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04.19.12 vol. xliii, no. 46 The Indy is loving the prefrosh. Cover Design by


FORUM 3 Feels Like the First Time 4 S tudying on the S eine 4 C rimson V ocab SPECIAL 5-7 I n da C lubs ARTS 8 9 9 10

P arty R ockers T ake a "B ow " P lease S top the M usic G reat E xpectations ?

SPORTS 11 P re -S eason As Harvard College's weekly undergraduate newsmagazine, the Harvard Independent provides in-depth, critical coverage of issues and events of interest to the Harvard College community. The Independent has no political affiliation, instead offering diverse commentary on news, arts, sports, and student life. For publication information and general inquiries, contact Co-Presidents Whitney Lee and Gary Gerbrandt ( Letters to the Editor and comments regarding the content of the publication should be addressed to Editor-in-Chief Meghan Brooks ( For email subscriptions please email The Harvard Independent is published weekly during the academic year, except during vacations, by The Harvard Independent, Inc., Student Organization Center at Hilles, Box 201, 59 Shepard Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. Copyright © 2012 by The Harvard Independent. All rights reserved 2

Co-President Co-President Editor-in-Chief Production Manager News and Forum Editor Associate News Editor Arts Editor Associate Arts Editor Sports Editor Design Editor Columnists

Gary Gerbrandt '14 Whitney Lee '14 Meghan Brooks '14 Miranda Shugars '14 Christine Wolfe '14 Carlos Schmidt '15 Sayantan Deb '14 Curtis Lahaie '15 Michael Altman '14 Angela Song '14 Will Simmons '14 Sanyee Yuan '12 Celia Zhang '13

Staff Writers Clare Duncan '14 Travis Hallett '14 Yuqi Hou '15 Cindy Hsu '14 Mohammed Hussain '15 Yuying Luo '12 Zena Mengesha '14 Marina Molarsky-Beck '15 Riva Riley '12 Sarah Rosenthal '15 Kalyn Saulsberry '14 Marc Shi '14 Weike Wang '11 Faith Zhang '11 Graphics, Photography, and Design Staff Maria Barragan-Santana '14 Travis Hallett '14 Nina Kosaric '14

Letter from the Editors

Dear Prefrosh,

Welcome to Harvard! Undoubtedly the journey here has been arduous, exhausting, and maybe a tad bit sweaty. But no longer! This weekend, you step into the Crimson spotlight. Get excited – we couldn’t be happier that you’re here! In the next few days, you’ll meet some of the most interesting people in the world (who are at least as nervous as you are). You’ll also have the opportunity to become familiar with the place that might be your home for the next four years. There will be performances, poetry readings, and parties. Above all, you will get to spend a weekend cherishing what it means to be a Harvard student: from the dorm rooms to the classrooms, from Annenberg’s exceptional offerings to lazing on the Charles River green. Granted, your experiences this weekend may form a rather ideal picture of your tenure, but that is where the Indy comes in! In this issue (well, in all of our issues), we give you a slice of real Harvard life. If you’re going to join the ranks as the Harvard class of 2016, you’ll need some tips to arrive smoothly in the fall, prepare for the many challenges ahead of you, and realize what really matters. Your college experience will be defined by the people you meet, the friends you make, and the things you learn inside – but more importantly – outside of the classroom. Come next fall, we hope to see all of you on campus and perhaps gracing the pages of the Indy as well! Until then, enjoy the summer and anticipate the adventure that awaits you. Sincerely,

the Editors


When: Saturday, April 21st, 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM Where: Sanders Theater What: Join the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College as we lift up the voices of black spirituality and creativity through song, spoken word, and dance. The Kuumba Concert strives to depict the perseverance of black people through years of struggle. Our 42nd Annual Archie C. Epps Spring Concert will be Saturday April 21 at 8:00 in Sanders Theatre. This is a treasured event you won't find anywhere else! Tickets are available at the Harvard Box Office in Holyoke Center ($8 for students). 04.19.12 • The Harvard Independent


News and Forum

Learning the Lingo

Lessons from Freshman Year Calm down, pre-frosh. By ANONYMOUS


I stepped into the Y ard , readying myself for my first year at Harvard University, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew is that of over 30,000 applicants, I was one of the lucky few to have been given the chance to attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities. That terrified me. I didn’t think that I was ready or worthy for the experience. I didn’t feel as smart as the rest. The first months were filled with anxiety, self-doubt, uncertainty, and — it pains me to say it — jealousy. Nonetheless, those emotions were only temporary. As they reminded us at convocation, I learned to “connect, instead of compar(e)” and retain a sense of self-appreciation. Overall, I can offer those considering Harvard four tips about the first months here:

while taking eight classes, playing a varsity, and winning the state science fair. At Harvard, although that’s possible (with no sleep), you should not do something just because your friend is doing it or you think it will look good on your résumé after graduation. With over 400 extracurricular activities, Harvard has something for everyone, and it would be hard not to find something that doesn’t make inspire your life-long dedication. Find something that makes you happy. Activities that aren’t complementary to your interests won’t improve your experience here but will add unnecessary stress. You really don’t need to “comp” both The Crimson and The Independent when you know the latter makes you happier and truly inspires a sense of creativity (Ahem.).

1.There will always be someone smarter, but there will also always be someone dumber. Let’s face it, we’re used to being the best; we’re used to being at the top of our classes; we’re used to being the most accomplished and most involved. However, once you come to Harvard, you have to realize that someone is going to be better at subject X, while you’re going to be better at subject Y. You can spend hours, days, and weeks frustrated by your “inadequacy”, or you can embrace your strengths and focus on the areas you excel in, discovering the inner genius inside of you.

3.Study hard, party harder. No one said it better than Tom Petty: “You have four years to be irresponsible here. Relax. Work is for people with jobs. You'll never remember class time, but you’ll remember time you wasted hanging out with your friends. So, stay out late. Go out on a Tuesday with your friends when you have a paper due Wednesday. Spend money you don’t have. Drink ‘til sunrise. The work never ends, but college does...” Now, you have come to college to learn, so preparing yourself for the workforce can’t hurt. That said, this is the one and only time in your life when you can truly dedicate your time to yourself, when you can afford to be risky, and when you can relax rather than stress. Work is important, but


2.Over-commit to happiness, not stress. The majority of us are used to serving as President in seven clubs

The Harvard Independent • 04.19.12

that doesn’t mean that paper cannot wait until forty-five minutes before the deadline. 4.Don’t be scared of trying something new. Explore areas or activities you would never have considered. Again, with over 400 extracurriculars, thousand of classes, countless interests and summer study abroad programs, Harvard has something for everyone, including those who are undecided about their academic and professional prospects. Take advantage of Harvard’s many opportunities. With our unique “Shopping Period,” you can get a feel for a multitude of classes before enrolling in any of them, allowing for the formation of a (nearly) perfect schedule at the end of the week. Moreover, with “comp” processes that last a couple of weeks, you can see if a club is an adequately enriching experiencing before committing to it. Here’s the bottom line: Harvard offers a plethora of unique opportunities, is filled with geniuses, and will certainly overwhelm you. What will make the difference between anxiety and satisfaction is whether or not you’re able to relax and enjoy your time. More than anything, you should come to Harvard prepared to choose activities and friends that enrich your experience and show you new sides of yourself. That’s what college is really about. Editor’s Note: Unless you’re as talented as Tom Petty, it really couldn’t hurt to start that paper a few days in advance.

