Harvard’s undergraduates will compete and perform across the country and enjoy the rituals of residential life on campus again this year, thanks to renewed support from Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds’ Student Life Fund.

“Students have consistently expressed a desire for funding to help with travel and their work on House committees,” Hammonds said. “I’m very pleased that the College was able to provide these resources for the past two years.”

Hammonds announced today (Sept. 9) that she will make available up to $50,000 to fund domestic travel and House-based events during the 2010-11 academic year. Organizations with domestic travel needs can apply for grants by accessing the Common Grant Application. Hammonds will work with the Office of Student Life to review and determine awards. House committees as well as the First-Year Social Committee can apply for grants to fund formals and other events in their House.

Last year, grants from the Student Life Fund enabled Harvard’s undergraduates to fight fiercely in Denver, make audiences laugh in Saratoga Springs, and dance the night away on campus.

Harvard Taekwondo used the support to pay for accommodations in Denver, where members competed in the National Collegiate Championships. Anh-Khoa Tran ’10 qualified for the U.S. national team and said his success — and that of his teammates — would not have been possible without help from the dean’s fund.

“The grant allowed us to come a few days early and get acclimated to the elevation of Denver before jumping into the competition,” he said. “Furthermore, we made a team trip out to Colorado Springs to visit the Olympic Training Center, and we were able to meet some former Taekwondo National Team members and train at their studios.”

The College Dean’s Student Life Fund also helped Harvard’s Immediate Gratification Players (IGP) wow audiences at the National College Comedy Festival in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

“We surely did benefit from the fund greatly,” said IGP member Scott Levin ’11. “It really helped us to have a super successful year as an organization.”

Although the Dean’s Student Life Fund enabled Harvard students to travel hundreds of miles from Cambridge, it also had a great impact here on campus. House formals are often some of the most memorable events of an undergraduate’s time at the University. Samantha Houston ’11 of the Adams House Committee said that support from the Student Life Fund helped make last year’s formal “exceptional.”

“The fund allowed us to hire a professional swing band and to construct elaborate decorations,” she said. “Because we do the formal in the common spaces of Adams House, the band and decorations were essential to creating a different and special setting.”

Hammonds says that her commitment to the Student Life Fund stems from a desire to ensure that Harvard’s undergraduates make the most of the time they spend outside the classroom and to support the activities of the Houses.