions

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