Or: Harvard vocab words that might pass you off as a real freshman. By CHRISTINE WOLFE


arvard can be a challenging place to

navigate: mathletes, athletes, and over-booked Mensa members brush past you as you try to figure out the location of your first class. One clear disadvantage to the newly Crimsoned face is grappling with Harvard’s unique jargon. Those fresh onto the Yard may be wondering: will it hurt to section for expos? How is the letter Q supposed to help me choose my classes? I found the MAC, but where’s the cheese? It’s important to keep in mind Harvard students’ priorities when trying to decipher the Crimson Code: we have only one enemy, and that enemy is time. Harvard students don’t have time to pause and think — we laugh in the face of time! We so fervently reject temporal thinking that we’ve come up with our own abbreviated language to further reject those seconds and minutes that tell us we can’t finish a paper or pset by the deadline (disclaimer: don’t underestimate the power of time management skills, especially while you still have them). Q guide: You know that helpful teacher you had in high school who would wisely guide you along the path to scholastic achievement? Well, the Q (cue) guide renders him or her obsolete with its great — though occasionally biased — base of knowledge. Harvard students give classes “Q scores” based on multiple forms of criteria, including average time spent on homework per week, the accessibility and engagement of the professor, and write small blurbs on what they thought about the class. Just don’t let the two obscenely verbose ones scare you. They’re just showing off. Expos: All freshman are required to take expository writing, or “expos” (pronounced as a slant rhyme with “Xbox,” not as in “I can’t go back to that grocery store because I exposed myself in the produce aisle). Expos is a lot like eggplant: you either hate it or you love it, but if it’s covered in cheese you’re going to eat it anyway (disclaimer: taking expos does not necessarily mean that one can write a meaningful metaphor. Sorry, Preceptor X).


News and Forum

Understanding International Secondary School Systems A primer course for pre-frosh. By CLARE DUNCAN


f you are reading this , then

chances are you’re either a Harvard student, a prefrosh, or someone looking to apply to Harvard — which means you’re familiar with some sort of secondary education system. As Harvard has been accepting a growing number of international students each year, students who have experienced a non-American system of secondary education have become more prominent. This weekend alone, as you perform the “Hi. I’m name. I’m from place. I think I’m going to study subject” greeting so familiar to Visitas and Camp Harvard (also known as the first few weeks of freshman year), you’re likely to meet students coming from educational systems utterly foreign to you. If you want to avoid sounding ignorant — and as this is your first time at Harvard, you’ll want to — what follows is a primer on the most common international secondary school system. Among the most popular systems are those that European students (or those who have attended a European-style school in another country, such as a French lycée in the Middle East) have come from. Though all students at Harvard must have met certain requirements in every standard subject area — math, science, the humanities, etc. —students from American high schools can expect to have a significantly different experience than students from Western European high schools. The divide in secondary education between the two continents largely revolves around the issue of specialization. The question can sometimes be framed in terms of depth versus breadth; many European high schools encourage or require students to choose a certain academic or career path early on, so that they may focus on mastering the knowledge and skills necessary for that particular path. American schools, on the other, tend towards


a more “liberal arts” approach. There is less flexibility for student specialization, and the core subjects are heavily stressed. The British system is particularly emblematic of specialization. In their penultimate year of high school, students with an eye on university choose four subjects in which they want to take A-level exams (it would not be inappropriate here to think of the O.W.L.s from Harry Potter, which, as we all know, is what European secondary schools are actually like). Students spend the year studying in preparation for the first round of exams, nationally administered, in each of their subject areas. In their final year of high school, students generally drop one of the subjects and focus on preparing for the final A-levels exams in three topics. Subjects range from music to biology to art history to classical Greek, and students may choose any combination of subjects. The French high school, or lycée, functions similarly. Students who enter a lycée général, a high school meant for those planning to go to university, choose to follow a program in either the sciences, economics and social sciences, or literature. They then prepare to take the baccalauréat, which tests students on all the core subject areas but gives extra attention, time, and weight towards the topics in the student’s specialized program. This type of college prep program is not the only form of specialization in European schools. In Germany, there are three main options for secondary education: the Gymnasium, which is geared towards those planning on university; the Realschule, which offers a general secondary education combined with some vocational training; and the Hauptschule, which focuses mainly on vocational training and apprenticeship. Though it is possible to switch

between these three paths, the bureaucratic hedge maze it creates discourages changing the path of secondary education. The French system also offers three types of schools, the aforementioned lycée général, the lycée technologique (for those looking at shorterterm studies post-graduation), and the lycée professionnel (more vocational training). These educational systems are not without their critics. Some education experts say that the “sorting” process is actually detrimental to kids; they argue that placing preteens on a rigid academic path does not allow for potential growth and development and actually restricts their possible choices later in life. Alternatively, supporters claim that it allows students to develop their strongest skills early on and thus advance much further in their fields than they might otherwise. Choosing special subjects or fields in high school studies has also come under fire. Critics claim that students who focus on three or four subjects specifically (such as in the British system) lose out on the benefits of a broad learning base that teaches different types of critical thinking and analytical skills, while advocates claim that it allows students to engage fully with the subject material and explore the nuances of a given topic. Despite the controversies surrounding Western European education, however, there is no question that most of these education systems consistently provide strong foundations for the continued professional and academic pursuits of their students. Clare Duncan ’14 (cduncan@college) is darn glad for her Amurrican education, because she has no idea how she would possibly decide what subjects she would want to focus on if she had to specialize.

The Quad: One of two home bases of Harvard upperclassmen, the Quad is famous for being farther away from classes and having less of that “fresh vomit” smell than the River. It houses Currier, Pforzheimer (Pfoho), and Cabot. The River: The other upperclassman locale, the other 9 houses are located along the Charles River. As these houses are closer to the athletic facilities, they are preferred by athletes (and their onlookers). The MAC: The primary undergraduate gym, the MAC is conveniently nestled between Kirkland and Lowell Houses. It has a pool, countless cardio machines, weights, and anything else In the winter, no matter where you live, it will be too far away to be worth it. Comp: Whether you think it's short for "competition" or "competency" (let's go with the nice fluffy one), "comping" an organization is sort of like those weird pre-engagements intense couples had in high school. Sure the rings are made of rubber, but it doesn't mean your heart isn't in it. Some comps are extensive, requiring you to write several pieces or give a few auditions before official acceptance. Some comps are just a fun way of getting to know the organization better. Sure, it doesn't always turn out, but when it does, it's glorious. Dhall: Remember the warm safety of your biological mother’s womb? It’s that comfortable, slightly discombobulating space you never, ever want to leave. The dining hall is your home. Run to it. TF: The teaching fellow is your best friend or your worst enemy (this distinction depends strongly on the progression of their thesis research that month). Just laugh at their jokes and you’ll be in. Section: You think you only have 10 hours of class a week until your slightly grouchy yet excitable head TF reminds you to “section by Sunday at 5.” Section is a smaller class that’s supplementary to lecture in which lecture materials and readings are reviewed. It’s also a great place to subtly hit on people. Subtly. Concentration: A major you have to think really hard about to understand. Secondary: A clearly prioritized minor. The SOCH: The Indy staff, frequenters of the Student Organization Center at Hilles (in the Quad), feel strongly about this one: SOCH is pronounced as in “That good ole’ New England rainstorm soaked right through my sock.” Even Harvard students can’t get this one right. If you are lucky enough to join the rank and file of the Indy next year, you’ll get access to the largest (and by far the coolest) office in the SOCH every Wednesday night. We hope to see you there! (N.B. The Editor-in-Chief says “soh-sh”. She is alone on that one.) Christine Wolfe ‘14 (crwolfe@college) will convince herself that she hates baby bunnies if you, prefrosh, do not come to Harvard. Do not force her to do this.

