Support for extracurricular activities at SEAS

Who provides support for extracurriculars at SEAS? Is Nectar appropriate for my activity?

Nectar provides support for initiatives with technical content. These are primarily organized through student clubs, but some funds have been distributed to individual or small-team projects.  The Office of Experiential and Career Development also provides support to student organizations for non-technical activities (e.g., food for meetings).



Who we fund

I am not a SEAS student. Can I still get Nectar funding?

SEAS students or SEAS Student Groups will be given priority.  But, you are welcome to apply, as long as your project 1. involves a SEAS faculty member, and 2. focuses in engineering or applied sciences.

How do I find an appropriate faculty advisor?

If you do not currently have a faculty advisor, we recommend you start looking for one. Here’s a few tips:

First, it is helpful to determine what area your project falls into (mechanical engineering? applied math? computer science?). Second, try to find a couple faculty members whose interests align with your project. You can:

    1. Spend some time on the faculty websites and find a couple faculty members whose interests align with your project, or
    2. Talk to the area appropriate Assistant Director for Undergraduate Studies (ADUS) for suggestions on which faculty members might be good to contact.

Then email the faculty member and explain who you are, what your project is, and what type of involvement/support you’re looking for. It helps to be succinct and specific in your email.

Do I really need a faculty advisor?

Yes, you are required to have a faculty advisor at SEAS. However, the scope of this relationship is up to you and the faculty advisor. You can agree to meet every week to check in or your project, or you can agree to only meet only when major developments occur. Whatever you decide, both you and the faculty advisor must agree on this and outline it as part of the Nectar funding application.

I have already received Nectar funding for my project. Can I apply again?

Yes, we like seeing projects that have been able to grow with Nectar funding and need funding for their next steps. In your application, please specify what you accomplished with the previous Nectar funding, and why more is needed.

Additionally, if you are a repeat applicant and certain application answers have not changed (such as your team members), then please feel free to copy and paste from your previous application. We are looking for changes and updates, and we do not want to make you spend time re-writing parts that have not changed.

What we fund

What is a co-curricular initiative?

According to Merriam-Webster, co-curricular means: “being outside of but usually complementing the regular curriculum.” At SEAS, this means initiatives that have technical content but are being explored outside the classroom. Nectar only funds co-curricular initiatives, and not community building or social initiatives (see below).

Does Nectar fund community building or social activities?

No. If you are a student group looking for funding for community building or social activities, please apply for student organization funding through the SEAS Office of Experiential and Career Development.   Nectar only funds co-curricular activities (see above).

Does Nectar fund incorporation-related fees for new ventures?

No. We’re excited that you want to turn your project into a venture, but we cannot fund legal fees, PO Boxes, company domain names, or any other fees associated with incorporating a company.

Does Nectar fund educational outreach programs?


Does Nectar fund 91r projects?

No. Nectar is intended to fund extracurricular projects, not projects that are being taken for course credit and already have their own set of resources available.

SEAS resources

Can I use resources in the SEAS Teaching Labs?

The SEAS Active Learning Labs (ALL) is excited to support Nectar-funded projects. If you are intending to use ALL resources, there is a section on the application where you will have to discuss this with the Director of the ALL, Anas Chalah, and get his signature of approval.  At that time, you should also be assigned a specific individual in ALL who will be your primary ALL contact.

Can I have space to store my project in SEAS?

Space at SEAS is tight. However, we’ll try to accommodate you. Please email the Director of Active Learning Labs, Anas Chalah, with your space requirements and time frame, and we’ll see what we can do.


Do I get to keep everything I purchase with my funding?

You can keep consumable materials that you purchase with your funding. However, we encourage you to leave left-over materials with the Active Learning Labs to benefit future students.  if you are purchasing an item that costs more than $250 and is a piece of equipment (as in, it is not a permanent part of your project), then SEAS will likely retain ownership over this equipment and keep it in the Active Learning Labs for future students to use it. Exceptions will be made for equipment that is repeatedly used by your project in the long term.

How do I buy materials through the SEAS Teaching Labs?

Sometimes the SEAS Active Learning Lab already has the materials you need, or sometimes they can get better prices on materials than you can as an individual. As such, many students prefer to purchase their materials through the Teaching Labs.

In order to do this, you must reserve some of your budget for Active Learning Labs purchases at the start of the semester. You can do this on the New Vendor Request form that you fill out at the Introductory Meeting. (You will receive the rest of your funds as a check by mail.)

Once you have reserved these funds, you can purchase materials or order new materials by contacting Pete Kjeer.

If you do not use all of the money you reserved for Active Learning Labs purchases and you need it for something else, then we can redirect those funds. However, if you use all of the reserved money and need to add more to that reserved account, you will be unable to do so. So plan wisely.

Since being funded, my project has evolved. Can I change my budget?

We understand that as you continue to work on your projects, they will change and evolve, and so must your budget. We are usually happy to support this as long as you tell us how the project has shifted and how you want to allocate your budget. Please email Keith Karasek at kkarasek@seas.harvard.edu to get approval for your budget change.

Please keep in mind that you cannot increase your budget, you can only change what you are purchasing with your funds.


Can I submit a Project idea in the middle of the semester?

Yes, but only for small projects of $500 or less.

What is the IP Policy?

You can read about Harvard’s IP Policy here. We advise that you keep an inventor’s notebook with dates, etc, to keep track of all of your IP. Please note that the more Harvard resources you use, the more likely it is that Harvard will own part of your IP. We don’t expect the amount of resources provided by Nectar to affect this, but please keep in mind that all IP issues are decided on a case-by-case basis.