Paying With Prestige
As long as the Undergraduate Schools Committee operated on pre-college students who already had Harvard on their minds, it worked easily and well. But, with lackadaisical alumni groups in some areas of the country, the Committee has found itself holding the entire Harvard publicity bag. For this it is badly understaffed. In fact, the exiting Schools Committee chairman has called enlisting capable representatives the Committee's most pressing problem.
The Committee's work has great potential value. Able to operate on the student-to-student basis denied official representatives of the College and alumni, they can sell Harvard in places where sales have been slipping.
But to do this, there must be a recognition that prestige is the bread and butter of any unpaid services. Unless the prestige of the Committee is raised at both the University and at home, it will not attract the men best qualified for this important but delicate selling job.
The admissions Office could boost this prestige by a systematic perusal of every incoming freshman and sophomore from areas in which. Harvard drawing power is weak. Those students whom the Deans, with the advice of the present Committeemen, think potentially helpful would receive a personal invitation to join from Dean Bender. This would add to the prestige incentive and also assure that overly rabid football fans and other who could not judge good prospects would stay out of the Committee.
Besides raising the Committee's stature, this selection would forge a much needed link between the Administration and the Committee. It would end the present practice, in which student representatives depart with little coaching from University Hall on how to avoid pitfalls in the recruitment game.
If the Committee's prestige rose in home towns also, the penniless incentive system would be complete. Some local newspaper publicity for Committeemen would increase both their own prestige and the prospects' interest.
Finally, the Crimson Key should consider giving the Schools Committee more recognition by making a place for the Committeemen in the Key itself. At present, only the head of the Committee is an automatic member of the key. This arrangement burdens the Committeemen with some of the Key's work, such as entertaining visiting prospect, while it gives them none of the advantages that Key membership entails. Perhaps a year of Schools Committee service should unlock the door to Key membership for Committee members.
As long as they do not make the Committee a mere adjunct of the Dean's Office, these proposals can meet the most important dilemma facing the Committee. As long as a more energetic Committee will pay off in more and better applicants to the College, such experiments are worth trying.