04.19.12• The Harvard Independent


In Their Own Words: An Eclectic Sampling of Student Organizations


Harvard Health Advocacy Program Harvard Health Advocacy Program (HAP) is a team of undergraduates that provides health education  to youth in Greater Boston and to students at Harvard, thereby empowering people to make healthy living choices. Our student-developed curriculum spans a wide range of topics such as nutrition, exercise, and food advertising, and our members teach at elementary, middle, and high schools. HAP is different from other health-centered service organizations on campus in that  we allow all members to take leadership. As a smaller organization on campus, we can provide all members with the ability to develop their own lesson plans, plan unique programs, and seek out partnerships.  We encourage you to join HAP if you want to  educate the  community  about pressing public health concerns like obesity; enjoy working with and teaching children; are  premed  (many current members are interested in  Global Health and Health Policy, as well) and would like to participate in a service organization with a flexible time commitment that compliments your academic studies; or are not pre-med and want to join a rewarding service organization!   In the coming year, we plan on strengthening current programing, increasing our involvement on campus (our very wellattended fruit study-break showed us there is an unmet need on campus for healthy events!), and bolstering our presence online (particularly on our blog).  To find out more about HAP,  visit http:// To join our email list, contact hap.harvard@gmail. com.  We hope very much that you choose to attend Harvard and we look forward to working with you! Harvard Program for International Education Program Description:  The Harvard Program for International Education is the only service organization sponsored by the International Relations Council. Each semester, we develop and teach a curriculum focused on a thematic issue of international import. Our tutors spend about an hour each week in Boston-area high schools, devoting one lesson to each brief within the curriculum. The semesterculminates in a half-day conference on Harvard campus that features a crisis simulation and challenges our students to apply what they have learned in realistic diplomatic scenarios. Our Mission:  The Harvard Program for International Education aims to expose students to contemporary and historical global issues and prepare them to think critically about modern-day politics.   Our students develop an understanding of interactions between nation-states, articulate opinions on current debates, and support their claims with thoughtful evidence.   As tutors, we seek to deepen our understandings of the information we teach and to develop new perspectives on education, international relations, and the world at large. The Harvard Independent • 04.19.12

LIFT-Cambridge LIFT-Cambridge is one of a kind at Harvard. Some student groups might share our mission to combat poverty and expand opportunity, but none share our unique approach. We work one-on-one with the people we are trying to empower. You literally become a person’s advocate. This means you develop real-life partnerships with local residents to help them meet their immediate and long-term goals. You use your training to inform your clients how they can best help themselves. But you also draw on the many resources at LIFT’s disposal to help your clients secure jobs, affordable housing, public benefits, and other means of socioeconomic advancement. It’s empowerment through partnership. We take aim at multigenerational poverty. Empowering children requires empowering the entire family. We know that a child’s academic performance improves significantly when his or her family has stable income, safe housing, healthcare coverage, and sufficient access to nutritious food. We address the family’s total situation, not just part of it. We pool our resources to get the best results. No one organization can or should do everything for everyone. We have close relationships with dozens of government agencies and nonprofits in the Boston area, and we draw on those relationships to get the best results for our clients. We achieve more by pooling our resources. We develop national responses to a national problem. Poverty is nationwide. When you become an advocate with LIFT-Cambridge, you become part of a national student movement with offices in Boston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. We use evidence from all our locations to advance programs and policies that work. And we’re growing. Advocating Success for Kids Advocating Success for Kids (ASK) is a group of 20 dedicated Harvard student advocates. We work at Children’s Hospital Boston in a specialty clinic for children with learning disorders. Each advocate has a case load of about eight families, who they call each week and help to coordinate special services for their children. ASK is a unique group in that we work as a team with physicians, social workers, and education specialists to improve of lives of children and their families. Our work is vital to the functioning of the clinic, which makes it incredibly rewarding. We look forward to meeting rising freshmen interested in health care, education, or social work and welcoming you to our group!   advocatingsuccessforkids@ gmail Harvard China Care The mission of Harvard China Care (HCC) is to build brighter futures for abandoned, orphaned, and special-needs children in China.   Since our founding in 2003, HCC has grown from a small group of dedicated volunteers to one of the largest, most dynamic, and most recognized student groups on campus.   The impact of our programs is measurable.   This past year alone, we

sponsored four cleft-palate surgeries, sent seventeen volunteers to three orphanages, invited renowned professors and doctors to speak on campus, and impacted hundreds of children’s lives. Our Big Brother/Big Sister program, which pairs undergraduates with adopted children ages 9-14, fostered over 50 mentor/mentee relationships and our Dumplings program, which brings together younger adoptees and their families to learn about and share Chinese culture, held over 70 playgroups.   In total, HCC has raised over $250,000 for children in need.  HCC is unique because of the range of our programs and our outreach. We are one of the few clubs on campus with a significant international service component alongside active domestic programs.   Our 2011 Fall Benefit Dinner fundraiser featured a Fashion Show and Silent Auction that showcased the talents of local models, designer, HCC mentees, and products from local businesses.  Nearly 70 families in the greater Boston region attended our 2012 Spring Carnival fundraiser. Whether you join our executive board by becoming a freshman representative or volunteer in our playgroup and mentoring programs, we invite you to join Harvard China Care and help save lives…one child at a time. Harvard Project for Sustainable Development The Harvard Project for Sustainable Development (HPSD) promotes critical discussion of international development on campus and fights poverty through long-term partnerships with communities in developing countries. On campus, our programs range from discussion forums to training workshops to international development case discussion. Abroad, we work in partnership with communities to design and implement shortterm and long-term solutions to serve the international community. In our programs, we strive for social justice by approaching our work with a sense of equality and solidarity and a willingness to learn and understand. Interested prospective students are welcome to join HPSD’s mailing list,  https://lists.hcs.  or can contact Presidents Joshua Ra at  joshuara@ or Adrianna Stanley at Harvard College Stories for Orphans HCSO (you can also call us Snowflake Stories!) is an organization dedicated to providing literacy, love and friendship to children from around the world. Every semester we work with students from all backgrounds on campus to publish student written and illustrated children’s books. The truly special thing about HCSO is that each book our members produce is personalized for an individual child in need based on their age, reading level and likes. The books we provide are often one of the only personal items that these children get to call their own. We are always looking for fresh faces and new members who are interested in writing, illustrating or volunteering at our community events like story-reading and craft hours at local libraries. It’s a great chance for Harvard students to make a difference and get published! We also offer opportunities

to volunteer at the global orphanages we partner with. “If you’re interested in joining or learning more about us please check out our website at:    http://harvardstoriesfororphans. or email us at: harvard.orphan.!”  An Evening with Champions An Evening with Champions, or “EWC” as its members call it, is a 42-year old student-run organization dedicated to fighting cancer by raising money for the Jimmy Fund, the fundraising arm of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. By the numbers, EWC is Harvard’s most charitable organization: in the last 42 years, EWC has donated over $2.5 million to The Jimmy Fund. Last year alone we raised over $100,000! The organization has a tight-knit community of members and volunteers who work together each year to produce an exhibition of world-class skaters. Previous performers in EWC shows include: Yuna Kim, Michelle Kwan, Johnny Weir, and Evan Lysacek, among many others. For incoming freshman, EWC is a great way to meet a diverse group of students (our board alone is 20 people!) and engage in the creation of a full show production. Because the show is entirely student run, everything from sponsors to merchandise are handled by students – meaning, lights, cameras, hotels, receptions, and skaters and all brought together by EWC members. Ultimately, EWC’s goal is to unite skaters, fans, and students in the quest for the cancer cure through a fun and unforgettable experience. The organization has something to offer for everyone – and all the work that goes in is toward a great cause! We hope you’ll check us out! For further information, please visit our website at http://, or email us at Earthen Vessels If you are looking for a chance to tutor oneon-one with a student between 2nd and 12th grade in Dorchester, then Earthen Vessels is the place for you! As a tutor, you will have the opportunity to meet other Harvard and Boston College students who are also passionate about helping youth. EV tutors meet with their tutee once a week for 3 hours, either Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, and can take the T to tutoring with fellow tutors. Other commitments include two Tutor-Tutee Days and our annual Community Event. Tutor-Tutee Day is a perfect chance to bond with your tutee outside of tutoring and to show them around Harvard's campus. It is arguably the best part of the program! Community Event provides a time for families of tutees to come together and prepare a potluck for the EV community while enjoying a talent show put on by tutees and tutors. In addition, EV offers a space for tutors to reflect on spirituality and community justice through a variety of different events. Our tutors come from a broad range of spiritual backgrounds who come together in their willingness to tutor youth. By joining EV we promise a strong community and sense of accomplishment by working with bright, young students and fun, caring tutors. For more information, contact Paul Schied at




