Expanded student government cultivates change on campus

HLS Student Body President, Kyle Strickland ’16 and Vice President Mavara Agha ’16

Credit: Elizabeth Knox ’16 HLS Student Body President, Kyle Strickland ’16 and Vice President Mavara Agha ’16

For Harvard Law School Student Body Vice President Mavara Agha ’16, making change happen is about capacity. “This year, we have nearly tripled membership in Student Government, which has enabled more students to be involved in improving the student experience here at HLS.”

Agha and Student Body President, Kyle Strickland ’16, have coordinated the work of seven new student action committees on topics ranging from Academic Affairs to Health & Wellness. These new committees advocated for reforms to the campus printing and course evaluation procedures that have already achieved results.

Students playing in the first Health & Wellness Dodgeball Tournament

Credit: Mavara Agha JD ’16 Students playing in the first Health & Wellness Dodgeball Tournament

Based on input from students and faculty, HLS is piloting a new online course evaluation format, which will utilize course-specific questions and make certain qualitative comments available to other students. Students and professors are already using these new evaluations in several courses this spring.

“We’re hopeful that we have helped build a strong foundation for future progress,” says Strickland. This year, Student Government distributed $143,000 for existing student organizations and helped establish eight new student groups. It also drafted a new student constitution, which was passed in a student vote this spring. (Read the full 2015-2016 Student Government Year in Review.)

Sold-out Thanksgiving charity dinner

Credit: Aida Vajzovic JD ’17 Sold-out Thanksgiving charity dinner

Over the course of the year, Student Government sponsored over 30 events. Many of these events were informal student-faculty lunches, in which faculty members hosted small groups of students for a meal at a local restaurant. More than 100 students participated in lunches with faculty members such as Jack Goldsmith, Crystal Yang ’13, Alvin Warren and Jesse Fried ’92.

While Strickland and Agha are graduating, they acknowledge that there is more work to be done. In a joint statement, they noted “we worked to create positive impact that we hope will go well beyond our time here.”