This Week in MIT HistoryBy Bushra Makiya
On February 11, 1893 the Institute Committee, the precursor to our Undergraduate Association, met for the first time. It consisted of ten members during its first term and twelve during the second: the four presidents and two members of each class. Some of Inscomm’s responsibilities were to represent MIT student life at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and to select the official pin and colors of the Institute. Its purpose was to promote direct communication between students and faculty. The committee was organized by Albert Farwell Bemis, class of 1893, who submitted a plan to the student body and had it endorsed by the faculty.
By 1913, the growing number of extracurricular activities around the Institute had led to the need of a central governing body larger than the Institute committee. That year, an Undergraduate Association was founded and Inscomm became the governing body of the UA. The UA consisted of committees such as the budget, election, executive, student-faculty, and Walker Memorial committees. Every undergraduate was automatically a member. The first UA meeting was held in April of 1914.
In 1969, a new constitution aimed at better organizing the UA, the Unified University Proposal, was approved by the student body and Inscomm and the UA were replaced by a General Assembly and Executive Committee. By the early 1970s, these two groups had been renamed as the Undergraduate Association and the UA Council as they still exist today.
The UA Council’s goals, much like those of its predecessor organizations, are to communicate student concerns and opinions to the Institute and to organize undergraduate events and activities.
To learn more about the history of the Undergraduate Association, visit the MIT Library Archives at <http://libraries.mit.edu/archives/histories/ua.html>.