Shani A Cappella Apparently, Harvard students all like to hear the sounds of their own voices, because it has no shortage of a cappella groups. However, most students are committed to 26 hours a day of activities at any given time. With so many extracurricular options, students find themselves unable to participate in a cappella groups with long hours of rehearsals. Enter Shani A Cappella: a fun, low-stress, community-service-oriented group with a repertoire drawing on such diverse sources as Jewish folk music, modern pop songs, and contemporary Israeli hits.   Aside from singing at events on campus, we also reach out to the disadvantaged, touring nursing homes and playing charity events throughout the year. The time commitment required by Shani of its members amounts to no more than four hours a week! Shani A Cappella combines a rich musical experience with an opportunity for volunteering and a minimal amount of practice time -- and we’re always looking for new members. Harvard College Photography Club T he Har vard College Photography Club is a growing community of student photographers.   Through various classes, workshops, and exhibitions, we come together to learn, practice and  develop skills in both film and digital photography.   No previous experience or equipment is  necessary, just interest and creativity!  For more information, email Harvard College Culinary Society Some say that college is not the most conducive arena for cultivating culinary prowess, but the Harvard College Culinary Society would beg to differ. This student organization promotes campus-wide participation in the culinary arts through sponsorship of cooking classes, local restaurant tastings, and high-stakes cook-off competitions. Members have the option of contributing to Taste Magazine, the Culinary Society’s online and print publication of the who’s-who and what’s-what in the Cambridge culinary corner. The Culinary Society is most famous for its annual Guac-Off! competition, an undergraduate guacamole throw-down, and its Taste of the Square Fall and Spring Restaurant Expositions. Members also enjoy perks of offcampus restaurant outings and opportunities to get to know local restauranteurs. Above all, this student organization is devoted to bringing delicious free comestibles to students and cooking-up opportunities for foodie appreciation for the undergraduates of Harvard University. Contact us at for more information. The Veritones The Veritones are one of Harvard’s most dynamic and fun a cappella groups, singing a diverse range of popular music for audiences at Harvard and around the country!   A co-ed group of approximately fifteen members, this tight-knit family loves bonding over retreats to Prudence Island, late night study sessions, and trips to New York, not to mention our love of singing and performing together.   We pride ourselves on our flexibility, which attracts members with a wide range of other talents and commitments—from varsity athletes to actors, mentors, leaders of cultural groups—you name it!  We rehearse six hours a week and perform one major “jam” in the majestic Sanders Theatre every semester.    In addition, we regularly


perform other gigs around the community, spend time in the recording studio every spring, and take a ski tour and summer tour every year.  This year, we’re thrilled to be headed out to the West Coast for an exciting summer tour in Los Angeles! Musically, the Veritones have come a long way from our early days when we used to sing only spirituals and jazz.  Today, we sing a little bit of everything; our last concert featured songs by Adele, Maroon 5, Elton John, Train, and Gloriana, to name just a few.  We’re proud of our diverse repertoire, which is constantly changing to reflect the group’s musical tastes as our members regularly complete new arrangements.  No matter what or where we’re singing, we always take two things very seriously: musical excellence and having fun! For more information, check out  www.  and veritones. Welcome to Harvard, Class of 2016! Harvard Middle Eastern Dance Company The Harvard Middle Eastern Dance Company is a multicultural dance troupe that focuses on fitness and self-confidence.  The Company encourages young women (and men!) to feel confident with the body they have and to disregard societal expectations for the way they “should” look.  This is accomplished through weekly belly dance sessions that help dancers of all experience levels get toned and fit in a judgment-free environment.   Classes are taught by a professional instructor, and anyone is welcome to drop in for one class, or stay for the whole semester.  Members who wish to perform the sexy moves they learn have the opportunity to do so throughout the year at Harvard and in New York City, but a desire to perform is not necessary to join the club.  So, if you want to get fit, toned, confident, and sexy, join the Harvard Middle Eastern Dance Company! harvardbellydance@ Harvard Bhangra The lights were dimmed, but the audience was hardly quiet. Indeed, the chants for “Bhangra” could easily be heard, in excited anticipation of the next performance. And then, in the flash of a second, the stage exploded to reveal performers in brilliantly colored costumes who immediately burst into powerful choreography depicting vibrant energy and joyfulness. Most importantly, I didn’t fail to notice how happy the performers were: this happiness was definitely contagious, and I left the concert with a smile on my face. This was my first exposure to Bhangra, and I believe it captures what most students feel like after seeing Harvard Bhangra perform. Bhangra dance began as a joyous folk dance conducted by Punjabi (Indian) farmers throughout history. It has since been revolutionized to incorporate popular Western music, but retains the theme of celebration and happiness, portrayed in a highly explosive dance. Harvard Bhangra wishes to keep the spirit of Bhangra alive in our community, and we practice year-round to constantly improve our dance and update our choreography and music, performing both at Harvard dance shows and private events. Joining Harvard Bhangra as a freshman, at least for me, has been one of the best decisions that I have made. The organization provides a wonderful, tight-knit community of friends, a great way to spend most Saturday afternoons, and the chance to learn a new dance and perform in front of peers and friends. It would certainly seem at first that a dance group based on an exotic dance form would be selective, but this is far from the truth. Despite having very little exposure to Bhangra, I have had a spectacular time in the group, and many other students from various backgrounds have been able to quickly pick it up, a great testimony to the diversity that Harvard embraces. Quite frankly, one simply needs to be willing to learn a new dance, be willing to perform, and most importantly, have a good time.

The above is a personal anecdote from Manjinder Kandola, about his experience with Harvard Bhangra. Please email if you would like more information about this student organization. Harvard Radio Broadcasting Harvard Radio Broadcasting (WHRB) is an entirely student run commercial radio station which reaches thousands of listeners in the greater Boston area on 95.3FM and around the world at Whether your interests lie in the best of Classical Music, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Punk Rock, Electronica, Harvard Sports, Blues, or News, we have an excellent collection and tightly knit department of students interested in broadcasting that material. WHRB provides many opportunities for you to explore your interests and share them via broadcasting. Having your own radio show is a classic college experience, and at WHRB you’ll have a strong degree of editorial control over a weekly show. We have large collections of CDs and LPs, which include rare materials that cannot be found online. Exploring those collections will deepen your musical knowledge. Station members get to interview great bands and review albums in advance. Our sports reporters travel the country with Harvard sports teams to cover games live. Our news reporters regularly interview authors, professors, and public figures. We fund our commercial station through student sales and have students highly involved in the technical aspects of keeping an FM station on the air and streaming online. WHRB is a vibrant social community. Members spend a lot of time hanging around the studio, going to concerts, and attending WHRB social events. On Harvard Time Every year,  On Harvard Time  produces 10-12 episodes, several celebrity interviews, and a number of video specials.  In the past five years, we have produces over 85 videos (roughly 850 minutes of content), which, in total, have garnered over 1 million views.  We have interviewed guests ranging from Karl Rove to Dan Aykroyd to Aaron Sorkin.    On Harvard Time  is one of Harvard’s most unique and prolific organizations.  Not only is OHT the only college show of its kind in the country, but we also produce content more frequently than most other Harvard organizations.  Every  OHT  episode gets thousands of views, and some of our special released have gotten over 100,000 views.  Most importantly,  On Harvard Time  prides itself on being an open and non-exclusive organization.  Anyone can join OHT at any time, and start contributing to the show at their first meeting.  We are all about LAUGHTER, so join OHT! The Din & Tonics are quite probably the only jazz singing group at Harvard that tours the worlds wearing green socks. What more do you want?! A suit of armor?  The Mozart Society Orchestra The Mozart Society Orchestra is without a doubt one of the most  dynamic  student organizations on campus (please, no pun intended). We’re a small ensemble of about 20 players and meet once a week every Tuesday night to play classic music:  Mozart Beethoven Bartok Elgar and more. Sometime we have concerto competitions and have always found fantastic student soloists to perform with us. We also enjoy eating frozen yogurt on sunny afternoons. Each year we play two concerts in the beautiful Paine Hall of Harvard’s Music Building and some smaller performances here and there. It’s a great way to keep some music in your life without a lot of stress -- audition to join us next year! 

