Ava & Dhruv share their vision for the UC.
The bond between presidents and vice presidents can be tumultuous (please refer to Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr in your old AP U.S. History textbooks), but other times, they are quite harmonious. Ava Nasrollahzadeh ’16 and Dhruv Goyal ’16, the Undergraduate Council (UC) president and vice president, respectively, definitely fall into the latter category. The Harvard Independent got to sit down with Ava and Dhruv (more colloquially Avalava and Dhruvygroovy) to talk about their big UC initiatives for this year.
Ava and Dhruv are well versed in the ways of the UC. Both joined the council as freshman representatives and haven’t looked back. Ava joined the UC in order to “dive into Harvard and get a pulse of the campus.” Dhruv, an international student from India, was drawn to the opportunity to give back.
Two-and-a-half years later, Ava and Dhruv took the helm of the UC and continue to make Harvard a more inclusive community. Ava and Dhruv shared a few examples of the several projects they working on during their term. Dhruv says, “The first real step to achieve true inclusivity is to close the information gap.” Dhruv goes on to introduce the UC’s new app that is set to launch within the next week called Ventfull (www.harvard.ventfull.com). This app will be a mega-calendar for the College in which all student groups can post their events and meetings.
Another major initiative under Ava and Dhruv’s leadership include a major push for more gender equality on campus. As a female president in a male-dominated organization, Ava says, “Leadership should be dependent upon your merit.” She also mentions that the UC is planning on collaborating with the JFK Forum on this initiative.
The council is also trying to increase its transparency to the student body. The UC has created a new communications director position to hold council members accountable to responding to students’ concerns. Additionally, Ava stresses that students should visit the UC’s website. “You can see each rep’s profile. We want to stress this so much—that the way to see anything is to see the website. The most updated information is up there.”
With UC midterm elections coming up, Ava and Dhruv are encouraging students of diverse backgrounds to consider running for open positions. Both are using this as an opportunity to make the council more diverse. Ava is brutally honest with the current demographics of the UC: “We have only one member of the black community [on the council]. We realize that if we are going to be student body representatives, then we need to be representative of the student body racially, socioeconomically.”
Beyond discussing policy and advocating for change on behalf of Harvard students, Ava and Dhruv also shared some of the perks they get as UC president and vice president. “I really appreciate the nontraditional perks—hearing stories of students I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Hearing about the startups and issues and being able to point you in the right direction; it feels so good to be able to help out with this complex navigation process,” Ava says. Dhruv appreciates getting to witness the “amazing amalgamation of different people” at Harvard. “We get to see different sides of Harvard. We are tasked with trying to understand those different spaces and groups,” states Dhruv.
Speaking towards the “presidential love” theme of this week’s Indy, Ava and Dhruv talked about their relationship as UC president and vice president. “We’ve been friends since freshman year,” Ava says. Dhruv adds, “One of my friends that knows us very well says that we are an old bickering couple.” The pair seems to spend just as much time together doing official UC business as they do casually hanging out. Ava describes Dhruv as always being happy and “one of the few people that I would eat Tasty Burger onion rings with at 4AM.” Dhruv brags about the great relationship advice Ava has dispensed and her “being such a great foodie.”
Our UC president and vice president are living proof that true friendship is forged over late-night Tasty Burger outings. Not only have they been working well together since freshman year, but they are also a leadership team who wants to make the UC and Harvard more inclusive places.
Shaquilla Harrigan ’16 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is ready for Nasrollahzadeh-Goyal 2032.