Pan-African Dance and Music Ensemble The Pan African Dance and Music Ensemble is the only African performance arts group at Harvard, and is open to all of Harvard, from novice to experienced dancers. Members can choose to learn to dance, drum or both from Joh Camara, a US based Malian professional performer. In addition to the irresistible  beat of the drum and the rhythmic movements, what makes PADAME wonderful is the lowkey, high energy, fun atmosphere and closeknit friendships within our group. PADAME performs at major Harvard events including the annual Cultural rhythms show, fundraisers and even at the university-wide graduation ceremony. Performing is not a requirement of membership, you just have to be excited to learn and ready to have a lot of fun.  Respectably French! The goal of RF! is to provide an outlet for those that like script writing, film directing, film acting, and pretty much any aspect of the film industry (and plus making the funnies).   Our membership used to be based on audition.  Starting next semester, we will be instituting a comp process which would involve each comper to produce, direct, act, edit, and write something in order to be a full member.  I will now take you through the process of how a skit becomes a skit.   The members compile all sorts of fun ideas on a google doc.   At our weekly writing meeting, the head writer leads us through both selecting what the group thinks are the best ideas, as well as revising any written skits.  Somebody then picks up the idea for a skit to either write on their own, or lead a “writing pod” to write.   After the script is done, it is brought back to a writing meeting, where it is looked over by the group and the head writer.  If it is approved, it is then eligible to be voted on at one of our weekly general meetings.  Whichever skit wins the vote, then gets a director and producer (by vote) who then decides the method of picking cast (either vote or executive decision).  The skit is then filmed.  Next comes the hard part: editing.  All the footage is uploaded to our hard drive and the director leads the group in an effort to make the sketch as seamless and funny as possible.  After that long and arduous process, we upload it to youtube and publicize the skit’s existence. Check them out on their website, Harvard Anime Society Anime clubs have changed dramatically since the 90's- no longer do people need to join an anime club and trade VHS tapes in order to get their fix. In this modern era of Hulu and bit torrent, what does an anime fan want or need a club for? A club offers actual *social interaction*. Most people these days think they can get that from a Facebook post or a web forum, but these are really just glorified versions of sitting in your room, watching things on your own. A bunch of people with similar interests who sit around and consume for its own sake and nothing more. The vision of the Harvard Anime Society is to provide a space not just to hang out with people who like what you like, but to discuss the finer points and deeper meanings of a rich and varied medium. Anime has more to offer than magical girls, giant robots, and tentacle monsters, and joining our club gives students the opportunity to experience these shows, analyze, and bounce ideas off of each other with other fans in a way that's difficult to find elsewhere. HAS is currently undergoing a restructuring of sorts, and now would be a great time to get in on the ground floor and make connections with other people, and influence the future direction of the club. Panels, lectures, and all sort of social events are some of the things we'd like to incorporate in the upcoming year. Check us out at "hcs.harvard. edu/anime"! 04.19.12 • The Harvard Independent


Identity Black Men’s Forum The Black Men›s Forum is a student-led organization  dedicated to the issues that affect black men both here at Harvard and around the world. We do this through upholding our three main principles of  Brotherhood, Manhood, and Fidelity.  We have weekly discussion meetings where we talk about topics ranging from dating to classes to politics. We also hold large events where we invite speakers to come to campus and address certain issues. Although the BMF revolves around its spirited discussions as well as the bonding that takes place at general meetings, we also strive to turn our ideas and friendships into meaningful action through various  service initiatives  and  political action.  Anyone who is interested in issues that affect black men is welcome to join us. For questions or to request more information, contact us at harvardbmf@, or look us up at or on Facebook at HarvardBMF Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship is a community of students who want to know Jesus more and more.  Our hope is to be a community that helps you explore spiritual life no matter what faith or non-faith background you have.  In 2012 – 13, we will explore the relevance of Jesus to our friendships and how we care for people; our ideas about social justice and how we handle power; how we engage issues of race, ethnicity, and culture; and more!  You might see us at our large, interactive, colorful surveys outside the Science Center on in different houses.  We’d love to meet you and talk to you about questions we all ask.  We learn and grow together through weekly Bible studies.  On Friday evenings, at our worship and teaching times, we have engaging speakers and activities relevant to everyone.  Our mission statement is to ‘bring the whole gospel to the whole campus to transform the whole world.’    We hope to connect with and encourage fellow Christian students at Harvard.    Then, we want to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Harvard community as a whole, and live out our faith by loving and serving those around us. We are multi-ethnic and inter-denominational.    A few years ago, we planted our two sister fellowships, the Asian-American Christian Fellowship, and the Black Christian Fellowship, to better engage the diversity of people on campus.    We all work together under the banner of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a national campus ministry organization.  We’re very excited to meet you! Contact, for more info, or visit the HCRF website: http:// QSA The Harvard College Queer Students and Allies (QSA) is a resource organization concerned with improving the visibility, strength, and support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and allied students, initiatives, organizations, and communities, in recognition of the marginalization that exists as the result of stigmatized identities. This group seeks to promote community and awareness of and be a resource with respect to the social, socioeconomic, political, educational, and cultural issues surrounding queer identities and sexualities in the form of events driven toward creating safe spaces in collaboration with other groups, institutions, and communities. Throughout the year, they host events to help bring the queer and allied community at Harvard more visibility and unity. Furthermore, they host The Harvard Independent • 04.19.12

bi-weekly community conversations to discuss topics that surround queer life at Harvard, and queer life at large. Sustained Dialogue Sustained Dialogue (SD) is a new organization that provides forums for meaningful discussion about social dynamics on campus. Fundamentally, our goal is to facilitate and encourage productive dialogues in order to make campus more welcoming for all its diverse members. There have been several reminders about the lack of emotional and psychological support students sometimes feel as we navigate our Harvard experience. SD reminds its participants that they are not alone and then enables them to take action to help others feel included as well. Our core function is fulfilled through weekly dialogue sessions among small groups of undergraduates who meet over the course of a semester. These dialogues are moderated by welltrained undergraduates, and cover topics ranging from socioeconomic status to dating. By the end of the process, groups plan and implement action projects to address a dimension of Harvard culture in an effort to improve it. SD also organizes events and discussions for the larger Harvard community. For example, we hosted “De-stereotype Me Day” to motivate a discussion about stereotyping and being stereotyped on campus. We also facilitated a dialogue about the incredibly popular “Sh*t People Say” YouTube videos. Additionally, our organization is a resource for other groups on campus. This semester alone, our moderators have led a discussion about Responsible Investment at Harvard for the Undergraduate Council (UC), as well as a number of dialogues for various racial and ethnic student groups. Harvard Latino Student Alliance The Harvard Latino Student Alliance (HLSA) is an officially recognized university-wide student organization that was founded and originally recognized in May 2011. The mission of HLSA is to build an integrated cross-school community to help Latina and Latino Harvard students realize their full potential and serve our community’s cultural, educational, social, and political needs. We recognize the diversity of interests within the Latino community and we aim to bridge these interests and expand perspectives, increase access to resources, and enrich students’ academic, professional, and social experience. We serve as a resource in the development of the next generation of Latino and Latina leaders. Latinas Unidas Latinas Unidas de Harvard College is an organization that serves as a strong network of students who have a passion for and an interest in the lives of Latina women. We foster strong friendships, strive to energize ambitions, support passionate endeavors, and celebrate the beauty of being Latina! LU's strength resides in the differences and similarities that unite us and spans across the many different cultural and regional backgrounds we represent. We foster this strength and unity through engaging in social activities, political events and academic forums. Latinas Unidas believes and embraces the important responsibility toward the Latin American and Latino community. We emphasize networking with Latina women within our campus and throughout the nation—for though we are few in numbers, we have infinite strength. Harvard College Faith and Action "By this all people will know if you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35) Harvard College Faith and Action

is an interdenominational Christian fellowship that focuses on discipleship, social justice, authentic community and Christian leadership. We believe in asking hard questions about the faith and applying the gospel to our whole lives - not just on Sundays when we go to church. Our main activities include Bible courses, led by seminary-trained staff, as well as Doxa (Greek for glory), a weekly gathering where we worship God in community. Regardless of your religious background, we welcome all people who want to learn more about Christ and what it means to put one's faith into action. Any questions? Please contact Alastair ( or Joanne ( for more information.

Other Harvard Model Congress As a member of Harvard Model Congress, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in one of the most dynamic, diverse groups on campus. Since 1986, HMC has served as the nation’s premier government simulation program for high school students. Run entirely by a staff of over 100 Harvard undergraduates, HMC’ers have the opportunity to shape both the curriculum and structure of the conference from year to year. During the conference each February, HMC staffers help delegates focus in on crucial political issues confronting our nation’s leaders, and they have the chance to impact the lives of more than 1400 high school students from around the globe. Harvard Model Congress is first and foremost dedicated to the education and inspiration of teenagers, and it is a joy to see delegates become enthusiastic about civic engagement throughout one outstanding weekend. We are fortunate to be able to hold conferences in Boston, San Francisco, Brussels, and Singapore. If you are excited about politics, if you want to be able to forge meaningful bonds with fellow Harvard students, but above all, if you are passionate about education and making a difference, then Harvard Model Congress is the organization for you! For more information, please attend our information session, this Saturday (April 21st) at 4 PM inside Sever 113, or visit us at www. International Relations Council The International Relations Council is one of the largest student organizations at Harvard, with over four hundred members. The IRC is the umbrella organization for seven different programs: Harvard International Review (an internationally distributed magazine about IRrelated issues with content from students as well as from prominent political leaders), Harvard Model United Nations (a Model UN conference for 3000+ high school students), Harvard National Model United Nations (a Model UN conference for 3000+ college students), Harvard Program for International Education (a community service oriented program in which IRC members go to public schools in Boston and teach about international relations), Intercollegiate Model United Nations (Harvard’s traveling Model UN team, which attends conferences all over the United States), International Relations on Campus (a committee that organizes IR-related events on campus), and Model Security Council (a small scale Model UN conference for Harvard students which introduces the IRC to freshmen). The IRC offers three main things: different ways in which students can explore their interest in international relations, pre-professional experience in a wide range of fields, and a tight-knit

community. First of all, because of the diversity of programs contained within the IRC, students can engage with international relations through different avenues such as event organization, journalism, community service, competition, etc. Secondly, because of the size of our organization, the amount of financial resources at our disposal, and the professionalism of our operations, the IRC provides a lot of useful experience that is relevant to post-graduation careers. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, the IRC serves as a family for its members; many IRC members form their closest friendships through the IRC, and the IRC provides a fun and supportive community that is there for its members throughout their time at Harvard. Harvard Yearbook Publications The Harvard Yearbook is responsible for two publications each year: the 128-page Freshmen Register and (not surprisingly) the 520-page Harvard Yearbook. The Freshmen Register compiles the names and photos of the incoming class—this is the first time the entire class will appear together in a publication, the second and final time being in their senior Yearbook. The massive Yearbook is the main term-time task of HYP, and it takes a large, dedicated team of students to produce it. HYP has three boards: Business, Photography, and Layout. The Business Board is responsible for managing HYP finances, representing the organization to our business partners, and soliciting corporate ads. The Photography Board takes nearly every picture that appears in the publication, including the beautiful campus shots that appear in the 32-page, full color Prologue section. Finally, the Layout Board spends countless hours designing pages, placing text, and choosing photos for every page of the publication. Working for HYP is extremely rewarding: there is a great sense of camaraderie and friendship between all of the Boards, and we often have Board dinners and social events. Also, when May rolls around and the book is finally published, it is extremely rewarding to see such a large publication that you personally worked on and produced. Finally, HYP’s mascot—the aardvark—is extremely adorable. Let’s Go Now in it’s 53rd year, Let’s Go has been the premiere student travel guide since its founding in 1960. Every year, Let’s Go hires a devoted team of Researcher-Writers to traverse the globe in pursuit of budget- and student-friendly establishments—and they do it all on Let’s Go’s dime. Whether you’re interested in exploring the origins of Guinness in Dublin or getting touch with your inner Julius Caesar in Rome, Let’s Go is the place to do it. But the Let’s Go family would not be complete without its office team back in Cambridge. This group prepares the ResearcherWriters to head abroad in the summer, edits their work into perfect prose, and maintains our digital presence through the production of a kickass website, mobile applications, and social media presence. Let’s Go is also responsible for the content of the Unofficial Guide to Life at Harvard, a detailed account of nearly everything to do in the Cambridge and Boston area. Finally, Let’s Go would not survive without its Staff Writer program—this talented bunch completes a rigorous Comp process in the fall semester to learn the ins and outs of Let’s Go’s signature “witty and irreverent” style, and they spend the rest of the year producing various content for both print and digital publication. Overall, joining Let’s Go means joining a company that has played a major role in the travel industry for over five decades, as well as getting to know a close-knit group of students who all love to write and see the world. Are you up for the experience? Ready, set, Let’s Go!


First-Year Fun

A guide to must-attend parties at Harvard. By SAYANTAN DEB


s a prefrosh , my intentions

in coming to Harvard were all about the academics and the extracurricular activities. The opportunity to have Nobel laureates and ex-cabinet members as professors was only matched by the opportunity to join multiple organizations, each boasting of a rich history, a vibrant community, and the chance to make amazing friends. While both of these aspects of Harvard life remain very important to me at the end of my sophomore year, another, and perhaps a more interesting aspect of my life here at Harvard has emerged — parties. If you are a parent reading this article, you’ve probably let out an audible gasp. Hear me out. Likewise, if you are a prefrosh reading this and make that face of disbelief (you know, the eyebrow raise, and the “Harvard parties…yeah, right”) definitely hear me out. To the parents: While academic opportunities abound here and there is plenty of room for your student to find the extracurriculars that will really make her tick, we actually have very few chances to let loose and enjoy our time here. Even in the first couple of weeks into the school year, most of us find ourselves in the midst of overly scheduled days, and almost invariably overcommit both in the classroom and outside of it. Thus, it becomes crucial to find time outside of these commitments to find the moments that will define our social experience at Harvard. For good or bad, most of these moments are associated with the largest parties on campus. To the prefrosh: Princeton Review recently rated Harvard among its Top 10 party schools, and that distinction was only preceded Harvard similar status in Playboy’s rankings. Although the notion that a bunch of nerds can party hardy might be a little difficult to believe, perhaps a closer look at the most cherished social events of the year will convince you that “Work Hard, Play Hard” is more than just a myth:


The First Chance Dance This one is exclusively for the freshmen. There are very few times in the four years that we spend at this school when our entire class actually gets to be in the same place at once and feel that, as a year, we are a social group within the larger Harvard community. When we are sorted into Houses, these opportunities become even rarer, as we start identifying ourselves first and foremost by House affiliation. This party is restricted to freshmen, which ensures that the social interactions are less inhibited. The awk-factor is the same for everyone, and the opportunity to make friends outside of your entryway is enormous. The music is strictly Top-40, but what’s wrong with that? When you know all the songs, it is easier to feel comfortable “making conversation” in an unfamiliar environment. The best part: if you are high on the awk-factor, chances are, you’ll never have to see your new acquaintances again unless you want to! A House Formal Much like the First Chance Dance, which fosters freshman community, House formals are crucial in fostering House community. You’ll receive an invitation to your formal shortly after being sorted into a House your freshman spring. With fun themes ranging from “Great Gatsby” to “Around the World in 80 Days”, House formals are great ways to meet people in your House and connect with an amazing support system. Usually, the dances also take place in a special location transformed for the occasion. Whether the formal is at the top of the Prudential Center or in your courtyard, it’s nice to see your House in a new light and pay attention to the little details that you might otherwise ignore. Finally, because your House is essentially your home, formals are a way for the family to come together. Regardless of the quality of the music or the refreshments, enjoy this much

like you enjoy other family gatherings — once or twice per year. HOTSPOT The first party of the year thrown by the Harvard College Queer Students and Allies, this one makes an effort to create a queer-friendly space to socialize on campus. Usually, the party is preceded by a meet-n’-greet where members of the QSA facilitate ice-breakers and discussions that make meeting new people easier. It is especially helpful for students who are questioning or have recently come out to find a welcoming space on campus, and a group of people who share similar experiences. The party is the culmination of the event. The music ranges from techno, to pop, to R&B, to hip-hop, and creates an amazing atmosphere for queer students and allies alike to get to know each other and dance the night away. Because the event is targeted at freshman, conversation flows much more easily, and people eagerly get to know each other. Traditionally, it has also had one of the best turnouts of any party at Harvard, which also makes it one of the best dance parties on campus! The 90s Dance With every new class that enters our doors, the 90’s becomes less an era of nostalgia for the students, and more retro. The current sophomores (and maybe the freshmen) are the last who can actually remember in detail what the nineties was all about, and actually participated in all of its fads right from the oversized button-downs over white T’s to swooning over boy bands. And when it comes to boy bands, I’m not talking about One Direction, but rather the original — Backstreet Boys ALL THE WAY! I digress. Whether you actually are of the 90s generation or only know the decade through the syndicated episodes of Friends, this party is a wonderful throwback. From the music, to the theme, to the “highly encouraged” dress code, for one night, Pfoho Dhall adorns

itself in 90s splendor. There is also a wonderful mélange of video clips that loop in the background, reminding us of the wonderful (or embarrassing) moments that defined our childhood. Go with friends with this one, and have fun reminiscing or making fun of the seniors who are probably much more enthusiastic about the theme than you are. Mather Lather Other schools might have foam parties that are bigger, outdoors, and naked-er, but we have Mather Lather, and the fact that it is one of a kind is reason enough to attend. In reality, this is actually quite a unique experience, as it is an indoor foam party. For one night, the Mather House dining hall is transformed into a foam palace. Add Mather’s infamous party culture, and you know you are in for an adventurous night. While there are a lot of stories about how gross the actual dance is, truth is that if you go early and stay near the foam, it’s actually a lot of fun. You also don’t really need to worry about picking out the perfect attire, appropriate accessories, or uncomfortable shoes. If you are down to get a little soapy, this party will probably always stand out in your mind as one of the most interesting experiences in college. Well, that’s it! Those are the five parties to attend in your first year at Harvard. Of course there will be plenty of other opportunities to go out and have a wonderful time with your friends. The bottom line? GO OUT. Don’t hole yourself up on your first year here, because trust me, there are three more years to do that. Freshman year is the least important academically. You’re only a freshman once, enjoy it! Sayantan Deb ’14 (sayantandeb@college) is trying to fill his quota on the parties…and failing miserably.

04.19.12 • The Harvard Independent

Tales from the Pit A freshman's take on being involved in the Harvard arts scene.



a violist, I’m used to being far from the center of attention in ensemble musical performances. As a member of a pit orchestra in a musical, I can expect even less. Having played in the band accompanying Spring Awakening last semester in the Oberon and the recent production of Sunday in the Park with George in the Loeb, I have gained such an appreciation not only for the work put into the pit, but also for the unique experience made available through a musical, participatory approach to watching a theatrical performance. Perhaps it’s because both of these shows have arguably nontraditional, exceptional scores, but while participating in them, I found myself enjoying the shows more than I did when I was just an audience s

member. For one thing, while listening attentively for cues and attempting to watch as much of the show as possible, a member of the pit becomes extremely familiar with the action on stage. The other players and I found ourselves anticipating favorite lines and moments every night (as in Sunday, when the character Louis said, “Cream puffs!”), and could recite by heart, and in the styles of each actor, entire scenes. Of course, the fact that we in the pit can see very little of the action taking place in stage leads us to focus on the storytelling from a mostly aural perspective. Our familiarity with the score and our heightened awareness of the underlying musical motifs adds tremendously to narrative primarily communicated through

lyrics. But a typical audience member does not have the luxury of listening for harmonics or noticing when, exactly, the strings join the piano with pizzicato. These details, which to the pit are as important as a set piece is to the audience, go largely unnoticed. That is not to say that the musicians have a better understanding of the show overall than any audience member, but it does bring up an important point as to the role of the spectator vs. that of the artist or performer. The spectator can’t be expected to absorb as much of what goes on at any one time because he or she is expected to focus on the visible action. If the orchestra weren’t literally playing in a pit or in the darkness off to the side of the stage, then the instrumental aspects of the musical

would take on a new importance. Perhaps modern theater sees a visible orchestra as too distracting, but it would enhance the viewer’s overall appreciation, understanding, and personal interest in the show. Recent successful Broadway revivals of Company and Sweeney Todd featured actors themselves playing the orchestral accompaniment to the stage action. I don’t expect Harvard productions to follow this ambitious route anytime soon, but I would like to see more awareness of the ways in which an orchestra, sitting in a pit or not, is more than just a side-note. Sarah Rosenthal ’15 (srosenthal@college) will never watch a musical the same way again.

Not Such a Fest A reflection of this year's YardFest.



hroughout the late afternoon

and early evening of April 15th, students from across Harvard’s campus gathered in Tercentenary Theater for YardFest, the annual spring concert organized by the College Events Board. In front of the steps of Memorial Church students played with beach balls and tire swings, eating better-than-normal hamburgers, pasta, and corndogs served by HUDS. Licking popsicles and soaking up the sun, students enjoyed themselves — at least before the music started. Of course, the main attraction of YardFest was not the beach balls or the food, but rather the live music that we don’t find in Harvard’s common spaces often enough. This year, the concert featured musical artists The The Harvard Independent • 04.19.12

Nostalgics, Das Racist, 3LAU, and The Cataracs. You’re probably wondering who those artists are, much like I was. Das Racist? 3LAU? Although you might have heard “It’s the Cataracs” played at the beginning of hits such as “Like a G6,” “Bass Down Low,” or “Backseat,” you probably don’t think of the Cataracs when you think of those songs. Instead, Far East Movement, Dev, and New Boyz probably come to mind. Unlike the Cataracs, these artists have the fame that can get a crowd excited. (And last year, when Far East Movement came to YardFest, “Like a G6” actually did get the crowd excited.) That the headliner of this year’s YardFest is known primarily as a featured artist, famous for few of its

own songs, took a toll on the mood of the crowd. Unfortunately, the beach balls, tire swings, and popsicles could only keep students entertained for so long. Everyone stood in Tercentenary Theater expecting a strong musical performance, hoping for something that would make the day even better. Unfortunately, that’s not what the audience received. Last year, I was a pre-frosh myself, and luckily Yardfest coincided with Visitas weekend. Instead of the Cataracs, the Far East Movement’s opening acts were White Panda and Sam Adams, all three much more recognizable names than anything played this year. Probably in part because of Visitas, the attendance at last year’s Yardfest was visibly larger than this year’s. Beyond the

attendance, students’ spirits last year were also visibly higher. Last year, attendees actually seemed into the music, jumping and dancing with much more excitement. Despite the comparatively lackluster performance at this year’s YardFest, my decision to attend Harvard had nothing to do with some spring concert. Although Harvard should take a lesson from UPenn, whose spring concert featured Tiesto and Passion Pit, or Yale, whose Spring Fling will also host Passion Pit, Harvard makes up for its lackluster spring concert in just about every other realm. Curtis Lahaie ’15 (clahaie@college) is hoping next year is better, for every prefrosh’s sake.


Unrealistic Expectations The positive, often false, portrayal of Harvard in cinema.


S tory (1970), T he P aper Chase (1973), With Honors (1994), Good Will Hunting (1997), Harvard Man (2001), The Social Network (2010). What these movies have in common is that they present to viewers a depiction of Harvard, of Harvard students and of Harvard life. All of the elements are present: the ivy-covered brick walls, the stuffed-shirt academics with their horn-rimmed glasses and tweed jackets with elbow-patches, and the porcelain-skinned college co-eds who look like they just stepped out of a Brooks Brothers or Kiel James Patrick catalog. These movies are complete — complete in their stereotypical portrayal of Harvard as a utopian academic village, an ivory Valhalla, or the intellectual land of milk and honey. When a character has some sort of problem, academic, social or otherwise, they are shown as an outsider, someone who has deviated from the norm and should, by working hard or learning to socialize properly, attempt to return to the rest of the fold. This is the image of Harvard that is shown to the world, a place where once one enters, all problems can pass away as the next four years are spent either in class or rowing on the Charles River. Inaccurate and unilaterally positive depictions of Harvard in cinema create a view of college as a time without problems or serious struggles. Worst of all, they give prefrosh and other prospective students unrealistic expectations of what awaits them in Cambridge. Movies tend to paint Harvard as a J-Crew, Arcteryx, prep-school. [Actually, the Arcteryx part is true. If you’re a prefrosh and you’ve never heard of this or any of these companies, look them up]. Contrary to popular belief, Harvard’s population is not at all homogenous. In addition to this, with the exception of a select few (mostly The Vestis Council) people dress casually, though a disproportionate amount of Nantucket red can be seen ove

Photo by Maria Barragan-Santana


By WHITNEY LEE in the early fall and the spring, most of the time people are in jeans or even sweatpants. Though Love Story gets a pass because it is about love between a Harvard student and a student at our now-defunct women’s college, modern movies about Harvard should be more true-to-life. To that end, The Paper Chase and The Social Network are the two movies that come closest to capturing what it is like to be a Harvard student. The Paper Chase, though set at the law school, is incredibly relatable in that it is about a struggling 1L who joins a neurotic study group, finds love in the arms (and the bed) of a woman and eventually learns that grades are not as important as he once believed. This is a real depiction of Harvard in that the main character begins his studies nervous, stressed, and afraid of being cold-called, and by the end of the movie he is still nervous, stressed, and afraid of being cold-called. Though he has made some important discoveries and found a girlfriend, coming to Harvard did not magically solve his problems, make him smarter, or even make him more confident. In this way, The Paper Chase is real in that his time at Harvard did not radically transform him into a Plato-reading Calvin Klein. Moreover, The Social Network is the most realistic film in that it is current and effectively captures the in-group, out-group dynamics on campus. For those who haven’t seen the movie (I hope that this applies to almost no one), it is about Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook. The film begins with Zuckerberg, a pissed off social outcast who creates Facebook (originally Face-mash) while drunk, in his Kirkland dorm room. In addition to this, The Social Network is the most realistic film in that it addresses the plain and simple truth that most of the time Harvard falls short of one’s initial expectations. Whitney Lee ’14 (whitneylee@college) wants to set the expectations straight.

04.19.12 • The Harvard Independent



Uneven Odds A brief discussion on reserved slots for athletes. By WHITNEY LEE


he time has come once again

for the oft-contentious conversation regarding college athletic recruiting practices in the Ivy League. Harvard Men’s Basketball’s brief ascent into the spotlight and Coach Amaker’s subsequent vow to recruit top players for the team in the years ahead has called into question whether or not Ivy League schools — more specifically Harvard — should even engage in athletic recruiting. As reported in a 2008 New York Times article: “Harvard’s efforts in basketball underscore the increasingly important role that success in high-profile sports plays at even the most elite universities. In the race to become competitive in basketball, Harvard’s new approach could tarnish the university’s sterling reputation. Two athletes who said they had received letters from Harvard’s admissions office saying they would most likely be accepted have described tactics that may violate N.C.A.A. rules, including visits from a man who worked out with them shortly before he was hired by Harvard to be an assistant coach. An N.C.A.A. spokesman, Erik Christianson, said the organization’s rules state, ‘Should a coach recruit on behalf of a school but not be employed there, he or she is then considered a booster and that recruiting activity is not allowed.’ In another case, Amaker approached the parents of an athlete in a grocery store and urged that their son visit Harvard, even though N.C.A.A. rules limit contact with potential players to happenstance at certain times of the year.” Harvard’s official policy on athletic recruitment is based on NCAA rules stating, “NCAA rules and regulations prohibit coaches and administrative personnel from sending letters or electronic mail to high school students until after September 1 of their junior year in

The Harvard Independent • 04.19.12

high school”. This is a very clean and simple policy, though for a school like Harvard, it is a bit troubling to think that some people have their admittance secured two years in advance. I am personally acquainted with a girl in the high school Class of 2012, who last year, when she was still a high school junior, was offered a spot at Harvard in the Class of 2016 so

the seemingly all-powerful personal essay, she was relaxing in that sense, knowing that her place at Harvard was secure. Even still, I adopted the attitude “Well, this was probably an isolated situation, there might be facts here of which I an unaware… I should probably let it go.” This persisted for a while, until, as my social circle widened, I heard more and more

Photo by Maria Barragan-Santana

that she could play on the women’s ----- team. In consideration for the girl and for her family, her name and sport will be withheld from the article. She’s from the area, and has had a very successful athletic career, having attended three different “feeder schools” at various points in her life. While her classmates were still meticulously piecing together their applications and slaving over

personal stories of people knowing that they would get to come to Harvard by their junior year. I wondered how this was possible. Then, I read the last part of the recruitment statement which reads: “While we (Harvard officials) are not permitted to write or e-mail high school students if they are not eligible per the above restriction, high school students are permitted to telephone

coaches and administrators prior to the completion of their junior year in high school, but only at the high school student’s expense.” For clarity, the issue here is not really whether or not recruited athletes are “worthy” of admission to Harvard, because in all truth, who among us can say why we deserve to be here over the 30,000+ similarly qualified applicants who are rejected each year? Rather, the issue here is whether slots should be set aside up to two years in advance for students who have yet to prove that they are qualified to be at Harvard. Simply stated, all student-athletes should have to apply and be accepted on the normal admissions timeline just like all other students — and most of our athletes — are doing already. Although this seems to be a simple issue of fairness, as usual, there are two sides to any argument, and the other side would argue that because Harvard cannot provide athletic scholarships, the school is at a disadvantage when it comes to getting top players to come to Harvard instead of a state school that can offer scholarship money in addition to an early admission guarantee. Considering Harvard’s massive endowment and financial aid resources — especially in comparison with state schools — the irony is lost on no one. Harvard is by no means alone in this struggle to strike a balance when it comes to recruiting athletes. Most of the Ivy League schools have had similar struggles; though there is no definitive solution as of yet, that the majority of our athletes were accepted during the normal admissions process is a good place to start. Whitney Lee ’14 (whitneylee@college) has a special fondness in her heart for walk-on athletes.


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Profile for The Harvard Independent

The Visitas Issue  

This weekend, Harvard's campus will be taken over by hordes of prefrosh eager to see Harvard, get a feel for college, and size up their pote...

The Visitas Issue  

This weekend, Harvard's campus will be taken over by hordes of prefrosh eager to see Harvard, get a feel for college, and size up their pote...